GOP War on Voting?

“[S]ix states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.”

There’s more stuff going on in that article, including some off hand “Koch brothers are evil and mean,” but I want to focus on this because I’m strongly biased toward South Carolina and also because it’s confusing to me. Why does such a significant proportion of adults in America lack any form of government ID? I can understand maybe not having a drivers license if, for example, you lived in New York or for whatever reason lacked either the means or the inclination to own a car in the foreseeable future. But I don’t understand how you can go through life without any form of ID at all. I mean, the benefits a photo ID confers in banking alone would make it worthwhile to get one.

Three more points from the article. First, the author says that “obtaining a voter ID from the DMV is likely to be hellishly time-consuming.” I don’t have experience with DMV offices outside of South Carolina, but I do know that here: 1. the DMV has become much more efficient in the last ten years, and has never been, in my experience, “hellishly time-consuming,” just kind of a pain in the ass; and 2. DMV office inefficiency is almost certainly not aimed at or even tangentially related to attempts to disenfranchise minority voters.

Second, the author makes a big deal about the fact that student IDs don’t satisfy the photo ID requirement. Of course it doesn’t matter that federal law requires a student to show a photo ID in order to be issued a student ID (I think this is in REAL ID Act, 119 Stat. 302). This is a non-sequitur to introduce the preposterously inflated 242,000 disenfranchised students in Wisconsin number.

Finally, the author implies that somehow for Voter ID laws to be constitutionally valid those seeking to have them upheld have to provide an example of the kind of fraud the laws are designed to prevent. It would be interesting and instructive if they could provide such evidence, I don’t see any reason it is relevant to the constitutionality of the laws.

As always I’m open to the possibility that I’ve somehow missed something or have made bad assumptions. I just fail to see any way these programs are discriminatory or particularly onerous.

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About richardwahnfried
Not named Richard Wahnfried, not krautrock legend Klaus Schulze.

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