Archive for Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tough ID laws may deter many voters

July 10, 2012


When Edward and Mary Weidenbener went to vote in Indiana’s primary in May, they didn’t realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver’s license or passport.

The husband and wife, both approaching 90 years old, had to use a temporary ballot that would be verified later, even though they knew the people working the polling site that day. Unaware that Indiana law obligated them to follow up with the county election board, the Weidenbeners ultimately had their votes rejected — news to them until informed recently by an Associated Press reporter.

Edward Weidenbener, a World War II veteran who had voted for Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential contest, said he was surprised by the rules and the consequences.

“A lot of people don’t have a photo ID. They’ll be automatically disenfranchised,” he said.

Tossed votes

As more states put in place strict voter ID rules, an AP review of temporary ballots from Indiana and Georgia, which first adopted the most stringent standards, found that more than 1,200 such votes were tossed during the 2008 general election.

During sparsely attended primaries this year in Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee, the states implementing the toughest laws, hundreds more ballots were blocked.

The numbers suggest that the legitimate votes rejected by the laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent. Thousands more votes could be in jeopardy for this November, when more states with larger populations are looking to have similar rules in place.

More than two dozen states have some form of ID requirement, and 11 of those passed new rules over the past two years largely at the urging of Republicans who say they want to prevent fraud.

Democrats and voting-rights groups fear that ID laws could suppress votes among people who may not typically have a driver’s license, and disproportionately affect the elderly, poor and minorities. While the number of votes is a small percentage of the overall total, they have the potential to sway a close election. Remember that the 2000 presidential race was decided by a 537-vote margin in Florida.

A Republican leader in Pennsylvania said recently that the state’s new ID law would allow Romney to win the state over President Barack Obama.

Election fraud

Supporters of the laws cite anecdotal cases of fraud as a reason that states need to do more to secure elections, but fraud appears to be rare. As part of its effort to build support for voter ID laws, the Republican National Lawyers Association last year published a report that identified some 400 election fraud prosecutions over a decade across the entire country. That’s not even one per state per year.

ID laws would not have prevented many of those cases because they involved vote-buying schemes in local elections or people who falsified voter registrations.

Election administrators and academics who monitor the issue said in-person fraud is rare because someone would have to impersonate a registered voter and risk arrest. A 2008 Supreme Court case drew detailed briefs from the federal government, 10 states and other groups that identified only nine potential impersonation cases over the span of several years, according to a tally by the Brennan Center at New York University.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

Jaywalker is just doing his usual-- setting up pointlessly arbitrary standards he expects others to meet, and then the piece de resistance, he gets to levy equally arbitrary punishment on those he considers his inferiors.

Pump yourself up, dude!!!!!


Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Earlier this week I wrote about the long-standing hope of Democrats that demographic changes are working in their favor and will soon create a durable national Dem majority. There are several moving parts to this theory, but the two big ones are (a) young people are trending Democratic, and (b) the Dem-leaning nonwhite population is getting bigger and bigger.

As far as I know, Republicans don't really deny that these things are happening. After all, the trend in the youth vote jumps out in every poll, and the growing nonwhite share of the population is regularly front-page news. George Bush and Karl Rove, who desperately wanted to pass a comprehensive immigration bill in 2006 in order to stanch the flow of Hispanic votes into the Democratic column, knew perfectly well how important this was.

So what's the Republican response to all this? They have two options:

  1. Start to move leftward on social issues, especially gay marriage, in order to win back their share of the youth vote; tone down the anti-immigration rhetoric from the tea partiers; and stop tolerating casual racism among their core supporters.


  1. Double down on the demographic groups who already support them. This is basically the South, angry white men, the rich, and the elderly.

Eventually, they might be forced to adopt Option 1, but for now they seem to have abandoned the idea of pushing back against their base (as Democrats eventually did in the late '80s), and instead have gone all in on Option 2. There are two elements to this. The first is to push ever harder for higher turnout among the Fox News set.


beatrice 1 year, 9 months ago

"1200 people is nothing" -- yep, these people who need to be "brought up to speed" are just people on the "fringe" of society. Heck, they should just be taken out back and shot.

