Voter ID and the Elderly

No one group of people enjoys creating victims like liberal activists.  Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson create victims of racial “bias”.  Many Democrat legislators are creating victims of the wealthy, the 99% who are not wealthy because the 1% has made their undeserved fortunes by bilking them out of what was rightfully theirs.  The latest victims are those targeted by Republican Governors and legislatures by disenfranchisement voter ID laws.  When I read a piece by Thinkprogress.org I was almost dizzied by the spin.

(Thinkprogress.org) — A 93-year-old Tennessee woman who cleaned the state Capitol for 30 years, including the governor’s office, says she won’t be able to vote for the first time in decades after being told this week that her old state ID failed to meet new voter ID regulations.  Thelma Mitchell was even accused of being an undocumented immigrant because she couldn’t produce a birth certificate.

I think everyone who is eligible to vote and desires to vote should be unimpeded by cumbersome restrictions.  Perhaps my view on voter ID laws has been colored by living in a state which has required photo ID my entire voting life and I have yet to feel the slightest bit inconvenienced or offended.  I do not think requiring photo identification in order to vote is really all that unreasonable, even if that ID is expired, if the name, face, and address match the voting record, have at it.  But what about Ms. Mitchell?  Do voter ID laws unintentionally disenfranchise voters like her?

I do not have sympathy for Mitchell.  I have to shake my head and ask, why in your 93 years of life did you never think to obtain a birth certificate?  Sure your entire life you may not have needed one, but why would you not get one for your own record?  Why would you go 93 years without obtaining any other photo ID?  That is just civic laziness.

But as expected, Think Progress doesn’t highlight a point of fact even within their own cited link to The Republic which states,

…even an expired state ID will allow her to vote.  Asked about why Mitchell might have been confused or received incorrect information about the new voter ID law, [Spokesman Brent] Leatherwood said only that the provision that allows for the use of state employee IDs is “pretty straight-forward.”

Turns out the new law isn’t the problem.

I also found shoddy “reporting” in the other examples TP used to garner anti-ID law support.  Consider the victim who was denied a photo ID because she didn’t have a marriage licence.

(Thinkprogress.org) — That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander.  “But I didn’t have my marriage certificate,” Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.  “I don’t know what difference it makes,” Cooper said. [emphasis in original]

Now, the documents offered by Cooper were not sufficient.  She produced documents with a name that did not match the name requested for an ID card.  Can we reasonably blame the State employee for not granting an ID to someone who, in essence says, “here’s some papers with the name Dorothy Alexander, but I want an ID that says Dorothy Cooper…no I don’t have anything that proves that I am Alexander, you’ll have to take my word for it.”  If this woman was 26 years old and not 96, we would have no qualms telling her, ‘of course you can’t get an ID with that name unless you prove — with a marriage licence, or some means other than your say so — you’re the same person’.  Again I ask, why do people so apathetically refuse to keep proper records in regards to their identity, then insist people “take their word for it”?

Or perhaps the 86 year-old WWII veteran who was supposedly charged a poll tax.  It turns out (even admitted within the complaining article) that there is no policy to charge people for ID for voting purposes.  It wasn’t properly communicated to the clerk the purpose for the ID was in order to vote.  He will be refunded the $8 after filling out an affidavit.

But my all time favorite is from the Sibboleth blog.  The author was outraged by an internal memo which appeared to instruct DMV employees to charge fees for free IDs by way of not informing people IDs intended for voting were free of charge.  More specifically, employees were told not to offer the ID free of charge if the box requesting a free ID was not checked, and the person did not ask.  However, if the person asked about the free ID, employees were to inform them the ID was free.

[Referring to the memo] That’s definitely a “smoking-gun.” It’s blatant disenfranchisement. You can mutter all the nonsense you want about illegal immigrants voting, and perhaps you have a valid point. But there is no credible explanation for that memo. They are trying to disenfranchise poor and uneducated American citizens.

