VOTER ID? NO PROBLEM

And that is what requiring a photo ID for voting actually deals with, NO PROBLEM.

The recent passage of laws in several states requiring a photo ID in order to vote has been much in the news. Pennsylvania passed such a law this week. Texas is being sued by the Department of Justice over its law. A court in Wisconsin overturned its law.

This notion of presenting a photo ID is based on the claim that fraud is rampant. Hogwash. Or in language more easily understood…BULLSHIT!

There is no credible evidence that not requiring voters to present a photo ID leads to widespread fraudulent voting.

For instance, Kansas is currently trying to pass such a law, though it is meeting some legislative resistance. But the Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, has urged passage due to what he claims are 221 cases of voter fraud concerning ID since 1997.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/opinion/the-myth-of-voter-fraud.html

Think about that for a minute. That is fewer than 15 cases a year for the past 15 years. And the article linked to notes that:

When The Wichita Eagle looked into the local cases on the list, the newspaper found that almost all were honest mistakes: a parent trying to vote for a student away at college, or signatures on mail-in ballots that didn’t precisely match those on file. In one case of supposed “fraud,” a confused non-citizen was asked at the motor vehicles bureau whether she wanted to fill out a voter registration form, and did so not realizing she was ineligible to vote.

Some folks would have you believe that some recent cases of voter fraud illustrate the need for voter ID. This article cites  cases in Lincoln County, W.Va. and Troy, N.Y. where some  officials pleaded guilty to fraud as an example.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/voter-fraud-major-election-threat-based-recent-cases-analyst-says

But that is not what happened in Lincoln County. Let the FBI explain.:

Bowman admitted that during the conspiracy, he falsified more than 100 absentee ballot applications for voters who did not have any legal basis to vote absentee. After the false applications were processed, Bowman then returned to many of those voters’ homes and was in the room with them while they voted, telling them which candidates he backed. Bowman further admitted that in at least six cases, he himself marked voters’ absentee ballots.

http://www.fbi.gov/pittsburgh/press-releases/2012/two-former-lincoln-county-officials-plead-guilty-to-election-fraud-charges

In other words, these voters did not even go to the polls where ID would have been checked. In fact the gist of the case is that the wayward officials told the people who to vote for.

Again that is the case in Troy where officials forged signatures to absentee ballots.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/21/officials-plead-guilty-in-new-york-voter-fraud-case/

Both instances of fraud were committed by public officials with absentee ballots, not people going to the polls without proper ID.

Remember ACORN? You, know, the organization that committed massive voter fraud? Except it didn’t. What actually happened is that the organization, to its regret, employed workers to enlist legitimate potential voters to register, but a number of these workers were…now sit down before you read this…LAZY. Yes, in all caps, LAZY.

What these LAZY workers did was submit names for registration who had not signed up so the workers would get paid more. There were several prosecutions for fraud, all of this nature. For a fuller explanation see this.

http://www.factcheck.org/2008/10/acorn-accusations/

But so far ACORN itself has not been officially charged with any fraud. Aside from the heated charges and counter-charges, no evidence has yet surfaced to show that the ACORN employees who submitted fraudulent registration forms intended to pave the way for illegal voting. Rather, they were trying to get paid by ACORN for doing no work. Dan Satterberg, the Republican prosecuting attorney in King County, Wash., where the largest ACORN case to date was prosecuted, said that the indicted ACORN employees were shirking responsibility, not plotting election fraud.

In 2002 Congress passed legislation known as “The Help America Vote Act of 2002”. Part of that law provides for this:

HAVA requires any voter who registered by mail and who has not previously voted in a federal election to show current and valid photo identification or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. Voters who submitted any of these forms of identification during registration are exempt, as are voters entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the  Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help_America_Vote_Act

Note the simplified standards for ID including many alternatives to a photo ID. And the law applies only to new voters who had registered by mail, not in person.

Pursuant to that legislation the U.S. Election Assistance Commission(EAC), a bipartisan group, was established to define problems and address ways to deal with them. This report from 2006 describes the manner in which it approached its task.

http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/workflow_staging/Page/57.PDF

The commission utilized a variety of methods to make these determinations including statistical studies, examination of law enforcement reports, media reports, interviews with a diverse group of academics, and a wealth of reading material, both current and historic.

This further report discusses some of the issues and findings concerning voter ID. Some of the results were tentative, but still telling.

http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/workflow_staging/Page/62.PDF

In studying elections in 2004 it was difficult to correlate the effect that requiring a photo ID would have on voter turnout, since states had not yet resorted to this mandate. However on Page 7 of that report available statistics do show an inverse relation between voter ID requirements and voter turnout.

The report further discusses “tradeoffs”. That is, would the amount of fraud prevented by stricter ID policies be greater than the number of otherwise legitimate voters disenfranchised by these laws, thus reducing turnout. Certain figures from the 2004 election indicate such a correlation but the EAC is conducting further studies in light of recently passed ID laws.

Now the question comes down to, even if there’s not widespread fraud due to not requiring ID, why is it oppressive to require it?

The answer lies mainly in the fact that, perhaps surprisingly to some, there are many millions of people who do not have a photo ID, yet are eligible to vote. These people are mainly poor, or elderly and many are minorities.

http://www.brennancenter.org/content/section/category/voter_id

This might be particularly so in larger cities with good public transit systems and where many people do not drive, and have no need for drivers’ licenses, the main type of acceptable photo ID required.

