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Voter ID Laws Are A Solution In Search Of A Non-Existent Problem

Voter ID Required Sign

After Republicans scored major victories in state legislative elections across the country in 2010, they embarked on an ambitious legislative agenda on a whole host of issues, but one of the most prominent agenda items in state after state has been the adopting of new laws requiring voters to present some form of identification at the polls before being allowed to vote.  Opponents of these laws, meanwhile, argue that these laws tend to discriminate against older and minority voters, some of whom may not have the types of identification required by the law, may no longer have access to the documents such as birth records that would allow them to obtain such identification, or may not have the resources to get that identification because of difficulties that some states have placed on obtaining identification. Proponents of these laws, on the other hand, maintain that they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, presumably in the form of people showing up at the polls claiming to be someone that they are not since this is really the only form of voter fraud that requiring identification at the polls could possibly combat.

It is, admittedly, a compelling argument. After all people should not be permitted to impersonate someone at the polls. However, it has never been clear just how much of a problem this form of voter fraud actually is. Proponents would lead one to believe that it is a major problem that threatens the integrity of our electoral system, thus requiring strict identification requirements. Opponents, on the other hand, have long contended that Republicans have long over-stated both the frequency and risk of in-person voter fraud and that, when balanced against the difficulties it presents for those negatively impacted by the laws, it is at best a minor problem. This week, Loyola University Law School Professor Justin Levitt reported on the results of a comprehensive study which concluded that in-person voter impersonation is an incredibly rare occurrence:

I’ve been tracking allegations of fraud for years now, including the fraud ID laws are designed to stop. In 2008, when the Supreme Court weighed in on voter ID, I looked at every single allegation put before the Court. And since then, I’ve been following reports wherever they crop up.

To be clear, I’m not just talking about prosecutions. I track any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix.

So far, I’ve found about 31 different incidents (some of which involve multiple ballots) since 2000, anywhere in the country……

To put this in perspective, the 31 incidents below come in the context of general, primary, special, and municipal elections from 2000 through 2014. In general and primary elections alone, more than 1 billion ballots were cast in that period.

Some of these 31 incidents have been thoroughly investigated (including some prosecutions). But many have not. Based on how other claims have turned out, I’d bet that some of the 31 will end up debunked: a problem with matching people from one big computer list to another, or a data entry error, or confusion between two different people with the same name, or someone signing in on the wrong line of a pollbook.

In just four states that have held just a few elections under the harshest ID laws, more than 3,000 votes (in general elections alone) have reportedly been affirmatively rejected for lack of ID. (That doesn’t include voters without ID who didn’t show up, or recordkeeping mistakes by officials.) Some of those 3,000 may have been fraudulent ballots. But how many legitimate voters have already been turned away?

Levitt lists each of the incidents that he uncovered in the article, and while none of them should be dismissed it’s worth noting that we’re talking about 31 apparently fraudulent ballots cast out of roughly one billion. That amounts to 0.0000031% of the total votes cast over the time period that Levitt studied and it amounts to a quite obviously infinitesimal amount of the total ballots cast. Again, that doesn’t dismiss the fact that the incidents he uncovered were in fact crimes and that the people involved in them ought to be appropriately prosecuted. What it does suggest, though, is that the argument that Voter ID laws are necessary because of some widespread problem is simply not true, and that more weight ought to be given to the arguments of those who point out the difficulties that Voter ID laws create for certain classes of voters, most often the poor, minorities, and the elderly.

That is exactly what happened earlier this year in Wisconsin. In April, a Federal Judge struck down that state’s Voter ID law, relying to a large degree on the fact that the evidence presented by the state showed that voter impersonation was virtually non-existent in the state. At the same time, though, the Judge found that the law placed significant burdens on the ability of poor and minority voters to vote, both because of the difficulty and expense involved in obtaining the proper identification and because there was at least some evidence that the law was as much motivated by the desire to make it harder for certain groups of people to vote as it was by a desire to protect the integrity of the electoral process. That case is currently under appeal, but the factual findings that the Judge made at trial regarding the rarity of in-person voter fraud and the burdens placed on certain voters by these laws are not likely to be overturned, and will make it hard for the decision to be overturned.

