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. “Why hasn’t David weighed in on the fact that voting isn’t important? For some who claim to love this country, the Constitution, and what it stands for, there’s some petty crap going down.”

    Why? Because I do other stuff besides comment or debate on this blog – so I am late with my response.

    You are correct sir.

    I believe that Voting is not only a right but an obligation of every adult citizen – period (emphasis on citizen). That voter registration should be universal, and when you properly register you should be issued with a bar codes or RFID registration card that would suffice as ID. That universal mail in ballots should be mailed to increase participation with the envelopes having the same various code or RFID to ensure deduplication.

    I don’t care if you’re educated, homeless, sober, or a convicted criminal, I believe your right to vote as a legal citizen trumps all.

    However – there must be a method to insure against voting more than once, which by its nature dilutes the franchise of every legitimate voter, and preventing people from showing up at a polling place claiming to be a person they are not, voting in that person’s stead (potentially disenfranchising them), or when the legitimate voter shows up and is told they have already voted – they show ID and then must be given another ballot. Again since the ballots themselves are anonymous there is no way to retrieve the fraudulent vote.

    The claim that some amount of fraud does not matter – that it happens on both sides… That may work when you are only speaking of national elections for political office, but the vast majority of candidates and issues being voted on in any given election are for local causes. I live in a city of about 1800 or so actual residents divided into 5 districts. Issues are often decided by only a few votes. Any fraud at all could be the deciding factor in a close race.

    However, even on a National Election, any fraud should be treated as intolerable because it assaults the franchise of every person who does it right – regardless of party, race, religion, age, economic status or if they post on this blog.

  2. earsoftheworld – “With all the obvious gerrymandering to maximize the number of republicans in the house, and states not accepting student ID as valid to vote, it amazes me that the self-professed conservatives/libertarians on here can’t admit that this was done to minimize the votes of the people who tend to vote democrat.”

    It amazes me that self-professed liberals on here can’t admit that not having a simple ID card to vote is to maximize the amount of voter fraud that tend to vote Democratic.

  3. With all the obvious gerrymandering to maximize the number of republicans in the house, and states not accepting student ID as valid to vote, it amazes me that the self-professed conservatives/libertarians on here can’t admit that this was done to minimize the votes of the people who tend to vote democrat.

  4. leejcaroll,
    So your solution is either, blame President Bush (yawn), who by the way I have never praised as a fiscal conservative or reward the 49% of the population on the doll with the ability to vote instead of giving them an incentive to get out of the pockets of the makers.

    And… Ohh goody a Walmart argument (yawn again). Simple, don’t like Walmart wages? Don’t work there, it’s a free world. I do agree that they should not receive property tax incentives but as far as pay, that is between them and their employees. It’s sad to me that you think people should aspire to have a career at Walmart. I wish better for my fellow Americans.

  5. Top 10 quotes from Judge Posner’s recent written opinion on voter ID:

    1. 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 say witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?

    2. The panel opinion dismisses the Absolabehere and Persily article on the ground that because it was published in the Harvard’ Law Review, it was not peer reviewed. So much for law reviews. And what about Supreme Court opinions? They’re not peer reviewed either.

    3. Out of 146 million registered voters, this is a ratio of one case of voter fraud for every 14.6 million eligible voters

    4.Even Fox News, whose passion for conservative causes has never been questioned, acknowledges that “Voter ID Laws Target Rarely Occurring Voter Fraud,”

    5. Some of the “evidence” of voter impersonation fraud is downright goofy, if not paranoid, such as the nonexistent buses that according to the “True the Vote” movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places.

    6. Does the Supreme Court really want the lower courts to throw a cloak of infallibility around its factual errors of yore? Shall it be said of judges as it was said of the Bourbon kings of France that they learned nothing and forgot nothing?

    7. Any reader of this opinion who remains unconvinced that scrounging for one’s birth certificate can be an ordeal is referred to the Appendix at the end of this opinion for disillusionment.

    8. …the panel further infers that the 9 percent of registered voters who don’t have photo IDs must likewise be uninterested in voting, since they are unwilling to go to the trouble of getting a photo ID. Wrong.

    9. Unless conservatives and liberals are masochists, promoting laws that hurt them, these laws must suppress minority voting and the question then becomes whether there are offsetting social benefits—the evidence is that there are not.

    10. The law should be invalidated; at the very least, with the court split evenly in so important a case and the panel opinion so riven with weaknesses, the case should be reheard en banc.

  6. BTW Jim, I pay sales tax so therefore I should be able to vote but since I do not have the income sufficient to pa federal I should only be permitted to vote in state elections?

    I would love to see cites on this 50% receiving handouts. Of course when you write handouts you include medicare and social security into which recipients have paid.

