Captain Obvious: Voter ID Laws are an Attempt at Voter Suppression

Just because something seems obvious doesn't mean it's true. This is the case with Voter ID laws, and a slew of other efforts being made to change laws to make it more difficult to vote. I was listening to the local Las Vegas right-wing radio station, and Alan Stock had Voter ID as a topic. He was--no surprise--incredulous that anyone would be against requiring a photo ID to vote. And in fact, polls back him up: Voter ID laws are very popular. There's a reason for that.

If you want to stop people from voting, you can't come right out and say: "We're going to pass a bunch of laws that make voting harder, and that will especially impact Democrats." So instead, you come up with some arguments. It's helpful if the arguments are simple and clear and seem undeniable. After all, why would anybody balk at presenting their ID at the voting booth? What do they have to hide? But that isn't the real question. The real question is, what kind of people don't have a photo ID? And it turns out to be students, poor people, minorities. . .all disproportionately Democratic voters. For the same reason, Republicans are trying to make same-day registration more difficult, trying to keep students from voting if they live at their school (but are from out of state), and various other schemes.

All of this is supposedly to fight "voter fraud," which is an almost nonexistent problem in the United States. There's plenty of voter registration fraud, vote tampering, voter suppression (see above), and shenanigans. But actual ineligible people knowingly casting fraudulent votes? Barely happens (though Ann Coulter and apparently Mitt Romney have given it a shot). It is certainly a very small-incidence problem, being met with huge new laws. Which is all sort of curious, when conservatives themselves often seem resistant to new, restrictive laws. "Just enforce the laws we have!" they often say.

Below is an excerpt from an article that argues all of this better than I can, so if I haven't convinced you, please read on:


Our view: Republican ID laws smack of vote suppression

To many Republicans, it is an article of faith that minimalist government works best.

Except, that is, when Republicans want to impose tighter rules for their political benefit. A case in point is the flurry of states —six so far this year— rushing to pass laws requiring voters to bring government-issued photo IDs to polling places. All have Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislatures. . .

Read more at: USA Today