Sunday, September 24, 2006

House Votes Yes on Picture Voter Ids for 2008

We all remember the headlines about non citizens caught trying to vote in elections right? With national elections each year rarely breaking a 50% turnout, the Republican led 109th Congress thinks the most pressing bill to address before the election is one concerning federal elections in 2008. In brief:
Voter ID Requirements: Members voted, 228-196, to require photo identification as a condition of voting in federal elections starting in 2008. The bill also requires that by 2010 voters must show proof of citizenship along with their photo ID. A yes vote was to send the bill (HR 4844) to the Senate.


The Connecticut Delegation voted along party lines, so much for being moderate Shays, Johnson and Simmons:

Chris Shays Y
Nancy Johnson Y
Simmons Y

DeLauro N
Larson N

The reality is we are well on our way to requiring a national id. You can't drive, fly, open a bank account, and receive a whole host of government services. But this bill sidesteps the issue in the name of voter fraud. And somewhat disingenuously, since the headlines of recent past elections were about the voter suppression allegations and the general lack of a paper trail accompanying the move to electronic voting, not to mention the vunerability of electronic voting machines.

In Connecticut, the march towards new voting technology has been painfully slow. And unlike Oregon, there's been no move towards gaining more voter participation by moving towards voting by mail. The polling locations, apparently are here to stay. As Robert Kuttner says, "Tens of millions of Americans don't vote because we make voters go through a two-step process of registering and then voting." Despite the Democratic opposition to the requirement of picture IDs, there is no counter argument to increase voter turnout and participation.

On the surface It seems that the purpose of this bill is to depress voter participation, by elevating a requirement handled at the state level, to a federal mandate. The people most affected by this bill will be poor, rural, disabled and elderly citizens. There is nothing in this bill that addresses what states can do to help their citizens meet these requirements. Isn't it time that Republicans stop sending unfunded mandates to the states?


National Turnout
2004 42.45%
2002 37%
2000 51.3%
1998 36.4%
1996 49.08%
updated: source: www.eac.gov


Thomas Roll Call
The American Prospect License and Registration by Robert Kuttner, 12.09.04

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

turffgirl, so trying to prevent voter fraud is an extremist position?

This is what the lack of a photo ID leads to.

Inquiry finds evidence of fraud in election
Cast ballots outnumber voters by 4,609
By GREG J. BOROWSKI
gborowski@journalsentinel.com
Investigators said Tuesday they found clear evidence of fraud in the Nov. 2 election in Milwaukee, including more than 200 cases of felons voting illegally and more than 100 people who voted twice, used fake names or false addresses or voted in the name of a dead person

Anonymous said...

The Connecticut Delegation voted along party lines, so much for being moderate Shays, Johnson and Simmons:

So you're saying that they're not moderate because they didn't go and vote party lines with the Democrats? This is just a stupid comment, turfgirl. How about the radical left of Delauro and Larson?

This post just shows your ignorant partisan rhetoric, turfgirl. I'm sorry you apparently want illegal aliens and non-citizens voting, but I don't.

Bobby McGee said...

Anonymous said...turffgirl, so trying to prevent voter fraud is an extremist position?

When your purpose is to disenfranchise poor and minority voters it is not an extremist position, but a morally reprehensible one.

turfgrrl said...

anonymous 10:15 -- Just how does a photo ID prevent felons from voting? Aren't felons in jail? Are they heading down to the local polling place? Isn't the real issue here that registered voter lists are inaccurate? Doesn't a national ID card, universally available to all citizens solve for this in a better way?

turfgrrl said...

anon 10:23 -- The weak-kneed three should be appealing to moderates, yet they chose to support a bill that takes an extreme position on voter ID that purposely discriminates against the poor, disabled and senior citizens. Considering the state of Connecticut elections, apparently was not on their agenda.

Anonymous said...

for a bunch of spoiled white liberals to play the race card is actually rather comical

Obviously the rudimental requirement any bodega owner would require before selling beer or cashing a check are now an insuperable barrier for those poor folks they need to protect. What haughty elitist nonsense

The idea that frequent ballot stuffing in urban elections (see also Philadelphia, New Orleans and Orange County, CA) might also deprive honest residents of such communities of their right to a fair election obviously doesn;t matter if it means some yuppie can accuse his Republican neighbor of being a closet racist.

That's all this is about.