This doesn’t mean that all voter identification laws are unconstitutional, nor does it mean that there is something inherently wrong with the laws themselves. What it does suggest from a legal point of view, though, is that Voter ID laws that make it difficult for certain classes of people to obtain identification, and thereby make it more difficult for them to vote, should be viewed skeptical by judges. The easiest way to deal with this problem, of course, would be to make obtaining the identification as easy as possible in terms of where voters must go to obtain such identification, what documents they need to present in order to obtain it, and how much the entire process ends of costing them. In fact, an argument can be made that voters should not be required to pay anything at all to obtain the identification necessary for them to exercise one of their most fundamental legal rights. Additionally, the laws ought to be drafted in a way that would not unduly punish people who aren’t able to obtain proper identification by having their votes automatically voided. The fact that an elderly gentleman doesn’t have enough documents to satisfy the voter ID requirements despite the fact that he’s voted in every election he’s been able to, for example, shouldn’t be grounds for disallowing him his right to vote in the future. If the law can’t be written to deal with problems like this in a fair manner, then I’m not sure they should be able to withstand a court challenge.

From a political point of view, the fact that there is little actual evidence of in-person voter fraud, and plenty of evidence that Voter ID laws can make it harder for poor, minority, and elderly voters to exercise their right to vote, is a very strong argument for the idea that these laws are not nearly as necessary as the Republicans that have advocated them contend they are. Even if you can make the case that the laws are not per se wrong—and I tend to believe that as a general concept requiring people to prove who they are before they vote is a a good idea—the fact that voter impersonation is so rare as to be virtually nonexistent suggests strongly that this is not an issue that needs to be prioritized right now. Rand Paul made a similar point back in May when it warned his fellow Republicans that they are risking offending minority groups and other voters by placing so much emphasis on Voter ID laws. While Paul was criticized by many on the right when he said this, studies such as the one that Levitt talks about in the link above would seem to vindicate him.

None of this is to argue that there may not be election fraud occurring. For better or worse, such things have been a part of politics since the beginning of time. However, as Levitt notes, Voter ID laws do absolutely nothing to stop the most common types of election fraud:

Election fraud happens. But ID laws are not aimed at the fraud you’ll actually hear about. Most current ID laws (Wisconsin is a rare exception) aren’t designed to stop fraud with absentee ballots (indeed, laws requiring ID at the polls push more people into the absentee system, where there are plenty of real dangers). Or vote buying. Or coercion. Or fake registration forms. Or voting from the wrong address. Or ballot box stuffing by officials in on the scam. In the 243-page document that Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel filed on Monday with evidence of allegedly illegal votes in the Mississippi Republican primary, there were no allegations of the kind of fraud that ID can stop.

Instead, requirements to show ID at the polls are designed for pretty much one thing: people showing up at the polls pretending to be somebody else in order to each cast one incremental fake ballot. This is a slow, clunky way to steal an election. Which is why it rarely happens.

And the fact that it rarely happens suggests strongly that these laws are far less necessary than their advocates have claimed that they are.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. humanoid.panda says:

    Of course they are solution to a problem, that of Democrats winning 5 of last six national popular votes in national elections, and making headway in formerly Red states by diluting the votes of REAL Americans.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 2

  2. Eric Florack says:

    Credible?
    You mean where people got caught at it, right?
    Well, what happens when they don’t get caught? It doesn’t get recorded as such.
    I’m reminded of the phrase “not a smidgion”.

    But, back to reality
    http://m.nationalreview.com/article/368234/voter-fraud-weve-got-proof-its-easy-john-fund

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 36

  3. al-Ameda says:

    This confirms the widely belief by normal sensible people that there never has been any significant statistical or empirical evidence of in-person voter fraud. This has always been about voter turnout suppression in Democratic precincts.