Hope y'all don't lose your wallets on election day.


spinmeround 1 year, 9 months ago

Retrobate Republicans are taking us down the drain.


Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

What happens when you're caught in this catch 22? You have to have a photo ID to vote. To get a photo ID you have to have...wait for it...a photo ID. This is what Mississippi is dealing with as we speak.


beatrice 1 year, 9 months ago

Maybe we should just have one of those signs from the carnival at polling places: You must be this big in order to vote.

Randy Newman wouldn't care if short people are disenfranchised, and if is good enough for Randy Newman, it must be good enough for America.


beatrice 1 year, 9 months ago

jaywalker: "And for these folks so up in arms over supposed "voter suppression": Do something about it! Volunteer and help folks get up to speed if it's actually that important to ya."

So people should now volunteer to help others get IDs rather than just allow citizens to vote in the first place? Wow.

Not only should people help their fellow citizens, but others should volunteer to help "folks get up to speed". Um ... who are you to decide what the proper "speed" is to fully participate in American citizenship? It isn't a crime for a citizen to be without an ID in America -- at least not yet -- and if you haven't committed a crime you should be allowed to vote. That is the issue. Sorry you can't grasp this simple concept. Why, the proverbial first grader could understand this ... or do we now require first graders in Amerika to show IDs?

"Up to speed" indeed. And to think, for some strange reason, some people might read a hidden agenda behind this ID requirement push coming from Republicans. Why, it couldn't possibly be to suppress the votes of those "fringe" citizens who some people feel aren't "up to speed" now, could it?


beatrice 1 year, 9 months ago

Perhaps we should jail citizens for not carrying their papers.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 9 months ago

The subtle bigotry of low expectations. Why do Democrats set the bar so low for people? How sad for Obama's America.


verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Not that I expect this to change the mind of anyone who is already convinced, but I'm going to repeat a story I posted here some years ago when this first became a topic of discussion.

My mother was born in her parent's home in a remote area of a U.S. territory, so her birth was not officially recorded. Some sixty years later, she finally had need of a birth certificate. Fortunately for her, at that time she lived in the community where her parents had originally come from and where she had attended grade school for a time. It still took quite a bit of time and resources to collect school and other records, etc. to get the information needed for a birth certificate. Again, fortunately, my parents were able to drive, walk, pay for gas, had the time, and so forth, to be able to do this. And once again, fortunately, somebody had saved a postcard they had received from her father stating the time of her birth. Otherwise, it would have been much more difficult than it was to secure a birth certificate.

Not everybody is so fortunate and/or lucky as my mother was. That doesn't mean they are stupid or lazy.

In principle, I don't have anything against requiring a photo ID for voting, but these laws and the push to get them implemented without doing something to help people get the documentation they need is so obviously an attempt to suppress voting (a PA politician was even caught on tape saying that the new laws would deliver the state to Romney). That, plus the Diebold voting machine fiasco, says that some people apparently think they can't win elections fairly.


Liberal 1 year, 9 months ago

Can you actually cash a check without a picture ID or how about get a library card. Can you get social security or any other government benefits like ssi or ssd without an ID?

This wailing an nashing of teeth is about Dem's who are not pleased their dead relatives and undocumented (illegal aliens) will not longer get to vote.

How sad :(


donttreadonme 1 year, 9 months ago

jaywalker1 day, 10 hours ago

"And that is nothing to you? Really? 1200 people -- American citizens -- stripped of their rights, and why?"... As to the 1200 - yup, pretty much it's nothing. "

So, if 1200 citizens that can't vote is nothing, then why the rush to enact these voter ID laws when there was something like 7 voter fraud allegations in Kansas over two or three election cycles?

That doesn't make any sense.


jaywalker 1 year, 9 months ago

"Protecting the sanctity of the election process is more important than inconveniencing a tiny fraction of potential voters on the fringe of society who - for whatever reason - cannot seem to navigate the impenetrable mysteries of daily life to the extent they can get themselves a photo ID. Since we cannot impose a much-needed IQ test for voters, this is as good a proxy as there is."