The Architect said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

so, folks, do 77% of Americans support a "morally reprehensible"
position http://www.publicradio.org/columns/minnesota/polinaut/archive/2006/07/poll_7_in_10_su.php

Richard Winger said...

Those turnout figures must be wrong. Turnout was far better in 2004 than 2000, yet the figures shown here say turnout was better in 2000. There were 122,295,345 votes cast in 2004, and only 105,396,627 in 2000, according to America Votes, published by Congressional Quarterly.

Anonymous said...

Turfgirl said: yet they chose to support a bill that takes an extreme position

How is this an extreme position? The vast majority of Americans agree with the bill:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2006/June%20Dailies/idVote.htm

Anonymous said...

GC... I don't recall. Is turfgrrl still a "moderate" commentator? I hope not.

Just because she supports Joe, doesn't mean that she is middle of the road.

She seems to be less of a liberal/conservative/moderate and more of a nitpicker. Case in point... Ned Lamont belongs to the Bush Country Club in Greenwich! Oh no... vote for Joe... Ned is a hypocrite!

Are there any other moderate posters who will speak to the issues about which most people care?

I know this is volunteer, but picking apart all of these minor details gets tiring.

turfgrrl said...

Richard WInger -- Turnout figures come from http://www.eac.gov/

bluecoat said...

Anyone interested in getting beyond the back an forth partisan shouting here on the issue should Google around to the Jimmy Carter/James Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform that post-dated the HAVA Act of 2002 and pre-dated the referenced legilsation.
I'd link it but nobody on here seems interested in an informed discussion on the complete problem and possible solutions. Turffgrrl's partisan post on the issue unfortunately set the usual partisan tone. I guess the Sunshine Foundation like that kind of stufff.

Anonymous said...

BC--the problem is what happened to Bush in WI twice, Sauerbrey in MD in '94; and Jenkins in LA and Dornan in CA in '96.

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat -- I disagree with the idea of a national cross referenced database, as proposed under the Carter/Baker reform. The main reason is that Congress hasn't put into legislation privacy protections for individuals. As it is, there are no repercussions for a corporations who lose or otherwise misuse records. Anyone who has expereinced personal identity theft can attest to the onus being on the individual, which is not as it should be.

Beyond that, as I stated above, I would like to see National ID cards. We are practically there already.

Links to the Carter/Baker paper are:

Big PDF (8 MB)

News concerning Carter/Baker reform

bluecoat said...

Yeah OK, turffgrrl, that's a much different postion than you're original take on the legislation being designed to suppress voter participation; I too have problems with the legislation but it's not about John Edwards' two Americas,.

bluecoat said...

and you guys still don't show Philip Maymin, the Greenwich Libertarain, as a contender for the 4th CD - he will be on the ballot and has a website too as I have pointed out in the past.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how wanting to eliminate fraud in elections is somehow perceived by the left as an "extreme" position intended to disenfranchise the elderly, poor and minorities. Go tell that to Jimmy Carter who was on the commission that advocated the idea.

Why can't the poor, elderly, and minorities obtain an ID card if they were able to go to their town hall and register in the first place? It's like saying that requiring motor vehicle registration and emissions testing are an infringement on people’s rights because it prevents people from obtaining a vehicle.

If the poor, elderly, and minorities want to vote they will find a way to obtain a photo ID, just like the rest of the population does.

Brian said...

What does everybody think the voter turnout in Ct will be for the midterm election. I predict over 70-75% of democrats will come out for the election (to vote for lamont and get rid of Rell, Johnson, and Simmons). If this happens as I think it will the overall voter turnout will surpass 55-60%. In this case, Democrats could make anywhere between 40-55 percent of the total vote.

Brian said...

What does everybody think the voter turnout in Ct will be for the midterm election. I predict over 70-75% of democrats will come out for the election (to vote for lamont and get rid of Rell, Johnson, Simmons). If this happens as I think it will the overall voter turnout will surpass 55-60%. In this case, Democrats could make anywhere between 40-55 percent of the total vote.

Gabe said...

Anon 3:01 -

It's like saying that requiring motor vehicle registration and emissions testing are an infringement on people’s rights because it prevents people from obtaining a vehicle.

No, its not, because the SCOTUS has never held that obtaining a vehicle is a fundemental right like they have with voting.