Of course, the investigating was left up to me.  Doing a search of the Wisconsin form for obtaining an ID, I found there was a very conspicuous box clearly marked: For ID Applicants Only – I certify that I am a United States citizen, will be at least 18 years of age by the next election and require a Wisconsin Identification Card (ID) for free in order to vote.  Read the brief comment section to see the difference between conservative and liberal thinking on this issue and why the policy had nothing to do with disenfranchisement.

Opposition to voter ID because it is thought to disenfranchise minorities and the poor is nothing more than soft racism and classism.  It basically makes the claim that the poor and minorities lack the intelligence to read a form and check the appropriate box.  I for one do not think this is so.  I am more inclined to treat people as though they are able to function through life, almost like they’re real adults who should be responsible for themselves.  People tend to live up to expectations.  If you don’t expect much from them, don’t be surprised when you don’t get much from them.  If we would rightfully expect a 26 year-old to produce proper documentation in order to obtain a photo ID, why not a 96?  If we rightly expect a middle or upper economic class person to be able to check a box, why not a lower economic class person?  At what age do we no longer require people to comply with the rules or take responsibility for their lives?  How poor does one have to be to not be considered intelligent enough to fill out forms or ask questions?  Or better yet, when will the government cut the apron strings and allow people to stand or fall on their own?

Comments

  1. Terrance H. says:

    I realize conservatives have a curious aversion to verity and deductions based on logic and sanity, but I would appreciate it if you didn’t use my work to advance ideological falsehoods, particularly when you have totally misrepresented my conclusion.

    I shall speak only of the photo identification law in Wisconsin, since I have done no research on the others.

    First, it should be understood that valid photo identification is required to vote in Wisconsin under the bill signed by Governor Walker. Not just any photo identification, but a valid, unexpired one, “or if expired, expired after the date of the most recent general election.”

    That is according to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

    It’s important to keep that in mind, because according to the following study, an estimated 23% of elderly individuals – nearly 70% women – living in Wisconsin do not have photo identification, and if they do, it’s expired, and in some cases, by several years.

    The study also found that minorities and low-income earners are the groups most likely to have issues with photo identification. In fact, the study says that less than half the African American population of Milwaukee Country does not have a valid drivers license (47%). In that same country, 85% of Caucasian individuals do have valid identification.

    Univeristy of Wisconsin – Milwaukee: The Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin

    These points I’m making would be entirely moot had it not been for the memo given to State employees instructing them NOT to point out the box that if checked would provide a valid identification card to all citizens who desired one. Perhaps the motive was not necessarily to disenfranchise anyone, but instead to save the State some money (however measly the amount), but the consequences, whether intended or not, is that many people – mostly poor and black – are disenfranchised, unable to vote, and oh how curious that this reality also has the consequence, whether intended or not, of benefiting right-wingers in elections.

    You’ll attempt – no doubt – to rationalize reality away – as Republicans are so adept at doing – by waxing something pathetic about anyone who can read can spot the box and if they don’t, it’s their fault, But we both know better. We both know that this law, whether a malicious attempt to disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, and minorities, or not, should be repealed and replaced with something better, or else the memo should be replaced with a memo instructing all state employees to point out the box. That would solve the problem and render this argument pointless.

    It’s noteworthy that I do not have a problem with photo identification being required before you are able to cast a vote, since voting is a right reserved for citizens only.

  2. How about this: If a person isn’t smart enough to get an ID, why should he be allowed to vote, since he obviously isn’t smart enough to understand the political process or the issues involved. It’s interesting that these so-called “disenfranchised” are always the ones who will vote Demokrat – because that’s how they keep their “entitlements.” The Demokrats keep them as slaves.

    You have to have an ID to get social security card, you have to have an ID to get a library card, etc – so why the heck shouldn’t you have a good ID to vote? Oh, well by doing so it will prevent the illegal aliens from voting for Demokrats. It will prevent the ignorant from voting for Demokrats.

