Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Editorial: Voters must do their part to meet ID requirements

This comment on today's editorial hits it on the head (from "justa thought"):

"'Does the Arizona law prevent voter fraud? Certainly, even though voter fraud is not widespread'
     "Does the Arizona law prevent dinosaur attacks? Certainly, even though dinosaur attacks are not widespread
      "The law has 1 purpose and 1 purpose only and that is to lower the turn-out of likely non-republican voters"
Not widespread.
    What needs highlighting here most is the sly use of the accepted lie that voter fraud is any kind of real problem. Voter fraud is a bogus issue, used to leverage laws to suppress disadvantaged groups of citizens from voting. The editor ought to know this.
    This week a federal court threw out the Texas version of this nonsense, for exactly that reason, as the editor points out. The US Senate is investigating Arizona's version now, though Governor Brewer has refused to testify in favor of it because the committee is run by a Democrat, and it won't be surprising if it does not survive court challenge as well, deservedly so.
    I was there as a poll worker for several election cycles after the voter ID requirement came on, and I saw its effects, consisting entirely of confusing and frustrating perfectly legitimate voters. Imagine having to tell a sweet old lady in a walker, who cast her first vote for Roosevelt, that she had to make a third trip back to her apartment to find the right papers to prove she could vote again in the same precinct she'd been using since the '80s. Those of us working the polls, R, D and other, uniformly hated this insult to the body politic. Many people didn't come back, and we could only speculate on how many didn't show up at all because of the additional burden.
    If we accept that voter fraud is a real problem on whatever scale, we're led to accept voter suppression as a necessary evil. In this case we don't have to accept the lie or the evil. We should also keep an eye out for this political tactic, which really is widespread, and firmly reject those who would employ it against our rights as citizens.