What Voter Suppression?

Do Voter ID laws really suppress voter turnout? The evidence from at least one state doesn't prove it.

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The arguments against Voter ID laws tend to fall into two categories. The first argument, which admittedly does have merit, is that history reveals that there is very little evidence of people voting who aren’t authorized to vote, or of people going to the polls claiming to be someone other than who they actually are. As true as this may be, though, it strikes me as being a fairly weak argument. The fact that such voter fraud doesn’t occur regularly, as far as we know, is not, by itself, an argument against the validity of laws that would require people to present some form of identification, although it may perhaps be an argument against the urgency of passing such legislation. In either case, though, as with any piece of legislation, whether or not it is urgently needed is not, in and of itself, an argument against it. If the case were otherwise, then many laws currently on the books would be suspect. Therefore, an argument from necessity isn’t really a good argument against any law, including a law that does little more than require someone to provide some form of proof of their identity before being allowed to vote.

The second argument against voter ID laws, of course, is that, either by design or intent, they tend to suppress voter turnout among certain voting demographics, principally minorities and older voters. This argument is principally made by Democrats who contend that the largely GOP-controlled legislatures that have drafted such laws are doing so in an effort to give their party an advantage at the polls. Indeed, this has been the principal legal argument that opponents of Voter ID laws have made to Judges in their efforts to strike the laws down. In some cases, such as Pennsylvania, those efforts have been at least partially successful. In others, they have not and the laws have gone into effect. In those states, rather obviously, we ought to be able to find at least some evidence of suppression if these arguments actually have any validity, then one would think that we’d find some evidence of suppression. Based on the numbers out of Texas, though, where a Voter ID law went into effect just this year, the evidence of suppression seems to be completely missing:

The 2013 election in Texas was an off-year, constitutional amendment election. Texas holds constitutional amendment elections every two years, after its legislative sessions, to give Texans the opportunity to approve or reject items that the legislature has approved for a vote. The Texas secretary of state administers elections and posts totals going back to 1992.

According to the Texas secretary of state’s office, 10 amendments were up for vote in 2011, the last constitutional amendment election before the voter ID law passed. Some issues received more votes than others. The one most voted on received 690,052 votes, for and against. Overall, an average of about 672,874 Texans voted on these 10 constitutional amendments.

If voter ID suppressed votes, we should see a drop in turnout, right? Well, according to the Texas secretary of state’s office, nine amendments went up for vote in 2013. The amendment that attracted the most votes, Proposition One, attracted 1,144,844. The average number of votes cast in 2013 was 1,099,670.

So, in terms of raw votes, turnout in 2013 increased by about 63% over turnout in 2011 in comparable elections. But that’s statewide. How about in areas the anti-voter ID side predicted should see “suppression”?

Turnout for the 2011 election was 5.37% of registered voters; for 2013 it was about 8%.

Looking at specific areas of the state where minorities are heavily represented, there also appears to be little evidence that the Voter ID law prevented people from getting to the polls:

Hidalgo County sits on the Texas-Mexico border and is 90% Hispanic. In 2011, an average of just over 4,000 voted in the constitutional amendment election. In 2013, an average of over 16,000 voted.

If voter ID was intended to suppress votes, it is failing as spectacularly as HealthCare.gov.

Look at Cameron County, which is about 85% Hispanic. Turnout increased from an average of 4,700 votes in 2011 to 5,100 in 2013.

So in its first real-world test, Texas’ voter ID law — which 66% of Texans support, according to a 2012 University of Texas poll – had no impact on suppressing the vote.

One can make the argument that an off-year election in which only Constitutional Amendments were on the ballot may not be the best test of the impact of a Voter ID law, and I’ll admit that there is some validity to this argument. Voters tend to sit these elections out, as the low overall voter turnout number demonstrates. For that reason, it will be interesting to see how, if at all, the Voter ID law in Texas impacts turnout in next year’s midterm elections. Based on these numbers, though, it doesn’t appear that the requirement that people show identification at the polls had any real impact on the ability to vote in Texas notwithstanding the predictions of opponents of the law that it would.

