published Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Who's afraid of voter ID?

What are Roy Herron and other Democrats afraid of?

The Tennessee Democratic Party chairman would like residents of the Volunteer State to believe the state's voter ID law is akin to the poll tax levied against blacks in order to vote by Democrat-led states in the South before the civil rights era.

Indeed, Herron actually told the Memphis Commercial Appeal in late July that it is the desire of the Republican Party "to go into every state they control and disenfranchise as many people as they can. It's not because of voter fraud. They're trying to disenfranchise poor people and black people."

This is what passes for civil discourse in 2014? Frankly, it's just intellectually dishonest.

As chairman of a party out of power in the state governor's office and General Assembly, after it held a lock on both for most of the 20th century, Herron perhaps believes this was and is a way to energize voters for the just past August election and the upcoming November election.

But nobody with any reading and understanding of the issue should take it seriously. And whatever happened to appealing to voters in the arena of ideas?

So, a photo ID is too much of a requirement to fulfill what should be a sacred and protected rite for every American, but we have no problem every day producing one to board an airplane, purchase alcohol, get a Social Security card, buy full-strength Sudafed or obtain a passport?

Even First Lady Michelle Obama's entourage required a photo ID to attend her book signing in 2012, as did those who attended the 2012 Democratic National Committee convention in Charlotte and marchers who took part in an NAACP-organized rally against photo ID laws earlier this year.

Herron, as others in his party have done, tosses off a line about research showing voting using other voters' registrations "to be virtually nonexistent." He's hoping -- indeed, counting on -- that those who read his missive won't do the research themselves.

When they do, though, "virtually nonexistent" turns out to be pretty significant.

For instance, North Carolina had 30,000 dead people on its voter rolls; New York City undercover agents found that voters who masked themselves as moved, jailed or dead people were allowed to vote 97 percent of the time; and a Pew poll found at least 1.8 million deceased voters were registered across the country.

Want more?

According to The Christian Post, a Philadelphia Inquirer investigative report described how four area Democrat legislators allegedly took "multiple bribes ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands in cash and Tiffany jewelry ... in exchange for votes or contracts, including opposition to Pennsylvania's proposed voter ID law." Further, some 160 counties in 19 states had over 100 percent voter registration, and more than 2.75 million people were registered to vote in more than one state.

In Tennessee, the voter ID law allows anyone to vote absentee, including the poor and black people Herron says Republicans are trying to disenfranchise, without any identification. So, with but a stamp, any registered voter can cast a ballot from the comfort of his or her home.

Don't have a photo ID? Again, anyone within the populations the Democrat party chairman singles out, can get one for free if they go themselves -- or get a ride to -- any of the 48 Driver Service Centers across the state. All they need to produce there is proof of citizenship and two proofs of Tennessee residency, which might include a copy of a utility bill or a bank statement.

Heard of the long lines at Driver Service Centers and don't want to wait? The state has thought of that, too. Anyone coming to a Driver Service Center seeking a government-issue ID for voting purposes will be placed in an express service category when they announce their intention.

Now, a possible tweak to the state's law could allow anyone born in 1930 or earlier, say, not to be required to produce a photo ID for elections, as is done with Tennessee driver licenses with residents over 60, but Herron is surely testing the tolerance of even the most yellow dog Democrat with race-baiting statements about the desired enfranchisement of specific populations.

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Nearly all countries require photo ID. Even the United Nations officials who monitor elections think it's odd that we don't require photo ID.

August 17, 2014 at 5:11 a.m.
LibDem said...

zableedofisterix, I don't think anyone really thinks photo ID's are difficult, a hassle maybe but not difficult. I think this is about intimidation. We are trying to make people feel a little uncomfortable about voting. There is an unfortunate history of discouraging certain voter segments and requiring ID's stirs that memory.

My driver's license photo looks more like my dog than me and I'm pretty sure she could buy beer with it. (I believe she's Republican so I won't let her vote.)

August 17, 2014 at 12:18 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Those other countries that require photo ID also have national ID cards and are easily come by. Nobody has to travel long distances to get one. And even if they did, public transportation is easily accessible in most European cities, whereas here in the States, public transportation sucks. A national ID card is something that most conservatives are dead-set against, as they think it to be too socialistic. The problem with requiring picture ID is that it is very difficult for the ones who usually need it most - the elderly, infirm, minorities, and students - to obtain it.

The game plan of Republicans is so obvious it's almost funny. They know damn well that they are targeting mostly Democratic voters. The Repubs in Texas tried to pass a voter ID law that would allow an NRA ID to be used for voting but not a student ID. How obvious is that?! Fortunately a U.S. District court had the good sense to block the law, claiming that it conflicted with the Voting Rights Act and was discriminatory against minorities, students, and the poor.

August 17, 2014 at 1:26 p.m.
Plato said...

The whole movement for photo IDs for voting is the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. The instances of voters attempting to vote for someone else are as rare as hens teeth, and who in their right mind would take such a risk which can result in being prosecuted for voter fraud. Obviously there were other, more sinister intentions and motivations between this and similar laws. If the lawmakers truly wanted to make elections fairer they would have focused their attention and resources on the real problem areas like malfunctioning voting machines.

IMO, even though I see no need for such a law, it would have only been right to grandfather in anyone that already possessed a valid TN voter registration card. For people that think getting a photo ID to vote is easy, go out to the DMV office some day and look at the long lines coming out the door. Last year I went to the DMV to simply get my motorcycle endorsement on my DL. When I finally got in there were at least 25 people in the room and 2 clerks working. I talked to people that had been there in excess of 4 hours. I waited for nearly 3 hours and when my number was finally called the clerk had to shut down the window and go outside with me to administer the "road test". These offices are obviously very understaffed - the result of budget cuts I assume. I can only imagine the problems it creates for folks that do not drive, and have to work everyday during operating hours.

Whoever's idea it was to pass this law either didn't care how inconvenienced it made people or thought it a great idea to retard registration for the disenfranchised citizens the majority of whom will probably vote Democratic.

August 17, 2014 at 5:28 p.m.
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