Perfection. As usual, tbaker sums up what I've struggled to express.


tbaker 1 year, 9 months ago

In 2007, Georgia enacted a voter ID law. In the 2008 election, the minority turn-out set an all-time record. Indiana is another similar example, so whose vote was being suppressed by the voter ID laws in these states?

People say these laws are designed to disenfranchise blacks and other minorities, the poor, students and senior citizens, etc, but to do so this must be based on the assumption that these groups of people lacking the resources or the ability to obtain a photo ID for voting purposes. Really? Where is the evidence of this?

If you follow this logic, then these groups of people must also lack the ability to get a driver’s license, a credit or debit card, a beer or a pack of cigarettes. Where is the hue and cry from the great disenfranchised masses that are being prevented from getting all the aforementioned things you need a photo ID for?

There isn't one is the answer. Protecting the sanctity of the election process is more important than inconveniencing a tiny fraction of potential voters on the fringe of society who - for whatever reason - cannot seem to navigate the impenetrable mysteries of daily life to the extent they can get themselves a photo ID. Since we cannot impose a much-needed IQ test for voters, this is as good a proxy as there is.


jayhawklawrence 1 year, 9 months ago

What the Republicans are demonstrating is that they believe fraud is a good thing if it means getting one of their candidates elected

Anyone who votes for this kind of Republican is therefore guilty of the same thing.

These are the same people who will get on a soap box and lecture you about religion and morality.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Could it be that voter fraud might well be a republican thing?

Computers are inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering.

If we are to ensure fair and honest elections, and retain voter confidence in our democratic process, we need to ensure that there are no such questions.

Therefore, it is crucial that any computerized voting system provide a voter-verifiable paper audit trail and that random audits of electronic votes be conducted on Election Day.

Paperless electronic voting machines make it impossible to safeguard the integrity of our vote - thereby threatening the very foundation of our democracy.

Moreover, the seller of the machines, the Diebold Corporation, is a supplier of money to one of the major parties The CEO and top officers of Diebold are major contributors to republican campaigns. A corporation with vested political interests should not have control over the votes of the populace.

Voters using Diebold machines should immediately report any suspected malfunctions or deficiencies at voting precincts to their Board of Elections.

Voters should also urge their legislators to require a voter verified paper ballot trail for random audits and independent recounts.

Count every vote! Damn Right!


Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Voter fraud is in the mind of the RINO GOP. It's like their bogus position tax cuts for the 1% create new jobs...... after 30 years of tax cuts why are 20 million looking for jobs?

There are no jobs and there is no voter fraud.

Again how is it that the RINO GOP claim they are about less government? One more lie coming from the RINO GOP.

RINO = republican in name only

Why are there no jobs? It's very much a republican thing:

ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance.

ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern.

ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money? Where are the jobs?


werekoala 1 year, 9 months ago

Look, if this was really about protecting the sanctity of the voting both from fraud and deception, there's a much easier way to achieve the same goal. Just have each person voting leave a fingerprint in the voting roll book next to their name. Costs a few bucks for ink and a stamp pad, and ensures that if there is ever a allegation of fraud, you can prove scientifically whether or not that person has a fingerprint that matches the one in the book.

Also, need an actual national I D card so we can track who has voted, make sure they don't cross state lines and double dip.

Of course both ideas would be cheap, effective, and reliable, but since they don't suppress the votes of troublesome populations, and do inflame the black-UN-helicopter wing of the GOP, we will just ignore them and focus on this picayune debate instead...


werekoala 1 year, 9 months ago


I understand that you, personally, cannot conceive of an existence without photo ID. I too, would find my life significantly changed. But thank god we don't only allow those things which are approved of by random internet people.

You guys remind me of all the upper middle class twits who couldn't understand why during Katrina, all the people at the Superdome didn't just pack up the family in the SUV and charge a few nights in a Holiday Inn on the old Amex.

If it's not something that has happened to someone you care about, it doesn't really matter, right?

And sweet Jebus, the cavalier disregard for the rights of your fellow citizens shows either a frightening ignorance of our nation's history, or an even more frightening willingness to repeat some it's worst mistakes, if it serve your purpose.


verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, due to vote counting, as has already been stated, who we vote for may not matter a whole lot in some states.

