The GOP’s crime against voters
By Eugene Robinson, Published: July 9
Spare us any more hooey about “preventing fraud” and “protecting the integrity of the ballot box.” The Republican-led crusade for voter ID laws has been revealed as a cynical ploy to disenfranchise as many likely Democratic voters as possible, with poor people and minorities the main targets.
Recent developments in Pennsylvania — one of more than a dozen states where voting rights are under siege — should be enough to erase any lingering doubt: The GOP is trying to pull off an unconscionable crime.
Late last month, the majority leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mike Turzai, was addressing a meeting of the Republican State Committee. He must have felt at ease among friends because he spoke a bit too frankly.
Ticking off a list of recent accomplishments by the GOP-controlled Legislature, he mentioned the new law forcing voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Said Turzai, with more than a hint of triumph: “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — done...”
Prodded by GOP political activists, the Justice Department under Bush conducted an extensive, nationwide, five-year probe of voter fraud — and ended up convicting a grand total of 86 individuals, according to a 2007 New York Times report. Most of the cases involved felons or immigrants who may not have known they were ineligible to vote.
The Pennsylvania law and others like it are under attack in the courts; this week, a federal three-judge panel in Washington is hearing arguments on Texas’s year-old law, with a ruling expected next month. Meanwhile, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a conservative Republican, broke with orthodoxy last week and vetoed bills that would have toughened an existing voter ID statute. Maybe the tide is turning. If it doesn’t, these laws will potentially disenfranchise or discourage millions of qualified voters.
In a previous column, I wrote that voter ID was a solution in search of a problem. I was wrong: The problem seems to be that too many of the wrong kind of voters — low-income, urban, African American, Hispanic — are showing up at the polls. Republican candidates have been vowing to “take back” the country. Now we know how.
Robinson might have ended his column, “Now we know how and why!”
Cassi Creek: Utah has previously passed a resolution opposing the “Real ID card legislation passed and signed in 2005. Reasons for opposing REAL ID include the intrusive nature of the law. Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota,Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington have joined Maine and Utah in passing legislation opposing Real ID.
Similar resolutions are pending in Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont,Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
Note that Texas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and other states have since passed laws that demand all voters have a state-approved/issued photo ID in order to be allowed to vote.
The bulk of objections to the REAl ID card came from the political right, claiming that despite the Homeland Security concerns, the card was un-necessary and politically intrusive.
I find myself in agreement with Mr. Robinson. It is easy to see that the minority voters are far less likely to vote for Romney than are the white voters who either see for their selves, or who have been told, repeatedly and loudly, by the teavangelists, that the role of whites as the linear successors of the old South is rapidly becoming only a memory.
I’ve always found the teavangelists demanding “our country back” to smack of racism, anti-Semitism, and other hate mongering. One has to wonder, given the failures in court to prevent the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, if there is going to be a return to the violence of the 1960s.
It seems to be fairly easy to push a bill through GOP dominated state legislatures that can limit the access of minority voters to the polls. It may require a huge effort on the part of minority citizens to thwart this legislated return to wholesale denial of the franchise to those minorities. Church busses and personal vehicles can be pressed into service in order to ferry those voters with no drivers’ license to the most accessible point where the approve photo ID card can be obtained. People organized in such a manner all over the nation to help others register to vote in opposition to the wishes of the white majority. Now it may be the necessary tool to pry the reigns of legislative power from the shaking hands of a demographic that is changing, losing its tight control to a pair of minorities that have been excluded and abused at every opportunity. The aging white southern population appears to be afraid of the potential African-American/Latino coalition. Such a coalition would have the necessary numbers to seize and hold legislative power. Together they must strike fear in the teavangelist/GOP base. That potential coalition is “who we want to take our country back from.” Blocking the ballot box one last time is “how” they plan to “take our country back.”
I don’t know anyone who has been purged or excluded from the voter pool. Neither do I know of any factual instances of voter fraud. Like the Communists still waiting to overthrow the U.S., the myth of voter fraud is intended to scare the people who lack any awareness of history and science. Because they can’t tell fact from myth, it does scare them. I'm voting for the side of truth, ethics, and eventual American justice.