Voter ID… scam or sham?

Since the 2012 election, a wave of Voter ID laws have been passed in the states.  While there has not been any widespread cases of voter fraud identified, let alone prosecuted, these states consider it pre-emptive protection.  Or is it Poll Taxes and Literacy Tests all over again?  Pre 1965, states used the concept of a “Literacy Test” as a way to ensure that citizens who voted had a basic civic education prior to voting.  Except the difficulty of said tests were such that poorer educated blacks routinely failed the tests until the NAACP started classes.

Wisconsin is cool with your Driver’s License… which doesn’t help you if you are a citizen who just happens to be poorer and car-less.  That’s ok, there are plenty of other ID options, starting with a real estate tax bill.  That is, if you happen to own your property.  Since you don’t have a car, that’s not real likely.  You can also produce a bank statement. But… a lot of poor don’t utilize banks and deal primarily in cash.   But hey, Wisconsin is here to help!  Just click right here for other “approved documents“!

voter proof

Be patient, you have to click another THREE times to land on the right page.  And once you do get to the page that explains the Voter ID law, you do not see anywhere on the page the “other approved documents.”

Confusing?  Of course… almost as if… by design?

This past week in Wisconsin, university students found that newly passed Voter ID laws made their university ID’s no longer valid to prove who they said they were, unless they also brought with them proof of enrollment.  Evidently there is a rash of kids posing as Wisconsin college students so bring more proof kids!  The desire to be a college kid in Wisconsin, well it must be all those national championships in… in… in… never mind.

Could it be that in large numbers these students do not tend to vote for the same party that passed the Voter ID law?  Convenient.

The Wisconsin Voter ID law allows college students to vote with their ID, provided that they have accompanying proof of enrollment.  And it was effective in stunting some of the turnout, but some college kids waited hours to make sure they could vote.

Meanwhile, you can show up to vote with a slightly expired driver’s license and your photo must only “reasonably resemble you”.  Apparently college kids are masters at fake ID’s but as long as your driver’s license just sorta looks like you, that’s ok.

The reality is that when the Constitution was written, there were no photo ID’s. There was also a requirement that you be white, male and own property.  Those were the true stakeholders in America, so they should be the voters… or so we thought.  But by 1972, the Constitution reflected — in principal — a broader America.  All you need to be eligible to vote is to be over 18, a legal citizen and registered to vote (with each state determining how long you need to reside in that state).

In most states, upon registering to vote you sign your name.  And when you check into the polls to vote on election day, you sign your name.  A matching signature was all that was needed to verify your identity.  It should remain such today. All other forms of identification should be used if your signature does not appear to the pollworker to be a close enough match.  What are the chances that someone can actually run a significant enough scam to learn to match signatures to throw an election?  Technically just one vote could alter an election, but forgery is a talent.  Most signatures are not easily duplicated.

It is much more likely that the folks on the other side of the table will be the ones commiting voter fraud (from either party), where a box of ballots goes missing or are filed incorrectly.

We complain that Americans don’t vote… and then find ways to make it harder for them to do just that.

  • J.

2 thoughts on “Voter ID… scam or sham?

  1. While there may not be widespread evidence of voter fraud, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. We know that it has happened in the past. It certainly happens now. We don’t know the real extent of it because it’s difficult detect and expensive investigate and prosecute.

    A few months ago a friend of mine complaining about the voter ID laws said that there is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud and that no one should be restricted from voting because every single person’s vote counts. My reply was that if every vote counts then he should have a problem with even one act of voter fraud since it is disenfranchising someone else.

    I think the idea that voter ID laws disenfranchise people is hard to argue when most states have provisions in the laws that bend over backwards to ensure that people can easily get a valid ID. My state of Mississippi will actually go as far as to provide transportation to a location that provides IDs (free of charge) to anyone who requests it.
    So in Mississippi at least, it is less of a burden to get a valid ID than it is to actually vote.

    If voter ID laws are a scan or sham, I don’t see why would they would go to so much effort to ensure people are able to get IDs.


    • What you say is true. But just as more gun laws won’t stop gun crimes, stricter voting laws won’t stop fraud. And I agree ever vote is sacred, but when you (should) have limited resources isn’t our tax dollars and energy more efficient elsewhere? Question, would you be opposed to the government coming *to* a citizen to take a photo ID and give it to them moments later at their residence if requested by the citizen?


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