Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Republican Backdoor Power Grab

I received the following information from Democracy for America and decided to pass it along in the blog today:

Republicans can't win elections based on their failed philosophies, so, they've latched onto a new plan: make it as hard and expensive as possible for people to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote.

Since the Supreme Court decided two weeks ago to uphold a draconian law in Indiana that requires citizens show a government issued photo ID to vote, Republican legislatures across the country have started moving fast to pass their own version of this horrible law.
And just like the poll taxes and literacy tests of the past, Republicans hide their real purpose under the banner of preventing possible voter fraud. But these laws are really about stopping senior citizen, low income, and newly registered Americans from voting. Why? Because they typically vote for Democrats.

We must stand together and protect every American's right to vote.



G said...

I'm sure this won't come as a surprise to you, but I have to disagree with you. Assume what you will about the motives behind this drive. I neither know nor care about the motives.

The simple fact is that it is FAR too easy for someone to vote who has no right to do so. The desire to protect every American's right to vote is good. But an equally important issue is protecting the VALUE of each vote (i.e. not allowing it to be "watered down" by illegitimate voters).

As an example, in my home state of California, all one would need to do is show up at a polling place, give them a last name (e.g. Smith or Jones to make it simple), and point to a name on their list. Voila... you have a ballot... even if you just used someone else's name.

Personally, I think the govt-issued photo ID is still too easy to falsify (just look at the problem California has with drivers' licenses). Something like a thumbprint on the voter registration form and a scanner at each polling place would work better.

But the whole argument of making it too difficult for people is a weak argument. Both major parties are extremely adept at getting people onto the voter rolls. And I'm sure they would adjust accordingly.

I don't think this is something that should be implemented in the upcoming election. But to put it in place by the 2012 presidential election shouldn't be a problem.

G said...

Sorry to double-post. But I wanted to add that the statement that "Republicans can't win based on their failed philosophies" is absurd. In the past 40 years, we have had exactly two Democrats in the white house (3 out of a possible 10 terms). The first was elected in large part as a backlash against Watergate. The second had the blatant "no new taxes" lie to run against.

Republicans (not conservatives, but the Republican party) seem to be more adept at national campaigns in recent history. That isn't to say that a Republican will be elected again. But the claim that they can't win based on their policies is nonsense. Even the much-hated George Bush was able to get reelected in 2004.

coreydbarbarian said...

oh g, where 2 start!
how about here: "I neither know nor care about the motives."

-- that sounds an awful lot like "the end justifies the means."
you should care about the means, right?

then: "But an equally important issue is protecting the VALUE of each vote (i.e. not allowing it to be "watered down" by illegitimate voters)."

-- here in indiana (where the law was passed), we have NO PROBLEM with illegitimate voters. zero.
how can you justify correcting a non-problem?

finally: "But the whole argument of making it too difficult for people is a weak argument. Both major parties are extremely adept at getting people onto the voter rolls. And I'm sure they would adjust accordingly."

-- g, my friend, this extra layer of bureaucracy will further distance the poor, the sick and the disenfranchised from their government. that the 2 parties will adjust and continue to dominate, i have no doubt. my concern is not for the 2 parties, but for the folks here in my indiana trailer park.

many of my neighbors have no gov't i.d. and want no part of one. if you don't drive a car, why would you want 2 fork over twenty bucks to the gov't for the "right" to vote? these folks are already doing without on a scale that is impossible to describe adequately; this law increased the number of disenfranchised americans.

what bothers me is, why do the republicans always champion these moves 2 "toughen" voting standards, when there is NO evidence of abuse? sadly though, we don't have to prove a need to pass a law.

ironically, this law was not struck down by the scotus because we DO have to prove the damage it does, which will take some time. unfortunately, many other red states will have passed similar laws by then, and disenfranchised countless more americans.

if gov't id's were free, and the gov't went door 2 door to issue them, then maybe it would be fair.
then again, most folks don't really want the gov't at their home, so...

G said...


