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Solving the Voter I.D. Controversy in 500 Words or Less

September 28, 2012

I’ll keep this one short, because we’re looking at one of the simplest issues ever to cause mass consternation across the republic. I know we don’t need to resort to fisticuffs, because the solution is so self-evident (except, apparently, to all the combatants on either side). Let’s see if you agree.

It seems the individual states can decide how much (if any) identification their aspiring voters must flash when they go to the polls. That’s fine… it helps prevent voter fraud. As of this writing, nine states require a photo I.D. and six other states “request” it. (Sort of like those museums that “suggest” a $15 “donation” at the door.)

Most of us already count a photo I.D. among our possessions because most of us have state-issued driver’s licenses. But some 11 percent of voting-age Americans don’t. That number soars to 25 percent among African Americans and 16 percent among Hispanics… presumably because impoverished urbanites tend to forgo car ownership in favor of public transportation. So naturally the nation’s minority advocates are howling about a Republican plot to keep people of color from casting their preponderantly Democratic votes.

I can understand their apprehensions: shades of Jim Crow, the poll tax and all that. But it’s really not a nefarious scheme to disenfranchise left-leaning minorities. You see, the photo I.D. requirement also affects senior citizens, the majority of whom are certifiably white and Republican. Some 18% of golden-agers lack the compulsory card. I’d also guess that a healthy swatch of the big-city yuppie population goes carless (and cardless) as well, because the cost of parking is positively prohibitive in the fashionable downtown districts of our larger metropoli.

So no, it’s not a matter of race or even political finagling; it’s just another example of government obtuseness at the state level. If you’re going to require photo I.D.s at the voting booth, then you need to ISSUE photo I.D.s to all the eligible voters in your state. We’re not talking brain surgery here. It’s the only fair solution, and everyone seems to be overlooking it because it’s so confoundedly simple.

Ah, but where will all those non-driving minorities, seniors and yuppies find a place to have their official photos taken? Easy. It’s called the motor vehicle bureau. Most big cities have several of them, and anyone can reach them via public transportation. 

If a state is adamant about requiring photo I.D.s on Election Day, let them issue photo I.D.s through the motor vehicle bureaus. Set up two lines: one for voters who drive, one for voters who don’t. Or let them all stand in the same line and simply mark “non-driver” on their application. They pay their $20, $40 or whatever to defray the cost of the procedure… and a few weeks later they receive their shiny photo I.D. in the mail. Problem solved. Everyone votes — except for the 40 percent or so of eligible American voters who typically don’t show up at the polls. Their loss.

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92 Comments leave one →
  1. lovetheocean permalink
    September 29, 2012 12:24 am

    California already does that…you can get a drivers license and/or an official state ID card at the DMV. It’s not a new thing here.

  2. September 29, 2012 12:32 am

    Nice to know that I think like the California state government. ;) So why is this voter I.D. thing causing such a raging controversy? In Pennsylvania they now require a photo I.D. to vote, but the state hasn’t offered any simple solutions for obtaining it. To me it seemed that the DMV would be the logical place to have the photos taken.

    I suppose advocates of the poor could argue that even a $20 or $40 charge for a photo I.D. is an imposition, and it probably is. But it would be good for at least 5 years.

    • September 29, 2012 1:35 pm

      I think nearly every state does that. I know that PA does.
      Further PA accepts a number of alternate forms of ID.
      College ID’s are acceptable if they meet certain criteria – having an expiration date.
      Many colleges with unacceptable ID’s are providing stickers – that have been approved to supply the expiration.

      Most states offer a photo ID free to seniors or people with low income.

      The primary objection by the left is not cost. It is merely the requirement.

      The left makes a big deal that there is purportedly no documented fraud.
      Almost enough people in minesota have been convicted of voter fraud to reverse coleman-franken (that is not going to happen, but there is a point). Florida 2000 was decided by 180 votes – do you really beleive that there were not 180 fraudulent votes from both parties ?

      In 2004 in texas an entire bus load of illegal immigrants who did not speak english voted, and the courts refused to try to fix this – because it was immpossible to distinguish the valid votes from the invalid ones and the only way to fix it was to revote – this election was decided by 5 votes.

      These are annecdotes – and there are myriads more.

      We know there is enormous fraud in voter registration – more than 100,000 fraudulent registrations in a single state in a single year. While there are other incentives for fraudulent voter registration, one motive is fraudulent votes.

      We also know that virtually every mechanical voting machine ever manufactured was jiggered with at one time or another (an most remained damaged and in service for years).

      Further it does not actually matter whether fraud has occurred, it matters whether people believe it has.

      The great danger in 2000 was not that Bush would win, or that Gore would, The outcome did not matter nearly so much as that the majority of us – even those who voted the other way accepted the outcome. When a nation withdraws its consent government ceases to exist – see east berlin 1989.

      I personally think our handling of vote counting risks a serious crisis of confidence – razor thin margins of victory are increasingly common. numbers well within the margin of error. These are resolvable problems – though HAVE electronic voting machines did nothing to address the actual problem.

    • kawarimi permalink
      October 1, 2012 11:46 am

      I can also confirm that PA offers official non-driver’s license photo ID’s. My friend got one in high school and that was back in the 90′s.

      While I do agree that the laws need to be written in such a way that obtaining ID to vote is not overly burdensome, I think that’s not an issue for most states (I’m not up to speed on the details of every state’s ID laws). I read an article about the lead plaintiff (elderly lady) in a PA case who didn’t have all the proper documentation to obtain ID, but after the the law was upheld she was in fact able to obtain a photo ID despite it because the clerks can be flexible on a case by case basis.

      I googled and here’s an article on it: http://articles.philly.com/2012-08-18/news/33249335_1_penndot-id-new-voter-identification-law-penndot-center

      I watched a event on c-span on this very subject that I think demonstrated well that if people would get past their assumptions (one side wants to disenfranchise and the other wants to commit fraud (or that getting ID is too hard)) that when they weren’t yelling past each other (which there was a lot of yelling) they actually mostly agreed on what was reasonable to enact. I wonder how many came away with that realization, though, or if they just went back to loudly proclaiming arguments against “the other side”.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 1, 2012 11:57 am

        Kawarimi..Amen on the yelling issue. There is no problem to big to solve when people talk. However, how often to political figures, political parties and leaders in government talk these days. Seems to me its all yelling like kids fighting over a game in the backyard.

  3. lovetheocean permalink
    September 29, 2012 12:58 am

    Also, California (at least the two counties I’ve lived in) has mail-in ballots (not just for absentee voters but for anyone who wants one). I would like to see that option everywhere because it may well be that it is difficult for some people to get to a polling place. The only criticism I have of CA’s mail-in ballot is that it is quite complicated.

  4. Margy permalink
    September 29, 2012 1:00 am

    Sounds simple, but not so much because Real ID laws are being passed state by state. In 2010, Utah changed its law to comply. To get a driver’s license or state ID, in addition to proof of residence, you have to provide proof of citizenship (generally a birth certificate) and a social security card. I work with a lot of people here who have no proof of identity and we’ve got a circular problem. To get a birth certificate in Utah you need a photo ID or two forms of non-photo ID, to get a social security card you need a birth certificate and ID, and now, you need a birth certificate and social security card to get state photo ID. And except for the social security card, there is a cost. The barriers have gotten higher and people on the margins keep getting further marginalized.

    • lovetheocean permalink
      September 29, 2012 1:17 am

      That’s awful.

    • September 29, 2012 7:28 am

      Margy: I can see the Catch-22 problem there; I’m hoping the other states don’t follow suit. It shouldn’t be that hard to prove one’s status.

      I haven’t known the whereabouts of my Social Security card for about 20 years now, but my number is in the system and it’s easily looked up. I wonder if Utah accepts a legitimate SSN without the card; if not, then they’re clearly throwing up arbitrary obstacles to voting and driving.

      Also, since when does one have to be a citizen to DRIVE in this country? The implication is that foreigners living in the US have to use public transportation or get others to drive them, which would be idiotic.

