Don't Like Blacks? You'll Love Voter ID

Despite the rhetoric of GOP officials, it’s more than clear that voter ID laws are designed to depress turnout among traditionally Democratic groups. Attorney General Eric Holder has even gone so far as to attack the laws as glorified “poll taxes”—one of the mechanisms used during Jim Crow to keep African Americans from voting.

Regardless of where you fall politically, it seems like this should be objectionable to everyone. The United States had a long and hard path to universal suffrage, and voter suppression is a direct challenge to the idea that everyone counts and everyone should have a say. Unfortunately, there is a real divide on the desirability of voter ID laws; according to the latest survey from the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication, support for voter identification is strongest among those who harbor negative opinions toward African Americans:

To assess attitudes toward African Americans, all non-African Americans respondents in the poll were asked a series of questions. Responses to these questions were combined to form a measure of “racial resentment.” Researchers found that support for voter ID laws is highest among those with the highest levels of “racial resentment.”

This link between racial resentment and support for voter identification persists even after you control for partisanship, ideology, and a range of other demographic variables. That said, there was a strong partisan division: Republicans were the most likely to hold negative attitudes toward blacks and support voter identification laws. This prevalence of racial resentment—the conjunction of anti-black feelings and traditional American moralism—among Republicans has more to do with the demographics of the party than anything else. The GOP is almost entirely white, and whites are the most likely to harbor negative opinions about African Americans.

This isn’t to say that Republicans are solely—or even somewhat—motivated by negative attitudes about blacks. But these results line up with a decade’s worth of data on the relationship between racial resentment and political belief. Last year, for example, Alan Abramowitz found a strong relationship between high levels of racial resentment and negative attitudes toward Barack Obama. And in 2010, researchers at the University of Washington found an equally strong relationship between racial resentment and support for the Tea Party.

You could say that I’m “playing the race card” here, but that really isn’t the case at all. Race might be the most important part of the American experience—it has profound implications for how we live, where we work, and what we believe about the size and role of government. If anything, this poll is a stark reminder of the extent to which race plays a powerful role in shaping our political attitudes, whether we realize it or not.


In my state we went from "fill out this slip of paper with correct information" to "... and present ID"... and almost to some vote suppressing-type nonsense that, to his credit, our Republican governor vetoed.

I personally think there should be as few hurdles as possible between voters and the ballot box, and that voter ID laws should be based upon actual need - identify a real problem first and implement the least intrusive law that will remedy that actual problem. My issue with voter ID laws is not that voters have to verify their identity, it's that the proponents of the law misrepresent the need and, at times, get a bit too candid about their actual motives.

That said, if I were in charge of GOTV for one of the populations targeted / disproportionately disadvantaged by voter ID laws, I would have been spending the past number of years helping people get ID's that were likely to get them past any new hurdles at the polls. First, many of those people will actually benefit in other contexts from having valid, government-issued ID. Second, pray for the best, prepare for the worst.

We have instances of more people voting in counties than residents. We have states that have not cleaned up there databases in years, which is a violation of federal law.

The argument about it being a poll tax would be much more convincing if the states were not putting safety nets for the poor into place. In SC not only is the ID free, so is the ride to get there. Only 30 people took advantage.

No one who is against these laws can give me a logical explanation of why giving someone a free ID is a bad thing. How does that harm someone?

Isn't also a tad racist to assume that only black people don't have ID's or are the only poor in the country for that matter?

I don't think it's entirely about race, though without a doubt blacks and Latinos will be among those most affected should these laws stand. The problem is probably more related to cultural bias. You and I might have no problem filing our own taxes or securing a loan for our children's college education because of our backgrounds. Not so for people with lower incomes and educational levels. For example, ask your grandmother or great aunt to order a book for you from Amazon. Chances are she'll get you the book the old-fashioned way, from a Barnes & Noble. I could be wrong about your grandmother's computer literacy, but I'm certain you've got it wrong about the free ID and bus ride. First of all, many people don't know about the law. Secondly, the people who didn't show up for the bus didn't have to do anything like that last year. All they had to do was show up at the polls. The ride isn't free. It's an imposition, something imposed on someone.