Jazz Shaw sums it up nicely:

[I]f the intent of Texas Republicans was to hold down the vote, they are failing in spectacular fashion. In reality, the one factor which holds down the vote in this country is nothing more or less than voter apathy and lack of information / interest. If you want to fix a problem, you first must identify what the wrong is that you’re seeking to right. Low voter education and turnout is a problem which needs to be addressed, but trying to blame a well regulated system of ensuring proper, legal voter registration and identification at the polls is clearly not part of the solution.

Virginia also had an election this year with a Voter ID law on the books, and while its requirements are somewhat less rigorous than those in Texas that didn’t stop opponents from predicting prior to the election that it would cause voter turnout to be suppressed, especially among minority voters that would tend to favor Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe. As it turned out, though, voter turnout for the 2013 election was higher than it has been for any Gubernatorial Election in Virginia history. Looking further into the data, we find from the Exit Polls from 2013 and 2009 that African-Americans accounted for a higher percentage of the vote in 2013 than they did four years ago. Additionally, looking at specific areas of the state where minority voters are a high percentage of the population, such as the cities of Norfolk, Newport News, and Richmond, we find that voter turnout in all three jurisdictions was substantially higher than it had been in the 2009 election. (SBOE results for 2013 can be found here, and results for 2009 can be found here). It is worth noting that a more stringent Voter ID law will be going into effect in Virginia starting with the 2014 elections, so it will be worthwhile to revisit this state again next year to see what, if any, impact the new requirements have on turnout compared to previous midterm elections.

Perhaps there is some evidence out there that Voter ID laws lead to suppression, but in at least these two states, the evidence doesn’t seem to suggest it at all.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2013, US Politics, Voter Suppression,
Doug Mataconis
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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    You’ll find far more documented cases of voter fraud than you will of voter suppression, but we’re not supposed to talk about that.

  2. Tillman says:

    Indeed, this has been the principal legal argument that opponents of Voter ID laws have made to Judges in their efforts to strike the laws down.

    And in some cases the admitted motivation behind drafting the laws in the first place.

    I don’t understand your posture here however. If the laws are harmless (as you contend), and the laws solve a problem that doesn’t exist (as you admit), wouldn’t your stance be that the laws are absurd space-fillers in our legal code? I’d figure a libertarian would want the least amount of laws possible. “Every law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty,” and so on.

  3. Boyd says:

    @Tillman: You completely mischaracterize what Doug is saying, Tillman. He’s not saying, “See? These laws are good!” He’s (quite clearly, I must emphasize) saying that the argument against voter ID laws that claim voter suppression isn’t supported by evidence.

    Do you deny the truth of what Doug is saying? If he’s being objective (and honest), his opinion doesn’t matter one whit. Report the facts, even if you don’t like them.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’ll find far more documented cases of voter fraud than you will of voter suppression, but we’re not supposed to talk about that.

    Given that most voter fraud is associated with with absentee ballots and not in-person voting, I still do not understand the current fetish with Voter I.D. laws. It seems to me to be a solution in search of a problem.

  5. JKB says:

    I just looked at Tennessee’s numbers for 2012 and 2008. They instituted a voter ID for the 2012 election. While the overall turn out was a few percentage points lower in 2012, the turnout in Shelby (Memphis) county went up by 1.15%. Shelby county has a majority African-American population, as well as being urban, having a lot of poor and elderly, and Memphis had been party to a lawsuit against the law in which the state Supreme Court recently ruled that the law was constitutional

  6. JKB says:

    @al-Ameda: It seems to me to be a solution in search of a problem.

    The same can be said for gun registries and changes to the firearms purchase background checks. Canada had a gun registry that didn’t once contribute of a criminal investigation and they abandoned as being not worth the expense.

    On the other hand, there are documented cases where voter fraud would have been stopped with voter ID

  7. legion says:

    @Boyd:

    Do you deny the truth of what Doug is saying?

    I deny the value of his evidence. Specifically because there has been such public attention on the Voter ID laws, more people have been realizing that their voting rights are being threatened, and have made a considerably greater effort to actually _get out and vote_ and to make a public noise when they cannot. Doug’s evidence is myopic – it states certain things, but without sufficient context or breadth to draw any useful conclusions from.

    The dumbass response, which I’m sure Jenos already has in a copy-paste buffer, is that these laws are even _better_ if they encourage greater participation (by threatening to take away basic rights if they’re not actively used & examined). The obvious counter, here to save time, is that if a guy breaks into your neighbor’s house, you’ll be a lot more careful about locking up your own house. That doesn’t mean the thief gets treated like a hero for raising security awareness. He’s still a dirtbag thief, and these laws are still gross attempts to suppress voting by “undesirable” people.

