In Search Of A Problem
Copyright © by Len Holman, 8/20/12
Last week, a state judge refused to block a Pennsylvania law which requires voters to display a current government-issued photo ID at the polls. This happened even though the state’s lawyers admitted they “were not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania” and conceded that it was not “likely to occur in November of 2012.” Democrats say that this Republican-sponsored law is designed to disenfranchise likely Obama voters, while the other side says it makes sense to keep elections fair and free of corruption—even though there hasn’t been any. Voter fraud is so minimal, that some states don’t even have statistics on it. Voter fraud is that activity where a voter shows up to vote and he or she is not the person listed on the voter registration form. Many people vote absentee, and the opportunity for fraud is MUCH greater there, since after the voter marks the ballot, he or she puts it in an envelope, signs it, seals it, and mails the thing in. If the voter had a trained monkey to sign the envelope, no one would know.
Yet, there is a concerted push by many states to make prospective voters get an “official” voter ID from a particular state, to ensure that no one but a registered voter will actually vote. This puts a burden on the elderly, the indigent or near-indigent, or some sneaky illegal alien or Muslim Brotherhood member trying to subvert our great republic. Imagine a cop in some patriotic county pulling a driver over for speeding. The driver says he can’t be ticketed because he didn’t vote, owing to the state’s laws on voter ID. He tells the cop that since he couldn’t vote, he had no say in the laws of the land, is an outsider and not subject to any law he had no voice in deciding. This seems to be a solution in search of a problem, unless you count as a problem the fact that those who will not be allowed to vote are mostly Democrats.
In a country where the rhetoric about “American values” and “the spirit of democracy” is loud and insistent, where we butt into the affairs of just about everyone to do “nation-building” and then are outraged when some country which has never known a democratic polity doesn’t measure up to our lofty standards. Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, and Mississippi are all examples of this attitude. But what can possibly be wrong with ensuring free and fair elections in this land of the free? Who can possibly argue with the idea that only eligible voters should be able to vote? If you came to this country illegally, but joined the Marine Corps to get your flesh filled with holes in Afghanistan, that’s ok; we’ll give you retroactive citizenship. If you came illegally, but bought a refrigerator, no one checks to see if you are eligible for the frost-free model. The dealer just takes your money and the state takes your sales tax. If you are old and infirm, insurance companies and rehab facilities have no problem taking your dough. But try to vote and suddenly your purity is more closely checked than an Aztec maiden at a sacrifice.
The lead plaintiff in the Pennsylvania case was a 93 year-old woman who has voted in every Presidential race since FDR. She DOES have some photo IDs, but none the state deems appropriate: no driver’s license, or a valid passport. How many people reading this have a valid passport? Or even an invalid one? Her polling place is next door to her apartment building, so she is practically a foreign national. The state says she’d be an acceptable addition to the ranks of American patriots, if she got a valid state ID card by bringing her birth certificate, a social security card, AND a proof of residence (SHE’S RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO THE POLLING PLACE!) to the state department of transportation (which, presumably, is NOT right next door). No problem. What’s next? DNA swabs? Retinal scans? Stool samples? Is this a dark conspiracy by conservatives to have every American show a “valid,” Grover Nordquist-approved, ID card to get into a Piggly Wiggly to buy beans? Will this card also have your political affiliation and religion stamped on it? If there is less voter fraud than tax fraud, than welfare fraud, than savings and loan company fraud, than Medicare fraud or even Olympic performance fraud, what’s the big problem?
Let’s suppose that every single state enacts a strict voter ID law, enforced by Seal Team Six or the local SWAT guys. Will this solve anything? Or will it be a sign to many people that voting is just not worth the hassle of getting on the Number 9 bus, transferring to the Number 4, walking three blocks to the right state building, and standing in line for two hours, only to reverse the trip and wind up at home after dark, where your cat is nagging you for a meal? Polls already show a lot of people who claim they will sit this election out, and what kind of policies will we get when 30 percent (or less) of the electorate votes? THEN we’ll have a real problem.
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