But check out this bias - on your part: There aren't any counties where there are more votes than residents. If the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can't produce one case of fraud, how could any county anywhere have the problem you describe? Where did you get such an idea? If you do have a source other than an urban myth, it would have to be someone like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. However, your bias didn't just start there. You were already inclined to accept this view, and they (a website or whoever it was) just fed it, and with completely false information that you eagerly accepted.

Anyway, I'm sure I can't convince you about how nefarious the voter ID restriction is, but I'd ask you to give this some thought. Pennsylvania's Constitution states: "Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage." That law has protected my right to vote for 30 some years, and there's nothing to prove that there's any benefit to amending it. One thing that is provable is that Republican legislators and their backers have conspired to make it more difficult for some people to vote and they did so for their own selfish gain in the elections. I find that appalling, and I'm very sad that you don't.

You think by saying the year 2012 you wouldn't hear about the races of color, the spraying and kiiling the people by cemtrails, the poisions put in our foods seeds, the over the top greed in people, The youth growing up without respect for others! I know there is always exceptions but in general a very sad time we live in We as a people have learned very little since we were put here. What you wanted to be a part of would be there wouldn't be any wars, People in deed would love their neighbors, All people would love and respect each other.The human race I believe is doomed unless, We people stand to gether and make changes. Something to ponder!

This if for conservative girl: I know we are never going to hear from you again, and I am probably asking in vain, but could you please supply one example from recent years of voter fraud that voter id laws would have obviated? (The example has to come from a reliable source, with documentation, not something from a right-wing blog.) These laws are clearly designed to suppress the black and poor vote. It doesn't matter so much in South Carolina, which is a hopeless case, but I am afraid republican vote suppressing in Pennsylvania may have the intended effect.

Conservatives often complain to me how unfair it is that liberals think they're racists. I feel bad about it, but we think they're racist because "racist" makes so much more sense as an explanation for the policies they promote than the reasons they give.

Don’t Like Blacks is arguably the most vitriolic, disingenuous, specious political opinion article of the hundreds I have read this year. You claim you are not playing the race card while you are playing the race card. Requiring voter ID imposes little or no burden on anyone. Anyone who doesn’t feel voting is important enough to get an ID, probably isn’t informed enough to cast a meaningful vote. Politicians can bus people to the polls why can’t they bus them to get an ID.

The only groups a voter ID will truly impact is: the dead people in Chicago, the plethora of illegal immigrants in many states, those who are registered in the wrong district, released convicted felons, and those still in prison. Where in that list does it say black? It is therefore, completely unfounded to assert this is somehow a Republican vendetta. I’ll admit there still is some racism in this country, and that’s unfortunate. Racism is not limited to one political party. The remaining racism in this country is nothing like it was in the days of Rosa Parks and it is on the decline. People like you who continue to play the race card are in fact doing a gross disservice to the black race by impeding the goal of having all people judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Almost all Americans, regardless of the color of their skin, still aspire to that dream.

Your arguments hold no water. Voter ID laws do not suppress anybody and do not discriminate against anybody. At some point, your fictitious voter must have had to show an ID to register to vote. If said voter no longer has ANY form of state issued government ID, then how do they function in the modern world? You can not open a bank account without ID. You can't cash a check without ID. You can't take out a loan without ID. You can't rent an apartment without ID. You can not get government assistance without an ID. Or can you? Please refer to the woman arrested in Miami carrying a STACK of absentee ballots for the upcoming mayoral race. Please refer to the history of dead people voting in Miami and Chicago. How can you lie and say that there is no evidence of voter fraud? In the early 1990's, BOTH candidates in Miami for mayor were cited for voter fraud. Non driving state ID's have no expiration date. In Florida, they cost $5. I would favor waving the cost if it would make the liberals feel better. Eric Holder is a race baiter. Anytime he feels pressured, he is being targeted because he is black. Finally, no ID is required for absentee ballots. If your poor elderly are nursing home bound as your side purports, how are they getting to the polls to vote. Bus? Cab? Each costs money that they, according to you, don't have. Absentee ballots cover the no ID and transportation problem. Please stop your nonsensical arguments. They truly have no basis.

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