One inevitable sideshow that has been gaining some traction in the Liberal blogosphere and Lame Stream Media are some recent articles about voter ID laws. Most of this is being fanned by a report from the Brennan Center for Justice, itself hardly a bipartisan, independent voice. Their latest "study" states that because of recent laws enacted by states, close to 5 million Americans may be disenfranchised just in time for the 2012 election. Underlying this dire prediction is the assumption that this is an orchestrated effort by Republican-controlled states to suppress traditional Democratic voters- blacks, Hispanics and the young.
What the criticisms prove are Liberal hypocrisy, lies, and disinformation involved in this area. First, the hypocrisy. Remember Obama's State of the Union address when he attacked the Supreme Court for their decision in CITIZEN'S UNITED? Remember how he claimed that the decision was so dangerous that it left the doors open for foreign corporate money influencing our elections? Leaving aside the fact that this decision in no way addressed that issue and as most constitutional scholars note would probably pass muster, the Constitutional Scholar-in-Chief thinks otherwise. Obama and company left themselves open to shine a light on their hypocrisy. They worry about the influence of foreign corporate donations on our elections on the one hand, but they apparently care less about who actually pulls the levers in the voting booth. To them, the integrity of the voting registration rolls matter less than phantom, non-existent, and illegal foreign cash influencing elections.
DailyKos delineated the specifics of the Brennan report saying that new voter ID laws going into effect in Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin will affect an estimated 3.2 million potential voters. Proof of citizenship requirements in Alabama, Kansas, and Tennessee will affect another 240,000, they claim. That is the bulk of their 5 million claim. Looking at the above laws, one can clearly see the utter nonsense involved. A headline that reads "5 Million to be Disenfranchised" sounds better than "States Tighten Voter ID Laws in States where Obama has a snowball chance in hell of winning anyway." Does anyone other than the most utopian optimistic Obamatron really believe Obama will be even close to the Republican nominee in the states of Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, or Alabama? Perhaps- and its a big perhaps- only in Wisconsin do they have a possible, tangential claim.
The remainder of their "disenfranchised" are from an alleged 200,000 who MAY find it difficult to register. That is because in 2008, about 200,000 people were registered through organized voter drives. New laws in Texas and Florida place restrictions on registration drives and with good reason. This is the area most susceptible to voter fraud, especially by organizers of these drives. So ACORN and SEIU may find it is not business as usual for them in these two states come 2012. Regardless, they make the erroneous assumption that Liberals and Democrats are the only ones who engage in organized registration drives. While it may be true that those organized by liberal concerns have the most tainted reputation, the laws in these states "disadvantage" Republicans as well as Democrats. In 2008, 2.13 million voters in Florida were newly registered and its estimated that 8.24% were through organized drives, or 176,000. At least 501,000 new voters were registered in Texas, 26,000 through organized drives. The Brennan study and their Liberal adherents are making the false assumption that all 176,000 people in Florida and the 26,000 in Texas were all Democrats or would have voted for Democrats.
Another 60,000, they allege, will lose the right to vote because the state of Maine has abolished Election Day registration. Who is to say that another 60,000 people in Maine will demand registration on Election Day in 2012? First of all, Maine is in no danger of voting Republican in 2012 any more than Kansas will turn into a blue state. Secondly, there is a commonsense solution: tell those 60,000 people to register sooner. But, I forget: liberals lack commonsense.
They claim another 2 million will not be entitled to vote because three states- Florida, Georgia, and Ohio- cut back the days for early voting. In 2008, the Brennan report estimates that 2 million people voted on days that were eliminated under these laws. This concept I never really understood and I believe these laws are merely a rollback of a system gone wild. I understand that early voting is for people in certain special circumstances (they may be out of state, or handicapped, or whatever). But, I always thought that there was something called absentee ballots and such to address these concerns. When Election Day is set as the first Tuesday of November (for Federal offices), it should be the first Tuesday of November. The fact that "early voting" is even allowed in any state should be looked upon as a bonus to Liberals.
Finally, they claim that another 100,000 currently disenfranchised voters MAY have been eligible to cast ballots in 2012. By this, they mean that two states- Florida and Iowa- have made it virtually impossible for convicted past felons to vote. The 100,000 figure is only from Florida and is based on the rate of restoration under the former policy in Florida. States have historically set the requirements and parameters for the right to vote and they have generally been upheld unless they violate someone's civil rights. Some on the Left have made the leap in assumptions that (1) former felons will vote Democratic and that (2) there is some racial motivation to this. Really? Were all alleged 100,000 people in Florida black or Hispanic? Were they all Liberals? Not a single one of these 100,000 people are conservative in their politics?
This is a problem with Liberals. They live in a world of hypotheticals ignorant of the real world. They deny that voter fraud exists and that voter ID laws are onerous and disenfranchise people. To deny that there is voter fraud, despite its relative degree of incidence, is just plain goofy. Even one isolated, confirmed case of voter fraud taints the system. Furthermore, numerous studies have mentioned that when voter ID laws went into effect in Indiana and Georgia before the 2008 election, voter registration and turnout actually INCREASED, and that among the subgroups that the Left now seeks to protect by denigrating these laws, registration and turnout INCREASED. Most of the evidence that these laws suppress votes comes from self-reports on voting behavior. For example, if asked if they would be inclined to vote knowing they had to show photo ID, many people report "no." However, their actual behavior negates the self-reports as the numbers from Georgia and Indiana reflect. In fact, despite or because of these laws, there was greater black and Hispanic turnout in the 2008 elections. The fear on the Left is not that these laws will suppress the votes of these people. They more fear that (1) those legitimately entitled to vote in this country will vote and (2) of those that do vote, they may not necessarily fall for that "hope and change" rhetoric this time around. In effect, they are setting up a handy excuse for a possible loss and what better scapegoat than Republicans denying minorities the right to vote?
In fact, it is the Left and Liberals (and by extension, the Democratic Party) that is playing race politics by insinuating that blacks and Hispanics, or the young or even the old, are incapable of obtaining some form of picture ID. My daughter, age 20, has no driver's license (long story, don't ask), yet she has a student photo ID, a passport, and a library card. Its strange that one usually (or should) present photo ID to make a credit card purchase, or to get on an airplane or a variety of other activities that no one on the Left rails about, but when it comes to something as important as casting a vote, they come screaming at you crying "Racism!!!" It is they who are the racists through their group identity politics and their false, erroneous assumptions about individuals.
And I find it ironic that these same groups on the Left leave out a very important voting bloc, one that tends to vote Republican or conservative, and one where a case for disenfranchisement may actually exist- military personnel serving abroad. One has to wonder how many of their absentee ballots and votes were counted or not counted? By inaction, we afford a greater degree of deference to potential ineligible voters than we do to members of the military serving abroad. That- not voter ID laws- is the real shame and one over which I do not hear much Liberal chest-thumping. It is time for them to get their heads out of their asses, start living in the real world, stop the racial, group identity politics that divides this nation at times, and insure that those eligible to vote are truly eligible to vote and stop the rhetoric over much ado about their alleged nothing. If, according to their theory, widespread voter fraud is not a problem in this country, then there should be no fear about voter ID laws. They- the Left- has nothing to lose while everyone else has a lot to gain.