  8. Boyd says:

    @legion: Understood. Facts and evidence don’t stand a chance against what you “know” to be the “truth.”

  9. bill says:

    If Doug is correct then Hillary will need something else to run on in 16. The dreaded voter suppression theory failed , find something else to whine about. I know, let’s go back to race cards, they seem to attract the usual crowds.

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @JKB: Are you saying that voter ID laws actually INCREASED African-American voting turnout? Jesus, don’t tell the GOP! This could be the Democrats’ secret to winning elections!

  11. Boyd says:

    @bill: Don’t bet on it, bill. Just in this thread we’ve seen how folks will cling to what they believe, even if the facts are against them.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    If Doug is correct then Hillary will need something else to run on in 16. The dreaded voter suppression theory failed , find something else to whine about. I know, let’s go back to race cards, they seem to attract the usual crowds.

    Actually, there is probably not yet a big enough sample size to statistically conclude that there is no voter suppression. However, I think that the fear of voter suppression serves to motivate Democrats to get out the vote.

    By the way, I have not once, in over 30 years, been asked to present identification to vote. I always vote in person, never by absentee.

  13. M. Bouffant says:

    @Boyd: You didn’t bother to read the link in which Republicans admit their entire motivation for these laws?

    And then you type:

    Facts and evidence don’t stand a chance against what you “know” to be the “truth.”

    Yeah, right. Sometimes the truth has nothing to do w/ what some call “facts & evidence.” Or w/ what you “know.” Either way you wouldn’t appear to have any familiarity w/ the concept.

    Here’s a point everyone has ignored: Individual voter fraud can not possibly influence any election in any town or area so densely populated that people don’t know all their neighbors. Do the math for once: How many “fraudulent” votes would have to be cast in a state like Wyoming (population 700+ thousand) to influence an election? And where would these voters be found? If you think you have the answer, think again: No matter your paranoia, people come to the U.S. w/o documentation to work, not to commit voter fraud & be arrested & deported for it.

    P.S.: The thorough vetting of voters should be part of the registration process, not the voting process.

  14. Boyd says:

    @M. Bouffant: Good point. If only you didn’t have to lie to make it.

    You didn’t bother to read the link in which Republicans admit their entire motivation for these laws?

    It was one Republican who admitted that was his motivation. It’s disingenuous to extrapolate that into the “entire motivation for these laws,” just as it’s disingenuous to attribute it to all Republicans.

  15. JKB says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    All one can say is that in a predominately African American county the number of voters increased by 1.15% from the presidential election in 2008 to the presidential election of 2012, even though a voter ID law was in force for the 2012 election.

    On the other hand, in other large urban area counties (predominately white), the voter turnout declined by 4-9%.

  16. M. Bouffant says:

    Another P.S.: Does Doug go along w/ InJustice Scalia, who dismisses the right to vote (in an actual democratic republic, where voting is supposed to matter & mean something, as opposed to the banana republic or the theocracy he’d prefer) as a “racial entitlement?”

    Democracy in America, such as it is, appears to be in great peril. And once the right to a correctly counted vote has been lost, it seldom returns under its own power.

    But, hey keep disenfranchising us. I can’t wait to hear the whining from certain elements when the U.N. has to send in troops to restore democracy to the U.S. Oh, irony!!

  17. anjin-san says:

    You’ll find far more documented cases of voter fraud than you will of voter suppression

    Proof, por favor?

  18. Boyd says:

    @anjin-san: I was wondering that myself. While I suspect it’s true, that’s merely my impression. I’d love to see empirical evidence on that point.

  19. SKI says:

    Doug and Jazz are confusing correlation for causation.

    We KNOW that some people were not able to vote or were forced into provisional ballots. Example: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/ihm-nuns-lacking-voter-id-call-law-unfair-and-ridiculous-1.1379577

    We also KNOW that Democratic supporting groups, including the party itself, spent millions in GOTV efforts and educating voters on how to deal with it.

    We do NOT know what turnout would gave been without the GOTV efforts. Claiming we do is foolish and/or duplicitous.

