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.
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.