« A Note On Wright | Main | If You Change Your Sex, Are You Still Married? »

April 28, 2008

Comments

So, the deed is done and the ball is back in the left-wing's court. Really, this seemed like a losing endeavor from the start, as the average middle-class American just doesn't see having an ID on them as that big a deal.

The response to this by the left, in my opinion, shouldn't be to fight to get the law repealed. It should be to expand civil services and make sure that everyone who wants voter ID can have it. Fight to open more DPS offices, hire more employees, make obtaining a license easier, provide outreach to communities with a high unlicensed population, and generally facilitate the public.

The upshot of this legislation could be expanded civil services in states like Georgia and Indiana that need it most. In the end, this voter ID law is only a bane on the poor because the government itself has been deficient. We have a golden opportunity to reform and improve the system here. Better to see every American with an ID card in hand than to continue with the status quo "invisible until voting day" system we currently operate under.

Hmm. I think scoring 70% or more on a Citizenship Test should be a requirement for voting, too. The state could deliver the results to each voter on the back of an approved photo ID card.

[W]hat petitioners view as the law’s several light and heavy burdens are no more than the different impacts of the single burden that the law uniformly imposes on all voters.

I think Anatole France had Scalia's number:

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

That would not leave many voters (apart from being explicitly unconstitutional).
Again I am happy to live in an authoritarian police state* where this is no trouble.
Now let the game of "this is not a valid photo ID, you can't vote" begin.
Whoever thinks that the current administration will lift a finger to ease the acquisition of valid IDs should visit a brain specialist. Instead we will hear that eased rules for that would invalidate the whole purpose of the laws because the fraudsters would be able to acquire flase IDs to easily.
My proposal**:introduce IDs that look like flag lapel pins.

*i.e. one where ID cards are mandatory and firearms highly restricted (and btw voting procedures prevent court packing with ideologues)
**[irony]

Surely the fact that the constitution explicitly bans poll taxes means that a poll tax couldn't be seen as constitutional, at least for federal elections, doesn't it?

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

I suppose Scalia's view might suggest that poll taxes are constitutional for state elections, though, and that federal provisions forbidding them are unconstitutional.

Why do you think that Scalia would be ok with a poll tax?

Amendment 24 reads: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."

Fight to open more DPS offices, hire more employees, make obtaining a license easier, provide outreach to communities with a high unlicensed population, and generally facilitate the public.

All that stuff costs money. There was nothing wrong with existing system, so it doesn't make sense to spend money to fix something that isn't broken.

I am glad to see that Democrats are fighting to make sure we don't waste the tax payers' money. We didn't win but it was worth the effort.

Why do you think that Scalia would be ok with a poll tax?

Amendment 24 reads: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."

Since when are elections for national positions the only elections in the U.S.?

I think a major weakness was where the plaintiffs argued from. Their argument was that it would violate the 14th amendment as unequal treatment. Where they needed to argue from, and a number of other commenters here have pointed out, is that it in effect institutes a poll tax.

This also, however, leaves this avenue open as another broad challenge to this type of law.

"Since when are elections for national positions the only elections in the U.S.?"

Was publius talking about local elections?

Were you?

I can't imagine that "we don't want people to have to show ID when they vote" is going to be a winning rally-round issue for Democrats, but go for it I guess.

"All that stuff costs money. There was nothing wrong with existing system, so it doesn't make sense to spend money to fix something that isn't broken."

It isn't going to be ridiculously expensive because people get ID for other reasons anyway if they are functioning in society. The actual number of people hurt by this is going to be vanishingly small, which is part of the reason they ended up with such bad test-plaintiffs in the case at hand despite having all sorts of incentives to find plaintiffs that would seem appealing in the media. One of the original plaintiffs had an ID, but just didn't want to show it because she wanted to be able to sue.

So if you want to help these people get IDs, that is great. It will probably make their lives better in a lot more ways than their vote.

It isn't going to be ridiculously expensive because people get ID for other reasons anyway if they are functioning in society. The actual number of people hurt by this is going to be vanishingly small

Is this an assumption on the level that you could do shopping for the month for a total of six hours? If so, I think you're not quite recognizing all the relevant factors.

You need a piece of ID to

- rent a DVD
- check out a library book
- use a credit card
- write a check
- open a bank account
- get on a plane
- buy beer
- rent a car
- check into a hotel

Yet the loony left thinks asking someone for ID when they vote is wrong.

Only in America.

You need a piece of ID to

- rent a DVD
- check out a library book
- use a credit card
- write a check
- open a bank account
- get on a plane
- buy beer
- rent a car
- check into a hotel

Yet the loony left thinks asking someone for ID when they vote is wrong.

Yet again, the out of touch (which is not the same as the Right or Republicans) show they have no clue how much of America lives.

If you are poor, how much of these activities are relevant? And much of them REALLY, in the real world, require an ID?

Show me the people. They must have all of the above:

A) Not already have a picture ID
B) Want to vote
C) Be otherwise eligible to vote except for an ID requirement (i.e. actually a citizen or not otherwise barred)
D) Be unable to get a picture ID

A) gets rid of an enormous majority of the population.

B) gets rid of half the remaining if you assume that this population votes at the same rate as the general population (a silly assumption I would think, but I'll give it to you).

C) is difficult to quantify but I suspect doesn't cut against me more than anyone else in the discussion.

D) is what we are talking about.

Since it is constitutional to require that a person go to the courthouse to register to vote for every election (constitutional, not normal practice) I can't imagine that it would be *unconstitutional* to require that someone get an ID.

If you want to argue that it isn't best practice to require a routine ID for voting I'll disagree with you, but you'll have an arguable case. If you want to argue that it is unconstitutional you'll have to search long and hard for a leg to stand on.