The reason why people might not be able to obtain the ID cards is because they have a cost - in order to enact legislation that prevents people from voting, the governemnt must show that they have a compelling interest in preventing fraudulant voting and that the solution they came up with was the most narrowly-tailored solution that fits their interest.

Given that the overwhelming majority of fraudulent voting happens via absentee ballots, and that this legislation does not address absentee balloting at all, that will be a very tough constitutional hurdle for the legislation to overcome.

See this editorial and this dissent to the Carter-Baker commission's proposal from Commission member and law professor Spencer Overton.

Anonymous said...

Gabe,

It's ironic that you quote an article from the AJC. The reason being that the GA State voter ID law that was passed allowed citizens of that state to obtain a FREE photo ID. If the real reason people can't get an ID is because of the associated cost then what is your arguement when there is NO cost associated with obtaining a FREE photo ID? Please explain this to me.

Gabe said...

Here you go...

The ruling allows thousands of Georgians who do not have government-issued identification, such as driver's licenses and passports, to vote in the Nov. 8 municipal elections without obtaining a special digital identification card, which costs $20 for five years. In prior elections, Georgians could use any one of 17 types of identification that show the person's name and address, including a driver's license, utility bill, bank statement or a paycheck, to gain access to a voting booth.

That was the first iteration of the legislation in Georgia. Here is the second:

A state judge has thrown out the latest version of Georgia's law requiring voters to show photo ID, ruling that it violates the constitutional rights of the state's voters.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford Jr. issued the ruling Tuesday, nearly three weeks after lawyers argued both sides of the issue, which is likely headed for the Georgia Supreme Court before the Nov. 7 general elections.

Bedford said the photo ID requirement disenfranchises otherwise qualified voters and adds a new condition to voting that violates the state constitution.

In his 17-page ruling, Bedford took issue with the burden placed on voters to prove who they are using photo ID. Even if voters are allowed to cast ballots without the required identification, they must return within 48 hours with one of the six necessary photo IDs or their vote is forfeited.

"This cannot be," Bedford wrote, pointing out that photo ID are not even required to register to vote in Georgia.

"Any attempt by the Legislature to require more than what is required by the express language of our Constitution cannot withstand judicial scrutiny," Bedford wrote.

Supporters of the photo ID law say it is needed to protect against voter fraud. Opponents argue it disenfranchises poor, elderly and minority voters who are less likely to have a driver's license or other valid government-issued photo ID.

The new law took effect July 1, but was blocked by state and federal judges during the state's July primaries, August runoffs and some local special elections held Tuesday.


Also, just because something is free, doesn't mean there isn't a cost associated with it...

Anonymous said...

GABE:
"No, its not, because the SCOTUS has never held that obtaining a vehicle is a fundemental right like they have with voting."

I see, so you must be against gun control and gun registration to then? I am personally, but are you? Or are you a hypocrite?

Gabe said...

Anon - Whether I am for or against gun control is irrelevant given the quote from me you put up - it seems pretty clear that I was talking about what is or isn't constitutional, not what I personally believe in...

But since you are interested, I'll give you both.

First, as far as I know, the SCOTUS has never held that gun ownership is a fundamental right to be subject to the strictest scrutiny, so your analogy is a false one.

Second, my personal view is that gun control laws should be viewed as a strictly local matter. What makes sense for the Bronx, NY (where I grew up), suburban Connecticut (where I live now), and rural Iowa (where I visted once when it was 40 below with the wind chill) are three very different propositions.

Absent a SCOTUS decision saying that gun ownership is a fundamental right, I guess I don't have a problem with registration ala cars, but it makes me uncomfortable from an individual liberty standpoint. Also, even assuming that gun ownership is a fundamental right, it seems pretty clear that there is a sensible line to be drawn somewhere - for example, anti-tank guns almost definetely don't qualify. I am agnostic on where that line should be drawn, but off the top of my head, fully automatic assult weapons don't seem to have any purpose other than killing a large number of people very quickly. I am in favor of waiting periods, assuming they are used to check criminal histories, because I view it as a public safety and national security issue - if you are a felon, are on a terrorist watch list, or have restraining orders for domestic violence, there is a strong societal interest in finding that out before rather than after you gain access to a gun.