Did any of you watch "60 Minutes" last Sunday? While I'm a little skeptical of Jack Abramoff's ethical enlightenment, he made one very good point. As long as government officials---both elected and hired staff---can become lobbyists when they leave their government job, they will be able to be bought by the promise of a high paying job.

Of course, that would apply to a job in any industry, not just lobbying. Apparently not a whole lot of our esteemed officials are immune to that kind of bribery.

If Jack Abramoff is to be believed.


tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

"Tough ID laws may deter many voters"

That was the point wasn't it?


beatrice 1 year, 9 months ago

jay: "1200 instances from two states?!"

And that is nothing to you? Really? 1200 people -- American citizens -- stripped of their rights, and why? Because a couple of people might attempt to vote illegally? Is that why you want to add a new level of regulation against people, to stop a miniscule number of people from doing something illegal?

What next, add regulations in order strip everyone of their rights to own guns because someone might use one illegally?

Don't be surprised if you find your needing to show an ID to practice all kinds of rights, like practicing your freedom of speech. Of course, by then, it might just be the landed gentry who are allowed to vote. I'm sure many will be perfectly happy with that.


Gotland 1 year, 9 months ago

Unless one party has a distortional amount of dumb, lazy voters the results should be a wash.


Jayhawks64 1 year, 9 months ago

Georgia will take you to get an ID and pay for it.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

As the saying goes, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

There is no voter fraud-- none, so these laws won't and can't prevent it.

So why do we have them?-- voter suppression, because Republicans know that the higher the turnout, the less likely their ugly agenda of class warfare can win elections. It's that simple.


werekoala 1 year, 9 months ago

A lot of you guys are missing a key point:

The government. Is not. Allowed. To charge. Any fee. To vote.

You may not like it, you can talk all you want about how people should "get back in the welfare line" (classy) or charities should put together drives to get elderly voters IDs, but you're just yelling at clouds.

The minute an ID is made available free of charge, without overly burdensome requirements, and provided to all eligible citizens, all bets are off, and you are free to require ID to your little hearts content.

Until that day, it's an unconstitutional poll tax, and will doubtless be ruled as such after many years and millions if dollars in lawyers fees. Doesn't matter to the GOP at that point, it will have served its purpose for an election cycle or two, and will then be abandoned.

Remember when gay marriage was a threat to our way of life? Hey, it tipped the balance in Ohio in 2004, that's all that matters.


demonfury 1 year, 9 months ago

Get with the program people. Honestly, if you don't have any one of the 9, count them NINE - ID options that are available and acceptable in all 50 states, then you don't deserve to vote. How do you cash checks without an ID? You can't get a bank account without one. The Patriot Act has been in force for nearly a decade now. You couldn't get a legitimate job without a proper ID. I am all in favor of no proper ID, no vote...... PERIOD !!!!! It's the way it should be for all American Citizens.


Lateralis 1 year, 9 months ago

This is what he gets for voting for Romney.

“A lot of people don’t have a photo ID. They’ll be automatically disenfranchised,” he said.

A lot of people? You need to present an ID for a lot of things. Get the dang ID and be done with it. If you can make it to the voting booth you can make to the wretched DMV to get a state issued ID.


Agnostick 1 year, 9 months ago

jaywalker writes...

"Help her get a State issued ID or a Govt. issued public assistance ID. An expired ID is ok for those over 65, and she could be exempt if disabled/handicapped."

While I'm certainly sympathetic to the concerns of the elderly, homebound, shut-ins, etc. ... I have to agree with jaywalker's post on this one. Rather than fight the law, how about the voting rights groups pool some financial resources together, and fund grant programs that help provide state-issued ID cards to these people?


consumer1 1 year, 9 months ago

" but fraud appears to be rare." This is what the liberal population calls "facts"...


consumer1 1 year, 9 months ago

Liberal Propaganda. that is all this story is about.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 9 months ago

You have to have ID for most everything else including getting on welfare, going to the hospital, or cashing your check. There is zero reason you should not have your ID to vote, unless you support a lawless country.


Mary Darst 1 year, 9 months ago

So what is the elderly lady, that I take care of, to do? She doesnt drive anymore, so no drivers license. she is not a current world traveler either. A birth certificate doesnt have her picture on it, nor does her social security card. She has voted all her life...just what is she suppose to do.


jaywalker 1 year, 9 months ago

What a ridiculous issue. Having ID to vote is pure common sense. 1200 instances from two states?! I'm guessing they're all better informed this time around and have rectified the situation so there shouldn't be widespread ignorance of the law now.

"Of course it's getting tougher. That's the GOP plan! Disenfranchise as many non-GOP voters as they can."

OH! Who realized that the law only applied to "non-GOP voters"?! Considering the majority of senior citizens vote Republican, this one's a puzzler.


Jayhawks64 1 year, 9 months ago

However, a Heritage Foundation report using state data said Georgia has issued 26,000 voter IDs since its law passed in 2007, and minority turnout has spiked in recent years. Even without Obama on the ballot, the 2010 midterm election saw a 66 percent increase in Latino voters and a 44 percent increase in African-American voters over 2006. The white vote grew 11 percent.


Kate Rogge 1 year, 9 months ago

I think the notion of "tens of thousands of voter fraud registrations just from ACORN. Or maybe how many dead voted in St. Louis the last 3-4 elections" is a Republican myth generated to 1) make their base afraid of everyone non-Republican, and 2) justify the naked suppression of marginalized voters (both Republican and non-Republican) such as the elderly, poor, and those citizens who move into a Kobachistan state this year and may not realize, until too late, that the protected voting rights they had in their last home have been stripped away in states like Kansas and Pennsylvania. A shameful time in our country.


bradh 1 year, 9 months ago

Pretty poor article. The one case they mention where a voter was disenfranchised was a Mitt Romney vote, but it translates to the Dems and B.O. losing votes. It would have been better for this obviously biased article if he'd found a B.O. voter who had been disenfranchised.

He goes on to state that voter fraud isn't a problem because only a few are prosecuted each year. It's hard to track down someone who gives you a fake name, votes and leaves. Obviously there won't be many prosecutions. It's like saying there aren't many illegal aliens in the US because only a few hundred are deported each year. Maybe the author should have considered the tens of thousands of voter fraud registrations just from ACORN. Or maybe how many dead voted in St. Louis the last 3-4 elections. They weren't prosecuted, but their votes were stricken when found. The author really had to play fast and loose with the facts to make their point.


grammaddy 1 year, 9 months ago

Of course it's getting tougher. That's the GOP plan! Disenfranchise as many non-GOP voters as they can. WIN by any means necessary.When was the last time the GOP did anything to benefit this country?...anything at all that wasn't a benefit for themselves?


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 9 months ago

"Tough ID laws may deter many voters"


If it's too "tough" Pal. You should not be 'voting' get back in the Welfare line.

p.s. I 'love' the Strawman arguments the complex Liberals 'always' run to.....90 year olds. lol....don't forget the handicapped, the children, the blacks, the hispanics and, and the earth is getting warmer, bwhaha...and if you cut budgets there won't be 'any money' for policemen, firemen and, bwhaha.


werekoala 1 year, 9 months ago

Don't forget the Pennsylvania chair of the state GOP, who let slip the gem, "Voter ID is going to let us deliver the state to Mitt Rimney."

Oops, your agenda is showing, pal. I am as concerned for the security of our elections as anyone, but when the number of legitimate voters who will be disenfranchised is 100,000 times the highest estimate of fraudulent voters, something is rotten.

Plus, it has been well established over the last 50 years that the government cannot charge a poll tax or otherwise place financial barriers that will discourage poor citizens from voting. So if a state requires you show ID to vote, it must not charge a fee to obtain that ID. Trouble is, most states charge $20-$50 to get an ID, and I can't for the life of me see that not being ruled a poll tax. After many years and millions of dollars in litigation, of course.

If you are really concerned about voter fraud, take the advice of Josef Stalin to heart: "It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes that counts."

In other words, most elections are overseen at a state or county level, so there is little consistency in standards across the country. Some locales have robust and secure devices. Others have unsecured, buggy programs that are less audit-able than an ATM, and have less back ups than a college term paper. That's what anyone who really cares about our republic solid be concerned about...


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