According to the case:

After discovery, District Judge Barker prepared a comprehensive 70-page opinion explaining her decision to grant defendants’ motion for summary judgment. 458
F. Supp. 2d 775 (SD Ind. 2006). She found that petitioners had “not introduced evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who will be unable to vote as a result of SEA 483 or who will have his or her right to vote unduly burdened by its requirements.” Id., at 783. She rejected
“as utterly incredible and unreliable” an expert’s report that up to 989,000 registered voters in Indiana did not possess either a driver’s license or other acceptable photo identification.

...

A divided panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed. 472 F. 3d 949 (CA7 2007). The majority first held that the Democrats had standing to bring a facial challenge to the
constitutionality of SEA 483. Next, noting the absence of any plaintiffs who claimed that the law would deter them from voting, the Court of Appeals inferred that “the motivation for the suit is simply that the law may require the Democratic Party and the other organizational plaintiffs to work harder to get every last one of their supporters to the polls.”

The Democratic Party had every incentive to find real people who couldn't vote because of this law. They didn't find any and were forced to resort to the facial challenge.

All that stuff costs money. There was nothing wrong with existing system, so it doesn't make sense to spend money to fix something that isn't broken.

Um... have you been to the DMV recently? Tried to apply for passport renewal? The system is totally FUBAR at the moment, thanks to the ham-handed Bush cronies at DHS.

Gary, Indiana - home to thousands of blue collar workers who are losing their homes and their shirts in the economic slump - recently lost its only local DMV. Now people have to drive across three counties to take a driving test (ironic, no?)

Public services are notoriously understaffed, especially in rural areas of Red States.

"If you are poor, how much of these activities are relevant? And much of them REALLY, in the real world, require an ID?"

You need an ID to file for welfare. You need an ID to collect social security. You need an ID to get a job in most places that don't hire illegal immigrants (and I presume we aren't talking about ensuring the right of illegal immigrants to vote without proper ID).

All of those are relevant to poor people in the United States.

And buying beer is very relevant to adults (poor and rich) in the US. I bet a large number of people both poor and rich would make sure to have an ID for that reason alone.

The above list of when you need an ID is wrong.

Example one: My kids have library cards, and they have no ID.
Example two: I have not needed my ID the last 30+ times I have purchased booze.
Example three: You don't have to present ID to get on a plane - but you do have to get a more thorough search (I think.)

Please don't call serious folks like us "loony left" also. Overly earnest, maybe.

From a 2006 study conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law:

*As many as 11 percent of United States citizens – more than 21 million individuals – do not have government-issued photo identification.

*Eighteen percent of American citizens age 65 and above do not have current government-issued photo ID

*Twenty-five percent of African-American voting-age citizens have no current government-issued photo ID, compared to eight percent of white voting-age citizens.

*At least 15 percent of voting-age American citizens earning less than $35,000 per year do not have a valid government-issued photo ID.

These are not "vanishingly small" numbers.

Those living under the poverty level regularly get by without ID, and without any way to get it. I'm not talking about your average broke trailer park family, I'm talking hardcore inner-city poverty. They usually don't have birth certificates, which are required in many states, and to be honest they live in a world you can't really imagine, in which having ID is pretty much irrelevant to daily life.

But if you're not sympathetic to them, consider the effect on seniors and college students. The number of seniors who do not have photo ID, have no reason to get it because they live with their kids or in assisted living, have a limited amount of money, and would have a hard time getting out to get it at all would shock you. Kinley's statistics above are not far off. You're talking about effectively disenfranchising nearly a fifth of all seniors.

Likewise with non-affluent college students, who frequently have limited incomes, no ability to leave class during the times that the DMV is open, and no access to their birth certificates.

If you haven't been there, then honestly you're not really in a position to try arguing how easy it is for these demographics to get a valid in-state ID.

The actual number of people hurt by this is going to be vanishingly small

Is that how we measure the exercise of civil rights now?

The Democratic Party had every incentive to find real people who couldn't vote because of this law.

Much like the Republican Party had every incentive to find real voter fraud which they were intending to prevent by passing this law. And failed. But, hey, now that they've gotten a win at the USSC, they don't have to justify it any more, do they?

KinleySLC, how many of them don't have IDs AND want to vote AND can't get them. Quoting gross number w/o IDs doesn't help. (Also note the word 'current' in the statistics. Having an old ID makes it much easier to get a new one).

Half the people in the country don't vote.

I have no trouble believing that lots of people aren't particularly engaged in society-at-large and don't have IDs. But they also don't go out of their way to vote.

If you could show me that some noticeable number of people want to vote, don't have IDs AND can't get them, I'd be sympathetic. (I'd personally be worried at 2 or 3 in 1,000--of people who want to vote but if you wanted to put that number at a somewhat lower threshold I'm not going to quibble).

But in the entire state of Indiana (population 6,300,000) the highly motivated Democratic Party couldn't find a single person who was otherwise eligible to vote, didn't have an ID and couldn't get one. And this was in a case that everyone knew was going to the Supreme Court.

Not a single person.

If it were common, why couldn't they find a single person who fit the critera?

"If you are poor, how much of these activities are relevant? And much of them REALLY, in the real world, require an ID?"

You need an ID to file for welfare. You need an ID to collect social security.

These are both untrue in the states I'm familiar with.

"And buying beer is very relevant to adults (poor and rich) in the US."

# of times I've been carded once past the age of 30 = twice in the past twenty years.

"Much like the Republican Party had every incentive to find real voter fraud which they were intending to prevent by passing this law. And failed. But, hey, now that they've gotten a win at the USSC, they don't have to justify it any more, do they?"

Glad you brought it up.

In principle it ought to be very easy to find people who want to vote, don't have an ID, and can't get one. Their status of not-having-an-ID can be verified. They might even want to come forward to help Democrats.

In principle it is almost impossible to prosecute someone who votes twice in a state without picture ID requirements because you can't prove that they did so. You can't track ballots to fingerprints because we have a secret ballot. You can't even tell that they did it in states like Wisconsin because they gave a vacant-lot address in same-day voter registration and there is no way to tie that vote to an actual person. Furthermore, contra the motivated non-ID voter, the vote cheaters aren't likely to come forward--they commited a crime and coming forward would be admitting it.