I don't think "the end justifies the means" applies to my argument. The means is always important. What I don't care about is the motive behind it. Just like I really don't care about the motive behind someone giving money to help with disaster recovery.

I agree with you 100% that it should be completely free. Requiring someone to pay for a voter ID is a problem. But they shouldn't have to go door-to-door. Voter registration could be accomplished just as it is today, with a small modification to the form that has to be filled out.

The requirement of a simple ID is reasonable... again, without cost to the voter. You need ID to drive, use a credit card, buy a pack of cigarettes.

Evidence of past abuse shouldn't be necessary. Proactive laws to reduce the chances of abuse in the future are justified. The tendency to create and adjust laws in a reactionary manner is a significant contributor (in my view) of the mess we find ourselves in these days.

Ceroill said...

G, let me see if I get this right. Your thought is that we should make laws against things somebody someday MIGHT do?

csm said...

Showing up at the polling place with a voter registration card should be enough. If you want more ask for a copy of the most recent electric bill or phone bill with name and address on it.

And the motive matters, G, at least to me it does. It is an example of Republicans attempting to disenfranchise those who are unlikely to vote Republican. At it stinks!

G said...


Often times, yes. When it comes to protecting the integrity of our elections (and our legal system, etc.), absolutely. You can never make an election perfectly pure with a population this large. But it is important to do all we can to minimize the potential for an electoral result to be polluted (either by error or malice). Trying to reverse a result when fraud has been discovered (which usually won't occur until long after election day) is extremely difficult.


A simple card would suffice, at least as a short-term solution. I don't think a voter registration application on the day of the election is wise. There at least needs to be a little lag time to verify the ss# is valid for the name and address on the form.

But now that you mention it csm, a card attached to the sample ballot we all receive would be fine... even better if a simple security feature (that changes each election) is included. The problem in my eyes right now is that you need NOTHING (at least in California). All you have to do is point to a name on the list (even if it isn't yours), and they give you a ballot. That practice is absurd for something as important as an election.

And I do wish that motives were always pure. But they aren't... particularly when talking about EITHER main political party. But even with impure motives, if it brings about a much needed protection in a reasonable way, then I tend to be in favor of it.

Anonymous said...

One of the pockets support for the Democratic party is the illegal aliens. If you require IDs, the illegals cannot vote. Big problem if you are a democrat.

Ceroill said...

G, interesting. I admit I got a mental image of a think tank sitting around a big table trying to 'predict' what crimes folks might manage to invent and then pushing through laws against the as yet non-existent crimes.


One more aspect to this is that laws generally come with unintended consequences. And when you come up with laws before you have a problem you are setting your self up for surprises. To compound this, we are talking of one of the most basic rights we are endowed with; so to use prior restraint on a basic civil right to stop a non-existant problem with the possibility of dire unforseen consequences is just asking for trouble to me and I hope neither party wins this thing(though I am not deluded enough to think this will happen).

G said...


No. And no department of pre-crime either.

But things change over time. The computer revolution has changed life in ways that we couldn't have imagined even 30 years ago. When it comes to things so important to the fabric of our society, I would hope that we would be constantly examining those systems for weaknesses that could be exploited.


I understand the concern for unexpected consequences. But we live in an age where we can't depend on personal integrity across the board. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect someone to show some form of ID, whether it be a driver's license, passport, ss card, sample ballot... whatever. Even mail-in ballots with a signature would be fine. I wouldn't want anyone disenfranchised. But it's important to maintain integrity as much as possible.

I think it's safe to assume that there are people (both inside and outside the US) who would love an opportunity to manipulate an election at some point. Right now, it would be just too easy.


I can think of one country, Iran. They would love to have either Democrat win and have them pull all of our troops out of Iraq real quick.(Though I do believe either Democrat will NOT bring home the troops real quick for the reasons I have posted before.)

I am surprised that you haven't a major problem with mail-in ballots as I would think this could be a real boon to people with bad intentions.

csm said...

