The Obama campaign is continuing efforts to fight various state’s Voter ID laws, bills that require voters to show government-issued ID at the polls.
Most states now require only a voter registration card or other non-photo identification.
Supporters, most of whom seem to be Republicans, argue that it fights voter fraud, citing cases in which people who have been dead for months inexplicably cast ballots in previous elections.
Opponents, most of whom seem to be Democrats, claim that it’s really a move to disenfranchise minority voters since they’re the ones who are less likely to either have a valid ID or to have transportation to get to a local DMV to acquire one.
In some cases, voters would be turned away because they are unable to provide proper documentation because of destroyed records. Those examples are rare, but they do exist. Democrats insist that even one “lost” vote is one too many.
And that’s where the Double Standard alarm begins blaring.
If even one “lost” vote is one too many — and there’s no question that it is, then you have to question exactly what constitutes a “lost” vote.
For me, a lost vote is any qualified vote that doesn’t have the impact it should have. This includes votes of people qualified to vote, but who aren’t allowed to vote because of a lack of proper ID. But it also includes people who are qualified to vote and who actually do vote, but who have their vote canceled out by a vote cast by someone who has committed fraud and is not qualified to cast a ballot.
I think most qualified voters would be equally ticked off to be turned away because of their lack of ID as they would to find that the “other side” managed to get fake votes counted that got their candidate elected.
Since this blog is about common sense, then here’s the common sense way to handle this:
1. Build the system: Since it’s mostly the older and lower income folks who aren’t going to have access to IDs if they don’t already have one, you work out a way to make sure they can get one if they want to vote. You take the craziest scenario you can come up with: someone who was born in a rural county whose Hall of Records was destroyed by fire and who therefore no longer has a valid birth certificate, and who has walked to work and never driven a car. You figure out how that person is going to be able to be sufficiently documented to vote, then you make that the standard.
2. Fund the process: You figure out how you’re going to transport people who need to get to the agency that will issue the Voter ID. And you pay for it.
3. You set a generous deadline: the law itself doesn’t take effect until after two presidential elections. If such a law were passed tomorrow, for example, it would take effect with whatever elections occur beginning in the year 2021. That gives voters eight years to get their Voter ID.
Let’s face it, people: if, in eight years’ time, you can’t make the effort to get yourself an ID once guidelines are in place to get even the least “identifiable” people a proper ID card, you simply aren’t committed enough to vote to begin with.
Then, nine years from the bill’s passage, we’d have more confidence that everyone who actually did vote was qualified to vote. And one less excuse to whine about regarding why either candidate really won.
Just imagine what new things we could find to argue over!