So at the very worst you can say that both situations are entirely hypothetical.

Great, thank heavens no one is cheating in elections AND no one is being disenfranchised. I guess the government is wasting money. That is unfortunate, but not particularly unconstitutional or we wouldn't have farm subsidies.

"KinleySLC, how many of them don't have IDs AND want to vote AND can't get them."

Sebastian, the issue isn't that people "can't" get them. Of course anyone can, given sufficient aid, be gotten a photo ID.

The point is that on their own, it's a considerable burden for many people to obtain one, typically requiring taking at least half a day or a full day of effort, or more.

It's not an impossibility; that objection is a straw man; it's a burden that is a problem that has to be solved by people who don't always have great problem-solving skills, and who tend to have few resources.

That's "all."

But in the entire state of Indiana (population 6,300,000) the highly motivated Democratic Party couldn't find a single person who was otherwise eligible to vote, didn't have an ID and couldn't get one. And this was in a case that everyone knew was going to the Supreme Court.

A number equal to the polling-place (not absentee ballot) vote fraud occurrences cited by the state of Indiana.

There used to be a requirement to show a compelling state interest before a measure abridging a fundamental Constitutional right would be found kosher.

On the facts of the case, the Indiana legislature would have been equally justified in requiring an Indiana resident to purchase a special license to marry a copying machine -- there's an equally compelling state interest, on the merits.

Marriage and the ballot -- both rights "necessary to an Anglo-American regime of ordered liberty.

What bugs me about this is the intellectual dishonesty of the people who claim the new law is addressing a real problem. It isn't. There isn't a problem and the law is not intended to address the imaginary problem. JPS made this clear himself with his silly exmples.

So now we are arguing about whether or not the unnecessary law written to address a nonexistrant problem law will disenfranchish enough real people to matter.

So at the very worst you can say that both situations are entirely hypothetical.

Given how loquaciously you defend these laws every time they come up, I guess you're a big fan of the government passing costly and burdensome laws in response to completely hypothetical situations for which no proven damage has occurred or is likely to occur. I would think that would sorta sink your conservative credentials, but if this is really the argument you want to stick with, by all means, do so.

Gary, "The point is that on their own, it's a considerable burden for many people to obtain one, typically requiring taking at least half a day or a full day of effort, or more.

It's not an impossibility; that objection is a straw man; it's a burden that is a problem that has to be solved by people who don't always have great problem-solving skills, and who tend to have few resources."

And since it is Constitutional to require people to physically show up and register at their county Courthouse before voting, such burdens aren't necessarily a Constitutional impediment. We used to require that kind of voting registration when it might be a multiple-day journey to the Courthouse.

And politically it can be dealt with by helping people get IDs which would help them much more in their normal lives anyway.

So...

"Given how loquaciously you defend these laws every time they come up, I guess you're a big fan of the government passing costly and burdensome laws in response to completely hypothetical situations for which no proven damage has occurred or is likely to occur."

I'm not a fan of pretending that every possible burden is a Constitutional burden and that everything you don't like is unconstitutional.

If you truly believe that there are potential voters who are going to be disenfranchised, I strongly suspect you are wrong, but because I recognize the fact that *I may be wrong* I'm happy to back you in helping them get IDs.

You, on the other hand seem totally uninterested in voter fraud.

Sorry, I meant to put a Phil, "Given..." up there.

Gary is the top quote, Phil is the bottom quote.

Republicans like these kind of laws now, but they should realize that the Court's decision in this case is ideologically neutral. If the Dems start taking back the State Houses, surely they will be able to figure out a way to disenfranchise Republicans. As long as these methods are plausibly related to some legitimate end, they will be valid under the reasoning of Crawford.

In principle it is almost impossible to prosecute someone who votes twice in a state without picture ID requirements because you can't prove that they did so.

But no one just wakes up on election day and decides to go vote twice, like someone might decide to hold up a convenience store. And if they did it almost certainly wouldn't matter.

The kind of voter fraud to worry about is an organized effort to affect an election outcome by having many fraudulent votes cast. It requires some organization and lots of participants. If there were reasonable suspicions of that happening it would not be impossible to prove. The fact that Indiana could not cite a single such instance in its history suggests that such activities are not the major threat to the integrity of its political process.

I'm not a fan of pretending that every possible burden is a Constitutional burden and that everything you don't like is unconstitutional.

No, just of passing costly laws to address imaginary problems.

You, on the other hand seem totally uninterested in voter fraud.

Has there been some?

And yes, Sebastian, I do believe -- as does, well, pretty much anyone who has ever paid attention to anything, ever -- that voter disenfranchisement, suppression and intimidation is a problem at least an order of magnitude more pervasive, more likely and more damaging than voter fraud.

"that voter disenfranchisement, suppression and intimidation is a problem at least an order of magnitude more pervasive, more likely and more damaging than voter fraud."

And yet you think that zero instances of people being found impacted by this law is evidence that I'm the one the misinterpreting the situation.

If it really is true that supression is "at least an order of magnitude more pervasisve" why did you think this was an appropriate comment:

"Much like the Republican Party had every incentive to find real voter fraud which they were intending to prevent by passing this law."

If your hypothesis is correct, it should be much easier to prove than mine. It is also allegedly "at least an order of magnitude more pervasive".

So you have something that is allegedly ten times (or more) as widespread AND much easier to prove yet you still come up with zero people actually disenfranchised.

The stange thing about all this is my state (WA) instituted a voter id law prior to the 2006 election and nobody said boo about it. But voters can get a free voter id card to use.

"The response to this by the left, in my opinion, shouldn't be to fight to get the law repealed. It should be to expand civil services and make sure that everyone who wants voter ID can have it"

Well, it should be, I'll grant you. But it hasn't been to date, and if it is now, it will be very much a reluctant fallback position. Unfair or not, opponents of voter ID have been doing a pretty good job of looking like people who want to keep vote fraud easy.