    “In the third quarter of 2008, when Bush was president, the Census Bureau estimated that 44.4 percent of Americans were enrolled in at least one government program. (The Census Bureau could not provide us with the fourth quarter of 2008.) To be sure, that number has gone up under Obama. In the second quarter of 2011, it was 49 percent (see table 2). (The second quarter statistics were released this month and are the most recent available.)

    The two programs with the largest enrollments under both presidents were, in order, Medicaid and Social Security.

    Under Bush, 23.8 percent of Americans were on Medicaid, and under Obama, the figure is 26.4 percent. But enrollment in Medicaid, which provides health care for low-income Americans, is driven in large part by economic factors.

    Social Security, on the other hand, is driven by an aging population, and the percentage of Americans on that, too, has gone up under Obama. It was 14.9 percent under Bush, and 16.2 percent under Obama.

    The point is that the increase in Americans receiving some sort of government benefit is driven by two factors: an aging population and a weak economy…”

    You cannot just ignore the numbers under Bush which some here seem to think is perfectly fine but without context it is just a screed against Obama.
    Maybe if Mr. Obama had not inherited the worst recession ever (to my understanding, and the second under Bush) we would be doing even better then we are, with for instance more being employed.
    And btw when you rant against those who get government help we need look no further then Walmart which pays such low wages a large percentage of its workers receive food stamps and other assistance

  7. Jim22,
    If the corporations alter ego’s are allowed to bring their religious beliefs into the corporation, then why isn’t their individual vote enough?

  8. Darren,
    you are right. Shell corporations set up just to multiply the votes. All they have to do is pay the fees to the state and after the election, terminate the corporation.

  9. But Jim22, not all corporations end up paying taxes, so should they not be allowed to vote if they do not pay any taxes in the prior year? Secondly, if corporations should be able to vote, which ID will the company official need to show at the ballot box?

    1. Another problem with corporations having votes would be cranking out corporation registrations by the thousands and creating a virtual block of voters.

  10. Raff, Like I stated earlier, I don’t think companies should have to pay taxes. But, since they do, they should get a vote.

  11. Jim22,
    please inform all of us how Al Franken stole the election. The old false talking points are not facts. Secondly, are you suggesting that corporations should be allowed a vote now? And if you think they should have a separate vote as a corporation, why shouldn’t they have to pay taxes?

  12. Angela Bridgman, Oh yea, it’s all Republicans! Try looking into how Al Franken got into the senate. That stolen election caused us to have Obama Care.

    It’s amazing that Democrats want a fraudulent system so that they can win elections with illegal votes. don’t worry though, because even if I.D’s become law, you can always put out the Black Panthers with night sticks in front of the polling place.

  13. Mike Turzai, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House (Republican, of course): “Voter ID, which will deliver Pennsylvania to Mitt Romney, done.”

    There Republicans, in moments of accidental or purposeful candor – have ADMITTED the entire purpose of Voter ID laws is to steal elections for Republicans!

    When are we going to finally outlaw this new version of Jim Crow?

    It seems to me that having a requirement for a PHOTO ID…and then not accepting CERTAIN forms of ID, which DO contain a photo – and also ACCEPTING other ID’s that DO NOT contain a photo…that should be the giveaway, right there.

    The forms of ID most likely accepted are the ones poor and minority voters are least likely to have. The ones NOT accepted are the ones poor and minority voters are MOST LIKELY to have. And since poor and minority voters traditionally vote Democratic (and the laws are being pushed and supported by Republicans) – this is just MORE PROOF of the true intent of these laws.

    I am just waiting for the Photo ID law to get challenged, at some time, by an Amish person, whose religion does not allow him to be photographed.

    If you REALLY want to combat voter fraud, vote out the people who are committing it! and while you’re at it, do something about people who SELL their absentee ballots!

  14. rafflaw – “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?”

    I’m not a big fan of toll roads since we already pay the govt. taxes for the roads. Toll roads are just another example of govt.s failed fiscal responsibility. But if toll roads do exist, I’m not sure why the money collected would not be used for the road itself but to build bridges on other roads. Again, it sounds like more govt. failure. If the money is used to build the bridges on the toll road, then I if I’m using it, I already paid the toll and thus the use of the bridge.

  15. rafflaw – “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?”

    I don’t think any corporation should be taxed. But if they are, then they should get to vote otherwise it is taxation without representation.

  16. mespo – “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.”

    Sorry for not knowing all of your past works. It is good to know that you are for the second amendment. Do you have a link to your extolling? It would be interesting to read it.

  17. Whenever Mr. Turley hands over the blog to others, it descends into partisan rubbish. Though I often disagree with Mr. Turley’s ideology, he seems to be searching for truth. The others only spew out one sided and pre-decided rants.

    Very unprofessional and very boring.

    1. Mr Crum – perhaps you should refrain from reading the weekend posts and/or refrain from believing that your opinion suffices for the group as a whole. I believe the author of this past weekend’s post has posted here for quite some time, and I would imagine that Professor Turley regards his work more highly than you do.

Comments are closed.