Voter Fraud; Women as People

The Democratic Party is strongly opposed to voter identification. It would only mean that people would have to do the same thing to vote  that they have to do to catch a plane, obtain a driver’s license or open a bank account. In the past, they pointed to cases of hardship such as invalids, very old people etc  for whom it would be arduous or impossible to perform the simple tasks associated  with getting an ID. Point well taken. No citizen should be deprived of his right to vote because of ill health and such.

When a  proposal is made to pick up such hardship cases and to take them to be registered free of charge at a time of their convenience, the Democratic Party is still opposed, just  as a opposed. When I vote in my 90% Democrat town (just a guess, maybe it’s only 85%), I always make it a point to show my ID. The poll officials react to my gesture with frank horror. Why?

Nothing stops the Democratic Party from declaring that it would accept voter ID if such and such precautions were taken to ensure that no one is disenfranchised. It does not. Why?

Inescapable conclusion, it seems to me:

1 The Democratic Party benefits more from voting fraud than does the Republican Party;

or, 2 The Republican Party is more respectful of the fundamental constitutional  process of voting than is the Democratic Party.

Am I missing something?

Separate topic:

A youngish woman parks her car in front of my house frequently. I have good reasons to think she is a social worker. There is a window sticker on the car  that says “Mills Alumna.”

Mills College used to be a college for rich girls in the East Bay of San Francisco. Some years ago, it started admitting males. Digression: What kind of guys seek admission to a women’s college? My guess is that the lot would be evenly divided between cold hearted predators and closeted gays.

Anyway, the car also sports a bumper sticker that proclaims: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”

Good point but, frankly, what’s the point? Is there any segment of opinion in America that denies this self-evidence? Who is this young woman trying to persuade? Or is it just another shotgut guilt tripping: I am a man; I think women are people; I have always thought so. (After all, I was reared by a mother.) But maybe, there are bad, ignorant men somewhere, maybe even in my neighborhood, who really believe that women are not human beings. Bang, guilty by association! Again!

If at least the bumper sticker were in Arabic, or in Farsi.

17 thoughts on “Voter Fraud; Women as People

  1. JD: “Am I missing something?”

    Well, what I’ve heard reported a lot is that (1) voter fraud is exaggerated, that it occurs so infrequently that austere methods are an unnecessary expense. And (2) that the new rules typically do wind up disenfranchising a lot of regular voters who don’t get the news in time meet the additional criteria.

    If a person is already a registered voter, it should be the government’s responsibility to insure that any new criteria is met.

    For example, if you’re going to require a photo-id, then why not make it possible to get a photo-id when you show up to vote. That way, no one who shows up to vote will be disenfranchised.

    Another option, that would probably cover the vast majority, would be to send out picture voter id for everyone who already has a driver’s license. The DMV should have the picture on file, and a computer program could possibly create the voter id and automatically mail it to everyone.

    I think the voter id is a good idea. I have a voter card that I received in the mail and that I carry in my wallet to go vote, but it has no photo. I would consider it a great inconvenience to have to stand in line to get another voter card after I’ve been voting for many years.

    So I think with a little ingenuity, a photo voter card could be produced and mailed to us using Voter Registration data and the DMV photo. Just a thought.

    • Well, lots of smoke usually would indicate a moderate (at least) fire.Such as the commonly accepted wisdom, “Vote early and often”,from the places I grew up, Chicagoland which is likely even more Democratic would belie that it is a minor problem, as would the occasional precinct where 120% of registered voters vote..

      In every instance I know of, a driver’s license (or state ID) is accepted, if you don’t have that you can’t even buy cold medicine, at worst its a nominal fee like $10 for four years, and sometimes free.

    • Voter fraud may be negligible in national elections. (I don’t know but I suspect some people assert this only because Mr Obama would have been elected without voter fraud.) I don’t think there is any way it is negligible if it concerns, say, the election of the last senator to make up a sixty vote-veto super-majority. All it would take would be a single fraudulent ballot to determine the fate of national legislation.

      It would not be hard to argue that this hypothetical case has never happened. However, the mere suspicion that it might undermines the legitimacy of the democratic process. We don’t need this.

      All good practical suggestions but the Democratic Party honchos would ignore them, I think.

      Their refusal also also undermines the legitimacy of the process.

      • Yeah, I’d agree with you that reactionary resistance to a good idea by Democrats is just as disappointing as the same behavior by Republicans. We need to get past win-lose and move on to win-win strategies. In mediation, the goal is to pay less attention to what both sides want and try to give both sides what they really need. Like the Stones said, “You don’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you get what you need”.

  2. It’s been documented time and again that the amount of voter fraud that exists is negligible. It’s just not the kind of problem Republicans try to make it out to be.

    Part of the reason they can push this is because it sounds reasonable on the surface, but the reality is that it disenfranchises people in the service of solving a nonexistent problem. Even if an ID is free, the supporting documents can cost the modern-day equivalent of what the poll tax was: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/study-finds-costs-associated-with-voter-ids/2012/07/17/gJQAlrcXsW_story.html

    There are also other logistical barriers, like ID offices with limited hours located far away from the people who need them.

    • Rebecca: Please address my concern ( that is in a comment above yours) about the election of the 60th US Senator.

      A separate question. Supposing there is in fact zero voter fraud but dumb conservatives worry about it nevertheless. Their imagining, in itself, undermines the legitimacy of the voting process. Why can’t the Democratic Party, or anyone on the left respond by stating: We will accept voter ID under the following fifty conditions (far beyond “free” IDs; there could be a federal requirement, for example, that ID office be open 18 hours a day. It would not have to be unconstitutional. There are ways! ).

      • JD, it would be better if a democracy could make decisions based upon accurate information rather than by the spread of rumor and fear. Unfortunately, the news media often profits by rumor and fear. It “sells papers”.

        In Virginia, I registered to vote when I was younger and have received a voter card whenever there is redistricting that changes the voting locations.

        When I show up, there are lines that take you to a table where someone marks your name off a list of eligible voters and hands you a slip so that you can vote.

        There is no photo-id involved, but there appear to be controls in place to prevent anyone from voting twice.

      • Your point about the 60th senator would be relevant if there were ever enough voter fraud to swing an election. But there just isn’t evidence that the thousands of votes needed to have such a profound effect have ever been cast fraudulently.

        To whatever extent concerns about alleged voter fraud undermine the legitimacy of the process, those concerns can be addressed simply with facts. Even people who were out looking for voter fraud have not been able to find a significant number of cases. There’s no sense in spending millions of dollars and inconveniencing people to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

        What undermines the system far more is the influence of money in politics, which makes many people feel disempowered and disengaged. There is plenty of evidence that this poses a problem, as evidenced by a recent study showing that our system skews too much toward moneyed interests. There’s a problem worth spending some time and energy addressing.

      • Rebecca: The 4/28/14 Wall Street Journal, p. A13 refers to a 2012 Pew Research Center Report that 1.8 million deceased registrants were listed as active voters and that 2.75 million voters had active registrations in more than one state.(Marvin: take note.) Those are nationwide figures.

        The Pew Research Center has been delivering non-partisan high-quality research for years. Are reasonable people supposed to prefer a Washington Post article?

        These large numbers may still not make a difference in national elections if you believe that fraud is equally prevalent among the two major parties. Do you believe this? (I, for one, do not believe this at all because I have seen faithfully Democratic labor unions at work.)

        Now, to non-national level elections. The same WSJ piece also refers to an Ohio state report indicating that in 2013, 35 local races and eight local issues were decide by a single (ONE) vote. If I were on the losing side on any of these and I had reasons to believe that there were even two fraudulent votes cast in those elections don’t you think I would lose some faith in the democratic process? Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t almost everyone?

        I believe that Demo resistance to any sort of ID voter proposal whatsoever is yet another method to paint Republicans as racist and misogynists. The live examples used in the media against any eminently reasonable proposal seem to me to stage nearly always members of racial minorities and women. As a general rule, you can win elections if you win the P.R. battle even if your policies are failing.

        I think that the health of constitutional arrangements should be of much concern to libertarians for reasons I will spread out if anyone asks.

      • JD, I found your article at http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303380004579521603120225572

        Generally, I think it is a good idea to take reasonable steps to prevent voter fraud. And I think the registration and polling center check is probably doing that job here in Virginia. Improving this with a picture-id card is not a bad idea, as long as we make sure that no one currently voting is put through a hassle or long lines to keep their right to vote. Ideally, most picture ids could be automatically generated for most people from their DMV photos (but I don’t know if anyone has suggested that but me).

        The Pew statistics in the WSJ article do not indicate voter fraud. People who die are in no position to cancel their voter registration. People who move to another state are unlikely to cancel their voter registration in the old state. Heck, I have no idea how people cancel their voter registration anyway. I guess most people assume they will be dropped after they stop voting for a few years in the old location.

        There are a number of articles at the Pew site on the issue:

        http://www.pewtrusts.org/resource_library_search.aspx?keyword=voter%20fraud

        For example, the South Carolina issue of 950 deceased people on the voting roles turned out to be a non-issue.

      • Exactly. The issue of deceased people being on the rolls isn’t relevant if there aren’t millions of people impersonating those people and voting. I’ve done voter outreach and sometimes you call a person before an election and don’t find out until then that the person has passed away. Again, the evidence that voter fraud is happening on a large scale just isn’t there.

  3. “… as long as we make sure that no one currently voting is put through a hassle or long lines to keep their right to vote.” Even illegal immigrants who are currently voting? Even those who vote three times (if any)?

    Registration of the dead and multiple registrations may or may not be fraud or something in between, directional negligence. If voters went to vote in person with a photo ID, it would lessen both problems. People (if any) who vote deliberately in more than one state would be deterred in some number by the enhanced prospect of getting caught. Motor vehicles department of states do it all the time in connection with traffic violations. I have to add that if states can send people to jail for years on possession of a pound of cannabis, I don’t know why they can’t threaten vote frauds to the same of slightly more. I don’t know, unless, of course, some powerful interest groups are profiting by the fraud.

    • If illegal residents cannot register to vote, then we may assume they are not voting.

      And the fact that they cross your name off the list for that polling place when you show up means that you can’t vote 3 times.

      The Virginia registration asks whether you are currently registered in another state or already registered in Virginia.

      The Virginia Voter Registration Application form includes the following warning: “WARNING: INTENTIONALLY VOTING MORE THAN ONCE IN AN ELECTION OR MAKING A MATERIALLY FALSE STATEMENT ON THIS FORM CONSTITUTES THE CRIME OF ELECTION FRAUD, WHICH IS PUNISHABLE UNDER VIRGINIA LAW AS A FELONY. VIOLATORS MAY BE SENTENCED TO UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON, OR UP TO 12 MONTHS IN JAIL AND/OR FINED UP TO $2,500.”

      The picture-id would provide an additional check that the person who shows up is in fact the person registered to vote. So its not a bad extra check.

      But it is essential that the implementation of the picture id must not disenfranchise people who have been voting for years by making it a hassle or inconvenient to obtain the card.

      So I’m thinking its a reasonable thing to do so long as we implement it well. Perhaps we would roll it out over a two-year period, allowing other existing options to continue in the meantime.

      So, one more thing. How do you feel about a national identification card?

      And one last thought. How do we keep the guy who produces the fake ids for underage college students from producing bogus voter id cards?

  4. Many good points. Name struck off the list does not prevent one from voting in more than one country or in more than on state. I don’t know about fake IDs . Are there many fake drivers licenses.

    Rebecca you did not pick up my question on reputation of the process. You said nothing about the fact that some local elections are decided by one vote.

    • I believe that each polling location has it’s own list, with just the voters who live in that district. I think that to be able to vote in multiple precincts would require you to establish an address in multiple places. The fact that voter fraud has significant penalties and that there are probably computer checks on the existence of the addresses, makes me believe this is unlikely.

      One of the results reported by Pew was a nationwide survey by News21 collecting data from state election boards on the number and types of election fraud. They found only 2068 cases nationwide, mostly in the absentee balloting process. But here’s the link:

      http://www.pewstates.org/research/analysis/election-fraud-85899414756

      We should certainly take these cases seriously. But we should also take seriously the need to implement any changes in a way that does not disenfranchise real voters.

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