What concerned me should this case have gone the other way, was that voter ID is such a patently minor imposition, that if it couldn't be constitutionally required, essentially no ballot security requirement could have withstood challenge. And the obvious next step would have been a legal challenge demanding that absentee ballots be handed out to anyone who asked for one, with equally little proof of identity.

And absentee ballot fraud IS a big deal.

Sebastian: You, on the other hand seem totally uninterested in voter fraud.

Phil: Has there been some?

Yes, dropping legitimate voters from the rolls. Any number of people have tried persuing this in the courts and have got nowhere. That doesn't count as "voter fraud" for some reason, though.

And yet you think that zero instances of people being found impacted by this law is evidence that I'm the one the misinterpreting the situation. . . . So you have something that is allegedly ten times (or more) as widespread AND much easier to prove yet you still come up with zero people actually disenfranchised.

Um, if you think I am limiting voter suppression, intimidation and disenfranchisement to the potential impact of the Indiana Voter ID law, you need more reading lessons than a lifetime's worth of adult literacy volunteers could ever provide. Try again, this time with feeling.

And if you really think that documented instances of voter suppression and intimidation cases would be particularly difficuly to find, you haven't read a newspaper in like forty years.

I'm going to guess, though, by your continued evasiveness, that you aren't even going to try to defend this law as an actual response to an actual, demonstrable problem. Again, if that's what you think conservativism stands for, knock yourself out.

The decision is legally sound -- the legislature does have discretion to pass laws creating some burdens on voting, even if to address an imaginary problem. Stupid laws are not therefore unconstitutional. So the best response is making sure it is easy to get the necessary ID.

But righties who embrace the notion of vote fraud as a problem are crazy-making. This is a law that serves no purpose other than to burden the poor or inform from voting -- that small percentage who are in fact burdened. It is based on the Republican creed that discouraging people from voting is sound policy.

Ans yes, Sebastian, it is possible for someone to try to vote twice... and by so doing have zero effect on an election. It takes a systematic effort of thousands to make this fruitful, and there is zero evidence that it happens. There was no evidence in Wisconsin, and none any where else.

After all, if it actually worked as a tactic for stealing elections, I am sure that the tricky Dickies and ratfuckers of the Republican party would have long since put such tactics into practice, along with caging, purging voter rolls, and phone jamming. The fact that they don't is proof that it does not work.

In principle it is almost impossible to prosecute someone who votes twice in a state without picture ID requirements because you can't prove that they did so.

There is a difference between "prove beyond a reasonable doubt" and "accumulate sufficient evidence to make people go 'huh'". It may be prohibitively difficult to prove individual cases of voter fraud. However, it is quite easy to demonstrate that it is likely voter fraud has occurred. All one has to do is send people to physically show up at the addresses of voters and ask them if they've voted. If you find large discrepencies between the rates at which you can verify id-providing voters and id-free voters from the same geographical area, that suggests a problem. If you can't find such a disparity, then it is extremely unlikely that there is a problem. If you never even bother to run the experiment, then that suggests to me that you don't actually care whether voter fraud is occurring since you haven't made the simplest efforts to quantify how large a problem it is.

"After all, if it actually worked as a tactic for stealing elections, I am sure that the tricky Dickies and ratfuckers of the Republican party would have long since put such tactics into practice,"

Nah, there's a stylistic difference between the way the two parties approach stealing elections: The Republicans prefer to minimize the number of vote against them, even if it involves keeping people who have a right to vote from voting. Democrats prefer to maximize the number of votes for them, even if the votes are cast illegally.

Both are fraud, but they're different types of fraud.

The reason is that striking down the law requires the Court to ignore the superficially reasonable justifications Indiana can offer in its defense (e.g., eliminating voter fraud).

Alternatively, striking down the law could have simply required the Court to point out that the superficially reasonable justifications Indiana offered in its defense didn't pass the laugh test. Hell, the concurring opinion -- which cited Boss Tweed and a single case of absentee ballot fraud this law wouldn't prevent -- practically did that for them.

I think it's time the SCOTUS revived the "this rationale stinks on ice" standard of jurisprudence.

The Republicans prefer to minimize the number of vote against them, even if it involves keeping people who have a right to vote from voting. Democrats prefer to maximize the number of votes for them, even if the votes are cast illegally.

Well, Brett, as lovely as it is that the side you carry water for deeps people from exercising their right to vote, the Republican propensity to do so is demonstrable. I'll open with one Florida 2000 bogus felon purge. Now I'm sure an honest guy like you can cite an actual occurrence of widespread Democratic voter fraud.

"All one has to do is send people to physically show up at the addresses of voters and ask them if they've voted."

I've heard of attempts to do just that. They were all attacked as "voter intimidation", and swiftly shut down.

I agree that the decision stinks on ice.

I also agree, however, that the best response to it is to energetically get people the ID cards they need to vote.

Find out which documents in your state or your district are needed to get such an ID. Contact your local Democratic Party for precinct/district voting lists and go canvassing. Find out who wants to vote but doesn't have the necessary ID, and work with them to get the ID.

In fact, it might be a good idea for the national and state Democratic Parties to be pro-active about this. Find out what laws are in the pipeline, what requirements they entail, and get started on canvassing constituencies.

I have no trouble believing that lots of people aren't particularly engaged in society-at-large and don't have IDs. But they also don't go out of their way to vote.

Shorter Sebastian: It's okay to take away their right to vote, they weren't using it anyway.

"Well, Brett, as lovely as it is that the side you carry water for"

I'm back to voting Libertarian this fall; The lesser of two evils never turns out to be as lesser as you supposed. I suppose you just can't tell the difference between carrying water for your foes, and not carrying water for your side.

You, on the other hand seem totally uninterested in voter fraud.