  20. Argon says:

    @Boyd:

    It was one Republican who admitted that was his motivation. It’s disingenuous to extrapolate that into the “entire motivation for these laws,” just as it’s disingenuous to attribute it to all Republicans.

    Correct. Just like I don’t think all Republicans are young earth creationists. But perhaps, at least 40% are.

    I believe reducing Democratic-leaning turnout was in fact a major motivation for the laws. This was not just one isolated Republican official mouthing off but rather coordinated work by many. And yes, more than one person involved with this drive has mouthed off and spilled the beans.The package was *sold* as an essential means for preventing ‘rampant voter fraud’ but as the data also shows, it misses the mark in multiple ways. If preventing voter fraud is the key driver there are other activities with better cost/benefit ratios. And when confronted with the stats that indicated that the amount of fraud the laws would prevent where miniscule, the promoters of the restrictions continued to double down.

    Fortunately, the strategy seems to have failed so far. I expect there will be some studies that can assess the factors involved.

  21. Boyd says:

    @SKI: They specifically did not say what you claim. They said the evidence does not support the claim that the laws would cause voter suppression.

    Sure, the laws might have suppressed votes as opponents claimed. But Doug and Jazz merely said that the evidence doesn’t support the claim.

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Here’s a good starting point.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have better things to do on a Saturday night. At least for a few hours.

  23. Argon says:

    @SKI: “Doug and Jazz are confusing correlation for causation.”

    Bingo! Now let’s wait and see when the numbers suggest were the contributing factors after the data gets crunched. Hint: There are going to be multiple factors working on different directions.

  24. John425 says:

    Up here in Socialist Seattleland, it is easier to register to vote than it is to get a King County Library card.

    From the KCLS:
    “The first time you use your new card at the library or before you use our eBook service, you will be asked to present photo ID with birth date (e.g., a driver’s license, Washington State ID card, or passport) and identification that verifies your current address (e.g., a utility bill)”

    From the voter’s guide:.

    To register online, you will need one of the following:
    •a current Washington State driver license
    •a current Washington State ID card
    If you do not have either of these,
    you may still register by mail or in person.

    Foreigners, including illegal aliens may get a Wa. Driver’s License with the following papers.

    •Foreign passport that has expired within 5 years, or without an I-94/I-94W form or temporary I-551 ADIT stamp.
    •Foreign driver license expired not more than 5 years. The license must have security features and be verifiable.
    •Valid Guatemala Consulate ID card.
    •Marriage license or certificate (filed with the county).
    •Medicare card.
    •Valid Mexican Matricula Consular ID card.
    •Mexican Federal Electoral Card issued 1991 or later. (Your photo must be readily identifiable.)
    •Mexican school record with a seal and your photo at the age when issued.
    •Mortgage document or mortgage coupon payment book.
    •Nexus, Sentri, or Fast Border Crossing card.

    Get your license and hop next door to vote

  25. Grewgills says:

    @Boyd:
    Here is another one, and another one, and another one.
    It didn’t take much digging and I remember quite a few more admissions that I wasn’t able to put my fingers on in my quick 5 minute search.
    The motivation is clear and in at least a few situations it has worked. Here for instance.
    I would dig for some more, but pregnant wife is calling, so my SIWOTI time is limited.

  26. Grewgills says:

    @Boyd:
    I responded with some links for you, but my comment is caught in moderation.

  27. Boyd says:

    @Argon: Your beliefs may be correct, but you present no facts to support them. Your 40% figure is pure speculation (as you imply), and your quotes leave the impression of authority, but you don’t source them, so I believe you either made them up.

    Or maybe you’re quoting the voices in your head. 🙂 (Just poking fun, pardner.)

  28. Boyd says:

    @Grewgills: I’ll check ’em out later, but as you (rightfully) must tend to your wife’s needs, I must turn my attention to helping the Texas Longhorns get their collective act together against Oklahoma State.

  29. gVOR08 says:

    Failure of a plan dies not prove the non-existence of the plan.

  30. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    I hopped over to your link and clicked through on their voter fraud links for the proof of voter fraud in 46 states. I have clicked through on about a 1/3 so far and every case has either been a candidate misidentifying where he lived and so committing fraud to actually run or exclusively involved absentee ballots. This does not support your position or the argument that the site is trying to make. I guess they counted on people being too lazy to actually read from their links or they are too ignorant to understand where their links lead.

  31. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @John425: I wasn’t aware that there is a Right to Use the Public Library in the United States. Thanks for setting us straight.

  32. Todd says:

    If any voter fraud does happen, it’s much more likely to be via absentee ballot. But, since voters who cast their ballots absentee tend to be more Republican leaning, most (Republican sponsored) “voter fraud” laws only focus on “in-person” voting.

    You have to be trying really hard to imagine that these laws have anything to do with stopping “voter fraud”.

    Ironically, I think what the numbers that Doug highlighted do show is that the best way to motivate a potentially apathetic block of voters to actually get off their butts and go to the polls is to threaten to take their vote away.

  33. stonetools says:

    Of course, the test of whether the voter supression laws work is not whether there was high turnout. The test is whether or not the turnout would have been higher but for the existence of these laws. High turnout by itself doesn’t prove that the laws did not supress turnout.
    Note I used the term “voter supression laws” instead of “voter ID” laws. The requirement for presenttation of speciall forms of ID is is gerally only one part of a package of laws designed to reduce turnout. This NYT article lays it out in detail:

    The law requires a government-issued photo ID card to vote, but doesn’t allow student IDs, public-employee IDs, or photo IDs issued by public assistance agencies. It shortens the early voting window, bans same-day registration during early voting and prohibits paid voter registration drives. Counties will not be able to extend voting hours in cases of long lines, or allow provisional voting if someone arrives at the wrong precinct. Poll “observers” are encouraged to challenge people who show up to vote, and are given new powers to do so.

    None of this has anything to do with fraud. Out of 7 million ballots cast in the state in 2012, there were 121 allegations of voter fraud, a rate of .00174 percent. Republicans aren’t even claiming the measure will reduce fraud — only that it will provide reassurance to those who worry about it. It “would make nearly three-fourths of the population more comfortable and more confident when they go to the polls,” House Speaker Thom Tillis explained to NBC News.

    In pursuit of that comfort, 319,000 people who lack a photo ID will have a hard time voting, a disproportionate number of whom are black or poor. (No back-up IDs or sworn statements are allowed.) Eliminating same-day registration during early voting — two provisions that have been popular among Democratic-leaning voters — would have eliminated 4,766 votes in Durham County alone, according to one estimate. And as all Republican lawmakers know, President Obama won North Carolina by about 14,000 votes in 2008.

    From the above, it is crystal clear that these laws are all about supressing turnout by poor and minority voters.
    This indeed what a federal District court found in the case of Texas voter supression laws:

    Federal Court: Texas Voter ID Law Discriminates Against African American And Hispanics. A federal court recently found that Texas’ voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act because it will make it harder for African Americans and Hispanics to vote. The court stated:

    [The] evidence conclusively shows that the implicit costs of obtaining [Texas state law] SB 14-qualifying ID will fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty. We therefore conclude that SB 14 is likely to lead to “retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.” [Texas v. Holder, 8/30/12]

    Read the whole thing. It cites many examples showing not only that voter supression laws supress the minority vote, but that the laws are INTENDED to supress the minority vote.

    Indeed , Republicans in Texas don’t even disguise the fact that the laws’ intent is to supress minority voting. Rather they argue that the intended effect should be excused because it’s a by product of their drive to supress DEMOCRATIC voters. Faced with THAT evidence, the claims of conservatives that voter supression laws are harmless seem doubtful. Heck , if they are so harmeless, why are they in fever to pass such laws, especially in South? I think the answer is pretty obvious to anyone who knows the history of Southern politics. I guess I should start studying up on how many bubbles are in that bar of soap….

  34. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    @anjin-san: Here’s a good starting point.

    So your “proof” is a link to a tea party front group that itself is engaged in voter suppression? I don’t think “proof” means what you think it means…

    Here is a bit of information about “True the Vote”

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have better things to do on a Saturday night.

    Yet another in a long string of dubious claims you have made.

