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W(h)ither Voting Rights?

Original post made by Tom Cushing, Danville, on Mar 5, 2013

Human nature being competitive and ethically flexible, if voting was essential to the invention of democracy, could vote-rigging have been far behind? Nope. There is evidence that early Athenians manipulated ballots cast on pieces of pottery (hanging shards?). In US colonial history, no less a figure than the Father of our Country was said to have won his seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses by spending 40 pounds on booze for his neighbors. And traditionally in Chicago, although a person’s death may have been tragic, at least it needn’t have kept him from exercising the franchise.

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Comments (10)

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Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Tom, you really need to have a bit less coffee.

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Posted by Joy Bice
a resident of Blackhawk
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm

I thought he was going to reduce the size of his articles to crib notes. Oh well...

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Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Alamo
on Mar 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

VRA good. Change untimely. Stay tuned. OK?

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Posted by Dirk
a resident of Alamo
on Mar 6, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Keep drinking coffee, Tom; you're doing fine. Thanks for the informative summary and sensible conclusion. Even in this apparent hotbed of right wing politics we don't all miss the good old days of easy voter suppression.

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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Mar 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Of course, to Democrats, asking voters to show an ID of some form in order to vote is viewed as voter suppression. Even if suitable ID is made available at no charge, it will still be viewed as voter suppression. The argument that requiring ID disproportionally impacts the poor is ridiculous, given that ID is required to receive aid of various kinds, cash checks, and any number of other basic functions, and any number of programs that are expressly intended to benefit lower-income people. Frankly, I find the idea that the poor and minorities are somehow less able than others to have or obtain an ID, to be fairly insulting and demeaning.

The one group that might actually be impacted by an ID requirement is senior citizens who are past driving age, and who therefore have let their drivers' licenses elapse, without obtaining the non-driving state ID as a replacement. But the vast majority of such cases are already registered, and can simply request ballots by mail. And in fact the vast majority of senior citizens do indeed have ID.

Want to have some fun? At our next election, try to offer your driver's license or other form of ID to the poll-worker who is checking off names on their paper list of registered voters. They will refuse to look at it, sometimes even to the point of quickly averting their eyes from the dreaded ID. Because not only are they not required to check ID, they are required NOT to look at it.

I leave it to the reader's imagination and common sense, to think about the real reasons that Democrats have for so vehemently opposing voter ID.

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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Mar 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm

And just to be clear: Although I am in favor of voter ID, that is in no way the same thing as the voter-suppression tactics that were used 50 years ago in the South, or in other parts of the country, and in no way is it intended as any sort of return to the abuses of 50 years ago. Valid forms of voter ID must be easy to obtain, and I would also argue that they must be available free of charge, at least in one or more of the acceptable forms. (In other words, even if there is a cost to obtain a driver's license, which could be used for voting, there should be at least one form of accepetable ID that is easily obtainable at no charge.) Because it is unacceptable to have to pay anything to be able to vote.

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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Mar 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I would suggest that the problems of voter apathy, relatively low voter turnouts in the U.S. (compared with other western democracies), and scurilous mechanisms designed to discourage minority voter turnout dwarf whatever minuscule problem there might be from a handful of ineligible people voting fraudulently. With fewer than a dozen cases of voter fraud in the entire country over the past ten years, the vast cost of supplying and requiring voter IDs at polling place simply isn't justified.

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Posted by Aware
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 30, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Dave, obviously you have never done hours, days, and years of voter registration, as I have. Otherwise you would understand just how easy voter 'registration' fraud really is.
A 'negative' cannot be proven. How do you know to ASK about George Brown III. You don't, the 'registration' has happened, and 'auto' mail ballots are set in place. Sorry you are so ignorant to the process. The 'fraud' is rampant ! Our elections are a farse.
As Americans, we should all be proud to have photo ID registration requirement for every ballot.

Like this comment
Posted by Aware
a resident of San Ramon
on May 6, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Sad, that Mr Know-it-all,lectures us on the Consitution and voting rights, but cares so little about 'integrity' in the process, and honoring the idea of 'citizenship verification' and just 'one' vote per citizen. Kaiser has a photo of me on all computers, to verify 'I' am the one seeking treatment. Integrity and verification are honorable. Not having integrity or verification makes us little more than a third-world election.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr Know-it-all
a resident of Alamo
on May 7, 2013 at 6:50 am

Knowing (as he does, of course) that bear-baiting is illegal in California, "Mr. Know-it-all" wonders how to get that same legal privilege extended to bloggers?

Until that day comes, what I Don't know about is actual evidence that fraudulent voting is a real problem. You've said in your two posts immediately above this one that you think it's easy to do, but all that does is set up an hypothesis -- surely Somebody must've studied it. Would you favor us with that evidence?

On the other hand, there IS plenty of evidence of transparent attempts to disenfranchise legitimate voters -- which motivated the Voting Rights Act originally, and continued during the most recent election cycle. MKiA thinks that's a better place to focus counter-measures -- at least in the absence of actual evidence of fraud.

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