You're assuming facts not in evidence, Sebastian -- what voter fraud?

Hm, will http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,65437,00.html>this do?

I suppose you just can't tell the difference between carrying water for your foes, and not carrying water for your side.

Brett, I've been able to tell when a self-proclaimed libertarian has been carrying Republican water since before Glenn Reynolds' act got so hackneyed.

I notice you didn't provide any actual examples of the Democratic voter fraud you claimed, by the way. I suppose you can't tell the difference between bogus Republican arguments and actual reality.

I've heard of attempts to do just that. They were all attacked as "voter intimidation", and swiftly shut down.

Brett, I'm not familiar with any of these. Can you provide a link please?

Also, I note that it is entirely possible to perform this experiment in a manner designed to intimidate voters. Just like it is entirely possible to use postal mailings ostensibly informing voters of the law in such a way as to intimidate voters.

Hm, will this do?

Fox News...heh. Funny, Brett. How apropos to my earlier comment about not being able to tell Republican propaganda from reality! Let's go to the videotape:

vote fraud investigation

alleged fraud

multiple absentee ballots distributed to the same registered voter (which, again, the Indiana ID law would do nothing to conbat)

and of course the money quote:

The [Democratic] party itself has not been implicated.

So no, Brett, that won't do, thank you very much. Got anything real?

Does Congress have any legislative authority here, when it comes to federal elections? Could it, i.e., forbid: (1) requiring a photo ID & not making it free of charge (2) requiring a photo ID at all, etc. etc.? Could it require states to allow same day registration? You'd need a Democratic president of course, but if the REAL ID Act's mucking around with state DMVs is within its powers I don't know why regulating federal elections isn't....

I'm going to guess, though, by your continued evasiveness, that you aren't even going to try to defend this law as an actual response to an actual, demonstrable problem.

Hallelujah. It isn't a problem, but these 'conservatives' sure want to spend a lot of money to fix this non-issue.

Sebastian points out that less than half the population votes, but somehow there is an epidemic of people voting twice or illegally. Holy cognitive dissonance, batman.
Anyone spent time trying to register voters? It's hard enough to try to get folks to cast just one vote.

Sure, Congress could do all of those things. The Constitution explicitly gives Congress jurisdiction over the "time, place, and manner" of federal elections. And those things you cite all fall neatly into those categories, unlike, say, federal regulation of campaigns... Which are speech concerning elections, not elections themselves.

Option 1, by the way, is an excellent idea. It would provide a very modest increment of ballot security, and a vast improvement in the lives of people who'd been living without ID, which is, after all, really inconvenient.

"So no, Brett, that won't do, thank you very much. Got anything real?"

Didn't figure you were setting the bar THAT high, after what you cited as an example of Republican fraud. Why should I produce something real, if you can't be bothered?

Oh my God Brett, did you just cite the 2002 voter fraud allegations in South Dakota?

EPIC FAIL (click through for links)

As we noted yesterday, South Dakota's Republican Attorney General Mark Barnett said that two of the three affidavits that alleged anything illegal turned out to be "either perjury or forgery." The signer of the third affidavit could not be located.


Now it turns out, according to an article by David Kranz in today's Argus Leader, that those affidavits were "pre-worded" by Republican lawyers involved in the RNC's voter fraud investigation.


The chairwoman of the Tripp County Republicans apparently just went through the reservations with pre-written 'I was in on voter fraud' affidavits to see if she could get anyone to sign.

Actually don't click through for the links, they're all 404ed by now.

"Sebastian points out that less than half the population votes, but somehow there is an epidemic of people voting twice or illegally. Holy cognitive dissonance, batman."

I don't think the phrase 'cognitive dissonance' means what you think. There has to be a contradiction.

So to sum up the thread, there are lots and lots of people who are being hurt by this law in an easy-to-prove way and no one-certainly not the Democratic Party when it is freaking taking a case to the Supreme Court--can specifically identify any of them?

But you ALSO know that fraud doesn't happen, because (while IDs were not previously required you expect us to be able to identify people who cheat) and take that as evidence of no problem.

If lack of evidence of a hard-to-prove problem is taken as a sign of no problem, surely lack of evidence of an easy to substantiate problem is taken as a sign of no problem?

Because to think otherwise would actually be cognitive dissonance.

And so far, no one here has addressed that point.

Just so we're on the same page about Indiana's http://www.in.gov/sos/photoid/howdoi.html>requirements:

Indiana does provide free IDs (birth certificate necessary, basically, if under 65) through Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices (limited locations); and voters may cast provisional ballots without ID and then have 10 days afterwards to provide proof of identity at their county courthouse (assumedly with a state ID).

And so far, no one here has addressed that point.

I believe I argued that significant voter fraud should be relatively easy to prove, since it necessarily involves many voters and organizational efforts that would be revealed in emails, letters, etc.

As for the problem created by the ID requirement, I'm not sure what is needed. Suppose a poor 75-year old came forward and declared that she would like to vote but lacked ID or a birth certificate and found it difficult and expensive to travel downtown and deal with bureaucratic hassles and so didn't bother. Would that be evidence?

Conservatives are normally sympathetic to the problems of dealing with bureaucracy and burdensome rules. Perhaps not in this case.

History teaches us...
The Voting Rights Act was passed in order to prohibit the kind of vote suppression commonly used to disenfranchise blacks going back to Reconstruction, IIRC.
There’s some important history there. And it’s the history of democracy and universal suffrage.
Perhaps the originalists are not dishonest (a Libertarian advocating unnecessary legislation!?), they’re just fighting with any available means to return to the Eighteenth Century.

Didn't figure you were setting the bar THAT high

Oh, for crying out loud, Brett -- "that high," as to have your citation of Democratic voter fraud actually be both actual voter fraud and actually done by the Democratic Party? If you can't clear a bar so stinkin' low, that doesn't say much for your argument, does it?

after what you cited as an example of Republican fraud. Why should I produce something real, if you can't be bothered?