    There is absolutely NO excuse for anyone not to have a good ID to present for voting. If they don’t have one, then John is right in calling it civic laziness, and those sorts of people shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I also think if you don’t pay income tax you shouldn’t be allowed to vote! And for local elections, anything which requires voting on property taxes should be off limits to those who don’t pay them!

    • Glenn

      I’m not worried about illegals, I’m worried about the ACORN type activists going from district to district voting under different names.

      • John,
        Yeah, I forgot about those ACORN frauds, and you also have to worry about those dead people in Chicago voting.

        Terrance,
        I understand perfectly well the right of voting, but rights should have qualifications. It is not anti-American to want to keep the government from going bankrupt from all the leaches who only vote to keep their unConstitutional “entitlements.” Perhaps it is people like you who shouldn’t be allowed to vote because you don’t seem to understand the concept of bribery in voting. Yes, bribery! The Demokrats bribe those who are on various “entitlements” to vote for Demokrats.

        • Glenn

          The concept of a natural right entails no qualification. Voting is a granted right, which means the government could impose qualifications. We cant just say (unfortunately) that people should take a test. And as much as T’s ideals for government make me sick to my stomach, he still has a right to vote for which ever candidate serves his own political agenda, just like you and I. That is the beauty of the system, eventually, people who vote for candidates who share their convictions, they will eventually reap what they sow — in whatever direction.

          • I maintain that voting should not be a right, but a privilege. And if you want that privilege then you should meet certain qualifications: citizenship, paying taxes (why should you have a say in how taxes are spent if you don’t pay them?), not being bribed by the government, etc. And at least know something about what the issues are about if you are voting on those issues!

            Part of the reason this country is in such a mess is because people are allowed to vote without qualifications.

  3. Terrance H. says:

    Glenn,

    It seems clear to me that you don’t understand the concept that voting is a right and not a privilege. It’s a right afforded to all citizens regardless of race, sex, education, intelligence, income or social status. If I wanted to be as arbitrary as you, I might suggest that those who do not understand this very simple concept (i.e., you) shouldn’t be allowed to vote either.

    And I fail to see what entitlements have to do with this conversation. It’s seems like you’re only interested in keeping Democrats out office and you don’t care how it’s done.

    Your entire response brims with anti-American sentiments, so I would suggest you spend less time waving the flag and more time reading about the things that flag represents.

  4. Terrance H. says:

    John,

    As I said, I have absolutely no problem with identification being required before a citizen is allowed to cast his vote. It’s just common sense. I don’t want illegal immigrants voting in our elections because those elections are, per the Constitution, for citizens only. Also, like you, I’m concerned about people trying to vote more than once, regardless of who they vote for. But I want that identification to be free and its status as free made known to all. If Wisconsin does that, I’ve got no problem.

    • T

      I’m with you. Unfortunately voter fraud usually goes in the dem column. But, I don’t want people stealing elections for republicans either. I hold voting and elections to be sacred. I do not believe the ends justify the means. If Obama wins legit, then so be it, the people get what they deserve, but the people have spoken.

  5. I hate to say it, I basically agree with you John. Just kidding –> well, about “hating to say it”. I agree with what you said, and don’t hate to say it.

    Heck, liberals would probably considered me more fascist than you when I say that I might not be opposed to returning to a constitutional rule that says you have to pay taxes before you are allowed to vote. You use to need to be a land owner and I can see why. I don’t let my kids decide how our family spends their money because they don’t contribute.

    Since government has morphed into an entity that can take money away from people against their will, I don’t want folks voting who don’t plan to be victims of that government.

    Requiring folks to be responsible (like getting photo IDs) seems a big step down from the strictness I would enforce if I had my chance. I think it is highly reasonable and I’d have the rules even stricter if I had my choice — but guess what, too many other people have choices that cancel mine.

  6. Terrance H. says:

    Sabio,

    I’m not going to argue the bigger point, but I would like to mention that your analogy is somewhat false, considering voting decides more than mere appropriation. Also, everybody pays some taxes, be they payroll, income, or sales.