    It has always seemed to me (just speculation here) that absentee balloting is potentially a bigger source of fraud than in-person voting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  4. Davebo says:

    Having Bitpart talk about credibility is hilarious!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I’m reminded of the phrase “not a smidgion”.

    I’m reminded of the phrase “naturally, conservatives have produced no empirical evidence of widespread in-person voter fraud.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 2

  6. Davebo says:

    @al-Ameda:

    In the case of Texas Republicans have actually admitted that.

    It’s the latest fad among state officials looking to make voting harder: We’re not racist, we’re just partisan.

    Texas, is again in court, facing a Justice Department suit seeking to get the state under federal oversight again. To do so, the Justice Department must prove intentional racial discrimination.

    Texas’ defense? It’s discrimination, all right — but it’s on the basis of party, not race, and therefore it’s O.K.

    Says Texas: “It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/opinion/voter-suppressions-new-pretext.html?_r=0

    At least they are being honest about it. It’s more than most supporters of voter suppression here are willing to do.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  7. Eric Florack says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    So, Democrats will lose elections if ID is demanded?
    An interesting admission.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 26

  8. C. Clavin says:

    Of course there is a problem…demographics are changing and the only way Republicans can elections win is to cheat. Voter suppression is just one form of cheating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

  9. Blue Galangal says:

    @Eric Florack: What’s interesting is that I’ve voted without an ID for 25 of the 30 years I’ve been voting. Oddly enough, I’ve been a US citizen, and a state resident, the entire time, and my signature next to my voter registration in the clerk’s book was all that was needed to obtain a ballot until 2008. Huh. I wonder what happened then? Interesting, indeed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  10. humanoid.panda says:

    @Eric Florack: Yes, Democrats will lose elections in Pennsylvania, the state I live in, if 10% of the voting population of Philadelphia is disqualified, as the court found in the lawsuit that threw away the state’s Voter ID bill. Do you think that 10% of Philadelphia’s voting population are not eligible voters, even though the state conceded that they are indeed American citizens and are eligible to vote? Are you aware that in the same trial, Pennsylvania conceded there was no vote fraud recorded in any election in the state in the last 20 years?

    Now I know that for most republicans in this state the fact that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have the bulk of votes in the state simply because more people live there than in the morally superior central parts of the state is a form of voter fraud , but are you really going there?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 3

  11. humanoid.panda says:

    @humanoid.panda: Also, I wonder if you are going to respond to my rejoinder to you on the other thread, or is it going to be too painful for you. I accept your apology in advance anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: Can you offer any credible evidence that Sasquatch does not exist? No? Than I assert that he must! And by my assertion I make it real! (or so said the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby)

    Wow, that hurt. Thank Dog I don’t often have to wear the Bithead hat.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oh, and Doug… Are you channeling your inner John Cole? I have to admit, yours is much more polite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. C. Clavin says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    Look…there were 31 cases out of a billion votes cast…certainly that justifies disqualifying 10% of the voting population in Philly. I mean we are talking about .000000031 of the votes. A number like that deserves serious action.
    Coincidentally…that is the same percentage odds of Florack not pi$$ing himself if he sees a person of color. The odds double if that person is wearing a hoodie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  15. DrDaveT says:

    Rand Paul made a similar point back in May when it warned his fellow Republicans…

    I’m certainly no Rand Paul fan, but even I will concede that he is entitled to a gendered pronoun… ;^)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  16. Scott says:

    The real problem is not Voter ID laws but the other barriers placed in the way of voting. Reduced early voting, less voting booths, longer lines, etc. To me, if we cared about democracy etc, we should be encouraging and facilitating people to vote, not the other way around.

    One of the arguments used is this: “if you have to show an ID to get you money from your bank, why shouldn’t you have to show it it vote”.