Sorry, Brett, but that dog won't hunt. You didn't object to the example of Republican voter fraud -- the bogus disenfranchisement of non-felons in Florida, which is, after all, both a matter of public record and a match for the pattern you cited -- until after your so-called example was shot down. By providing your bogus counterexample, you tacitly conceded the validity of my point, and now you're just trying to move the goalposts, admitting you have nothing to back up your false equivalence. It's a bit late to object to the Florida 2000 disenfranchisement, but since you seem to admit you don't have any examples of the Democratic kind you claimed, I'd be amused to see you try.

It's also amusing to see the self-proclaimed "libertarian" still so in the tank for Republican talking points, though. You objected to the term "carrying water" exactly why, again?

Finding potential voters who could claim disenfranchisement doesn't seem hard, given a large sample. Anyone missing their birth certificate (fire, theft, natural disaster, runaways, etc.) and unsure of their county of birth would seem likely to be S.O.L., just off the top of my head.

There are a non-zero number of people who can reasonably be disenfranchised this way while the voting requirements still remain defensible. But I don't think you can make a good-faith argument that no one will be disenfranchised.

At that point you need to discuss the priorities that promote this legislation on its merits, instead of simply pointing out that this group of plaintiffs failed to present disenfranchised potential voters.

I don't want to wade into the discussion, I just wanted to say great job on that whole nomination fight thing, Senate Democrats! I'm glad your deep questioning of the "reasonable, moderate" candidates sent by George W. Bush kept Republican hacks off the Supreme Court!

"I don't want to wade into the discussion, I just wanted to say great job on that whole nomination fight thing, Senate Democrats! I'm glad your deep questioning of the "reasonable, moderate" candidates sent by George W. Bush kept Republican hacks off the Supreme Court!"

Stevens is such a Republican hack! Or alternatively not everything you disagree with is unconstitutional.

Is there an epidemic of voter fraud in Indiana? Or anywhere else?

You can slice this bologna anyway you like, but in the end it's about keeping Democrats from voting.

These guys are clowns. They are very smart clowns with great resumes, but they are clowns.

And they're on track to making the SCOTUS a laughing stock.

Thanks -

"Hm, will this do?"

Brett, your link is to a October 16, 2002 announcement of an investigation.

Given that you have the ability to investigate five and a half years of subsequent history, what can you tell us about how that case wound up, if you believe it will "do"?

Brett: Why should I produce something real, if you can't be bothered?

I think the more pertinent question, which I've asked most every time you've indulged in one of your shmibertarian rants, is: can you produce something real?

Damn, pwned by Gary. Ah well.

Stevens is such a Republican hack! Or alternatively not everything you disagree with is unconstitutional.

Speaking of Republican hacks, publius pointed out in this very post that Stevens likely voted as he did, not because this naked attempt at voter disenfranchisement is Constitutional, but in order to provide for a later challenge. Since you didn't mention them, the status of Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito as Republican hacks is, I presume, unchallenged.

The Republican indifference to minority and disadvantaged voters being disenfranchised is again duly noted.

Republican fears of election fraud is largely projection, IMO. After all, they were the ones caught with an organized effort to jam get-out-the-vote in New Hampshire.

In 2004, Washington had a governor's race where the difference was less than 100 votes. The state Republicans started crying voter fraud as soon as it became apparent that they might lose. They confused minor discrepancies from count to recount with deliberate fraud. Eventually they took their case to court, in the favorable rural side of the state. This was a wonderful outcome, because they lost the chance to cry judicial bias when the case was dumped by the judge. (No evidence of deliberate fraud was presented.) Amusingly, the handful of votes that the judge did reverse slightly widened the Republican deficit.

(PS, the state WA republicans fired their own US attorney because he would not charge fraud without evidence. They reviled their own secretary of state for conducting the recount with integrity. Their lack of principles was repeatedly exposed in this circus.)

"Speaking of Republican hacks, publius pointed out in this very post that Stevens likely voted as he did, not because this naked attempt at voter disenfranchisement is Constitutional, but in order to provide for a later challenge."

Publius wildly speculates, perhaps out of hope or disbelief as much as anything else, about Steven's reasons for voting as he did.

The decision was not hackish. The Constitution doesn't automatically do everything you want. Criticizing the SIX judges as Repulican shills is hackish. Is Kennedy a reflexive conservative? Come on!

What's funny, Sebastian, is that your arguments throughout this thread are pretty much exactly what I said in my very first comment: "There was apparently no genuine problem for this law to address, but it's Constitutional, so score!!"

Wow, this is the first time that I've seriously disagreed with this site. If a prospective voter is incapable of procuring a photo ID I'd rather they not vote. I suppose that this is seen as a partisan issue because the "downtrodden and disenfanchised" are more likely to vote Democrat? Oy. As a Democrat, I don't like the implications therein.

There was apparently no genuine problem for this law to address, but it's Constitutional, so score!!

There's a requirement that laws address genuine problems? Someone tell Congress, stat!

There's a requirement that laws address genuine problems? Someone tell Congress, stat!

Yes, there is, if the remedy impacts the expression of a fundamental right, such as the right to vote.

I'm hard pressed to explain BOTH voting to uphold this case and voting to end Florida's recount absent hackishness. And on the merits, voting rights are not supposed to be in the rational basis, "let's make up a justification for it and attribute it to the legislature whether any evidence supports it or not & whether it was their actual motivation or not" scrutiny box, because it's a fundamental right. Who knows what Stevens thinks lately; he is the most strategic voter on the court.

Just to stir things up here, I’d like to hear the house lawyers’ take on McPherson and this (post-Florida debacle) article by Michael C. Dorf (Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law).

The “right to vote” is thrown around as an accepted constitutional right. Every time this topic comes up it is discussed as if the “right to vote” is set in stone. But is that really the case, at least in terms of a presidential election?