      It makes for an interesting debate: here we have a clear example of “too much government” (which conservatives hate) being used to disenfranchise “marginal” Americans (which many if not most conservatives are perfectly OK with).

      • Gail permalink
        September 29, 2012 8:47 am

        Sorry, Rick, but being in the system isn’t good enough here in Florida and I suspect in Utah as well. I’m on the Social Security rolls and get that money every month but without the card I was issued in 1956 it was a no-go. I had to reapply for a new SS card and to get that I even had to provide them my medical records from the past two years. Better start searching for your card.

      • Margy permalink
        September 29, 2012 1:09 pm

        Not just obstacles to voting and driving, but also to working. More and more employers are requiring social security cards – not just numbers or copies of cards, but original cards.

        In my view there is tremendous (and painful) irony in the contradiction between conservatives pushing for smaller government while simultaneously pushing for stricter ID laws at every turn in an effort to keep a relatively small number of people from possibly getting something they “don’t deserve.” How do they not see the way it diminishes a free and open society, even for themselves?

      • Ron P permalink
        September 29, 2012 2:23 pm

        Margy..employers are beginning to ask for SS cards because so many people give incorrect numbers. Then the employer withholds SS tax from the employee and pays their portion along with the employees to the feds based on that number. Year end reports are filed and along comes a notification from the feds that the number(s) are wrong and the employer is required to find the right number or jump through hoops to show they had the wrong number on file and did everything required to get the right number.

        It just much easier to ask for documentation up front before going through all hell after the fact.

      • Margy permalink
        September 29, 2012 4:14 pm

        Yes, that is absolutely true. But a photocopy of a social security card or any document that has the person’s name linked with a social security number should suffice for that. I believe requiring an original social security card is a relatively new thing, linked primarily to immigration issues and programs like E-Verify.

      • September 29, 2012 4:50 pm

        “In my view there is tremendous (and painful) irony in the contradiction between conservatives pushing for smaller government while simultaneously pushing for stricter ID laws at every turn in an effort to keep a relatively small number of people from possibly getting something they “don’t deserve.”

        Other than taking a snarky swipe at conservatives, Margie, what the hell are you talking about? Who has said anything about try to keep anyone from getting something that they don’t deserve?

        Unless you are talking about keeping people from voting multiple times, voting in the name of dead people, or voting before they are citizens, I would challenge you to come up with one example of “conservatives” doing anything of the sort.

        FYI, this summer the Washington Post did a big piece on voter ID, including taking a poll which showed an overwhelming majority – about 78% I think – of all Americans, across all demographics, in favor of voter ID laws. If I recall, liberal Democrats had the lowest percentage in favor – but even in that group it was something like 60% in favor, as long as safeguards were in place to prevent voter suppression. I don’t think that this is a particularly ideological issue.

      • September 29, 2012 4:59 pm

        Rick, I think that the need to prove citizenship in order to drive became an issue after the “Motor Voter” law was passed, mandating states to offer on the spot voter registration with driver’s licenses. The intent was to increase registration and turnout, particular among lower income groups, the effect was to increase fraud.

    • September 29, 2012 1:41 pm

      I do not know Utah, but PA has similar problems – though they get greatly overstated.
      Each impediment has a work arround. PA actually accepts a variety of photo ID’s not just state ones – but not all photo ID’s

      Further not only is there assistance for the elderly and low income, but even means arround the requirements. People are actually be sent to old folks homes to get them ID, get them registered and get them absentee ballots.

      In PA you can vote provisionally without ID and provide ID any time in the next 6 days.
      It is likely the court is going to grant an injunction that essentially requires the state to count provisional ballots in this election even without ID. The PA dept state has essentially agreed to that, but the opponents of Voter ID laws do not find that acceptable.

    • September 29, 2012 1:44 pm

      Exactly how do you exist today without a Social security card ?
      I do not think there is a single means of interacting with the Federal government that does not require a social security card.

      You can not get social security, medicare, medicaid, …. without a social security card.
      You can not go to school anymore without getting one.
      You can not claim someone as an exemption on your taxes, you can not file your taxes,

      Even legal immigrants get a social security card.

      • October 2, 2012 4:55 pm

        Dave: My Social Security card was issued to me in 1967 — 45 years ago. I kept it in my wallet for a couple of decades, but somewhere along the way it escaped my orbit (probably when I was switching to a new wallet; I lost my old draft card around the same time). I think it would be ludicrous for the government to demand that older people present their original Social Security cards for any purpose.

        Bottom line: the government can expect us to have a Social Security number, yes… to know our Social Security number, yes… to have the card itself in our possession, no.

    • Margy permalink
      September 29, 2012 4:58 pm

      I wasn’t actually talking about voter ID laws – I was talking about how it has become increasingly more challenging to get ID. And yes, I will confess it was a swipe conservatives who don’t seem to recognize that many of the things they push for actually contradict their goal of small government and freedom.

  5. September 29, 2012 8:18 am

    I’m a nondriver — and in fact a senior citizen. I have an ID issued by the motor vehicle administration (in Maryland, which does NOT require IDs to vote). It does — for most people — cost $15 (for seniors it is free, as I found out, when I went to renew it last year). I’d be surprised if there are any states that do not already do this.

    • October 2, 2012 4:59 pm

      Bruce: Is it a photo I.D.? That’s the issue. Most states don’t yet require a photo I.D. to vote, but nine of them do, and another six “request” it. Those states are making it difficult (whether deliberately or not) for non-drivers to vote. If states require a photo I.D., they need to issue photo I.D.s to all eligible voters. I thought the DMV would be the ideal agency to issue them.

      • October 2, 2012 6:14 pm

        Yes, the ID is a photo ID. It looks just like the cards issued as driver’s licenses except that the color is different, and it has a code that marks it as a non-driver’s ID.

  6. September 29, 2012 9:33 am

    The voter ID thing is a red herring. The dems know that their voters have a lower turnout rate (maybe they are just not that motivated) and that many of their voters think the “man” is out to get them. So, why not make a political ha?. They also know that a number of their voters are illegals who, in many states can vote if they are not required to show a photo ID.

    If voting is such a chore to you, that might suggest that you should just sit your sorry ass home and not vote. No loss IMHO. PS-I am not buying these photo ID numbers. Are you telling me that within those populations you mention, these folks don’t buy alcohol or cigarettes?:

    Gimme a break1

    • October 2, 2012 5:05 pm

      Rich: I agree that minority activists are turning this into a racial discrimination issue, which doesn’t surprise me. But white senior citizens who don’t drive are affected by the photo I.D. requirements, too.

      Bottom line: If a state requires photo I.D. to vote, it has to issue photo I.D. cards to all eligible voters in the state. It might be a chore for them, but they need to do it or stop requiring a photo I.D. The burden shouldn’t be on individual citizens to furnish the card, because in most cases only drivers have photo I.D.s.

  7. September 29, 2012 9:33 am

    Oh yes, and if you fly, you need a photo ID.

  8. September 29, 2012 9:54 am

    There are some additional issues that are missing from this in the urban and (I assume) northern and western skew here. In Texas, many rural counties have neither DMV, nor public transportation. How do you propose that folks without ID in those areas get access to a photo ID if they don’t have one? Older people, especially African Americans, who were not born in hospitals may not have a birth certificate, which is now required to prove identity when applying for photo IDs in most states. In South Carolina, in order to get a birth certificate, you have to go to court and deal with a judge, paying for that in time and money. That’s an issue disproportionately affecting African-Americans who lived in the South before the Civil Rights Movement because in many places they could not be born in a hospital (hence, in many cases no birth certificate). This isn’t as simple as voter ID proponents would like to claim…

  9. September 29, 2012 10:11 am

    Amazing, how we can make controversy out of nothing. Honestly, how many Americans are out there who lack any proof of identity whatsoever? And, for those few who have managed to become senior citizens without ever having had to produce a birth certificate, social security card or drivers license, well….I’m sure that there are ways to provide them with a photo id. We are talking about a relatively tiny slice of the population, and, while I am not suggesting that they should be ignored, I cannot get too worked up about this as a major impediment to their voting rights. This is not the 1950′s, no one is trying to keep blacks from voting… The issue here is preventing voter fraud.