What world do you live in, Anonymous, where illegals are voting? Absurd.

Agree that just pointing to a name on a list is not sufficient. In both IL and TX either an ID or a the voter registration card is all that is needed. And it works fine.

A government ID should not be needed - especially if it is not free.

G said...

It isn't the ideal, but accessibility is important. The fact that the person needs to personally request it, the ballot is mailed to their current address (which can be verified), and they have to sign it and mail it in gives it a certain degree of integrity... dependent upon the US Postal Service, of course. But I think it can be done with a reasonable amount of protection. Internet... no way.

coreydbarbarian said...

i'm not blaming this on g, but it seems sort of relevant.

how is it the republicans can be so concerned about the integrity of the vote here (on the issue of voter id), yet rush limbaugh's "operation chaos" is acceptable, garnering no condemnation from the right?

nothing against g, but the republicans have a long, long history of ignoring integrity and focusing on electoral victory at the polling places. ask some (older) black folks if ya don't believe me.

when republicans can look the other way at limbaugh's antics, and simultaneously push for voter id's on the grounds that it would defend the integrity of the vote, something's got to give.

G said...


I appreciate your not blaming me... particularly since I'm not a Republican. I understand the assumption. The views expressed by Libertarians, American Independents, and independent conservatives often receive the "Republican" label, just as Greens, Peace & Freedoms, and liberal independents tend to get the "Democrat" label.

Personally, I think Limbaugh's attempts are incredibly irresponsible... even from someone who is just an entertainer. I'm encouraged by the fact that not enough lemmings followed to make a difference.

And I hope you aren't naive enough to think that Republicans have a monopoly on the absence of integrity. For the most part, Democrats are just as bad. If anyone from a "third party" ever came close to making a significant impact, I assume investigators would find a fair share of hypocrisy as well. There ARE some politicians (on both sides of the aisle) who do have integrity, but sadly, they are a very small minority.

coreydbarbarian said...

hey g, i didn't mean to paint you red (so 2 speak), honest.

i was hoping 2 show that this particular republican endeavor is not unlike previous republican efforts at polling places - only more legalistic.

on mr. limbaugh's efforts, it was estimated that as many as 2% of hilary's support in indiana came from op. chaos participants. if you recall, that was hil's margin of victory, also.

and dem's are bad, 2, you say?
maybe, but broad generalizations won't help your argument here. unless you have evidence of a broad democrat effort 2 suppress blocks of voters over the past 30-odd years...

G said...

I wasn't speaking of attempts to suppress votes. I was referring to a lack of integrity in general (along with the attitude that getting elected trumps everything else). If you look at the congressional records (sorry, I don't have the link handy), you'll find that over the past 30 years, there have been more ethics problems on the hill for Dems than Reps.

Call me cynical if you like, but I really don't think either party cares much about anything other than maintaining power.

Ceroill said...

G, that, at least, is one thing I agree with you on.

G said...

I don't know if anyone is following this thread anymore, but I find it a bit ironic that it started as an accusation that the Republicans are secretly trying to disenfranchise voters while there doesn't seem to be any uproar about the efforts by the DNC and the Obama campaign to openly and actively disenfranchise millions of voters in Michigan and Florida.

I'm sure the Clinton camp's call for full seating and voting rights of the delegates is purely self-serving. But at least she is on the right side on this one. What happened to the whole "every vote counted" mantra? Does that not come into play when they are only in the primary? Any of you out there bothered by this?

Sure, the states broke the Dem party's self-imposed rules, but does that give the Dems the right to violate their constitutional voting rights?

coreydbarbarian said...

i, for one, am not bothered in the least. michigan and florida knowingly flaunted the rules. they knew what the consequences were before hand. they should live with their consequences, as far as i am concerned.

think of it this way, g. i told the kids if they didn't finish their vegetables, no ice cream for them. after the plates are put away, and the kids who listened are getting their ice cream, the one's who didn't listen are gonna start whining and cajoling and doing everything they can to worm their way around the rules.

listen, the mi & fl delegates will be seated, one way or the other. the only fair compromise (in my eyes) is to split each states delegates evenly between barack and hilary.