  7. I was part of an online conversation with a bunch of people, all Canadians but including several ex-pats, and from all over the political landscape, about this and we were all flumoxed by the same thing. We couldn’t understand what the big deal was about having up to date photo ID. Here, we’re just used to having to provide photo ID, they’re easy to get, and can be very inexpensive, or even free in some cases. About the only problem we could think of was for homeless people who didn’t have an address to give. Though the question was put out for Americans to enlighten us, no one stepped up to the plate.

    So what is the problem? Is it really that hard? expensive? confusing? inconvenient? to get a photo ID in the US? How is this even a controversy?

    We’re not getting it.

    • Kunoichi

      Of course its not difficult. One evidence of this is liberals arent complaining about states where voter ID laws have been in place for years, like my home state. No one here is complaining, or has complained that having to show ID has disenfranchised anyone, let alone the poor or minorities. And you know what, my state does not offer free ID for voting purposes. Youre on your own, and you have to pay for it. *GASP*

      So why is it only a problem for people who live in states where this will be new legislation? Aren’t poor people in those states poor like my state? How come my state’s poor can figure out a way to get ID without being disenfranchised? Aren’t blacks and hispanics in my state black and hispanic? How come the blacks and hispanics can figure out how to get an ID without being (or feeling) disenfranchised? Are the minorities and poor in my state smarter than those in other states?

      It just doesn’t make sense. Liberals are worried not that minorities and the poor will not be able to obtain ID, they’re worrind they just won’t bother (too lazy and unmotivated), and thus won’t vote democrat. Plain and simple.

  8. T

    Not everyone pays those taxes. Not every state has an income tax, not every state has a sales tax, and payroll taxes really just go to social security. 50% of the population doesnt pay any federal income taxes anyway, and many of the same wouldn’t be paying it to their states either.

    Sales taxes don’t count as “paying taxes” as far as I’m concerned. Everyone should have skin in the game, and everyone should be in a position to have their taxes raised when hikes come. No raising taxes (or lowering) on one bracket. It’s raised or lowered on all.

  9. T,
    I agree with John B: “Everyone should have skin in the game.” And everyone doesn’t. You shouldn’t be able to vote away monies you yourself don’t contribute.

    • >Sabio

      The (tax) system we have is designed to secure voting blocs, not generate revenue for the government to run properly. So many people have a tax free ride to the tune that every millionaire and billionaire could give up every asset and bank account, and we’d still be short (all you can eat)

      Uproar about these voter ID laws are liberal activists worried their most ardent supporters are too apathetic to get an ID in order to vote. You can rest assured that if there was a “tax credit” people would find a way.

  10. @ John
    I agree.

  11. Terrance H. says:

    Glenn,

    Everyone pays some taxes in this country. Not everyone pays income taxes, I’ll grant you, but everyone indeed pays some taxes, so I don’t know why you’re stuck on this narrative, along with Sabio, that you shouldn’t “have a say in how taxes are spent if you don’t pay them,” or even more mystifying, why you seem to believe that appropriation is the only thing politicians do. They also send young men and women to war, and I’ll guarantee that a significant number of the people fighting for your right to utter such anti-American sentiments come from families that pay no income tax.

    Pretty we tried that whole testing thing once before.

    I guarantee I could devise a civics exam that neither you nor John could pass without the help of a search engine. Perhaps John could devise a test I might have trouble with, peppering it here and there with examples of American piety that I find too distasteful to take seriously. And that’s the problem. Aside from Constitutional reasons, that’s why we can’t have a civics exam. Whose exam will we have to pass?

    You say Democrats bribe people. O.K. Republicans play to people’s superstitions while simultaneously sacking up with big corporations. Both parities are to be held in contempt.