If you thought the Electoral College was an undemocratic Eighteenth Century relic, you should look at the rest of what the Constitution has to say about how we pick a President.

Amidst the divisiveness of the United States Supreme Court's second foray into the 2000 Presidential election, it is easy to overlook the significance of the Court's earlier, unanimous ruling of December 4, 2000. A close reading of the decision in that case, Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, reveals a clear consensus for what will strike many Americans as an outrageous proposition: there is no constitutional right to vote in a Presidential election. The fact that the state in which you reside even permits you to vote for electors is purely a matter of legislative grace.

That needs to change. The Constitution should be amended to ensure that voting in Presidential elections is a matter of right, not a matter of grace.

Specifically, McPherson said that state legislatures have virtually unlimited power to designate the manner of selecting Presidential electors. The Court stated, "[t]he Constitution does not provide that the appointment of electors shall be by popular vote . . . and leaves it to the legislature exclusively to define the method of effecting the object." The Court then noted the variety of methods for selection of Electors that the state legislature could designate, including selection "by the legislature itself . . . ."

The petitioners had also argued that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments confer a right to vote in Presidential elections. But in McPherson, the Court rejected that contention. It stated that the right to vote in Presidential elections is not protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, even though Section Two of that Amendment speaks of denials of "the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States."

The Court also said that the Fifteenth Amendment merely states an anti-discrimination rule: If a state chooses to select Presidential electors by a vote of the citizens of the state, then it may not exclude people on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. However, the state has no obligation to hold elections for President in the first place.

So if SCOTUS had ruled against the Indiana state legislature here, what would have prevented them from saying screw it then, we’re not going to hold a popular vote for president in 2008 at all?

OCSteve, that sounds mighty shaky. First, and probably least important, the 2000 election wasn't just a presidential election. While your vote for President isn't necessarily going to contribute, one for one, to increase probability of your candidate winning, your vote for other offices is.

I'd guess Indiana could only effect something like what you're describing by changing their owns state law.

Slarti: Oh I agree it is shaky. And no state is likely to try it. But I agree with Dorf – if this really is the state of things it should be changed.

If the court relied on McPherson in Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board and by a clear consensus found that sure enough, a state can pick their electors however they like – then why wouldn’t they find the same way if a state changed it’s election laws to say that electors would be chosen by the legislature and not by popular vote?

Your vote doesn't choose the electors, OCSteve. The intent is that the chosen elector should be guided by the popular vote; whether the elector does or doesn't is variously, among the states, a point of law (or not).

Or, rather, you're not voting for an elector, you're voting whether to send the Democratic slate of electors, or the Republican slate, who are pre-selected using some process that probably didn't involve you.

"I'm hard pressed to explain BOTH voting to uphold this case and voting to end Florida's recount absent hackishness."

The major difference is in the timing of the rules. In elections you need to have the rules created beforehand. Any rule is going to cut against someone some of the time. Having the rules determined beforehand does two important things. It avoids making the rules just to favor whomever you want to see win (recounts only in counties you think you can pick up votes Mr. Gore, sure!) and it avoids creating outcome-based procedures (3 perforations not good enough, lets try 2. Ok try again at 1. How about a dimple?). Florida was a disaster because everyone and their mother started trying to make rules after they thought they knew exactly how it would change the election and they tried to have a different set of rules for every county.

Dealing with one set of rules well in advance allows those people whom the rules cut against to act appropriately if they feel like it without damaging the integrity of the electoral system. The Democratic Party can have ID drives. Grandma can decide to renew her ID which she let lapse because she doesn't drive anymore. College kids without IDs (????) can get them.

recounts only in counties you think you can pick up votes Mr. Gore, sure!

Hey, Sebastian, speaking of abiding by the preset rules (and hackishness), you are aware that Florida law didn't allow for a statewide recount, but only provided for challenges on a per-county basis?

If one were intellectually honest, and Gore had indeed filed challenges, individually, in every Florida county, even those in which no discrepancy existed, one wouldn't then complain that Gore was wasting time and taxpayer's resources on a fishing expedition. Based on your postings on the subject, Sebastian, one suspects that you would be complaining about exactly that.

Aren't you embarrassed to be so zealously advocating the side that demonstrably suppresses votes when your own criticisms of the other side so constantly fail?

Dealing with one set of rules well in advance allows those people whom the rules cut against to act appropriately if they feel like it without damaging the integrity of the electoral system. The Democratic Party can have ID drives. Grandma can decide to renew her ID which she let lapse because she doesn't drive anymore.

Shorter Sebastian: There's no problem in placing an undue burden on voting; it's the fault of the lazy voters who won't overcome the burden!

Nice, Sebastian. Just lovely.

Just curious:

Do you need a photo ID to run for office?

[Not to doubt who you say you are, Mr. Obama -- but neither your social security number nor your birth certificate contains a current photo -- and sorry, the baby picture of you naked on a bath mat, and the head shot on your Bally's Total Fitness membership card, won't surfice.]

I find these rules against owning fully automatic weapons make it deucedly difficult for me to be completely free in my basic right to keep and bear arms.

Ditto firearm registration, cooling-off periods, etc.

Ditto requirements to register to vote at all. Inconvenient, that.

Ditto court-ordered gag rules, the need for permits to assemble, etc.

Slarti, I'm sure someone could show you a whole bunch of dead people (I'll open with Virginia Tech) to demonstrate a compelling state interest in restricting gun ownership. Ditto court-ordered gag rules, although the practice could certainly be abused. Personally I'd be fine if requirements for permits to assemble were struck down as unconstitutional.

Through this whole thread, in the Supreme Court oral argument and in the decision itself, there's no evidence whatsoever that the kind of voting fraud the Indiana law was allegedly supposed to prevent even exists, although fraud in absentee ballots -- which might also favor Republicans -- does exist and is unaddressed. There's also reasonable anecdotal evidence to suggest that the Republicans in the Indiana legislature hope to suppress likely Democratic voters.

