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Archive for Friday, July 20, 2012

Voter rights

July 20, 2012

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To the editor:

This voter ID law is obviously a poll tax levied against Americans who are mostly likely to vote for a Democratic candidate, a direct attack on the Constitution of the United States of America. The Supreme Court is the final authority on this issue, and it has already outlawed “the poll tax” which was used in the South to keep blacks from voting. That and de-facto intimidation.

If these laws are left on the books as written then a large group of voters will have been denied their constitutional rights and, like the founders of our nation, can look for a higher God-given right to equal treatment under the law and declare in referendum that the results of such an election should be declared invalid  and any actions taken by this group be declared null and void with that governing body  regarded as enemies of the people and resisted by any means deemed necessary to achieve equal rights and privileges of all its citizens.

Never forget this nation was born of revolution. It is our history and heritage. Just as it is our right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Are they such fools as to push us that far afield? We shall see what we shall see. I never thought I would see the Berlin Wall crumble in my lifetime or a black president, so change is in the air — like the Arab Spring.

Comments

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

All of this voter ID/voter fraud chit chat is a bogus approach to convince voters that republicans are concerned about voter fraud which cannot be further from the truth.

According to radio news on Thursday voter fraud has been available to the republican party for several years. It is accomplished by way of paperless voting.

According to the news story it has been successful for the republican party because democrats do not pursue the fraud which it seems to me is anti American. Then again so is this nonsense voter ID law. The need for voter ID has been based on fraudulent information that there is voter fraud taking place but it has nothing to do with voter ID and never has.

Voter ID cannot protect the voters from electronic fraud at the computers no matter it voters have a dozen ID's each. Computers are set up to vote wrong in favor of the republican party. This has been going on for years.

The republicans have dreamed up this scheme for the voting that does not take place on computers. How many ways can republicans keep voters away from the voting booth is what Kobach has been working on in Kansas and other states.

Democracy/Law and Order and Kobach are not partners.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Paperless Electronic Voting

A bedrock of democracy is ensuring that every vote counts. There needs to be a transparent system of vote counting so that people can trust that their vote is counted as they cast it. Paperless electronic voting on touch screen machines does not provide confidence to ensure votes are counted the way voters intend.

The software on which votes are counted is protected as a corporate trade secret, and the software is so complex that if malicious code was embedded, no analysis could discover it. Further, because there is no voter verified paper record, it is not possible to audit the electronic vote for accuracy, nor is it possible to conduct an independent recount. This is a grotesquely designed, over-complicated, expensive system fraught with the potential for mistakes and undetected fraud. We should not trust the future of our nation to such malleable technology.

On July 23, 2003, the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute reviewed the electronic voting system in Maryland and found that it had security far below even the most minimal security standards.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

In the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2004, four top computer scientists from the University of California, Johns Hopkins University, and Rice University similarly critiqued Diebold’s voting system:

"We found significant security flaws: voters can trivially cast multiple ballots with no built-in traceability, administrative functions can be performed by regular voters, and the threats posed by insiders such as poll workers, software developers, and janitors is even greater. Based on our analysis of the development environment, including change logs and comments, we believe that an appropriate level of programming discipline for a project such as this was not maintained. In fact, there appears to have been little quality control in the process.

"…The model where individual vendors write proprietary code to run our elections appears to be unreliable, and if we do not change the process of designing our voting systems, we will have no confidence that our election results will reflect the will of the electorate."

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 the republican party. 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!

geekin_topekan 2 years, 6 months ago

Where's the "You're forcing us to buy something we don't want" whiny bunch on this one?

Where's all the bagging about "tyranny" here?

Somehow it's suddenly okay for the gubment to force someone to buy something? What's next, Broccoli?

Lawrenceks 2 years, 6 months ago

Go get an ID, you can't do anything without one anyway! Get over it. Just love all the excuses!

grammaddy 2 years, 6 months ago

I've managed to get a LOT done in the last 2 years. I didn't even realize it had expired...2 years ago. I'll be standing in line at the DMV for a while.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Based on the admission by at least one republican leader that voter ID laws are for the purpose of suppression of democratic voters [Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai]

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Because it impacts primarily minorities who tend to vote Democrat.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Not surprising that you would foster a stereotype of the elderly, disabled, and racial minorities this way. Have a great day.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh yes, I forgot, every problem of the world has been brought on by Obama.....

notajayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Hate to point out the obvious, 'thinker', but the stereotype is being fostered by those saying that it affects Democratic voters more than others.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes, the stereotype is being fostered like the bigots that have admitted the purpose of the law. [Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai].

notajayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Why is it that people with biases, that cling to their stereotypes, somehow think it's everyone ELSE that's holding them? The very first sentence, "This voter ID law is obviously a poll tax levied against Americans who are mostly likely to vote for a Democratic candidate," IS a stereotype. Just because it's one that you personally hold dear doesn't make it any less so.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

The parties who advocated for the law have admitted to it's purpose.

notajayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Ah. "The parties." Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai must be one busy guy - not only is he carrying the weight of being a plural entity, but apparently he's been involved in writing legislation in 33 different states.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

“a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

notajayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

At least this time you said A politician, not "the parties".

cato_the_elder 2 years, 6 months ago

"The Supreme Court is the final authority on this issue...."

That's correct. It's already ruled that Indiana's voter I.D. law is constitutional. Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008).

Sorry, whiners.

labmonkey 2 years, 6 months ago

The letter writer brings up the second amendment... you not only have to have an ID to buy a gun, but they make a call to make sure you aren't a felon. Do you suggest we do that for voting also?

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

Provisions are in the law for free I D so there is no cost and so it is not a poll tax.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes, but that does not cover the cost of the underlying documents that are required to obtain the ID, especially if the documents are out of state. That is why the law has a disproportionate impact on women.

jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

At least you're honest about it.

"gnashing"

Why would any reasonable and caring person vote for the side that is essentially sadistic in nature?

Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

Don't you have to have an ID to sigh up for welfare?

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

The reason that the mainstream media did not cover it is because it did not happen. I do not think that Fox has even reported this massive distortion......

notajayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Huh. Then I wonder what that story in the Washington Post, with an AP byline, was all about.

According to the story, states "may get federal approval to try to accomplish the same goals by using different methods than those spelled out in the legislation." Also: "In its memo to the states, the administration said no waivers will be allowed that could reduce access to employment, nor will they permit exceptions to time limits on welfare assistance. Waivers can be revoked if the experiments don’t work out. Still, a state can seek a waiver to cover its entire welfare population."

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Your rendition of the memo in question is correct, at least to my understanding. The memo did not "eviscerate" 1996 welfare reform. It simply a means to provide states with some flexibility to come up with ways to improve the system.

notajayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

One of which is a waiver on the requirement to document the benefit recipients' search for employment. That is a keystone of the legislation, and nobody has ever attempted to waive that requirement in the past for any reason. Incidentally, the administrations justification for allowing these waivers is laughable - that there are social services employees documenting the work search requirements instead of helping people find jobs. The burden of documentation falls on the recipient, not the social services staff. Talk to any DCF worker around here, and you'll find out how many people drop their applications for TAF in its earliest stages, because they refuse to comply with the requirement to document 20 employer contacts before they're eligible.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes. There can be a waiver of documentation requirements.

If an alternative method of achieving the same goal in a more effective manner is available, this should be explored. That is hardly eviscerating the welfare reform of 1996. It is an effort to improve on the reform.

notajayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Read the second half of my comment again. There are tons of people that apply for benefits and balk at having to apply for 20 jobs before they can start collecting. If by "achieving the same goal" you mean making it easier for more people to become dependent on taxpayer-funded handouts, well, then, I guess you're right.

The funny part about this is, after just saying how dishonest politicians are, you somehow want us to believe that these same politicians are making these changes for the reasons they claim.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

I read your whole comment.

My point was that if an agency can achieve the goals of moving someone from dependence to independence in a more efficient manner, that is what should be done. That is the clear appearance of the intent of the memo in question.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Whew, it sounds like you are pretty delusional and paranoid today huh?

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Try walking your way through the original memo from HHS. There is nothing in it that removes the work requirement of the 1996 welfare reform. It is simply a means for the states to try and improve the means of getting there.

beatrice 2 years, 6 months ago

Okay, did this letter just call for armed protest against the ID laws? Wow.

While I am strongly opposed to the laws in various states requiring an ID to vote at the polls, the thought of starting a revolution over the requirement to show an ID seems extreme and not by just a little.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Bea: I do not read that in this letter. What I read is that the right to vote is part of a same constitution that provides for the right to keep and bear arms.

In Kansas, the sale of used firearms by private parties is unregulated. There is no requirement that an ID be provided, or that any background check be done. Because of this, it is literally easier to legally procure a firearm in Kansas than it is to vote.

I could be wrong, but my reading was that the author was simply pointing out that by curtailing one constitutionally protected right, we risk curtailing others, Protest is a legitimate manner in which elected officials may be notified of grievances.

beatrice 2 years, 6 months ago

The last paragraph speaks of revolutions, right to have guns, and asks how far are legislators are willing to push us. It still reads like a subtle call to arms to me. However, I hope you are correct.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree with Beatrice. The LTE is threatening revolution.

verity 2 years, 6 months ago

Bea, I didn't read it as a call to arms but a statement that, if people are pushed too far, they just might rebel. I also don't think he meant that just this law might cause it, but any number of things that have happened.

And that is a possibility we should think about. Any number of people who comment here often seem to just be itchin' for a fight.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

“Let Him Sleep...For When He Wakes, He Will Move Mountains.” ― Napoleon Bonaparte

George Lippencott 2 years, 6 months ago

Just exactly why is it so difficult for us to ask a potential voter to once in their lifetime obtain a form of identification to use when we really need to know who you really are? We look for ID to travel, to cash checks, to drive cars, to obtain medical care and for a number of other functions. People seem to be able to negotiate the arguably difficult task of obtaining a picture ID for these purposes. Perhaps it would behoove our lawgivers to consolidate all the requirements for such an ID so as to minimize the complexity of obtaining a picture ID. Many other nations have a national ID card. Maybe it is time we join that group.

As to the need for a voter ID, how do we know one way or the other? My experience supported by some level of fact checking suggests we have no way of knowing if there is voter fraud unless the number of votes cast exceeds the voting population of a particular local. We have had acknowledgement in these pages that different counties do not have an organized way to verify if people are voting in more than one local. States seem to have the same problem. There are other forms of fraud that are also unlikely to be detected except by accident or voter stupidity. If you have no way to detect a particular problem then you certainly have no way to quantify it.

Frankly, it would seem to me that if all the people complaining about this requirement were to offer their services to assist those without ID, no one would be inconvenienced in obtaining the necessary credential.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 6 months ago

This assistance should be coming from Kobach's office. He changed the rules, he should be doing everything possible - feet on the street - to ensure that Kansas citizens have every assistance to obtain voter IDs. But he is not. What he's doing is just what Mike Turzai, a Republican state senator in Pennsylvania, boasted of accomplishing: "Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania -- done.”

progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Very true, and as such we have to live with it.

It is also true that the court even recognized the role of partisan interests.

From the majority decision:

"It is fair to infer that partisan considerations may have played a significant role in the decision to enact SEA 483."

Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

If voting is such a sacred act, why did Holder's Department of (selective) Justice let voter intimidation go unpunished?

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