In our last episode, we talked about a group calling itself “True The Vote.” Their motto is “equipping citizens to take a stand for free and fair elections.” They also consider themselves “the nation’s leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization.” They are big on election monitoring, and they have this belief that there is a significant problem with voter fraud in this country. “We are helping stop corruption where it can start – at the polls.” Actually that’s where it ends. It usually begins much sooner than someone walking into the polling booth, and is often done to avoid having to do just that. So, believing that requiring every voter to have a photo ID would solve the problem, they support Voter ID laws. So I do not support them. Might as well get that cleared up from the start. I’m not a journalist, I’m just a blogger with a liberal stand.
Before continuing, let’s do something True The Vote doesn’t do, and that’s point out that there are various kinds of election fraud. Not all election fraud is in-person voter fraud, where someone shows up at a polling place and illegally tries to cast a vote under a false identity. Of all the kinds of election fraud, this is probably the only kind that would be prevented by a sanctioned photo ID. A photo ID would not stop voter registration fraud, or absentee ballot fraud. Nor would it do anything to deter tampering with the results of the election. The Constitution was amended to stop the racist practice of requiring black and Native American voters to pay a poll tax before casting their votes in a federal election. The Supreme Court ruled in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections “that making voter affluence an electoral standard violated the Equal Protection Clause.” You can’t make people have to pay something in order to vote. And requiring them to obtain some kind of photo ID will cost them money, one way or another. The concern is for poor people, who do have a right to vote and often cast it against political parties that favor the wealthy. Coincidentally enough, this is the same party that is trying to make it harder for poorer folks to vote, because they know whose vote they would get. It’s blindingly obvious to anyone with an IQ in the three-digit range.
To justify support for requiring photo IDs for every voter, True The Vote gives a list of incidents in 46 states meant to illustrate the existence of voter fraud, and therefore the need for photo IDs. And while each may be an example of some kind of election fraud, even voter fraud, none illustrate the kind of massive fraud Republicans say is going on that photo IDs would prevent. Strangely enough, there is so much voter fraud being committed by people casting votes for Democrats that the Republicans have managed to control the House of Representatives and most state legislatures for about a decade. So it’s really, really hard to believe that voter fraud is any kind of problem at all. In fact (a word repugnant to those who disdain thinking), if one party was committing the kind of massive fraud the Republicans say is going on, wouldn’t it make sense that that party would control the House of Representatives and most state legislatures? Hey, Republicans! We’re not the stupid ones. Even your own Rick Santorum admitted it. It’s simple, Republicans: Either there is no massive voter fraud problem, or there is one and your party is committing it.
So is the kind of voter fraud photo IDs would prevent really happening in massive numbers? Let’s look at each of True The Vote’s examples. And remember, a lot of things are wrongly called “voter fraud,” so just finding news articles about people described as being charged with “voter fraud” does not automatically qualify as valid examples. Voter fraud is, in simple terms, trying to fraudulently cast a vote. And while absentee ballots are an easy way to commit voter fraud, they are not the kind of voter fraud a photo ID would prevent. In fact, they are exactly the kind of voter fraud one would commit if one couldn’t pass the photo ID check. So right away, we can see that requiring a photo ID is more likely to increase absentee ballot voter fraud. Just saying.
Absentee ballots are the fraud committed in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut [limited free visits], Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. If your problem is with absentee ballot fraud, requiring a photo ID isn’t necessarily going to prevent that, especially when it’s elected officials doing the fraud.
Voter registration fraud, where the problem involves how voter registration efforts were done illegally, not in-person voter fraud, were the problems in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada (a constitutional issue involving ACORN which went out of business years ago), North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington,
Illegal vote solicitation or buying was the “voter fraud” committed in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas. That’s a fraud committed by the candidates, not the voters involved. And I’m pretty sure they already knew the identities of the voters, so photo IDs would not have prevented those crimes.
Residency issues were the culprit in Kansas, Maine and New Hampshire. An interesting thing about the New Hampshire story is that they give figures that show voter fraud is not a serious problem. They investigated 8 cases out of about 711,000 votes cast. That’s about one fraudulent voter in 90,000. Are photo IDs needed to stop such a crime wave?
Illegal voting (which involved convicted criminals voting, or some other non-identity issue) happened in Minnesota and Tennessee. And even if a photo ID would have prevented these two crimes, does that justify requiring every citizen to present a photo ID?
The justification for having Voter ID laws in Arizona was because someone ran for office in the wrong district. I’m pretty sure no one doubted who she was. And she was the candidate, not the voter.
And the link doesn’t work for the stories about Alabama, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia. It doesn’t prove your point when the link to your evidence doesn’t work. It’s like directing a shopper to an aisle that doesn’t exist. “Yes, Angus steaks at forty cents a pound are in Aisle Pi-R-Squared.”
The missing states were Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, Vermont, and District of Columbia. Four of these are generally considered blue states, but apparently there is no voter fraud happening in any of those places. And Montana is usually considered a red state, but they could find no voter fraud after they elected a Democrat as governor. You would think that if the Democrats really were casting votes for dead people, or voting under a false identity, there would be a lot of it going on to give them such control over those states. So why couldn’t True The Vote find any examples from them? I don’t know, maybe because it isn’t happening on such a massive scale?
Remember, the argument the red states are making is that there is such a massive voter fraud problem that the only way to stop all this illegal voting is to require every person stepping up to the voting booth to first present an acceptable photo ID (and government-issued student photo IDs are sometimes not considered valid). Yet they are unable to come up with any evidence that the problem is that big. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that nobody ever tried to illegally cast a vote. I’m just saying that it doesn’t happen so often that the only way to prevent it is to require people who may not have acceptable photo IDs (elderly people, students, nuns) to spend money to get one.
This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss voter fraud, True The Vote, lying conservatives, or anything else you wish.