  10. Roberta Swanson permalink
    September 29, 2012 11:09 am

    don’t see how this differs from a poll tax…plus the thought of going to the dmv for whatever reason is daunting…

    ________________________________

    • September 29, 2012 1:51 pm

      Our founders thought poll taxes were reasonable – and arguably they are,
      The fundimental problem with Jim Crow was not the “poll taxes” per say but their use to prevent minority voting.

      I would personally have no problem charging everyone $5 to vote. You can put into place special provisions to deal with people who are truly in poverty.

      But there are actually extremely good reasons to seek lower voter turnout in a democracy. You want people to vote only when some facet of the outcome is of substantial importance to them. Countries with massive voter turnout tend to be highly unstable politically and prone to coups and revolutions.

      Even Rick is lamenting the partisan swings in out politics

      But we are not going to have poll taxes – regardless of whether they have legitimate or illegitimate objectives – because we passed the 24th ammendment to the constitution prohibiting them.

      And that is the correct way to change the constitution.

    • September 29, 2012 2:05 pm

      If the DMV bothers you – get rid of drivers licenses.

      Regardless, nearly all the arguments against are actually ludicrous.

      I am sure that the Romney and Obama campaigns can spend a small portion of the $1B that they are going to spend on this election – that is $3/each man women and child in the country. Getting that 98 year old poor african american woman with no birth certificate and social security number living 400 miles from the nearest DMV through the process of getting an ID.

      You can not drive without ID.
      You can not collect social security or medicare
      File taxes, be claimed as an exemption,
      go to school,
      without a social security number – One common prerequisite for a photo ID.

      Most states accept ID other than drivers licenses and state IDs.

      The supreme court has already ruled on this And is apparently likely to have to do so again.

      The DOJ is just begging to have the the covered jurisdictions provision of the Civil rights act invalidated, or sunsetted. They nearly did so already.

  11. Ron P permalink
    September 29, 2012 11:56 am

    There are many arguements that are made against voter ID laws and Rick has listed a couple. But why is there no outcry for these same individuals buying cold medication in states that require a picture ID at a drug store. My state has that behind the counter and when buying, personal infomation is entered into a database to follow future purchases to stop the production of illegal drugs. You have to have a picture ID or no cold medicine. How do seniors buy items when using a credit card at stores that require a picture ID (and that is becoming more common with all the fraud in credit cards these days). These may not be “rights” like voting, but they are needs and no one seems to be upset when grandma can’t get pseudoephedrine.

    Yes, states need to make the issuing of picture ID’s easier and the DMV is not the answer, at least not in states like mine where those have wait times of 3-4 hours for just a drivers license renewal. Add another few thousand to the lines before an election and it will be all day.

    With all the technology today and the inexpensive photo equipment availible that produces a picture in seconds, one alternative would be the voter registrars office that could take the same info that the DMV uses to verify personal information and include that on the voter registration card presented to individuals that register to vote.

    Only those states that want to curtail the turnout for one side or the other is going to make obtaining a picture ID difficult and expensive. For those that want to curtail fraud in voting, technology can make issuance very easy and the cost could be $5.00 of less for an ID.

    • September 29, 2012 12:05 pm

      Exactly. And even that $5 could be subsidized by the government, in the case of anyone so abjectly poor that they could not afford it (hell, if we can give people free phones, the least we can do is give them free ID)

      The idea that this is no different than a poll tax is ridiculous. The purpose of a voter ID is to prevent cheating. In my state, you cannot take the SAT’s without presenting photo ID, because kids were sending in ringers to take the test for them. Same principle.

      Will it prevent all voter fraud? Probably not, but it is a common sense, fair way to prevent a lot of it.

      • September 29, 2012 12:24 pm

        Eh, I apologize for saying that the poll tax idea is “ridiculous.” That was insulting, and I would not like my comments to be labeled as such. I should have simply said that I disagree with that charge, and think that it is leveled by those who see this issue as one of racism and voter suppression, rather than what is actually is.

        I hate going the the DMV, btw. Don’t we all?

      • September 29, 2012 1:54 pm

        It does nto matter if it prevents any fraud as long as it improves are perception that the results of the election are not tainted by fraud.

    • September 29, 2012 1:52 pm

      I can renew my drivers license at my local AAA in just a few minutes.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 29, 2012 2:29 pm

        WOW!! That would be great to not have to wait for hours. How did that get passed the government workers union that is against anything the government does to privatize certain government operations?

        But this is a great example of how technology allows for simplification that most state a federal governmental agencies will not explore.

      • September 29, 2012 4:31 pm

        I do not beleive our modern changes are driven by technology – rather technology is driven by freedom.

        The name of the so called dark ages comes from the fact that the basic technology for the industrial revolution existed in classical greece.

        All the knowledge necescary for the steam engine, complex mechanical systems of gears and levers. fairly advanced mathemetics, science, ….

        Yet technology alone was insufficient. It took almost two millenia for that technology to bear fruit.

        In the modern era technology rarely makes the impossible possible. What it does is increase speed.

        When we the internet or technology makes a mockery of many of our laws – it is not because of some flaw in technology – but because the laws were always fallacious and only worked when things moved slow enough that intervention was plausible.

        private alternatives to the DMV have always been possible – some have even existed.

      • AMAC permalink
        September 29, 2012 5:19 pm

        I renewed my license last year (calendar year) on-line through the DMV. The technology is there and most times offered through government agencies, the problem is that many, especially the older and/or less afluent don’t know how to navigate the technology. It took me 5 minutes at my home, and in 6 business days I recieved it in the mail. Now back to the article…

        I don’t have a problem with the voter ID requirement. During a presidential election year, everything is politicized and used as a talking point to pit one side against the other. I don’t share Jbastiat’s opinion that those without ID are lazy and worthless and also shouldn’t vote. Many people across race, socio-economic satus, age, etc do not have or often need photo ID. It should be easy for us to resolve this. Photo ID’s have been suggested for various purposes throughout the years, and it is never just the left or right obstructing it. It usually depends on which side proposed it! It wasn’t all that long ago the right was against a national photo ID. It should be cheap and easy. I would just like the government(s) to come out with an effective action plan before the legislation, for once. They should have a set of easy steps to instruct how photo ID can be obtained and exemptions for cost posted before the legislation passes. It would just take a little bit of communication and I don’t think there would have been as much public outcry.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 29, 2012 6:34 pm

        AMAC they may not be lazy, but there are many who are just plan stupid. Watch any segment of the tonight show when he is doing “Jay Walking” and find out how many idiots are eligible to vote but do not know who the President, Vice President, Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader is, even when almost given the answer.

        Maybe we need an idiot test to weed out those that have no idea what they are voting for and do away with voter ID requirements. At least those voting will know who the devil they voted for.

      • Gail permalink
        September 29, 2012 6:45 pm

        I usually renewed online but this year the law had changed and I had to present a certified copy of my birth certificate and marriage licenses to verify both of my name changes and a Social Security card with my complete name as it is on my birth certificate. As it happened, I go by my middle name and my first name was not on my SS card so they made me get a new one with both first and middle name. All this took months and $47.00.

        I think a national ID card would help with things like this and might help another voter problem we have here in Florida and that is the number of snowbirds with winter digs here who vote both in their home state by absentee and in person here each election. Some years ago a New York paper compared the voter rolls in one NY county with one Florida county and found 47 who had double voted. That is just one county in each state and neither were the most populous counties.

      • September 29, 2012 9:02 pm

        We just had, in Maryland, a Democratic candidate for Congress who had to withdraw from the race because it was found that she had voted double in Maryland and Florida on more than one occasion. She was running in the only district in the state that is pretty solidly Republican, so she had little chance of being elected anyway, but it did just happen.

    • October 2, 2012 5:16 pm

      Ron: You’re right that drug stores are requiring a photo I.D. along with one’s credit card. So what happens to Granny if she hasn’t been driving for 15 years … or never learned to drive? (I actually know a few people my age who never learned, so good luck to them when they try to vote or buy prescription drugs.)

      At some point in the future we’ll probably have tiny I.D. chips implanted at birth (or shortly afterward), but until then we need to plug the holes in the system. Every town needs to have an office that issues photo I.D.s — whether it’s the DMV or City Hall.

  12. jacksmith permalink
    September 29, 2012 1:27 pm

    “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!” – Patrick Henry

    What a brilliant ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the affordable health care act (Obamacare). Stunningly brilliant in my humble opinion. I could not have ask for a better ruling on a potentially catastrophic healthcare act than We The People Of The United States received from our Supreme Court.

    If the court had upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the commerce clause it would have meant the catastrophic loss of the most precious thing we own. Our individual liberty. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Supreme Court.

    There is no mandate to buy private for-profit health insurance. There is only a nominal tax on income eligible individuals who don’t have health insurance. This is a HUGE! difference. And I suspect that tax may be subject to constitutional challenge as it ripens.

    This is a critically important distinction. Because under the commerce clause individuals would have been compelled to support the most costly, dangerous, unethical, morally repugnant, and defective type of health insurance you can have. For-profit health insurance, and the for-profit proxies called private non-profits and co-ops.

    Equally impressive in the courts ruling was the majorities willingness to throw out the whole law if the court could not find a way to sever the individual mandate under the commerce clause from the rest of the act. Bravo! Supreme Court.

    Thanks to the Supreme Court we now have an opportunity to fix our healthcare crisis the right way. Without the obscene delusion that Washington can get away with forcing Americans to buy a costly, dangerous and highly defective private product (for-profit health insurance).

    During the passage of ACA/Obamacare some politicians said that the ACA was better than nothing. But the truth was that until the Supreme Court fixed it the ACA/Obamacare was worse than nothing at all. It would have meant the catastrophic loss of your precious liberty for the false promise and illusion of healthcare security under the deadly and costly for-profit healthcare system that dominates American healthcare.

    As everyone knows now. The fix for our healthcare crisis is a single payer system (Medicare for all) like the rest of the developed world has. Or a robust Public Option choice available to everyone on day one that can quickly lead to a single payer system.

    Talk of privatizing/profiteering from Medicare or social security is highly corrupt and Crazy! talk. And you should cut the political throats of any politicians giving lip service to such an asinine idea. Medicare should be expanded, not privatized or eliminated.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for-profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. The ACA/Obamacare will not fix that.

    The for-profit medical industrial complex has already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    To all of you who have fought so hard to do the kind and right thing for your fellow human beings at a time of our greatest needs I applaud you. Be proud of your-self.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.

    Sincerely

    jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

  13. September 29, 2012 2:21 pm

    Rick;

    I thought you said you were from Pennsylvania.

    Though most of your article was fairly “Moderate”

    I found it really odd that you seem unaware of how Drivers licenses and state ID’s are issued. Even in PA.

    If you have required documents you will leave with your shiny new ID.

    If you already have a drivers license from any state that alone is acceptable ID.
    It is even valid as ID if expired for two years.

    If you have ever been issued state ID, you can have a new copy issued simply by paying for it.

    There are provisions for people who can not pay.

    Required ID if you have NEVER had a state issued ID before:

    1 of

    Passport
    US Birth Certificate – even if you were born outside the US you can get a US birth certificate under many circumstances (My children were adopted internationally)
    Certificate of Citizenship
    Valid US passport (expired passports are valid for ID for several years).

    And a social security care.

    Many of the above requirements are actually dictated by federal law not state law.

    Further PA will provide a Free Voter ID card to anyone who will declare under oath that they do not posses:

    -Identification issued by the United States Government that includes my name, a photograph, and an expiration date that is not expired.*

    - Identification issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that includes my name, a photograph, and an expiration date that is not expired (unless issued by the Department of Transportation, then the expiration of the identification cannot be more than 12 months past the expiration date).

    - Identification issued by a municipality of this Commonwealth to an employee of that municipality that includes my name, a photograph, and an expiration date that is not expired.

    - Identification issued by an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning that includes my name, a photograph, and an expiration date that is not expired.

    - Identification issued by a Pennsylvania care facility that includes my name, a photograph, and an expiration date that is not expired.

    • September 29, 2012 2:26 pm

      Clearly Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law imposses incredible burdens on the old the poor, minorities.

      From what I can see the only burden to obtaining a legitimate ID fraudulently and for free, is your willingness to lie under oath.

      We should not burden poor old minorites with the prospect of having to lie under oath in order to vote multiple times.

    • AMAC permalink
      September 30, 2012 10:13 pm

      Rick is no moderate and clearly not a resident of Pennsylvania. He is one of those flaming liberals from Rhode Island. I am calling his bluff.

    • October 2, 2012 6:44 pm

      Dave: Thanks for filling us in on the PA I.D. situation. Because I came to PA with a valid driver’s license, all I had to do was pick up my PA driver’s license and I was all set. I had no idea the state furnishes photo I.D. cards to anyone who doesn’t already have one. (And if I had no idea, I’m guessing that a lot of my fellow Pennsylvanians are in the same boat.)

      The state should publicize the fact that anyone can obtain a photo I.D. and let us know where we can go to take that oath. This is the sort of information we shouldn’t have to pick up from our friends, neighbors and web acquaintances.

      And of course, we have no idea how the other states that require photo I.D. treat residents who don’t already have one.

      AMAC: Maybe I should call my blog “The Flaming Liberal Pseudo-Moderate Whose Readers Are, Oddly Enough, Predominantly Libertarians.”

      • AMAC permalink
        October 3, 2012 10:10 pm

        The FLPMWRAOEPL. It has a nice ring to it. The acronym roles off of the tongue so much easier than “TNM”. I would hurry and get the URL, that one is going quick.

      • October 3, 2012 11:48 pm

        Lol. Full Disclosure: I am not a libertarian. And you, Rick, are not a Pseudo-Moderate. You are truly a moderate, albeit a liberal one, as I am a conservative one.

  14. September 29, 2012 3:31 pm

    “The intenet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” John Gilmore.

    I would have gone further and say that free markets interpret government restrictions as damage and route around them.

    We now have the ability to manufacture handguns easily in our own home. All too soon we will be able to do so cheaply – as well as myriads of other products government has determined we should not be allowed to by. Primitive versions of Star Treks replicators are now reality, and reality is not going to remain the same.

    It does not really matter which particular nanny state regulation you have chosen to force on everyone else – the free market will circumvent it – probably unintentionally.

    We either have to grasp that as we move forward the world is going to be more and more free or we can continue to fight an impossible loosing battle imposing more and more arbitrary and impossible laws.

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/26/the-next-battle-for-internet-freedom-could-be-over-3d-printing/

  15. September 29, 2012 11:03 pm

    This whole ID thing has become muddied, not only with voter politics, but with anti-terror policy.

    My husband recently accepted a position which requires him to have access to all areas of Newark International Airport…runways, towers, you name it. He had to go through an extensive, high level security clearance. Now, as it happens, he was born in Germany,on a US Army base, because his father was in the military, stationed there after WWII. Both of his parents were US citizens, and he was born in a US military hospital. He, himself, served for 10 years in the National Guard. Nevertheless, he was informed by the TSA that he could not be cleared for his job until they received his naturalization papers. Ironically, one of his counterparts, who is an engineer born in Egypt and who self-identifies as a “Palestinian,” breezed right through the clearance!

    Long story short, my husband was cleared, after explaining to the TSA that he was a natural-born citizen.

    But there is confusion over this stuff. And it’s important. And I reject the idea that asking people for proof of ID is racist.