Yammer all you want, but a partisan Supreme Court just okay'ed an undue burden on the right to vote in the complete and total absence of any compelling interest to do so, and you and your conservative allies have utterly and consistently failed to justify why you relish the potential disenfranchisement of voters except on the obvious grounds that it favors your side. You're welcome to your opinion, but you'd better muster some better arguments before you expect it to be respected.

"I mean, everyone knows why the law was passed — and that voter fraud is a sham."

Really? Everyone knows this?

Every leftist certainly thinks this is the case, but that hardly makes it true.

I could just as easily say that "everyone" who opposes voter id laws does so because they wish to engage in or support voter fraud.

Every leftist certainly thinks this is the case, but that hardly makes it true.

Feddie, you're welcome to present your evidence of voter fraud. I hope you do better than your predecessors in this forum (or the cases cited before and by the SCOTUS), but by all means, do amuse us.

Gregory-

Are you claiming that voter fraud isn't a legitimate concern? Here in Georgia, the counterargument that many dems have made isn't that voter fraud doesn't exisit, but rather that the law failed to take into account voter fraud associated with absentee ballots (a point I actually agree with them on).

I really don't see why this is a big deal. The IDs are in Georgia are free if you can't afford them. Why is requiring a voter to prove his/her identity creating such a fuss? And let's just concede, for the sake of argument, that many poor people and minorities will choose not to obtain a free id and vote because of this law. Whose failt is that?

Now, I do agree that the state has to make it easy for folks to get the id. I would even be willing to require the state to send someone to a voter's house if he/she is disabled or elderly and cannot easily be transported. So, if one of the concerns is that it will place an undue burden on the exercise of a constitutional right, I agree that the state must addreess these concerns in the relevant legislation.

Are you claiming that voter fraud isn't a legitimate concern?

No, I'm challenging you to present evidence that it is. Which, I notice without surprise, you haven't done.

if one of the concerns is that it will place an undue burden on the exercise of a constitutional right, I agree that the state must addreess these concerns in the relevant legislation.

Not good enough. You can place a burden on the exercise of a fundamental right if there's a compelling state interest in doing so. Throughout this thread, the oral argument and the SCOTUS opinions, you and your voter-disenfranchising cohorts have conspicuously failed to establish that essential fact.

I await your evidence that voter fraud actually exists. Short of that, your claim to not see the reason for the fuss isn't exactly persuasive, particularly when the voter-disenfranchising tendencies of the GOP is a matter of public record.

The IDs are in Georgia are free if you can't afford them.

They are not free in terms of time. A few months ago, a friend of mine ran into trouble renewing her driver's license. Someone at DMV had made a tiny error, so my friend had to prove her identity from scratch. It took hours of her time, spread over two weeks. This woman isn't stupid: she has a master's degree in engineering; she's managed billion dollar projects. She has all the advantages in the world, but identity requirements are sufficiently onerous now that it can be difficult for people, even smart dedicated people, to get their papers in order.

Why is requiring a voter to prove his/her identity creating such a fuss?

Are you joking? Asking to see an identity card does not prove identity. Every 15 year old kid who wants beer can get their very own identity card proving that they're over 18. Identity cards don't "prove" anything.

All these well-meaning Republicans and conservatives pointing out that this is a great opportunity for liberals to expand the official ID apparatus and make it easier for everyone . . . boy, I can't wait until some strutting Grover Norquist disciple campaigns on economic issues and says, "Can you believe the state pays someone to drive around in a van and issue photo IDs to people? And why do we need all these DMV offices anyway?"

Are we going to require counties to locate & mail out birth certificates to everyone who was born there too? Because it's not just the time at the DMV; it's the increasingly cumbersome requirements that you already have an ID to get an ID. Again, some states do not consider a U.S. passport & an out of state license sufficient documentation to give you your driver's license, so for an elderly, infirm person who doesn't drive, doesn't have a state issued photo ID, & may not have his or her birth certificate....

I once heard Jimmy Carter talking about losing his first election due to voter fraud(dead people voting and such). BTW is the government required to provide transportation to the polls?

Sebastian: My comments were 1) inspired by other recent decisions besides just this one, and 2) aimed at the Justices appointed by George W. Bush, who the Senate Democrats pretended to fight and then "tactically" caved on. All that nonsense a while back with the "nuclear option" and "gang of 14" and Republicans claiming the fillibuster was BAD, BAD, BAD before they started using it on every bill that came up in the Senate.

I just noticed: the requirement is for a photo ID with your current address. Neat way to disenfranchise college students--who can vote absentee in their home districts, but some home districts only count absentee ballots in limited circumstances where the election is very close. And of course, it's easy not to know this & miss the deadline for absentee registration. It also disenfranchises everyone who moves close to the registration deadline & is unable to jump through all of the REAL ID hoops in time. etc. etc. Easy to move within a state & not notify the DMV in time to get your little stickers before the voter registration deadline. etc. etc. etc. etc. Based on zero incidents of fraud: (1) this century (2) in-person rather than absentee.

1. I'm tired of the catch-22 that liberals create here. It's impossible to catch someone voting twice if you can't tie them to any ID; but liberals say that we shouldn't have ID requirements because no one has been caught voting twice.

2. No one is able to answer Sebastian's point -- the fact that you can't find a single example of voter disfranchisement from ID laws is an utter refutation of the notion that such laws create a huge barrier.

3. The notion that no one has ever voted fraudulently is a lie. A bipartisan investigation in Wisconsin proved as much. See http://soundpolitics.com/WI_electionfraudreport.pdf

A key finding was "evidence of more than 100 individual instances of suspected double-voting, voting in names of persons who likely did not vote, and/or voting in names believed to be fake."

Another finding was that "The number of votes counted from the City of Milwaukee exceeds the number of persons recorded as voting by more than 4,500." Maybe an ID requirement wouldn't solve that kind of problem, but you have to be insanely partisan to pretend that such evidence is worthless.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad