Saturday, October 25, 2014

Voter-ID Laws: Disenfranchisement or Necessary Evil?

In something of a change from the usual political rant, we are instead looking at a major issue in American politics: Voter-ID laws

And instead of just talking about one side of the argument, I want to discuss and mention BOTH sides of this much-argued topic: Are such laws disenfranchising the poor and many minority voters or is it a necessary evil to combat voter fraud?

For those pushing against such laws as being a disenfranchisement for poor and minority Americans, Peter Beinart of The Atlantic makes the argument in his recent piece: Should the Poor Be Allowed to Vote?

In his piece, Beinart references a study by The Brennan Center For Justice that discusses the problems ~10% of Americans would have in getting the necessary government-issued ID needed to comply with new voting laws in 19 states since 2011. For wishing to learn more about this report, click here.

The simplest summary of the argument made by those like Beinart and the Brennan Center For Justice is this: Even though these new voter-ID laws mandate the respective state to provide a free government-issued ID so those without can participate in elections, these "free" IDs are not quite as simple to get. Whether intentionally or not (the author seems to subtly hint at the former), these laws could result in 21st century "poll taxes".

Not surprisingly though, there is growing evidence that at least some measure of voter-ID enforcement may be needed to prevent voter fraud, in this case in the form of "non-citizens" (whether here legally or not) voting in national elections.

Authors Jesse Richman and David Earnest of The Washington Post point out the possibility of this kind of voter fraud ALREADY occurring in at least two previous elections cycles, 2008 and 2010. Their piece is centered around data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), which studied thousands of survey observations and found enough data to, at the very least, strongly suggest that at least SOME "non-citizens" were allowed to vote in US national elections in 2008 and 2010.

Now, how widespread such voter fraud truly was during those election cycles is difficult to say as this data is not exactly concrete (something endemic to all voter-survey based studies it would seem), but this is not exactly the only "news" concerning possible voter fraud in America..

The National Review Online recently published a piece by John Fund that outlines how a non-government group, the Department of Investigation (DOI) was able to send undercover operatives to 63 polling locations in New York City where they posed as people who should have been turned away from these locations as being ineligible  to vote. The result? 61 of the 63 polling locations actually allowed the undercover operatives to vote. Also, just to be clear, these operatives only cast their votes for a "John Test" to make sure they didn't cause any adverse effect on the elections they ILLEGALLY participated in.

Now before you get too excited about this just being an overblown or misunderstood case propagated by a major conservative media outlet, consider this reaction from New York City's Board of Elections:

"If something was done in an untoward fashion, it was only done by DOI. We [are] unaware of any color of authority on the part of [DOI] to vote in the identity of any person other than themselves — and our reading of the election law is that such an act constitutes a felony."

In other words, the Board of Elections is actually try to accuse the DOI of committing voter fraud instead of investigating why the folks running the 61 offending polling stations let the DOI's "illegal" operatives from voting!

For more information, click here for the National Review's piece.

Are these cases isolated incidents being propagated by conservative media being used to help justify overly restrictive voter-ID laws or the first hints of a real national problem?

We report, you decide!


All comments and/or opinions expressed in the above work are purely those of the author unless otherwise noted and do not represent that opinions/positions of any political or non-political organization or the Department of the Defense. Any/all distribution of this work MUST contain this disclaimer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment