Voter ID Unmasked


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong.

Over the last several years, attempts have been made, some successfully, to suppress votes and strike legal voters from the registered voter lists, all in an attempt to prevent certain voters from casting their votes.  We all remember the infamous measures taken by the Florida Secretary of State to attempt to turn the result of the Presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush.  At least from that point forward, numerous legislative and executive actions on the State level have been brought, all in an attempt to make it difficult for people to register and to vote.

The most recent attempts at voter suppression revolve around the so-called Voter ID laws that have been put into place in several states allegedly to prevent the unproven concern of voter fraud.  The fact that these voter ID laws have been promoted by one political party, even caught the idea of a prominent Republican appointed Federal Appellate Court judge.

I am talking about Justice Richard Posner, who is an appellate court judge appointed by Ronald Reagan to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  This very same Judge Posner was responsible for the seminal case approving the country’s first Voter ID law.

“It is a dissent, released on Friday, written by Judge Richard Posner, the Reagan-appointed 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who was the one who approved the first such Photo ID law in the country (Indiana’s) back in 2008, in the landmark Crawford v. Marion County case which went all the way to the Supreme Court, where Posner’s ruling was affirmed.

If there was ever evidence that a jurist could change their mind upon review of additional subsequent evidence, this is it. If there was ever a concise and airtight case made against Photo ID laws and the threat they pose to our most basic right to vote, this is it. If there was ever a treatise revealing such laws for the blatantly partisan shell games that they are, this is it.

His dissent includes a devastating response to virtually every false and/or disingenuous rightwing argument/talking point ever put forth in support of Photo ID voting restrictions, describing them as “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government.” ‘ Salon

While I do not always agree with Judge Posner’s decisions, this dissent is even more important knowing it was written by a Judge who had recently approved of a similar Voter/Photo ID law.  Not to mention that at least one organization considers Judge Posner the most widely cited legal scholar of out time.  Just how did Judge Posner attack the underpinnings of the Photo/Voter ID laws in the linked dissent?

“But it was written, largely, in response to the Appellate Court ruling last week by rightwing Judge Frank Easterbrook which contained one embarrassing falsehood and error after another, including the canards about Photo ID being required to board airplanes, open bank accounts, buy beer and guns, etc. We took apart just that one paragraph of Easterbrook’s ruling last week here, but Posner takes apart his colleague’s entire, error-riddled mess of a ruling in this response.

Amongst my favorite passages (and there are so many), this one [emphasis added]…

The panel is not troubled by the absence of evidence. It deems the supposed beneficial effect of photo ID requirements on public confidence in the electoral system “‘a legislative fact’-a proposition about the state of the world,” and asserts that “on matters of legislative fact, courts accept the findings of legislatures and judges of the lower courts must accept findings by the Supreme Court.” In so saying, the panel conjures up a fact-free cocoon in which to lodge the federal judiciary. As there is no evidence that voter impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that a legislature says it’s a problem turn it into one? If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials? If the Supreme Court once thought that requiring photo identification increases public confidence in elections, and experience and academic study since shows that the Court was mistaken, do we do a favor to the Court-do we increase public confidence in elections-by making the mistake a premise of our decision? Pressed to its logical extreme the panel’s interpretation of and deference to legislative facts would require upholding a photo ID voter law even if it were uncontested that the law eliminated no fraud but did depress turnout significantly.” Salon
To add to Judge Posner’s pointed dissent and dismemberment of the Photo/Voter ID laws, there was even more evidence of out in the open voter suppression by the party in power against supporters of the opposition party without the use of voter ID legislation.   It was announced earlier this past week that a state Secretary of State has “lost” 40,000 registration forms turned in by a group supporting the Democrats.
” In September, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp expressed concern that too many minority voters were registering to vote for the November midterms and so he found it necessary to subpoena the records of at least one group working to register more Black and Latino voters.Now he has gone and “lost” 40,000 voter registration forms handed in by one group.The Root:

According to an Al-Jazeera report, it’s a sentiment that the staffers at Third Sector Development are expressing. The nonprofit organization was on a mission to register as many black and Hispanic people in the state of Georgia as possible so that voter turnout for the upcoming midterm elections in November would be high. And they were successful at it, until they received word that about half of the applications they submitted for processing have gone missing in action.

“Over the last few months, the group submitted some 80,000 voter-registration forms to the Georgia secretary of state’s office—but as of last week, about half those new registrants, more than 40,000 Georgians, were still not listed on preliminary voter rolls. And there is no public record of those 40,000-plus applications, according to state Rep. Stacey Adams, a Democrat,” Al-Jazeera explained.”  Crooks and Liars

The word Whoops comes to mind when I read about 40,000 “lost” registration forms.  But the loss couldn’t be related to politics, could it?  However, Georgia isn’t the only recent example of voter suppression that might make Judge Posner even more upset at voter suppression measures.

Recently we heard about a Koch Brothers sponsored or supported group sending out intentionally false voting information designed to confuse voters in North Carolina.  Well it seems that the Americans For Prosperity have now set their voter suppression sights on my home state of Illinois.

“First it was North Carolina, now it’s Illinois. Same pattern of voter suppression by fraudulent mailing, too.

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos:

The Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity must have decided they need to do some “voter information” in what’s an awfully tight race for governor in Illinois. According to the Daily Kos Elections Outlook, there’s about a 4-point spread between Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner. Enter AFP to try to create a little chaos in the election. And like in North Carolina, where they sent hundreds of thousands of fraudulent mailers, they’re upsetting people by sending mailers to their dead loved ones.

DECATUR – It’s not uncommon for residents such as Maryilynn Baer to receive political mail before the general election.

But when recent letter came to her home that asked for her husband, Edgar, to re-register to vote before the November election, Baer was overwhelmed and upset.

Her husband had been dead since May.

“It was upsetting,” she said. “His name had already been taken off the voter registration list, and I sent the letter to (Macon County Clerk) Steve Bean and told him I had already notified him that Edgar had passed away.”

See, the mailer made it seem like it had one from County Clerk Bean. All over the state, people have been calling their county clerks to find out if they really do have to re-register, because all of the mailings from AFP are meant to look like they’re coming from elections officials. They’re also wondering why their dead relatives are getting these letters, because they’re going to a lot of deceased people. Which means elections officials are having to make a lot of apologies, even though they’re not responsible for the confusion. Says Shelby County Clerk Jessica Fox, “[w]e would never do anything, for lack of a better term, as tacky as to open up these old wounds.” ‘ Crooks and Liars

Whether it is done by legislatures under the guise of alleged, and as Judge Posner suggests, non-existent voter fraud, or by State executive branch officials as in the case of Georgia, or by partisan organizations funded by conservative billionaires, the result is the same.  Legal citizens with the right to vote are being denied that right.

When will the mass media wake up to the canard of voter fraud being foisted upon the American public?  Judge Posner’s stick in the eye approach just might even convince the Roberts Court.  Then again, we just may be in the throes of a high-tech Jim Crow, Part Two campaign that impacts not only minorities, but also WASP voters who just happen to register as a Democrat or with a Democratic leaning organization.  If these photo ID’s are so important, why do some of the states using them, outlaw student ID cards from local universities and colleges, but accept gun license cards that do not have a photo?

If they believe in their principles and ideas, why are these illegal and immoral tactics necessary?  What do you think?

“The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.”





354 thoughts on “Voter ID Unmasked”

  1. Mr Rafferty, I apologize for calling you Mr Lawrence. An honest mistake not meant to be personal.

    All I can say in response is that this was a “dissenting opinion”, written after the court decided (de facto) that Wisconsin’s voter ID law is constitutional.

    If you doubt that, read the article ( ), which reads amazingly similar to your article. Amazingly similar.

    Anyone who doubts Mr Rafferty’s claim that Judge Posner is “the most cited American jurist of his time”, the article refers to the source of that claim. Am curious as to why Mr Rafferty failed to include that reference.

    Mespo, I only don’t like liberals who use the intellectually dishonest arguments “Oh, yeah, well, Bush was worse”, “Using your logic, we should [insert stupid conclusion]”, and, my favorite, “All Republicans are [insert stupid insult].”

  2. Sandi,
    are you suggesting that we should get rid of all of the corporations rights because they don’t pay taxes?

    1. I would like the corporate tax rate zero, but for those who are in apoplexy, 10%. The public sector spends it’s money far more prudently than any government. More available funds for product development, research, etc., more jobs. A tax-period to allow corporations to bring money from all over the world back to the US economy would bring jobs. As a stockholder, I’m fine with keeping money out of government hands. But the jobs need to be here! Tax-free just too hard for liberals? Then 2%. I worked for a great corporation for 30 years. Best thing that ever happened to me. Elizabeth Warren is wrong, corporations are people. People who work everyday to make their company better.

  3. Thomas Jefferson said the problem with democracy is you can vote yourselves out of it. We’re about there. Too many people dependent on government for everything. 51% could take away life 49% paid for.

  4. Jim22:

    “Mespo, Something tells me you will put on the hypocrite hat if this was an article about I.D. needed for the second amendment.”


    Something tells me you have no idea what you’re talking about since I’m the one who wrote the blog article extolling the history of the Second Amendment tracing it back to England and I ve always maintained it was a personal right a la Heller given my analysis of Madison’s placement of the notion In the original documents. You know Jim, you consevatives always think the play started when you stumbled on stage never realizing you’re really in Act 3. Read more, babble less.

  5. Let’s see if I can summarize Steve H’s critique of raff’s fine article:

    I don’t like liberals. I like conservatives. I like restricting minority voters to keep conservatives in office by any means are available. I don’t like judges who call us Repubs on that little subterfuge that is decidely un-democratic and Anti-american. I can’t deal with Pozners arguments so I’ll attack the messenger, rafflaw, and avoid the merits of the argument.

    Isn’t that about right, Steve?

  6. Raff:

    “And for those who think Rafflaw abused the power of the Weekend Contributor pen, well, he’s not the worst.”

    Since I’m absolutely buoyant over the Steeler turn-around in the last 3 minutes, I can take even more satisfaction that I have the approbation of Steve H. It’s a daily double. Sort of like being on Nixon’s hit list.

  7. Steve,
    For clarification, Judge Richard Posner is no ordinary “judge”. As I stated in the article, he is considered to be the most cited American jurist of his time. When he writes an opinion, the Supreme Court looks very carefully at it. Even if it is a dissent. The name is Lawrence, or Mr. Rafferty, or Rafflaw, not Mr. Lawrence, by the way.
    Mr. Science, using our logic, we should go back to slavery and not allowing women to vote. How do you think that would work out? Also, Riff-Raff? Please, I haven’t been called that since grade school.
    Jim 22, if you think only those that pay taxes should have a say in running this country, should corporations that pay no taxes be allowed to be “people” as the Supreme Court has decided?

  8. Steve H.

    So, let’s see if I can summarize Rafflaw’s article. “I found a judge who was appointed by Reagan who changed his view about Voter ID laws, and in a dissenting opinion, criticized Voter ID laws. Therefore, I can use that as proof, let me repeat repeatedly, PROOF that the Republicans are racists.”

    You didn’t, so you can’t.

    To cover up for it you got Shakey … but it is nothing new.

    “Thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up, And howl’st to find it.” – Shakespeare (Henry IV, part 2)

  9. So, let’s see if I can summarize Rafflaw’s article. “I found a judge who was appointed by Reagan who changed his view about Voter ID laws, and in a dissenting opinion, criticized Voter ID laws. Therefore, I can use that as proof, let me repeat repeatedly, PROOF that the Republicans are racists.”

    My thoughts: 1. I can find a judge who thinks pigs fly. If you’ve read this blog longer than the weekend, you know judges are people in power and people with power are often whackos. Not always, but Professor Turley seems to find a lot of them. 2. “Dissenting opinion” means he was out-voted by his peers. Conspiracy theorists and sore losers will find excuses. 3. Mr Lawrence is a hard-core Democrat who will revel and rejoice in any article or event that “proves” his view that Democrats are angels and Republicans are devils OOPS! That’s a religious view. Let me rephrase. “… that Democrats are virtuous and Republicans are evil”. OOPS! That’s a values-based view. “… that Democrats are nice and Republicans are not.” Sorry, “judgmental.”

    And for those who think Rafflaw abused the power of the Weekend Contributor pen, well, he’s not the worst.

  10. Ode to unAmerican vote suppressors:

    “You shall stifle in your own report, and smell of calumny.” – Shakespeare (Measure for Measure)

  11. I think as an America it is my right to vote. Being a US citizen is not the same as being a member of the boy scouts or a koffee klatch no matter how much you seem to think that is the case. As someone who has no family to help them I rely 1) on the social security system into which I paid (and almost everyone if they live long enough who gets ss whether disability or regular gets more out then they put in) and 2) private agencies can also only help so much. There is a social contract we have one one another as well as our government. Would you say that only those who drive on the toll roads should be permitted to have the benefit of the bridges those tolls are used to build? If I am a democrat and the repubs are in control of the gov’t do I not therefore have a voice because I am not a republican (when all congress and house in one party’s hands? etc. .

  12. leejcaroll, If I wasn’t able to pay taxes, I wouldn’t expect to be able to vote. You seem to think that, that concept is heartless, I see it as fair. I don’t get to vote or make decisions for clubs that I am not a part of. As for caring for the have nots, it has nothing to do with voting. You seem to believe it can only be from govt. The one thing I’ve learned over the years is how little faith the big govt. side has in people. I believe in people and that the govt. gets in the way of the haves helping the have nots. Faceless checks don’t help either side.

  13. If the tables were turned, and voter id was engineered to suppress the votes of the wealthy instead of the poor, Rafflaw would still be against it. It’s the disenfranchisement he doesn’t like.

    Comments like ‘Riff’-Raff or left-wing nut are among the strongest if not exactly the most eloquent arguments in support of his thesis.

    Unfortunately, that does not hold true for the majority of our politicians regardless of stripe. Most Democrats, along with their counterparts, would be fine with voter id as long as it suppressed votes going to their opponents.

  14. Sandy Hemming – be careful about expression suspicion re the 57 people who registered, all with the same vacant lot as their address
    You may find yourself accused of advocating Jim Crow-like laws to ban these 57 poor, homeless people from voting, just because they all happen to be crowded on the same vacant lot.

    1. Oh, they just go from district to district, pick a vacant lot, and bus to the polls. And don’t worry about the rich, they’re smart and would get problem solved.

  15. Well Jim you are lucky that you are in a position t pay taxes. As one example, those who are on soc sec disability PAID into the ss system. But under your plan they no longer get a voice. The working poor, they I guess should not get a voice nd so on. I hope you remain lucky., One example. I was working and starting out my life with a fulltime job (after having worked part time for years while in college) when, in literally the blink of an eye I became disabled from an unknown birth defect.
    Pray G-d this does not happen to you or a car or other kind of accident where you are left disabled or unable to earn a living that keeps you out of poverty and able to pay taxes. I think you would quickly change your tune.
    The haves too often do not care about the ‘havenots’. Romney’s 47% statement and the one about hve your parents pay for college
    And btw, remove more of the safety nets by this 2 tiered system and at the end of the day who do you think will be paying for them, for increased medical costs because they are not insured (what the ACA is helping to reduce), more food stamps, heating help, and so on? If the have nots don’t want to vote to help those in need then you also pay for more crime as a self help attempt.

  16. At the beginning of this country, only PROPERTY OWNERS had the ‘Right’ to vote. Now, every homeless bum, tenant, and even non-citizen can vote to impose taxes on PROPERTY OWNERS. I suggest to ‘Riff’-Raff that we go return to the original set-up. But, a collectivist like him wouldn’t go for that …

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