It should be easy to obtain a photo ID, right?

Possibly not. In West Virginia, beginning this year, to obtain or renew a driver’s license, or plain photo ID, you must meet the following requirements:

Driver’s Licenses 

NEW Licensing Requirements 

Effective January 3, 2012, you will be required to bring in the documentation outlined below.

Current unexpired Licenses and ID cards are still valid and will continue to be until their expiration.  All Licenses issued after January 3, 2012 will fall under the requirements and guidelines outlined below. Click here to see previous Licenses.

You must have one (1) Proof of Social Security Number:

  • Original Social Security Card
  • Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) or payroll stub with the applicant’s employer name and employer ID number, as well as the applicant’s name, address, and Social Security Number
  • SSA/1099 Form (Social Security Benefit Form) Please make sure your Social Security records reflect your full legal name, as reflected on your other documents.  DMV must be able to establish a name connection between documents, therefore your full legal name must match your name on file with the Social Security Administration. Your documents will be scanned and returned to you, which will provide DMV with a historical record, and provide you with additional protection.

You must have one (1) Proof of Identity:

  • U.S. Birth Certificate: An original or certified copy of a United States-issued birth certificate (U.S. Department of State and U.S. Military birth certificates ARE acceptable. Hospital birth certificates are NOT acceptable.)Valid unexpired U.S. Passport
  • If foreign born, valid, unexpired Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Documents

You must have two (2) forms of Proof of WV Residency Documents

You may use two documents from LIST B or one from LIST B and one from LIST C. Documents with a PO Box are not acceptable.  Any recurrinng document cannot be more than 60 days old (ie utility bill).  Married applicants may provide residency documents from LIST B or LIST C in their spouse’s name when accompanied with a Certified Marriage Certificate.

  LIST B

  • WV utility bills (not more than 60 days old)
  • Tax records with a WV street address
  • WV mortgage documents, WV homeowner insurance documents for a WV residence or proof of WV home ownership
  • WV W-2 form not more than 18 months old
  • WV weapons permit
  • A Valid WV Motor Vehicles registration card
  • WV voter’s registration card
  • WV driver’s eligibility certificate (School Enrollment Form) if applicant is under age 18 with the applicant’s WV street address
  • WV Homestead Tax exemption
  • Proof of WV Public Assistance
  • Residential rental or lease agreement
  • WV DMV Affidavit of West Virginia Residency

  LIST C

  • College admissions letter that shows the applicant is an in-state resident
  • Letter from any of the below offices that show the applicant has been a WV resident at their facility and that shows the current physical address, letterhead preferred but not required:Benefits letter from WV Health and Human Resources
    • WV Homeless Shelter, Hotel or Job Corp
    • WV Senior Citizens Home
    • WV Rehabilitation Center
    • WV Nursing Home
    • WV Children’s Home, Orphanage or Shelter
    • WV Battered Women’s Shelter
  • Check stub from any WV employer that shows a current physical address (cannot be hand written).
  • Social Security benefits letter
  • WV Professional License
  • Letter from the applicant’s employer stating that all utility and house arrangements are provided by the employer
  • United States Selective Service card
  • Letter from the US Post Office that shows a new, physical, WV address assigned by the Post Office for the applicant
  • WV Dealer temporary registration card
  • WV Bank Statement, Auto Insurance or Hunting License
  • License Plate renewal form
  • 911 letter

Proof of Legal Name Change (if applicable)

Any change in your legal name must be represented through one of the following proof
documents: 

  • Certified Marriage Certificate (If you need to obtain one, contact the county courthouse in the county and state in which you were married (click here for a WV directory))
  • Certified Copy of a Birth CertificateCourt Order
  • Divorce Decree with Name Change

I live in a senior citizen high rise. Many residents do not drive and probably don’t have other photo ID. Let’s say one needs to obtain a birth certificate. Here’s what you have to do:

http://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/hsc/vital/birthcert.asp

There is a cost of $12. Now be mindful that poll taxes of as little as $1.50 were ruled unconstitutional but you have to spend at least $12 to vote.

You don’t drive so you use public transit to get to the DMV. This takes a little more money plus TIME. If you lack any other of the proofs of identity listed, more time and effort and possiblt money would have to be expended. What if you are ill or disabled? Even more difficult.

And the hell of it all? You’ve been voting, honestly, for over sixty years WITHOUT these requirements.

As the EAC emphasized, the remedy of requiring ID may disenfranchise more voters than the number of fraudulent votes it stops.

Two major factors seem to be at play in the movement towards mandating photo ID. The states leading the charge were mainly in the south and among them were some of the states who were the worst offenders in depriving blacks of their voting rights for decades by the use of poll taxes, literacy tests, and other devices.

Indeed, some of these states, like texas and South Carolina where the DOJ has filed suit agaist these laws, are still subject to strict scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act for any changes in voting laws due to their past egregious behavior.

The vast majority of states now joining them have Republican governors who have pushed their legislatures hard to enact these laws.

Most of this movement has occurred since the election of 2008 where Barack Obama became our first president with a black heritage. There is some evidence to suggest that increased black voting put him over the top, especially instates that gave him the electoral votes that had recently been going to the Republican candidate.

It all just sounds so suspicious to me. Ulterior motives abound.

But, then again, look what suspicions are raised by the right vis a vis Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers on far flimsier evidence.

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