    Let’s flip that around, “If online banking is safe and efficient, why can’t we have online voting?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Another argument often made is that you need photo ID to fly. You don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  18. Mu says:

    BTW how are voter ID’s checked for absentee ballots? Maybe we have to go back to “in-person” voting only, lets see how many elderly R-voters would like to spend 3 h in line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Ron Beasley says:

    Here in Oregon (and Washington State) we are 100% vote by mail, there are no polling places. You have to sign your ballot and the signatures are checked. To the best of my knowledge there have been few if any cases of “voter fraud.” Since I first registered to vote well over 40 years ago I must admit I don’t know what is required to register today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  20. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, “voter fraud” is like campus rape, open racism, the wage gap, Obama’s impeachment, and mass shootings by legal gun owners — not real problems, just hyped by people for their own political gains?

    Someone should assemble a list of these “phony issues” so we can all agree that they’re not worth talking about.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 32

  21. jukeboxgrad says:

    humanoid:

    Of course they are solution to a problem, that of Democrats winning 5 of last six national popular votes in national elections

    Conservatives hate democracy. They like it better when fewer people vote:

    Many of our Christians have what I call the “goo goo” syndrome. Good Government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.

    Paul Weyrich, major conservative thinker, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation. Link, link.

    My apologies to those who have seen this before.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  22. jukeboxgrad says:

    humanoid:

    by diluting the votes of REAL Americans

    This is a good moment to remember that conservatives think black votes are not as real as white votes. Recall this offensive statement from Byron York (link):

    the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with white Americans than with black Americans, and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are

    And a similarly offensive statement can be found in Politico. Link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  23. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, “voter fraud” is like campus rape, open racism, the wage gap, Obama’s impeachment, and mass shootings by legal gun owners — not real problems, just hyped by people for their own political gains?

    Let me help you out here, you came so close:
    So, “voter fraud” is like unlike campus rape, open racism, the wage gap, Obama’s impeachment, and mass shootings by legal gun owners — these are not real problems, unlike “voter fraud” which is just hyped by people for their own political gains?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  24. stonetools says:

    Looks like Doug has finally arrived at where many of us were years ago . Kudos for changing your mind in the face of the evidence.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  25. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Nah, voter fraud is like global warming if people called you racist for checking the temperature.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Pinky: Nah, voter fraud is like global warming if people called you racist for checking the temperature.

    I KNEW I forgot something… thanks, Pinky.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  27. PJ says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Here in Oregon (and Washington State) we are 100% vote by mail, there are no polling places. You have to sign your ballot and the signatures are checked. To the best of my knowledge there have been few if any cases of “voter fraud.”

    There has been issues with vote by mail in Oregon, but a voter ID wouldn’t be able to fix them or absentee ballots for that matter, since the issues have been more about one person filling out another person’s ballot or making sure that the other person voted a certain way. For some weird reason Republicans aren’t very concerned with absentee ballot fraud…

    Personally, I don’t like vote by mail due to that it may not be an entirely secret ballot and that a person may be coerced to vote in a certain way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  28. gVOR08 says:

    So there’s no in-person voting fraud. A good Tea Party base Republican would say, “Wrong. Lying lame stream media.” A good Republican candidate or operative would say, “What’s your point?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  29. humanoid.panda says:

    @Pinky: So, what you are saying is that global warming, which is real, isn’t and that voter fraud, which doesn’t exist, is real? The bipartisan mask slips and reveals the usual brain-damaged idiocy, I see.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  30. Pinky says:

    @humanoid.panda: Almost there. Tease it out a little more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  31. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    This is a good look into Jenos’s thinking:

    College rape victims: being raped is not a real problem.

    Citizens of the Internet: all that openly racist shit you see isn’t real.

    Women who earn less than men for the same work: the wage discrimination you work under is not a real problem.

    American voters: Republicans obsession with impeachment and refusal to govern is not a real problem.

    Families of the 138 victims of Andrew Engeldinger, Wade Michael Page, James Holmes, Ian Stawicki, One L. Goh, Jeong Soo Paek, Scott Evans Dekraai, and Jared Lee Loughner, all legal gun owners: your problems are not real.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  32. Blue Galangal says:

    @Ron Beasley: In Ohio, you can register to vote when you get your driver’s license (to obtain THAT – or temps – you must provide 1) a US passport or birth certificate and 2) a Social Security card), or you can register by mail. If you register by mail. you are required to provide either your Ohio DL # (with identity established above, of course) or the last 4 of your SSN.