All of which, BTW, is substantially off the topic, so I will turn it around for you: Are you for or against equal access to the ballot for all? Should we be creating or tearing down obstacles to voting for people who are legitimately elgible to vote? Should we focus on the fraud that is anecdotal only (i.e. fictitious people showing up to vote), or should we work to eliminate the fraud that is widespread (i.e. absentee ballot fraud, erroneous poll purging, etc.)? Is it a partisan issue or can we all agree that the franchise is good and should be extended?

Finally, its generally bad form to call someone you are trying to engage in a civil debate a hypocrite.

Gabe said...

Miami Herald Editorial on the Photo Id legislation...

Anonymous said...

This is anon 3:01 and 10:52. You must be reading old news articles. The legislation that was actually passed allowed for obtaining FREE voter ID cards. This was different than the original version which did not.

You said....."The reason why people might not be able to obtain the ID cards is because they have a cost."

And I said.... "If the real reason people can't get an ID is because of the associated cost then what is your arguement when there is NO cost associated with obtaining a FREE photo ID?"

You didn't answer the question and instead reference a judges ruling on the law.

Just because one lower court judge says in is unconstitutional doesn't make it so. The same thing happened with the gay marriage ban unanimously passed by 75% of GA voters in 2004 then declared unconstitutional by a lower court judge. The GA Supreme Court stepped in and ruled it was not unconstitutional and the law stands. Get it?

Your argument based on "cost" of obtaining a voter ID holds no water when there is no "cost" involved. I suggest you do better research next time.

Gabe said...

I addressed the cost issue when I wrote...

Also, just because something is free, doesn't mean there isn't a cost associated with it...

What I meant was that, even making the ID free, if people have to take a day off of work to get it, there is a cost associated with it. It only takes one person who has voted their entire life without an ID card who doesn't vote to make a test case and there will be more than one person.

Also, for the record, legislation that prevents people from voting does not need to have a cost involved to run afoul of the constitution, it just has to prevent elgible people from voting on a discriminatory basis (think literacy tests). Since the majority of people affected will be in a suspect class (dispirate impact) and the 1982 VRA amendments legislated out the need to show a discriminatory purpose, the constitutionality of the legislation will be hard to show with or with out an "actual" cost to the legislation.

And the second article I refrenced was on the newer legislation that included the "free" ID card.

I get what you are saying about lower court rulings, but I don't think you understand what I am saying (although that may be wilful). When people are prevented from exercising a fundamntal right, the scrutiny that court uses to evaluate the law is of the strictest possible - the law must be the most narrowly-tailored solution possible to address the compelling state interest. In this case, the compelling state interest is not compelling (by that I mean addressing fictitious or repetitive voters and not fraud in general) and, if significant numbers of people are unable to vote, the remedy is not the most narrowly tailored solution possible to address the issue. Throw on the scale that the many of the people affected will be of a suspect class and you have a very difficult case to make if you are defending the legislation.

That said, the lower court judges refrenced above were evaluating the law according to the Georgia Constitution (of which I have no knowledge, but it seems like they held that the legislature cannot impose requirements to voting that are additional to the requirements expressly stated in the Constitution). The federal challenges to laws like this will take years to play out.

Finally, your analogy to gay marriage is as false as the analogies to gun ownership and car registration above. The SCOTUS has never held that gay marriage was a fundamental right (although marriage is - Loving vs. VA), so the scrutiny standard will be very different. If we were even talking about the same courts, but it seems we are not; I am talking about federal courts (the post is about federal law) and you seem to be sticking to GA state law.

I included the original Overton articles because he has alot of intellegent things to say about legislation of this type. I included the other articles because they were interesting and to illustrate both that the original Georgia law had a "real" cost and that the law was found unconstitutional at one level even without the cost. And it was pretty clear that I knew I was talking about two different version of the law - thats what iteration means.

So yeah, I got it. But thanks for explaining it anyway.

Let me know when you are available to help me with my research...

Meg said...

I think that it was for such a time as this that Roberts was nominated to the Supreme Court: When Voting Rights Act renewal last came up in 1982 during the Reagan administration, Roberts argued that discriminatory effect of voting laws was irrelevant if discriminatory intent could not be proven. His side lost the argument. I don't think they intend to lose again.

This is a dangerous game. There is no constitutional guarantee of the right to vote, only rules about reasons you can't use for excluding people from voting.

If Roberts's desire to eliminate the effects test prevails, we're in big trouble.

Meg

bluecoat said...

from today's NYTStricter Voting Laws Carve Latest Partisan Divide