(aren't the dems meeting this saturday to decide this very thing?)

csm said...

And do a little digging into the FL and MI matter and you'll uncover who made the decision to move the primaries... it wasn't a Democratic decision.


Personally, I don't see why all states can't have their primaries on the same day. Short, sweet and simple. With today's modern technology, the candidates could have a designated time period to state their respective cases, they wouldn't have to spend all that fucking money better spent on other things, we won't have states falling all over each other to get to be first, voters won't get tired of hearing all of the blather stretched over many months, the media won't profit off of it to the degree they do. Let Iowa and New Hampshire start things off on one day(just to placate their little minds)and everybody else goes the next day. This also would have the effect of getting more candidates of different ilks into the race because they wouldn't have to raise the obscene amounts of money to run. There could be a safety valve(so to speak)if the candidate selected ends up being a child molester or something; maybe some political device to get the runner-up to run. What do you guys think?

G said...


It wasn't the voters who decided on the primary date either, was it? So it's more like one parent telling the kids they can't have any ice cream if they don't eat their veggies, and the other one bringing home a meat-lovers pizza for dinner. No choice on the veggies, but no ice cream anyway?

The voters didn't have a choice as to when they would vote. The state govt told them when it would be. So the voters are being disenfranchised because of a decision made by the state govt?


I know the decision to move the primary wasn't made by the Dem party. But the decision that their votes won't count (or will only half-count) IS being made by the party.

And I do understand that they violated the Dem party's rules for the primary, but when was the Dem party given the right to trump the constitutionally protected right to vote?


Good point, g.

csm said...

The Democratic party should be allowed to hold their primaries whenever they decide it is in their best interest to hold their primaries. That they were not allowed to do so in MI and FL is the problem here.

And I have posted in the past about developing a rotating mechanism so that all the primaries could be held in a month, with a quarter (or so) of the states voting each week. The groups would be set and then which group goes first would rotate next election cycle.

csm said...

"It wasn't the voters who decided on the primary date"

No, it was the Republican controlled legislature that decided... kinda unfair for Reps to decide for Dems (and I would say the same thing if Dems were deciding for Reps). See the latest blog entry on the weekend meeting to decide this fustercluck.

G said...

From a letter to the Detroit Free Press:

"Those who ridicule the need to count the results of Michigan's 2008 primary miss the point. They underestimate the feelings of Michigan Democratic voters who are incensed because our votes were stolen from us twice: the 2000 presidential election and the 2008 primaries.

This is not a partisan issue of support for either Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton. It is an outrage that the silly rules artificially imposed by the Democratic National Committee should trump the honest attempt of millions of voters to express their political choice.

If this stupidity prevails, these demoralized millions may just decide to drop out of the system and refuse to vote in future elections. After all, if your vote never seems to count, why bother?

Pundits can write all kinds of hogwash from their ivory towers. The reality is the voters themselves, and we are furious."

Is it a Rep legislature in Michigan as well? Just asking. I don't know the answer, and it's late here. Really, the Dems are at fault for a large part of the problem. First, they decided on a purely arbitrary rule about the primaries. Second, the candidates agreed not to campaign in those two states. And the worst was Obama actually taking his name off the ballot in MI.

You're right that the Dems can have their primary whenever they want. But if they want the state govt to pay for it, then they have to do it when the state govt says. They can feel free to organize and pay for their own special primary... but we know that isn't going to happen.

csm said...

Although I can empathize with the voters in both Michigan and Florida, laying the blame on Dems solely (e.g., silly rules artificially imposed by the Democratic National Committee) is assinine. Both FL and MI knew the Democratic rules BEFORE they voted to move their primaries, and did so anyway. There is more than enough blame to go around here, and as several have mentioned, the whole primary system needs to be revamped. Although, I have to say that I am surprised that Bawdy feels that way given his on-the-record stance on states rights.