    However, in person voter fraud would still be difficult even if you made up an SSN and did not have a driver’s license – i.e., forged a voter registration. Voting takes so long in Ohio in part because each precinct has a book with a copy of your signature in it along with your name and address, and you have to sign the book to get a ballot.

    I’ve never been able to understand how in person voter fraud would come anywhere close to having a significant effect on a race – it would require knowing who’s not showing up to vote, minutes to hours of standing in line to vote, being able to forge a signature at a glance, and then repeating the process at another precinct entirely (since the poll workers aren’t stupid enough not to recognize you if you come through again).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  33. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda: I never like “FIFY” comments, but that was…I mean, you do realize that you basically inserted the word “not” into a few sentences? No clever twist, no insight at all? Mantis presented a viable misreading of the comment, but you didn’t even do that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  34. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    I never like “FIFY” comments, but that was…I mean, you do realize that you basically inserted the word “not” into a few sentences? No clever twist, no insight at all? Mantis presented a viable misreading of the comment, but you didn’t even do that.

    “Clever”? Who was looking for that? I was looking for accuracy, and I believe that I achieved it.
    Thanks for your concern, I appreciate it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  35. humanoid.panda says:

    @Pinky: Ok. Your above the frey act does not obscure the fac that you are in fact in favor of policies that will crater the economy, disenfranchise millions of voters, and deny millions of people access to medical services, damning many of them to lives of terrible suffering and expose humanity to grave environmental danger. Either you realize this and don’t care, in which case you are a sociopath, or don’t realize it and are therefore an utter and absolute fool who should shut up, knock out the stupid semantic games and pay attention when smarter people are talking. Most likely however, you are simply an etiquette troll that likes to get rise out of people. In that case, good work sir/madam.
    Was that clear enough for you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  36. MikeSJ says:

    In defense of the Republican legislators trying to clamp down on people voting, there is credible evidence that some of these voters are actually, you know….those people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  37. Pinky says:

    @humanoid.panda: For some reason, I’m trolling today. Can’t help it. Do you caricature your opponents most days?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  38. mantis says:

    @Pinky:

    Mantis presented a viable misreading of the comment, but you didn’t even do that.

    I didn’t misread anything. I get it. The argument from wingnuts on each of those tends to go something like, “this doesn’t happen often enough to be a problem worth addressing,” or ” the proposed solutions are too extreme relative to the problem (so we should do nothing).”

    I would contend that all of those phenomena (campus rape, wage gap, overt racism, Republican impeachment obsession, and mass murder by legal gun owners) all do real, demonstrable harm to actual people, unlike the virtually nonexistent in-person voter fraud, which even in the rare cases that it does happen, seems to affect no one. It’s not a real problem. Jenos is obviously arguing that rape, murder, racism, wage discrimination, and dysfunctional government are not real problems either.

    You, like Jenos, are idiotically arguing that climate change is not a real problem. Tell it to the people of Miami, Calcutta, Guangzhou, New York, Newark, Dhaka, and on and on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  39. humanoid.panda says:

    @Pinky: No, when my opponents present reasonable positions. Pretending that an epidemic of voter fraud is real and global warming is a myth is not a position a reasonable person should take, so I don’t see why I owe someone who takes that position the benefit of civilized discourse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  40. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Issues Jenos finds unimportant:
    Global warming
    Income inequality
    Racism
    Mass murder with guns
    Rape

    Issues Jenos finds important:
    Idiot Zimmerman’s quality of life
    Benghazi

    Yes, he is the true voice of the Republican party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  41. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Once again Jenos proves that a gnat can be smarter than a human.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  42. humanoid.panda says:

