Voter ID laws are driving down minority turnout...but I'm for them anyway

Having an ID is such a basic part of life, it has just always seemed absurd to me to fight for the right not to have it. It also seems obvious that the vote is not secure if people can just walk up and vote on their say so. The arguments about the small number of prosecutions for vote fraud are not persuasive. We wouldn’t necessarily know if it were widespread, and if it can happen at all, it is a fair issue. Look at how close I came to being a Bernie voter in the Iowa caucus!

And even if I were to just be a total hack and say that it helps Democrats, so I should be for it, part of being a hack is having some kind of cover story that will be semi-plausible for the people in the middle. And I just don’t see one here.

What I do see is a kind of trap for Democrats. We bitterly oppose voter ID, but the broad public supports it for the reasons I outlined. So we look out of step with the public, and frankly like we are just trying to gain any sleazy advantage we can find, with no real principle behind it. We also advertise that an integral part of our base is a group of voters who live a strange, marginalized existence that a suburban swing voter cannot relate to. I don’t think this makes our party very inviting for them to join.

And then, after all that bad publicity for our party, we lose the fight and we get voter ID anyway. Double whammy.

Is it really that hard for us to get people ID? Wouldn’t that help them in other ways? Who are these people who vote, implying that they are not just completely street people or whatever, but don’t cash checks or anything?

Voter fraud myths:

It appears that minorities get intimidated by having to show ID:

Millions were turned back from voting in 2008:

Most Americans do not vote anyway:

Yes, it is that hard for some people to get ID, particularly after the more stringent requirements instituted after 9/11. I don’t really have a problem in theory with asking someone to show ID at the polls, but if that’s what people want to do, that requirement has to be implemented with a system that makes it extremely easy to get the ID (particularly for lower income people or people with disabilities). This is the problem with these Voter ID laws. If one has the goal to both expand the franchise and reduce voter fraud, then these ID laws would be implemented very differently. If one is going to pooh-pooh away concerns about the ease of getting an ID, then I’m not going to support their vision of Voter ID laws. If they want to come to me and address the concerns about ease and cost of obtaining the ID, then I might be willing to listen.

And as pointed out by ElderSign, these concerns about voter fraud are way overblown.

I’ll also note that in CA, we have optional vote-by-mail (they call it year-round absentee ballot, but it’s the same thing). I do vote-by-mail, and I don’t have to show my ID to vote at all. I do have to sign a statement that verifies that I’m not fraudulently voting on the ballot, but that’s it. Somehow, all these states that are so concerned about Voter ID don’t seem to care about mail-in votes. Now, I don’t see a practical way to do Voter ID with a mail-in ballot, but if a state is accepting mail-in ballots, then they aren’t verifying ID for all their ballots anyway.

I don’t think we are fighting for the right not to have ID; we’re merely acknowledging the reality that there’s a lot of people who don’t. Meanwhile, the other side is fighting for the right to disenfranchise American citizens who don’t possess a magic piece of paper.

And who cashes checks anymore?

I don’t think the OP is unreasonable. Voter ID laws would be ok if they were coupled with a strong drive to get everyone who wants to vote an ID.

And the OP here is a ridiculously partisan Democrat. You don’t need to show him the myth of voter fraud. He could probably write an essay about it in his sleep.

Wait, we (Democrats) are just trying to gain any sleazy advantage we can find, with no real principle behind it? The principle that all citizens should be able to vote is sleazy, with no real principle behind it? Seriously?

Give me a break. And go become a Republican while you’re at it. I’m sick and tired of alleged Democrats like you urging the rest of us to adopt Republican positions.

Right. For example, here since the 1984 election when you register you are** issued, free of cost to you, a photo-ID Voter Identification Card** that you’ll present to the poll workers and they’ll compare the picture to your face, and the info on the card to the info about you on the voter list (by law the card may not be demanded of you by anyone other than the elections personel).

Of course when you first ever register you do have to show to the satisfaction of the elections commission who you are and where you live, and provide not just name and address and DOB but also place of birth and both parents’ names if known, but we have a whole set of acceptable evidence including both birth and baptismal certificates and naturalization papers and passports and in-person sworn statements from already-registered voters.

He said “you look like you’re trying to gain a sleazy advantage”.

Indeed I did.

Frank, I guess you want to tell 74% of the American public that they are not welcome in the Democratic Party? Not exactly a big tent or a winning electoral coalition there.

Uh-huh. I’m sure you’re soooo concerned about voter fraud. How about you actually address these issues:

Or this:

Oh, and address the mail-in issue too, while you’re at it.

I’m genuinely asking this, since I don’t live in PR. How much does it cost to get a birth certificate or a baptismal certificate?

I am absolutely against mail-in voting, which destroys the fundamental and crucial principle of the secret ballot.

Oregon, Washington State & Colorado offer voting by mail. So does Texas for people of a certain age; I’m not decrepit but find it more convenient. The ballot is mailed to me, using info from my voter registration form. I mark my choices, then seal the ballot within another envelope that I sign, attesting that I am who I am. No extra ID is needed–probably the State of Texas assumes my demographic votes Republican. Nope.

You’re talking about disenfranchising lots of people in many states. Your “concern” has been noted.

Uh-huh. How would you deal with soldiers who are overseas or US citizens who are overseas without mail-in? Lay it out for me in detail. Remember, we don’t just have to deal with general elections, but we also have to deal with primaries.

I noticed you ignored the other issues that have been laid out in this thread.

Oh, by the way, my vote-by-mail ballot is secret. My signature or my name is not on the actual ballot itself. I put it in an envelope which contains my identifying information. When it gets to the counting place, they put my ballot in a stack of other mail-in ballots and run them through the machine.

I suppose someone could, in theory, track my name with my ballot, but (a) that’s against the law and (b) it’s theoretically possible to do that with an in-person ballot.

But, hey, tell us all about how showing an ID is less secret than voting by mail.

I have two complaints against voter id requirements.

  1. in practice, they are quite onerous for people who don’t have id, and these people exist. This concern could be negated if there were an optional federal id that you could get for free at any post office, with no more than two visits (one to apply, possibly a second to pick it up) and if those post offices had some hours outside of core business hours (such as evening or weekend hours.) States could allow whatever id s they like, gun license but not student id, whatever, but would be required to also accept the federal id.

  2. election lines are slow, and in many cases, they are so slow they keep people away. Checking id adds time. I’m not sure what to do about this. I am pretty sure that politicians manipulate the resources available to voting districts to sway the results.

Other than those items, I don’t think there’s any real problem with requiring voter id, although it looks like a solution in search of a problem to me. But I do think that if a state is going to require id for voters, it should require it for all voters, including absentee ballots that are mailed in. You can have voters show their id when they request the ballot (in person, at a more convenient time. Or maybe scanned in some way?) The handicapped can get special exemptions with medical documentation.

You are really set on having the same argument you’ve clearly had a million times already, aren’t you? The OP was not claiming to be worried about voter fraud. He’s saying it’s a political loser. It’s not a hill the Dems should die on. Why don’t you take him at his word rather than ask him to prove something he hasn’t put forth.

Blah, blah, blah. He didn’t limit himself to only talking about the electoral prospects of the issue. He wants to use right-wing talking points in his arguments, then I’m going to deal with them. You want to pretend that he isn’t doing so, then your arguments can go in the circular file. Bye!

Bye bye!