Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lazy voters for the win

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Democalypse 2012 - Right Said Fraud
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The show continues with Larry Wilmore apologizing for innocent white people getting caught up in a policy meant to suppress the black vote. "In the world of voter suppression, black folks are the delicious tuna - irresistible! World War II veterans and grandmas are just the innocent dolphins who get pulled up in the net."

But I wanted to post that first clip to illustrate this:
This morning, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson blocked the Pennsylvania's Republican-sponsored voter ID law from going into effect during this election. It's a victory for the Obama campaign, voting rights groups, and according to the sponsor of the strict photo ID law Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a victory for the shiftless horde
Rather than making a ruling based on the constitution and the law, this judicial activist decision is skewed in favor of the lazy who refuse to exercise the necessary work ethic to meet the commonsense requirements to obtain an acceptable photo ID.

I guess people dealing with "long lines and ill-informed clerks at driver's license centers and identification requirements that made it hard for some registered voters to get a state-issued photo ID" are lazy.

For those of us who already have an appropriate photo ID, this is a non-issue. And anyone who won't get one is just lazy, right?

But note that elderly woman in Jon Stewart's video clip. She's been turned away three times. How difficult do you have to make voting before people will just give up?

Heck, most Americans don't bother to vote even when you make it as easy as possible. That's truly a national embarrassment. But Republicans are trying to make it difficult for people who want to vote, people who are willing to do their civic duty as Americans.

And even Republican leaders - those who aren't smart enough to keep up the pretense of "voter fraud" - admit that this is all about getting a political advantage. (Mitt Romney is currently polling zero among African Americans, and only about 20% among Hispanics.)

I think about my elderly mother, who didn't have enough ID to get her drivers license renewed last time. Yeah, she had her current license, and she'd been living - and driving - in this state since before I was born, but she still had to go home and get more identification.

Hey, if that had been for voting, she would never have gone back. And even at her age, it's easier for her than for many of the elderly.

It's not just the elderly, either. The urban poor, sometimes raising a family while working two jobs, might not have the time for this stuff, especially when Republicans are also busy closing offices in Democratic-leaning precincts. Many of those people don't drive.

For most people, it's not that they can't get an ID, if they're really persistent. But not everyone will try that hard. (And that doesn't necessarily make them "lazy," either.) Whenever you make it difficult, you suppress votes. It's as simple as that.

And that's the whole point. If Republicans had any examples of in-person voter fraud, it would be trumpeted all over Fox 'News.' Heck, the Bush administration spent eight years on a voter fraud witch hunt, without success. They even fired those federal prosecutors who were more concerned with real crime.

This isn't about voter fraud. It's never been about voter fraud. It's about winning elections when you've lost African Americans, Hispanics, women, and young people. It's about maintaining power when the supply of elderly white bigots who are both ill-informed and gullible is shrinking fast.


WiseFather said...

It could be worse than you think. The pretextual "hunt for voter fraud" goes beyond registration purging and poll watchers. In states where poll watchers are more heavily regulated, True the Vote and their affiliates/allies are recruiting and training people to be actual election judges. One organizer went so far as to say "Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election."

So do you think that driver's license makes your vote safe?

Any liquor store clerk knows how easy it is to get a fake. Do we expect TTV not to be aware of this fact in their training? Does the state provide adequate guidance for election judges in determining whether an ID's picture sufficiently matches the person staning before them? What about the signature matching requirements?

These subjective judgment calls concerning a person's right to vote a regular ballot may end up in the hands of someone trained to be paranoid rather than reasonably vigilant. See for some of the flaws in Ohio's laws protecting voters on election day, and here for Florida which has a horrific defect in its voter challenge law that is not getting enough attention.

WCG said...

Thanks for the comment and the links, WiseFather. I must admit, I think I'm more worried about actually getting people to their polling location than in any of these shenanigans.

OK, the potential to discourage voters in Democratic-leaning precincts with long lines might be an issue. But for the rest, given that they'll still get a provisional ballot, I'm less concerned. (These are still issues, just probably not critical ones.)

Frankly, if it were me they were trying to keep from voting, that would make me more determined than ever. But long lines - and requirements to have a state-issued photo ID - would very definitely have an effect on many people, because it might not be so obvious what is going on.

Ironically, a lot of right-wing crazies are absolutely convinced that Democrats are stealing elections through voter fraud. I've had people tell me there have been tens of thousands of cases in some state elections.

Yeah, that's nuts, but I guess it makes me a little more cautious about these things. I want to be absolutely certain before I make any claims, myself.