    @humanoid.panda: If you were to argue, for example, that voter ID is a good idea for reasons other than voter fraud and that the system could if enough resources were available, or that, for instance, mitigation rather than prevention should be order of day when it comes to global warming, I’d argue with you in a polite manner. Since peddling in untruths is an act of profound disrespect, I think insults and shunning is what you deserve.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  43. humanoid.panda says:

    @wr: Didn’t you hear? Benghazi is not an issue anymore, but something Obama trots around to distract from REAL scandals. In fact, its his and the media’s fault that conservatives spent 2 years obsessing over it before coming to the obvious conclusion that it was a f*ck up, not a scandal. If he was not the president, they would have no need to do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  44. anjin-san says:

    @ mantis

    I know that the ghetto bitch, chimpanzee, trashy ho, have a banana, go back to Africa comments I see about Michelle Obama on far right sites are not real.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  45. Pinky says:

    @mantis:

    I didn’t misread anything. I get it….
    You, like Jenos, are idiotically arguing that climate change is not a real problem.

    Then you didn’t get it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  46. mantis says:

    @Pinky:

    Fine, then try explaining yourself. Can you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. ricardo says:

    You do need some kind of ID to fly, so you’re splitting hairs here. The point is, why is this such an issue? Why do people think it is somehow violating their rights to just show your ID, or to have an ID of some kind to prove who you are?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  48. David M says:

    @mantis:

    I’m fairly sure I get it, but it’s not any better than arguing climate change isn’t real. It’s a moronic attempt to say that the voter fraud issue has nothing to do with race, and any attempts to to bring up the issue are as misplaced as saying global warming denialists are racist. Again, the type of idiocy that appeals to the hard core GOP sycophants only.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  49. mantis says:

    @ricardo:

    Why do people think it is somehow violating their rights to just show your ID, or to have an ID of some kind to prove who you are?

    Largely because of the way it is handled. In most states where voter ID laws have been implemented, they are designed to make sure certain groups have a difficult time obtaining one. Contrary to what some people believe, not everyone drives and a great many people do not have a photo ID at all, and these people mostly vote Democratic. So Republicans create a lot of hoops people have to jump through to get one. They limit the acceptable forms of identification allowed to obtain an approved voter ID. Had your documents lost in a fire or burglary or a move some years ago? Oh, sorry, no ID for you. This tends to impact older, poorer folk. Then they restrict distribution of voter ID to certain locations, usually chosen because they are inconvenient in areas where there are more Democrats. Or they restrict the hours when you can get ID to sometimes ridiculous degrees, making it harder and harder for working people who can’t get time off to obtain them. Or they make people pay for them, which is an unconstitutional poll tax.

    If voter IDs were free, widely available where everyone lives, obtainable on off hours/weekends, available on voting day, and easily obtainable by older people who don’t have a lot of documentation, not very many people would object to them. But that never happens, because these ID laws have nothing to do with fraud, and everything to do with voter suppression. Voting is a right, and suppressing it is a violation. That’s what voter ID laws are meant to do.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  50. mantis says:

    @David M:

    Again, the type of idiocy that appeals to the hard core GOP sycophants only.

    Ah. I forgot my wingnut decoder ring today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  51. Tyrell says:

    @al-Ameda: There is one group of voters that does need to be watched. The group that can be found in the cemeteries, some of whom manage to still be voting, especially in Chicago.
    “Vote early, and often”
    “Voting is nice, now do it twice”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  52. humanoid.panda says:

    @mantis: I’d add another item to your list. The only way to prevent all vote fraud by impersonation, if this is really a problem, is to have the federal government to have a federal database of voters, and issue all of them National IDs. Otherwise, people could just register to vote in several different states. However, if ever anyone would dare to offer any such a thing, we’d have a freakout that would put the ACA jihad to shame, featuring gun sweeps, UN troops, biochips implanted under people’s skins, the mark of the beast and whatnot. This by itself exposes the sheer vacuousness and outrageous stupidity of Republican blather about the sacredness of the vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  53. PJ says:

    @Tyrell:

