Daily Meme: Voter ID, a Bad Solution in Search of a Nonexistent Problem

  • We may be in an election off-year, but new voter-ID laws are still mucking up many a eligible citizen's right to hit the polling booths. 
  • Texas's new voter-ID law, which went into effect on Tuesday (a day after early voting began in the state), has inspired quite a bit of acrimony.
  • The law might disenfranchise a third of the state's women voters, who might not have identification that matches their current legal name...
  • ... including this judge, who has voted without a hitch for five decades.
  • Republican women might just be the most affected by these voter ID laws.
  • Transgender men and women may also have difficulties voting because of discrepancies in names on their IDs.
  • Hispanics in the state are 46 to 120 percent less likely to have a government-issued ID than white residents. 
  • All this grief for a problem we have yet to find. As Paul Burka puts it, "I am compelled to point out that voter fraud is a solution in search of a problem. Except for rare incidents, such as those involving ACORN a few years back, voter fraud is next to nonexistent ... You have to be really stupid to show up at the polls with a fake I.D. Impersonating another voter is not a successful strategy for fixing elections."
  • And yet, the Republican attorney general candidate still finds it prudent to campaign on creating a Voter Fraud Task Force if he gets elected by the few people who actually make it to the polls. 
  • Meanwhile, Judge Richard Posner, who upheld the voter ID law in Indiana that set off this trend, realizes he made a huge mistakeThe New York Times paraphrases: "In a new book, he writes that he was 'guilty' of upholding a law 'now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.' Had he spoken those words a few years ago, the landscape of voter-ID laws might look very different."
  • Professor Richard Hasen hopes this is a sign of a new trend, where judges begin questioning the epidemic of laws that threaten to disenfranchise citizens across the country. 
  • Change likely won't happen soon, however, not at the rate these laws are being enacted. 
  • In Alabama, a voter-ID law passed in 2011 is getting ready for the midterms now that it won't have to face preclearance thanks to June's Supreme Court decision.
  • The Tennessee Supreme Court just upheld a voter-ID law in that state (although some representatives are still set on stopping it).
  • Pat McCrory, who signed perhaps the most restrictive voter-ID law in the country this summer, didn't really pay attention when the legislature was debating the issue apparently.

 

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