More thoughts on Voter ID legislation and voter fraud, a discussion that attracted the attention of a very angry atheist-liberal. The entire discussion is set up to expose the shortcomings in the logic of those – like liberals – who claim to cherish institutional democracy.
The issue of stuffing the ballot box and Voter ID bills gained prominence after several highly contested elections i.e. Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004/2008 and the commensurate media scrutiny (and internet scrutiny in particular) over voting irregularities. If an entire U.S. election can be swayed by a scant number of votes in one hotly contested state, the argument goes, the benefits of voting fraud increase exponentially. An increased media focus on swing states and polling increases the likelihood that voting irregularities will take place. When billions of dollars are spent each election cycle, the returns to fraud are high. Thus, simple procedures should be implemented to ensure the integrity of “one man, one vote”, and enacting voter ID laws is not an indication of racist intent but, rather, a commonsense measure that seems like it should have always been the norm.
Though mass mobility is nothing new in the U.S., identification protocol is archaic. The modern system seems to be a holdover from a time and place where everyone in a precinct knew everyone else. With more urbanism, mobility, and isolation, the ability to claim a false identity without documentation is higher than ever. Now, a libertarian or a reactionary might not support such measures – they’re either coercive or non-ideal – but a person who favors democracy should.
Liberals oppose Voter ID bills, but liberals are also keen to reference and advocate the policies of other more “kind” and “forward-looking” nations like Canada and the countries of Europe. They are considered to be the great social democracies of the world. But in 2007 Canada passed a law requiring ID to vote. And the countries of the EU also require voters to provide documents in order to vote.
So far, the main point of reference on the issue of the effectiveness or usefulness of Voter ID laws and the prevalence of voter fraud has been the Brennan Center of New York University. Brennan has produced research suggesting that voter fraud and ballot stuffing are insignificant. But study of this area is in short supply, and the issue has only been analyzed in any meaningful way over the past few years. The absence of “widespread” voter fraud convictions is much like the absence of observable speciation. The process can exist absent the readily observable proof to back it up. I’ll let the atheists among us think about that.
In emails uncovered by Wikileaks, intelligence analysts at Stratfor discussed voter fraud in the 2008 elections. An analyst named Fred Burton made some strong charges in an internal email:
1) The black Dems were caught stuffing the ballot boxes in Philly and Ohio as reported the night of the election and Sen. McCain chose not to
fight. The matter is not dead inside the party. It now becomes a matter of sequence now as to how and when to “out”.
2) It appears the Dems “made a donation” to Rev. Jesse (no, they would never do that!) to keep his yap shut after his diatribe about the Jews and
Israel. A little bird told me it was a “nice six-figure donation”. This also becomes a matter of how and when to out.
Conservatives tend to accept the truth that “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and they accept that there is a political will to win elections.
There is also another argument in all of this – a pragmatic one. Al Sharpton and others decry the push towards voter ID because blacks are more likely to not have ID. Other opponents to Voter ID hope not to disenfranchise the elderly, infirm, students, or the young – all groups who are less likely to have ID. But pertaining to blacks, a better bit of activism would be to help blacks get ID. The stark truth is that ID is important. Buying in to the notion of having an ID is to buy into the notion of workforce and civic participation. Employers basically buy into this vetting process. IDs signal a minimal willingness to try which is one of the qualities that employers look for in their workers. Not having an ID decreases the likelihood and the chances of getting gainful employment, and, insofar as state-issued driver’s licenses are the most common form of ID, it leads to arrests for driving violations which create further legal problems that tend to lead people into a spiral of petty criminality.
But instead we get these dog-and-pony shows perpetuated by the likes of the NAACP which is taking its case to the UN:
[NAACP President Ben Todd] Jealous said the U.N. panel will hear Wednesday from two Americans impacted by the new laws: a convicted felon who served her time and a University of Texas student who might not be able to vote this year because of a law approved by the state legislature requiring voters to show government-approved photo identification.
Reminiscent of the Sandra Fluke circus. Leaving aside the question of felons’ voting rights (I say reinstate them), we see that a college student who has the time to trot over to Geneva, Switzerland to provide testimony on behalf of the NAACP does not have time to procure an ID that would allow him or her to vote. To pare this back and apply it to the potentially disenfranchised, potential voters know when elections are; they can procure means of transportation; they can make a little effort to ensure the integrity of the democratic process which they so cherish.
Commenter Doug 1 says it best
: ”If some no accounts can’t be bothered to get one, screw them.”