    There is one group of voters that does need to be watched. The group that can be found in the cemeteries, some of whom manage to still be voting, especially in Chicago.
    “Vote early, and often”
    “Voting is nice, now do it twice”

    So, any evidence that this is widespread? Last time I checked, the most common form of voter fraud is absentee ballot fraud, which Republicans don’t care about and wouldn’t get fixed by voter ID.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  54. humanoid.panda says:

    @Tyrell: I asked it again, and I will ask it again, are you a brain damaged moron that can’t process texts, or a super sophisticated troll?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  55. David M says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    No, when my opponents present reasonable positions. Pretending that an epidemic of voter fraud is real and global warming is a myth is not a position a reasonable person should take, so I don’t see why I owe someone who takes that position the benefit of civilized discourse.

    I’ve come to the same conclusion regarding the “Democrats intentionally withheld subsidies from the federally run exchanges” issue as well. That was so far over the line that it’s not possible to have a good faith discussion about it. It is kind of sad that the official GOP position now precludes a reasonable discussion of issues like this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  56. rudderpedals says:

    In the short run, helping people connect up with a stamp and their absentee ballot works around the interference and comes with a bonus paper trail. It’s an easy sell for convenience. In the long run the problem will go away, but we’ll be dead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @ricardo:

    You do need some kind of ID to fly,

    No you DON’T!!! How many times doe this lie have to be debunked before people stop peddling it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  58. PJ says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Favorites from the list:
    “Divorce Papers”
    “Concealed Weapons Permit”
    “Certificate of Marriage”
    “Baptismal Records”
    “Court Order”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  59. MarkedMan says:

    Can I jjust point out that’s no Republican legislation on voter ID mandates that those voting by absentee ballot would have to prove who that are. The implicit contention is people who physically show up are presumed fraudsters unless they prove otherwise but any absentee ballot that shows up in the mail must be presumed legit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  60. MarkedMan says:

    Oh, and by the way, all of this could be dealt with if we simply issued a national ID card and required that as identification for flying, voting, etc. The Feds would be required to make it easy to get these cards, say at your local post office. They already do passports.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  61. Dave D says:

    @humanoid.panda: I’ve been wondering for quite some time about him since he showed up. Is he earnestly an elderly southern man that is just crazy out of touch with reality? Or is he the best troll I’ve ever had the pleasure/disdain of reading? Honestly it could go either way so my hat is off. You know he’ll type nonsense and link to some conspiracy theory about the federal reserve or bring up Gunsmoke! or some such tv show but he is far more enjoyable to read than SD, Jenos or G.A.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  62. humanoid.panda says:

    @Dave D: I dunno, somehow he pushes my buttons more than any of them. It might just be that he is a troll and is very good at what he does, or that it’s I know that while the others are outliers, there are droves of uninformed people like him running around…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  63. Eric Florack says:

    @Blue Galangal:
    Try buying a gun that way.
    If my right to vote is infringed by the demand of an ID, isn’t my right to bear arms similarly affected?

    Oh, wait… you don’t support the second amendment, right?
    Question withdrawn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  64. Humanoid.panda says:

    @Eric Florack: we have voter registries .how wpuld you feel about gun owners registries? But then again you are not fan of 14th amendment.also you still didn’t respond to my demolition of your entire no more popular participation after Reagan theory.As I said apology accepted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  65. wr says:

    @Dave D: I agree. Troll or real, he never comes across as malicious or rotten.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  66. James says:

    @Eric Florack: You have the right to keep and bear arms. Nowhere does it say you have the right to purchase them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  67. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @James: Oh c’mon. That’s lame and you know it. Any constitutional right also protects the necessary rights to exercise it. There is no freedom of the press if you can’t distribute your paper and there are no gun rights if you can’t buy any.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  68. At this time it seems like WordPress is the preferred blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  69. Sylvia Prentiss says:

    Good grief, you all are the most unhappy, partisan-blinded, name-calling asswipes I’ve encountered in some time. I hope none of you vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0