  35. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Finished clicking through on the links and turned up some improper petitions, some improper filings by people running for office and some vote buying, and one case of tampered with ballots, none of which would be effected by the voter ID laws supported by you and this group. There were a couple of cases of people voting in the wrong district, though they were otherwise legal to vote, so again, the proposed voter ID laws would not stop these cases.
    Out of all the links, there were three cases involving double voting for a total of 5 extra ballots cast, two felons improperly voted, and a single German voted improperly. There could be literally hundreds of improperly cast votes in national elections. Compare that to this.

  36. John425 says:

    @Todd: Here in Soviet Washington state we can only vote by mail. Democrats luv it.

  37. michael reynolds says:

    The intent of the laws is clear: to suppress Democratic votes. The proof is in the fact that in every case these laws are passed by Republican-controlled bodies.

    Will they work? Don’t know, and this case proves nothing either way.

  38. Todd says:

    @John425:

    @Todd: Here in Soviet Washington state we can only vote by mail. Democrats luv it.

    Being in the military, I’ve voted by mail all but once. It’s going to be weird to have to stand in a line to cast my ballot.

  39. michael reynolds says:

    @John425:

    You could always move to Mississippi. Much more your kind of folks down amongst the trailer parks where the state leads the nation in every bad indicator there is.

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    It seems pretty clear to me that the 24th Amendment (all inventive reasoning on the part of SCOTUS in Crawford aside) isn’t vague. Access to voting can not be conditioned on the payment of funds, even indirectly.

    If these states want to hand out IDs (and the documents necessary to obtain those IDs) for free – then more power to them – but let’s not pretend that this is anything more than a solution in search of a problem.

    Or more aptly put, it’s just a solution to a different (GOP) problem – one that they haven’t really even tried to hide their motivations for implementing.

  41. anjin-san says:

    @ Grewgills

    Clearly you have not seen the video of black folks standing in line to vote that Fox shows during it’s innumerable stories about voter fraud. If you had, you would realize that God-fearing white folks are, one again, victims in America.

  42. David M says:

    @John425:

    Pretty sure more than just the Democrats like it, although it’s probably less popular with the GOP types who would like voting to be more difficult.

  43. john personna says:

    @Boyd:

    It is entirely fair to call any minimum government type on “this law isn’t too harmfull, lets keep it.”

    How many more not-too-harmful laws should we add?

  44. john personna says:

    (I would expect voter suppression efforts to animate a reactive get out the vote effort, but that hardly justifies a needless law, cost, complexity.)

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Awwww fwck it. Let’s just cut the crap and go back to only white men of property voting. It was good enough for Sts. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Hamilton. Good enough for me.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    How many more not-too-harmful laws should we add?

    Evidently we need more. Black and brown people are still voting.

  47. george says:

    @JKB:

    The same can be said for gun registries and changes to the firearms purchase background checks. Canada had a gun registry that didn’t once contribute of a criminal investigation and they abandoned as being not worth the expense.

    One reason the registry was such a waste of time in Canada is that you have to be licensed to own a firearm in the first place; moreover, it was implemented in a way that cost 2 billion dollars, after being sold as something that would actually make money. Ouch. Most Canadians like the tight restrictions on hand guns, and that you need a license to own firearms, even if they thought the registry was an expensive waste of time).

    Interestingly enough, you do have to show ID to vote in Canada. Which the gov’t makes easy, because it issues various valid registration at no cost. I believe the same is true in Europe – you need to show ID, but its given to you for free, so that’s not a problem.

    I think the Canadian way works fine, and I don’t think there’s a problem with the current American way. If you get a system where you have to show ID, but then have to pay for the ID, that’s a problem.

  48. dazedandconfused says:

    Some indications that this strategy back-fires. May have been people showing up to vote in Florida because somebody set it up so they would have to wait in line 6-7 hours. People are funny critters.

    The Wisconsin experiment of limiting voting times to week days during working hours on the coming 2014 cycle may provide an indication.

  49. JKB says:

    @george: it was implemented in a way that cost 2 billion dollars

    Yeah, then Obama hired that company to build his signature “accomplishment”‘s website. Oops.

    If you get a system where you have to show ID, but then have to pay for the ID, that’s a problem.

    What are you talking about. Any jurisdiction that implements voter ID has to offer a qualified ID FREE. Now, if you want to use that ID to drive a vehicle also, then you have to pay the fee. But just to get an ID that will be accepted for voting, that is FREE.

  50. Latino_in_Boston says:

    Just a reminder:

    If you have to block people from voting, your ideas suck.

  51. Davebo says:

    @Boyd:

    I’d love to hear what you attribute it to Boyd.

  52. anjin-san says:

    @JKB

    Any jurisdiction that implements voter ID has to offer a qualified ID FREE.

    Cites?

  53. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: and actually you can’t prove a negative. i heard someone elsewhere chiming in about needing id’s to vote and all and asking why nobody is miffed at the aca demanding everyone get health insurance- it has to be an inconvenience to all those poor blacks who live in the woods and such,no?!

    @anjin-san: in Texas you get a freebie!

    http://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/electionID.htm

  54. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    So, if I like my voters, I can keep them. Period. ???

  55. Tillman says:

    @Boyd:

    You completely mischaracterize what Doug is saying, Tillman.

    He’s saying the arguments against voter ID laws have weak evidence if any. It’s not a big leap in logic from that to saying the laws are harmless. I wouldn’t call that a “complete” mischaracterization but a rational conclusion.

    Do you deny the truth of what Doug is saying? If he’s being objective (and honest), his opinion doesn’t matter one whit. Report the facts, even if you don’t like them.

    Doug’s not a reporter. He is by definition a commentator, someone who deals in opinion. I don’t come here for the news, I come here for opinions on the news. I don’t go into any article written here thinking the author will be objective.

    I also heavily disagree with this…

    The fact that such voter fraud doesn’t occur regularly, as far as we know, is not, by itself, an argument against the validity of laws that would require people to present some form of identification, although it may perhaps be an argument against the urgency of passing such legislation.

    …because it doesn’t mesh with his established libertarian bona fides in every other piece of his I’ve read. There’s no libertarian I know who would condone frivolous laws that do nothing but make the system more irksome or complex for the average dude to navigate. So, I pointed out this strangeness.

  56. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    U.S. Constitution

    Look up the SCOTUS cases yourself

  57. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: The first one I checked was a guy convicted of voting twice. Another featured a non-citizen registering to vote.

    Here’s another roundup I found.

  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Sorry, you lost what tiny shreds of credibility you had left when you cited Media Matters for America as some kind of valid source of information.

  59. Crusty Dem says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Says the guy who cited “True the vote”. Weak sauce.

  60. jd says:
  61. Crusty Dem says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Length is not proof. All I found on that list (by a GOP front) was absentee voter fraud. If it’s so damn common, why can’t you cite it??

  62. Console says:

    I don’t see why people are so obtuse about this.

    Are there people who were legally eligible to vote in a previous election that are now no longer eligible to vote due to new legal hoops? Yes? Then that is voter suppression, no matter how many people actually decide to jump through the hoops.

    Historically in America, the people most likely to seriously violate the integrity of the vote have never been voters, it’s been the officials we’ve granted the power to turn away people at the polls. And yet magically, privileged white people can’t conceive how voter ID laws might raise eyebrows. Especially laws that are applied unequally. I’m sorry but you don’t get to talk about the necessity of voter ID and still let some people vote by mail.

  63. An Interested Party says:

    So, I pointed out this strangeness.

    It’s not strange at all if you realize that Doug presents himself as one thing while his posts illustrate that he is something else…

    Meanwhile, it is so amusing when conservatives living in liberal enclaves refer to those areas as “Soviet” or “Communist” or similarly silly names…one wonders why these poor conservatives would choose to live in such socialist hell holes when paradises like North Dakota, Alabama, and Idaho, among many other locations, have plenty of available space…

  64. Grewgills says:

    @Boyd:
    There must be some Okies here downvoting that

  65. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Then you jumped lucky, because both of those were a ways in. I did mention the one foreign national that tried and failed to vote. He was a German student. Almost all and every one of them of any consequence at all (more than three votes) were absentee ballot scams. Every one that really wants to stop the kind of voter fraud that influences elections focuses on absentee ballots. People who focus mostly on IDs for in person voting are either ignorant or are trying to suppress votes.

  66. bill says:

    @An Interested Party: the reds infiltrate nice places, doesn’t mean you have to move- just be “tolerant”! they usually mean well, just don’t realize what they’re really doing in the long run. see the demise of the nyt for reference….the gray lady died her hair red.

  67. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have better things to do on a Saturday night. At least for a few hours.