    • Ron P permalink
      September 29, 2012 11:30 pm

      pearows..are you saying an individual born on US military property in Germany was a naturalized citizen and had to show proof for a government job, but John McCain, born on a Military zone in Panama was considered eligible to run for President because he was considered natural-born?

      According to the US law, children born to parents that are both US citizens are natural-born citizens and therefore should not have naturalization papers since they are not naturalized. They are citizens based on their birth parents criteria, but may have duel citizenship since they were born within the borders of a foreign country on a military base.

      This natural-born criteria holds true for any child born to citizens in a foreign country, even if they are not born on military property such as individuals working for Coke in a foreign subsidiary.

      Something seems fishy with this situation, but since the US government is involved, especially homeland security, it is no wonder it is screwed up.

      Something

      • September 30, 2012 12:17 am

        This is not that surprising.

        My children are both adopted.
        US law now specifies that the adopted children of US Citizens are also citizens – by statute.

        But according to DHS they must go through a tedious and expensive process to get paperwork from DHS proving they are a citizen.

        Conversely the state department issued them a passport with only the minimal proof required by the law – proof of adoption, and proof of our citizenship.

        Need I remind everyone that the government is abysmally bad at even those things it is supposed to do and often works at cross purposes to itself.

      • September 30, 2012 12:31 am

        Well, Ron, to be fair, I think it mostly had to do with the ignorance of government workers….although, one has to wonder exacty how ignorant they are, not knowing that a child born of US citizens on a US military base is a US citizen. I do worry that the TSA is populated by low information workers.

        But, to me, it is understandable. We are told by the left that asking for proof of citizenship in order to vote is a racist outrage. My husband’s Egyptian co-worker is a great engineer, and a good worker. He is not anti-American, although he is virulently anti-Semitic…that does not seem to be a problem even in today’s hyper-PC world.

        Also, I think that the McCain thing had to do with whether or not the Panama Canal Zone was covered by US citizenship laws at the time of his birth and whether those laws would apply retroactively to him…. there has yet to be a SCOTUS case defining “natural born citizen,” so I guess the confusion is somewhat justified.

      • AMAC permalink
        September 30, 2012 10:09 pm

        Pearows

        SCOTUS has stated it is like porn. You know it when you see it! Your husband must look a little too mediteranean! Tell him to up the SPF on his sunscreen.

  16. October 1, 2012 9:27 pm

    There is a new book out called “Who’s Counting,” by John Fund, which is about voter fraud. It’s pretty good, and it doesn’t just focus on presidential politics. There is an extensive analysis of the contested Senate race in Minnesota, which resulted in the GOP incumbent’s apparent victory turning into a recount victory for Al Franken. The importance of that, of course, was that it provided the filibuster proof majority for the Democrats. It’s pretty hard not to come away with the conclusion that Franken’s victory was due to fraud. Fund interviews a felon who illegally voted for Franken and was very happy that she could “make a difference.”

    Another observation I’d like to make. Both Rick and Margy commented on what they see as an apparent irony :conservatives oppose big government, yet they want the government to figure out a way to prevent voter fraud. I don’t think there is any irony in this at all…you can are be in favor of the rule of law without supporting a intrusive, nanny-statist, overregulatory “big government”. Enforcing election laws is part of what the government should do – what it has to do – to remain legitimate and keep the peace.

    The HS in my town had a student protest today over the new federally mandated lunch program, which prohibits school lunches from being over 850 calories (of course, no sugary foods or drinks allowed, and there must be at least a cup of vegetables). Football players and other athletes are complaining that they need at least twice that amount, but the USDA has taken a no-exceptions approach to the meal plan, in order to prevent obesity (I think the idea is that if you allow certain students to have extra, you’ll have to allow all of them, even the fat kids, to have extra too). I don’t know about you, but this all seems very Oliver-Twist-”More- Please” to me, and it’s the kind of creepy big government that I think people oppose. Not the kind that says you need picture ID to prove that you are registered to vote.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 1, 2012 11:15 pm

      Pearows..yes voter fraud does happen and it happens in all levels of social economic income levels.. About 20 years ago I knew an individual that was a professional with a national information technology company. He owned property in the mountains, his home in the central part of the state and property at the coast. He talked about how people with multiple residences would register in each area where they owned property. In this case, he could vote three times since it is easy to start in the mountains, drive half way, vote, and then end up at the beach and vote before the polls closed. Not sure if he did it, but he did talk about it. And without any proof of residence required during those years, how would anyone know. The state sure did not have money to run voter rolls for matches.

      So in a state election like Frankin’s, it would not take many to do that to swing an election.

      • October 3, 2012 10:37 am

        And if each of those places that he was voting was a distinct political entity, and he did not vote for any specific office more than once, it should be legal.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 3, 2012 11:10 am

        But the issue remains that he could have voted for the presidential ticket three times. How would anyone know?

      • Priscilla permalink
        October 3, 2012 11:08 am

        It would be fine if national, state, and local elections were separate, but they aren’t always.

      • October 3, 2012 7:40 pm

        I was not trying to state that someone should be allowed to vote multiple times for the same office – they should not. Really and truly preventing that would be extremely difficult and probably require more intrusion than is tolerable. Though ID is a start – it is reasonable for most of us to beeive that if the state is asking for ID, it knows if we voted multiple times – it probably doesn’t, though inside a given state it probably knows if you are registered multiple places.
        My father owns a residence in NJ it would have been perfectly possible for him to vote In PA and NJ, and probably still is, so long as he was willing to drive 3 hours to do so.

        The primary goal of Voter ID is not actually to prevent multiple voting. That is probably beyond the record keeping that the state does. And may be beyond what it is allowed to do.

        It is to prevent someone who is not the registered voter from voting for them.
        To vote you must bring a state issued photo id in the name of the registered voter. If there are myriads of dead or non-existant people on the roles – no one can vote for them. More infrequently if someone chooses not to vote or is unable to, no one can vote for them.

        These are the most commonly suspected forms of voter fraud.
        It often takes decades for states to cull their records of dead people.
        Further various voter registration groups are know to produce thousands, tens of thousands even hundreds of thousands of fraudulent registrations.
        Maybe they just do it because they are paid by the registrant, but we have know way of knowing whether those bogus registrants voted.

        There has been a claim that voter fraud is rare. in light of Franken Coleman and Bush Gore it is ludicrous to argue that it could not have an effect.
        Anyone who thinks there were less fraudulent votes than the margin of victory needs an IQ test.

        We also know that in the past fraud was common LBJ bragged about it. The Nixon/Kennedy Cook County incident is infamous.

        We know that something like 90% of the mechanical voting machines in this country had teeth filed off – often accross many elections.

        I personally have zero doubt that there are those in both parties – not necessarily the the leaders that will do whatever they think is necescary to elect their candidate. i think each dise has operatives that already beleive the other is engaged in massive fraud and that belief justifies anything they do.

        Voter ID may not change any outcomes. But it will increase our confidence in the results – and that alone is worth it.

        There are other voting problems we must solve.
        I think turning over adjudications of elections inside the margin of error to other elected or appointed politicians or judges is ludicrously stupid.
        The nation was held hostage by these kind of maneauverings with Bush Gore and Franken Coleman. Regardless of what you beleive about what the outcome should have been does anyone doubt politics was a factor in the results ? That alone should give us pause.
        georgia on the other hand had a very close election and while Franken and Colment duked it out in court, Georgia had a new election, and the results were decisive, the debate over, and all questions answered.
        Any election inside the margin of error should be redone.

        i also personally think “none of the above” needs to be on every ballot, and any candidate that can not get 51% of the vote can not take office.

        My .02.

        Interestingly we have an issue where Rick and I are not too far apart.

      • October 3, 2012 8:47 pm

        Nevada used to have “none of the above” on its ballots, but a court just ruled that unconstitutional.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 1, 2012 11:19 pm

      pearows, don’t forget the nanny state that does not allow students to bring over the counter drugs like aspirin to school and if they do they can be suspended, but it does allow the school to dispense the morning after pill to middle and high school students.

