Conservatives have long supported voter identification efforts as a way of deterring organized vote fraud in many jurisdictions. Where we have succeeded in passing laws requiring positive identification of voters they have been challenged in court. The left is fond of claiming these efforts are voter suppression because, you know, poor people and minorities are too stupid to get an ID and being poor and minorities they don’t have a bank account or EBT card or car or anything else. That is the position staked out by the ACLU (motto: attacking America at home and abroad since 1920):
Voting rights are under attack in this country as state legislatures nationwide pass voter suppression laws under the pretext of preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity. These voter suppression laws take many forms, and collectively lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right.
During the 2011 legislative sessions, states across the country passed measures to make it harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities – to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. Over thirty states considered laws that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID, and would be required to navigate the administrative burdens to obtain it or forego the right to vote entirely.
The famously dense Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) writing at the struggling group blog called “Slate” (h/t to Ace for that description) claims that it isn’t just poor and minorities being targeted but Democrats because they, like poor and minorities, are too stupid to have an ID:
For as much as Republicans insist that this is about “protecting the vote,” evidence suggests otherwise. According to a recent paper from Keith G. Bentele and Erin E. O’Brien, there’s a clear pattern to the incidence of voter restrictions. States that elected Republican governors, increased their share of Republican lawmakers, or became more electorally competitive under Republicans were more likely to pass voter identification and other limits on the franchise. The same was true for states with “unencumbered Republican majorities” and large black populations—they were especially likely to pass restrictive measures. Not out of racial animus, but because African-Americans are a reliable Democratic constituency.
The fact that numerous courts have examined the issue and come to the conclusion that confirming that voters are actually qualified to vote is not discriminatory, the left has come up with an fallback position: even if the laws aren’t discriminatory vote fraud doesn’t exist because there are laws against it. The classic in this genre comes from a blogger at thinkprogress.org names Scott Keyes (@smkeyes) posting at Slate: The GOP Sees Dead People—Voting.
When Americans go to the polls this November, they better have some ID. If they don’t, millions of them won’t be casting a ballot. Over the past two years, Republican legislators from Texas to Florida to Wisconsin and beyond have enacted new restrictions making it significantly more difficult for citizens to exercise their right to vote. These laws, which could disenfranchise more voters than at any time since the 1960s, exist because of one widely held conservative belief: that our elections are plagued with fraud.
If you challenge conservatives with just how rare voter fraud is in the United States, you usually get one of three responses: It’s easy to do, it’s hard to catch, and they’ve heard of it happening. Let’s take these arguments one at a time.
Proponents of tough new voting restrictions often argue that voter fraud cancels out honest votes, effectively disenfranchising you and me. The irony is that by trying to stamp out a fraud menace that doesn’t exist, millions of honest voters will be turned away from the polls. If widespread voter fraud existed, we should confront it. In the meantime, we shouldn’t make policy out of tall tales and paranoid fears.
While we will never be able to stamp out the race-baiting that is the stock-in-trade of guys like Bouie we can put to rest the idiocy of the “it doesn’t happen” argument. Via FoxNews: Hundreds of cases of potential voter fraud uncovered in North Carolina:
Elections Director Kim Strach told state lawmakers at an oversight hearing Wednesday that her staff has identified 765 registered North Carolina voters who appear to have cast ballots in two states during the 2012 presidential election.
Strach said the first names, last names, birthdates and last four digits of their Social Security numbers appear to match information for voters in another state. Each case will now be investigated to determine whether voter fraud occurred.
But wait, there’s more…
A law passed last year by the Republican-dominated state legislature required elections staff to check information for North Carolina's more than 6.5 million voters against a database containing information for 101 million voters in 28 states.
The cross-check found listings for 35,570 North Carolina voters whose first names, last names and dates of birth match those of voters who voted in other states. However, in those cases middle names and Social Security numbers were not matched.
This is not a minor problem, this is an industry. Under a most favorable scenario one has to expect the overwhelming majority of the voters matching name and date of birth are the same person. To appreciate magnitude of what we are seeing here consider this only includes one state and that state’s data was only cross checked against 28 states. Extrapolated nationally, this could be as many as 60K illegal voter that emanate from North Carolina alone and as many as 1,000,000 illegal voters nationwide. As each of the voters in this sample voted twice, the impact is not trivial.
Even though Romney carried NC in 2012 one has to presume these 35K voters didn’t suddenly appear in 2012 but are part of a longstanding pattern of double voting. In 2008, Obama carried NC by less than 15,000 votes. One also has to assume that the fraudulent votes are not spread evenly in all congressional districts… my guess would be they are concentrated in districts with high numbers of Democrats… and could very easily be responsible for the election of Mike McIntire in North Carolina’s 7th District which he won by only 533 votes in 2012.
Voter identification is the only assurance that elections are both free and fair. When you have over 1% of the Democrat votes cast in North Carolina explainable by fraudulent voting we no longer have that assurance.