    My gosh, just HOW LONG do you masturbate for?

  68. jukeboxgrad says:

    It’s a good idea to remember that the GOP hates 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.

    Apologies to those who have seen this before.

  69. John425 says:

    @michael reynolds: You mean that Mississippi has more college educated, ex-Air Force veterans who are happily married, successful and spend their time in retirement working for disadvantaged kids than Seattle? Liberals aren’t “progressive” they’re reactionary.

  70. anjin-san says:

    @ Rafer Janders

    Don’t interrupt Jenos “special time” with George Z.

  71. Crusty Dem says:

    @John425:

    Oh please, don’t even act like you live in Seattle, your username gives away your suburban location (at best). Where are you, Enumclaw? Lake Stevens? Might as well be Idaho…

  72. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Is that the same Heritage Foundation that liberals are so eager to cite as the ones who are credited with Obamacare? You really need to make up your minds if they’re angels or demons.

  73. jukeboxgrad says:

    Thank you for this nice example of the fallacy of bifurcation. You have so many.

  74. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: If Obamacare wasn’t a complete and total clusterfark, then its backers wouldn’t be so eager to share the credit with a conservative group.

    Just for grins, I went to Heritage’s own web site to see what they’re actually saying about Obamacare. From their site:

    Obamacare puts the health care system on the wrong track and will expand the role of the federal government in every component of Americans’ health care. To get the health care system on the right track that empowers patients, reduces cost, and ensures access, Obamacare must be defunded and repealed.

    And what Weyrich says is true. What you don’t see is him calling for changing any laws to push that. Compare that with Obama’s occasional lamenting that he doesn’t have dictatorial powers.

  75. fred says:

    Yes there is widespread voter suppression mostly aimed at minorities and democrats, including most women and if anyone thinks there is not they have not read the news, watched For News and listened to right-wing Talk Radio. Or, they are living in a cloud of fantasy and ignorance.

  76. Todd says:

    They ought to just call these laws the “make it way harder for everyone to get or renew their driver’s license” acts. I shouldn’t have to dig out my birth certificate (along with 2 or 3 other forms of ID) every time my driver’s license is about to expire.

    What’s really hilarious to me is that with such a low percentage of citizens who actually vote in our country, anybody would be serious in their worry that the “real” reason undocumented workers are coming to our country is so that they can sneak into polling places and vote against ‘good’, god fearing, white, conservative politicians. 🙂

  77. rudderpedals says:

    @Rafer Janders: My gosh, just HOW LONG do you masturbate for?

    Ha ha! I now use a coffee resistant keyboard (thankfully)

  78. bill says:

    @fred: did you read the article? if you’re going to make a statement at least bring some proof to the table.

  79. john personna says:

    A local city has required a 10 cent fee for grocery bags, to encourage the reusable kind.

    Would Doug and Boyd support this, because it is not too harmful?

    (I probably don’t mind it for that reason, but I generally accept such democratic decisions.)

  80. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Todd:

    People arguing for Voting ID regulations always reminds me of a joke on the Fresh Prince where Will Smith asks Carlton what he wants the fake ID for. Carlton responds, with a somewhat wounded tone, “to vote, of course.” It seems that some people mistook the joke for evidence in a documentary.

  81. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    and actually you can’t prove a negative. i heard someone elsewhere chiming in about needing id’s to vote

    What negative am I trying to prove?
    Statistically, in-person voter fraud is negligible. To their credit, Republican officials have been very upfront in their comments that their voter ID laws are intended to suppress voter turnout among Democratic Party constituencies.

  82. Tillman says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I have to ask: do you just keep a file on hand filled with readily-sourced damning quotes? That has to be tiring.

  83. jukeboxgrad says:

    do you just keep a file on hand

    Yes, it’s called google. Try this google:

    jukeboxgrad weyrich

    That’s one method I use, and there’s another major method. I never type a comment directly into a web browser. I always type it in a text editor, and save it (there’s more than one reason for doing it this way). Many comments go inside one file, and all those files are inside one folder. There are several ways to quickly search that folder for a word like ‘weyrich.’

    I’m been doing this for about 10 years and I’ve posted many thousands of comments (probably 30,000 or more). When I know what I’m looking for I can find it in a few seconds. In an instance like this the only part that might be challenging is remembering his name and how to spell it.