    • October 2, 2012 7:05 pm

      PR: Believe me, I get the difference between government regulations for the sake of security and those that reflect the nanny state mentality. But it’s not a black-or-white issue; it’s more of a spectrum.

      I remember reading recently about a man in Oregon who was arrested for collecting rainwater on his own property. Were they kidding? My hackles were up: to me, that symbolized government intrusiveness at its most absurd and objectionable. But another issue arose from the same case: the man had also been accused of (I think) diverting a creek that ran through his property. Now there’s an example of an imposition on a man’s private property based on how it might affect other people’s properties — or the municipality itself.

      It’s a trivial example, but it’s also a good example of a case that falls somewhere between unwarranted imposition by the government and regulation for the good of the public. We have a lot of “gray area” regulations like that, and that’s why we have so many debates about the extent to which the government can meddle in our lives. It’s a matter of personal belief.

      • October 3, 2012 11:08 am

        Rick;
        It actually must be a black and white issue – or nearly so.
        One of the arguments for limited government, rule of law, bright lines, is that equality before the law tolerates no discretion. And separately government is abysmal at discretion. Most of the evils even you see with government are discretion – favoring one group over another.

        I am as opposed as you are of corporate welfare and the cozy relationship of government with many businesses. Where we part is on the means to solve that problem.

        The world is not black and white – I am not trying to pretend it is, but flexibility and discretion are not qualities we want in government.

        The Classical liberal tradition – such as John Locke that informed our founders provides rational, logical and simple principles for distinguishing the role of government from that of the individual. Government is limited simple comprehensible, with very minimal grey areas. to the extent we have tried that it has worked better than anything else. The more limited the government the greater the individual liberty the greater the prosperity for all.

        Complexity, grey areas, discretion should all be exercised outside of government. Free markets are incredibly complex – they are way beyond the grasp of the smartest individual, regulator, government. The reflect an aggregate of myriads of individual preferences and choices. They are not perfect, but they are extremely good at what they do. Government has attempted to intervene – but there are no successful examples. Communism failed – because it was unable to deliver even close to the prosperity people demanded. Mises predicted that failure more than a century ago – it has no price system it can not work. Socialism has only done better in comparison. Greater liberty has always produced greater growth in prosperity for all than greater government – without exception.

        The Oregon case was entirely about rainwater. The claim of “diverting water from a stream” was based on the claim that if Harrington had not collected the water it would have ended up in a stream.
        There are significant differences between the west and east with respect to water rights. And there are incredible constitutional and state complexities.
        There are generally stronger states rights and weaker individual rights in the west. There are also broad distinctions between ones right to use the water that falls on ones land or is found under it, and ones right to use water that flows through ones land. In general in the east you have the right to what is under, or falls on your land, but your use of water flowing through your land is balanced against the rights of those others who have the same water flowing through their land.
        In the west, in general the state owns all water and prohibits or permits use as it pleases. Usually the results are similar to that of the east.
        Mr. Harrington as an example probably would have faced no problems had he used the same water on his lawn or gardens. But he ran afoul of the state when he contained it.

        Some of the water spats are somewhat idiotic as unless you take water an haul it away from your property, ultimately the water on your property all ends up back in the watershed regardless. At best building a pond or other storage delays that – unless you know of some way Harrigan had an infinitely large pond or reseviour than could be filled forever without releasing anything.

    • Margy permalink
      October 2, 2012 8:08 pm

      I don’t think water (rain or creek) is a trivial example at all. I initially thought the rainwater example was crazy when there was an issue with a collection ordinance in Salt Lake City. But here’s the thing: rainwater feeds aquafers, which are a critical element of community water management strategy. So is the rainwater collection example fundamentally different than the creek example? I do think the community has a compelling interest in determining how much extraction of a critical natural resource that passes through someone’s private property is too much.

      • October 2, 2012 11:52 pm

        Well, fine. I agree that there are cases in which the public good is served by government action. And I think that, if you look at the actual facts, as opposed to Democrat talking points, you will see that conservatives are very much on board when public safety and conservation of resources are at stake. The example that you cited, Rick, may be a legitimate case of eminent domain….again, not opposed by conservatives.

        The idea that conservatives and/or Republicans are AGAINST what is right is just nonsense.

        I agree, Rick, that there is plenty of “gray area,” and it is in that gray area that negotiation and bipartisan compromise occur. But taking the position that the right is always wrong, which you often do, precludes any real progress.

      • October 3, 2012 9:03 am

        MArgy and Rick, The rainwater example differs fundamentally from the USDA mandatory lunch example, in my view. One is an example of government protecting a natural resource that is available and important to the community. The other is an example the government intruding on the rights of individuals to choose what they want to each for lunch.

        Frankly, I find it ironic that liberals claim to be pro-choice, yet are fine with mandates on personal choice when it comes to things like this.

        It’s one thing to provide subsidized lunch for potentially starving, poverty-stricken students. That is part of the “safety net” that the overwhelming majority of conservatives support. It is entiredly another thing to tell perfectly healthy, middle class kids that, because they go to public school, they cannot eat certain things for lunch and their lunch calories must be restricted so that some of their classmates won’t get fat.

        My point was not to say which side is more or less hypocritical than the other. Clearly, both can be. My point was that throwing charges of hypocrisy at conservatives for wanting the government to enforce voting laws (or any other constitutional role that the government has) seems to me to come from a place of emotional dislike of conservatives, rather than a rational examination of the issue. And my personal definition of “moderate” says that moderates are rational thinkers.

      • October 3, 2012 11:13 am

        There are only two things you can do that are more than temporarily disruptive.

        you can take water and remove it from your property permanently – generally by producing something that uses water such as crops or to a lessor extent manufactured goods, or you can return it in a dangerous state.

        It is not possible to permanently divert the natural flow of water in any other way. The only laws you need would be those regarding the state of the water you return – which can be handled as property rights and/or prohibitions from harming others. And law regarding use that ACTUALLY permanently removes water from a watershed – the production of goods that actually contain water and leave your property permanently.

      • October 6, 2012 10:35 am

        PR: I wasn’t trying to cast conservatives in an evil light… I just think it’s ironic how selective both sides can be when it comes to the forms of government intervention they favor.

        Even nanny-state regulations on school meals, while they grate against my instincts, have a purpose beyond the imposition of “enlightened” lefty dietary habits: by contributing to public health, they can reduce the likelihood that these kids will grow up obese, unhealthy, and prone to medical emergencies that raise health care costs for everyone.

        For the record, I think NY’s ban on supersize soft drinks was kind of silly. What they should do instead is push for a ban on high-fructose corn syrup, the sugar substitute that medical studies have shown is essentially a potential killer. Most consumers are unaware of its dangers, so they continue to slurp the stuff in vast quantities. Again, this is one of those “gray” areas that fall between justifiable government intervention and intrusive government intervention, but in this case I’d side with intervention.

  17. October 3, 2012 11:31 am

    Pearows;

    I do not think the water example is such a good example. Water flowing through your property is a commons. While there is a government interest in protecting commons, there is actually plenty of data demonstrating people actually do better at that on their own – despite the supposed “tragedy of the commons” Elenor Olstrom won the 2009 Nobel specifically for work demonstrating that spontanous order indiginous solutions to commons usually worked better than imposed solutions (government).

    The extent of grey areas is directly related to the acceptable size of government.
    The more you shift power from individuals to government the more grey areas and impossible to resolve cases you get. While grey areas are not possible to eliminate they can be radically reduced by decreasing the scale of government.

    Further all of us should understand that every increase in government power means an increase in unintended consequences and an increase in these impossible to sort out grey areas.

    I do not as an example believe in the social safety net.
    But if we are going to have it at all we should preserve as much as possible the autonomy and freedom of those using it. We should guarantee an income rather than a benefit.
    We could give about 30,000 cash to the 21m impoverished households in this country for the cost of the assorted benefits we provide (this does not include medicare/medicaid, SS, SSI, SSD, unemployment, ) Instead we provide free medical care, food stamps housing subsidies, ….. God forbid that some poor person should, buy alcohol, drugs or lobster. By micromanaging further and further we create an order of magnitude more grey areas – do you want the job of deciding what SNAP should provide ? And we solve nothing. Again contrary to the misperceptions of the left – money is anything of value you can exchange for something you want. We know that government benefits recipients have and often do trade benefits for drugs, alcohol, ….

    If you do not want people to do something you do not like with the benefits you give them – then do not give them anything. Otherwise you must accept that they will use your charity in the way they think best meets their needs and wants.

    This is true whether we are talking government or United Way.

  18. October 3, 2012 11:41 am

    For reference at the States request – and over the objections of the plaintiffs, Judge Simpson has ruled that PA’s voter ID law is valid, but its full implementation is delayed until after this election. Contra to the spin the only change Simpson’s ruling requires is that provisional ballots – those from people not providing ID, will still be counted if that person has not provided ID within 6 days of the election.

    You still will be asked for and required to provide ID. If can not do so, you will be provided a provisional ballot, that will be counted if you provide ID within 6 days, or if you swear that you are who you say you are and do not have the required ID. The onlyu change is that after 6 days, even provisional ballots from those who have not provided ID will be counted THIS TIME ONLY.

    Personally I think this was an error. PA Voter ID law allows voting without ID simply by swearing that you are who you claim to be and that you do not currently posses the required ID. I though that was a reasonable accommodation by the law. It permits the objectives of the law to be met – either you provide ID, making it much hared to vote multiple times, or you provide a sworn statement that allows tracking and prosecuting you should you vote multiple times.

    I do not think Simpson’s decision is some world ending calamity, and is a limited victory for the advocates of voter ID.

  19. October 5, 2012 2:12 pm

    The cost of this kind of ID could be prohibitive, especially to the poor and even the working poor. It could also be difficult for many to find a way to get transport to the DMV (that’s what we call it in CA) to do this. Not all voters use transportation. Many stay at home. Recognizing these caveats, doesn’t solve them. What’s curious to me and maybe I’m being naive here, but if voters do not need to show ID to register to vote, why do they need to show it to vote? What’s the up side if supposed voter fraud could be committed at the registration process?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 5, 2012 11:22 pm

      Seems to me that it should be reguired for both registration and voting.

      Are you saying these people never leave home? How do they get groceries? Do they go to the doctor? Do they go to church? I think there may be cases where people are home bound and in cases like this, the laws should be written inorder for the care givers to obtain the proper documentation.

      As for the cost, we have phones today that take pictures that are photographer quality. Where there is the will, there is the way for a state to provide picture ID’s cheaply. They do not have to be through the DMV. In fact, in many states you don’t even need to be a legal resident to obtain a drivers license. so they would be issuing ID’s to those not even citizens in some cases. There are many alternatives available, the idiots in state government just need to think! They are so compartmentalized that no one working for government can come up with ideas if their “supervisor” does not approve. How about the registrars office issuing the ID’s when they register?

      Technology is available to make this process easy for everyone. The problem is the ones proposing ID laws have alternative motives where they want to make it difficult and restrict some from voting. That is the problem, not the ID requirment in itself.

    • October 6, 2012 1:47 am

      Can you read ?

      under the new PA law, you may vote and your vote will count merely by filling out an affidavit that you do not possess the ID necescary to do so.

      I provided links to the law elsewhere about.

      Carping on all the problems with the law is pointless if you are ignorant of the provisions of the law.

    • October 6, 2012 1:54 am

      If you are low income PA will provide the ID at no cost. They may do so if you are old.
      My 83 year old father just lost his drivers license – he gets PA ID for free – and beleive me he can afford it.
      If you can not get to the DMV how are you getting to the polls.

      There is a right to vote. That is not the same as a requirement that the state set your alarm, wake you, feed, you coach you and drive you to the polls.

      in general countries with high voter turnout are less stable. The percent of the population not voting is a sign that government on the whole is viewed as good enough.

      We do not want people who are unwilling to put a little effort into it voting.

      Clearly it will be easier for some than others – life is not fair – get over it.
      Vote now, you may be senile old and bed ridden someday, and maybe no one will drive you to the polls.

    • October 6, 2012 10:22 am

      Michael: I know it seems odd that the state wouldn’t require I.D. for voter registration, but look at it this way: registering to vote establishes an identity; voting requires you to prove that identity.

      Dave: I agree with you (imagine!) that it’s not the government’s responsibility to escort non-drivers to the nearest DMV office. How do these people function in society if they aren’t resourceful enough to find their way to the local motor vehicle bureau?

      That said, most voting precincts are within walking distance (or short driving distance) of home, while the nearest DMV might be a little farther away. But as Ron said, where there’s a will there’s a way (both for the voters and the state). Eventually we’ll have the technology to identify voters without a photo, but until then it’s primarily the government’s responsibility to issue photo I.D.s if that’s what they require. If they don’t do it through the DMV, they can set up official photo booths at the polls… at the local welfare office… at city hall.

      I don’t doubt that some states (notably PA) tried to make it more difficult for poor, left-leaning minorities to vote… though they somehow overlooked the fact that they were also making it difficult for right-leaning white seniors who don’t drive.

      • October 6, 2012 11:17 pm

        You rant about the enormous amount of money spent on elections.
        Nearly all of it is spent on those few voters whose decision is not set before things start. Presidential candidates are spending about $250/vote for each of those votes. Do you think the parties might be able to find ways to get people to DMV for ID ? What about volunteer groups ?

        The impact of PA’s voter ID law targets the elderly more than the poor.
        You must have government issued photo id for virtually all government benefits. but plenty of allowances exist in the law for the elderly.
        Again you can vote and your vote will be counted even if you have no id simply by swearing you are who you say and that you do not possess valid ID.

        I do beleive that many republicans think this will alter outcomes.
        But not because legitmate poor votes will be supressed – but because they beleive democratic voted fraud is far greater than republican fraud.

        Whether they are right or wrong it is not racist or class warfare or beating on the poor to try to supress fraudulent votes.

        If and only if the results of voter-id show no change in voting. is it reasonable to presume that those beleifs were prejudiced in some way.

  20. Ron P permalink
    October 6, 2012 12:13 am

    Rick, you might want to look into vote fraud brought on by the voting machines that are in use where some have no audit trail, where some have security problems from hackers and programmers and some are in use that do not even have parts to repair them since they were discontinued years ago. I have heard that Virginia is using the models that PA got rid of a few years ago due to problem they had experienced and maintenance was hard to come by these days.

    In an election that is going to be as close as this one, Virginia could be the next Florida. And then add a few other precincts throughout the country where the vote is close and their tallies can not be verified by a printout and we have a situation worse than the hanging chads. At least there the final count did occur and the final count did have Bush the winner. In a technical situation where verification can not be done by a hand count, people will begin to have no faith in our election process at all and voter ID will be a secondary issue when that happens.

    • October 6, 2012 2:05 am

      I do not actually believe we have seen electronic voting fraud yet, but the opportunity exists.
      Voting is of critical importance. The legitimacy of government depends on the consent of the governed. We can tolerate – it is even a good thing if many of us decide that voting is too much trouble, and the differences between candidates to insignificant.
      We can not tolerate a scenario where a substantial percent of us believe the outcome was rigged.

      Numerous experts have studied electronic voting machines and there are a few standard procedures that if followed can radically reduce the possibilities of problems. These are typically not followed in most states.
      But there is no fundimental reason why we need machines of any kind.
      Do the math, we can handle voting with paper ballots and hand counting with a compulsory system like jury duty. All counting done in public under the scrutiny of the press and public. After the election provide access to ballots to the press to independently verify results.

      The best way to prevent cheating is to ensure that you will be caught.