  12. Terrance H. says:

    John,

    I can’t think of single place in this country where this isn’t at least some tax, be it on the State, Local, or Federal level. Everyone pays taxes in this country, even if they pay them only indirectly. You rent a house, you don’t pay property taxes. But I guarantee the landowner keeps the rent in line with how much he has to pay in property taxes. I guarantee the water company will raise your rate the minute their taxes are raised. Etc. So, it’s not fair to say that people pay no taxes, because everyone – everyone – is affected by them in someway.

  13. Terrance H. says:

    Or, not water company, but power company. You get the idea.

  14. @ Terrance:
    Agreed, everyone pays some tax. But those receiving welfare, if you subtract what they receive from what they pay, it might as well be nothing.

    I think everyone would have “skin in the games” they play:

    Though people may pay sales tax and such, if you aren’t paying a certain kind of tax, you shouldn’t be able to vote it away from others. I still don’t think non-income tax payers and non-property tax payers should be able to vote away those taxes from those who do pay. Not sure how to fix that, but I think that should be common sense. If the tax code was simplified so that it was all user tax, I’d be happy and that would fix it.

    Can you imagine a method that would meet my objections as still satisfy yours?

  15. Terrance H. says:

    Sabio,

    You can’t receive welfare permanently. But also, I’m not sure that the money you receive from welfare equates to the affect taxes have on your pocket book, even indirectly. If a store has their taxes raised, or is required to contribute more to the healthcare plan of their workers, or whatever, that cost is passed down to you. In Michigan, you only get about $600 a month in welfare – if you’re lucky – and I’m willing to bet that you pay more than that a month because of the actions or inaction of politicians.

    But that is quite beside the point. This debate is essentially only academic, because politicians make plenty of decisions that have nothing to do with money and those decisions affect everyone. So, everyone indeed has “skin in the games.” Literally, actually.

    I don’t think it’s fair that people’s superstitions continue to place pious jackasses in public office, but that’s the way it is. It’s their right to vote for whomever they want for whatever reason. And regardless if my neighbor pays taxes directly, he is affected by this governments decisions and so has a voice, per the Constitution, in who is making the decisions that impact his life.

    I don’t know what the solution is that would satisfy the both of us. The entire way the government does things is messed up.

  16. @ Terrance

    This debate is essentially only academic, because politicians make plenty of decisions that have nothing to do with money and those decisions affect everyone.

    Indeed that is true, it is academic. But all those decisions are made with money — politician make the decision but people who don’t pay any significant taxes, vote for those politicians.

    I don’t think it’s fair that people’s superstitions continue to place pious jackasses in public office,

    I have not problem with pious people, per say unless they try to force their piety on me or my children. I do have trouble with jackasses, of course, but we may not agree on who those are.

    As for me, changing the tax system, changing the voting system and changing the spending system would be a great step in the right direction.

  17. Terrance H. says:

    Sabio,

    If the government passes a law requiring all citizens to purchase health insurance (and they have), that affects me whether I pay taxes or not. If they pass a law that says I cannot text while driving (as they have in Michigan), that affects me. If they pass a law saying I cannot wear red shirts on Sundays, that, too, affects me. So, I maintain that it is not fair to include money as the end all be all.

  18. @ Terrance
    Yeah, I agree. As you said, it is academic but it would be great if we could isolate people from voting away the monies of others. I think making everything a user tax would be a good way — those who spend more, pay more. Make sense to me. Do you see a problem with that, either in principle or practicality?

  19. Another raging liberal agrees with John.

    I can somewhat see where these groups are coming from: any restriction on voting rights, even an ID requirement puts one on the slippery slope to restrictive poll taxes and unpassable civics tests specifically designed to disenfranchise black voters. Fortunately, this slope is not particularly slippery, and it is rather unlikely that requiring voters to show an ID is going to actually hurt anyone except for those who would be too lazy to vote in the first place. Like most slippery slopes, it slips both ways, and so it could be argued that not requiring voter ID is going to lead to us letting illegal aliens and random tourists who walk by a polling place to vote.

  20. I think that sounds about right, CRL

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