      A serious scam of an electronic voting machine is extremely technically difficult – but unlike most other voting fraud requires a very small number of conspirators – the probability of a conspiracy being exposed increased exponentially with the number of participants. The big problem with electronic voting is that as things stand the odds of a scam are very low, but the consequences could be enormous, and the odds of getting caught are also very low. That is a recipe for disaster.

      • October 6, 2012 8:35 am

        Perhaps you’re not aware, but before the advent of voting machines there was rampant fraud here. For example, people whose job it was to count the ballots would put a pencil lead under their fingernail, make a mark on the ballot, and declare it void because there was an extraneous mark.

        I would strongly resist going back to hand-counted paper ballots.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 6, 2012 11:57 am

        Bruce, I also heard on TV the other night that there have been cases where the “tooth” on the machine that punched holes on paper ballots had been filed off to create “hanging chads” so the readers could not read the ballot. But those still provided a method to hand count, unlike many of the voting machines that have an almost nonexistent audit trail.

      • October 6, 2012 11:05 pm

        Bruce;

        I am not seeking to go back to “the old way”.
        I am not looking to count votes using elected or appointed officials.
        i am looking to do it through a system much like jury duty.
        by ordinary citizens selected by lottery working together in small teams, with everything done completely in the open.

        The most critical part of the process is the polling place counting of individual ballots. Do the counting in the open with press and public access. My fraud prevention measure is many eyeballs.

        Once public sub totals are published the rest of the system is secure.
        Errors totaling the tallies will eventually be picked up by the press – as long as the raw counts are public. Further the press gets access to the ballots after the election. They can do their own recount over days, weeks, whatever. Serious fraud will eventually get found out.

        Further I am far less concerned about one rogue citizen with a pencil lead under their fingernail. Some fraud will exist no matter what. What matters is preventing open ended undetectable, organized fraud.

        Nor do I care much about honest counting errors.
        You establish an error rate and if the margin of victory is below that rate you hold a new election. It is ludicrous to pretend you can have precision greater than the error rate of the system.

        The voter ID provision is not targeted at the guy who drives to three polling places across two states. It is targeted at large scale organized voting in the place of people who are dead or just did not bother to vote.
        Contrary tot he assertions of the left we have no clue how big that problem is. We have no means of checking it. It may be no problem – or it may be huge. It is not likely to be either.

    • October 6, 2012 9:56 am

      Ron: You brought up a whole ‘nother issue. Thanks (I think). Voter I.D. cards can combat voting fraud at one end of the process, but we really don’t have a way to reign in voting fraud at the ballot-counting end of the process. Obviously, as Bruce points out, paper ballots open themselves to a greater incidence of fraud than voting machines do. I really don’t know how any state can justify using paper ballots in this day and age — other than to fudge the results at the precinct level.

      • October 7, 2012 3:21 pm

        It is not the specific amount of fraud that matters. It is not even necessarily whether it effects out come that matters – though that is important.

        It is the extent to which it is organized that matters.

        Ten thousand counters acting independently for their own prefered candidate are less harmful to the process – even if the outcome changes, that a small organized conspiracy that changes half as many votes.

        Further preventing small organized conspiracies – which the current electronic schemes make more possible, is far more important.

        The danger of six people being able to secretly alter the outcome of a national election is far more dangerous than pondering whether the number of dead people voting in cook country altered the results.

  21. October 6, 2012 11:29 pm

    Rick;

    If you want sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup – get rid of the myriads of different ways we artificially prop up sugar prices.
    Get rid of the price supports, the trade barriers and tarrifs, the bans on GM sugar beets.

    I am dubious of most of the claims with respect to High Fructose corn syrup and other purportedly evil foods. Too much sugar is a problem – and fructose is sugar. But replacing it with cane sugar or beet sugar will not really alter anything.

    The quality of school lunches today is notoriously bad – send the kids to mcdonalds it would be cheaper and less bad for them.

    Ultimately are fundimental food issues re not that we produce evil food. The quality of the food we produce has improved – even processed foods. It is that we eat too much, and too much of the wrong things. But we do that by choice. The food industry produces what we want in the highest quality and cheapest price possible.

    It does not produce what we should want. We make the choices. Good or bad they are our own. Go to your supermarket – everything you need to eat healthy is there if you want it.

    In nearly all cases you side with intervention
    Though I actually agree that voter ID is within the role of limited government it too is an intervention.

    Conversely while I believe it is legitimate for government to demand ID to vote, governments has little or no right to demand ID for most other things.

  22. October 7, 2012 10:26 am

    I agree with Dave that the scope of voter fraud is somewhat of a mystery. I also agree that it is impossible to prevent all voter fraud.

    On the other hand, we know that close elections can be and have been decided by fraud, so I think it is prudent to try and prevent the most obvious cases. If we know that there are cases of people using false identities in order to vote, or even to vote multiple times (in 2008, ACORN was actively registering cartoon characters, dead people, felons, undocumented immigrants, etc), then requiring ID seems merely prudent, not discriminatory, suppressive or insensitive. The focus in recent years has been primarily on making it easier for people to vote: early voting, easy access to absentee ballots, etc. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest simple controls to restrict obvious cheating….

    • Ron P permalink
      October 7, 2012 1:03 pm

      The question comes back to why are the laws being written. In cases where voter fraud is the main reason, ease of obtaining and inexpensive ways to obtain the ID will become reality. Where the law is disguised as preventing voter fraud, but the real reason is to prevent voting by a select group, then obtaining the proper documentation will be made difficult.

      • October 7, 2012 3:07 pm

        I have summarized, linked to an pontificated about the ID requirements for PA.

        Do you think that being required to fill out an affidavit that you are who you say you are and do not have the required ID is an egregious burden ?

        If you do not then you are left with either:
        The actual intent of the law was to reduce fraud or
        It really is to disenfranchise people, but it targets people unwilling to overcome even the tiniest of obstacles.

        I have no problem with either of those.

        I do not believe voting should be easy.
        While I would have a problem with literacy tests, I do not actually have a problem with small poll taxes. Anyone unwilling to spend $5 or $10 to cast a vote – shouldn’t. But poll taxes are unconstitutional as of the 24th amendment.

      • October 7, 2012 4:33 pm

        You make a really good point, Dave….we get neverending lip service about how important and valuable our right to vote is, but whenever there is an attempt to protect that right from those who might abuse the law, the attempt is usually branded as an attempt to disenfranchise some group or other. Our goal shouldn’t be to make voting “easy” or “convenient.” Our goal should be to make sure that everyone who is legally entitled to vote is able to do so, and to prevent people from trying to steal elections through fraud.

        I am an opponent of early voting, except for military personnel stationed abroad, because it seems to be an attempt to get people to vote who otherwise would not have made the effort. Why do we want to encourage voters who don’t give a shit?

    • October 7, 2012 3:14 pm

      The primary objective of all elections is obtaining the consent of the governed.
      Efforts to reduce fraud or even the perception of fraud, are really about ensuring that government has our consent.
      It is not even necescary to keep fraud low – what matters is that people trust the results.
      An election with 10% fraud decided by more than 20 points, is not a big problem.

      Nor is the goal to reduce non-fraud error. It is only to increase public confidence.

      The manual plan I offered is not about the best more efficient means of solving the problem . The problem with HAVE and electronic voting is it confuses technology and convenience with confidence.

      I was not seeking to reduce the error rate. The way to address and error rate is simply to require a margin of victory greater than the margin of error or have a revote. We reduce the margin of error because we do not want endless revotes.

  23. Kent permalink
    October 9, 2012 9:22 am

    Rick, If you want photo ID’s for all Americans…then just put them on the Social Security Cards. Everyone is expected to have a card and number. Plain and simple.

    Why the motor vehicle I.D.? Only because a “working” person can afford to have a car. So it is in essence biased against Americans who are poor/broke and have no transportation.

    The Social Security buildings or Motor Vehicle branches could sponsor the effort to “re-photo” every American’s SS Card.

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