It has always been incomprehensible to me that we don’t require photo identification for voting. The idea that you can just go up to an election official, simply state your name, and then receive your ballot is mind boggling. We require identification for so many other important functions, yet we’re basically leaving it up to the honor system when it comes to voting. It’s simply a matter of fairness. It’s bad enough that my vote gets cancelled out by idiots – you know, people like Joe Biden – but it is even more unfair to have it cancelled out by someone who does not have a legal right to vote in that particular election. Requiring identification certainly wouldn’t eliminate all incidents of voter fraud, but they would go a long way in ensuring that everyone who votes has a legal right to do so.
Well, the major argument against these laws is that we are somehow disenfranchising people. This is utter nonsense. No one who has a legal right to vote would be barred from voting because of a photo i.d. law. Sure, there are people who do not possess photo identification, particularly the elderly. How they function without identification is a mystery to me, but most of the proposed laws have provisions to help these people get identification.
Yet that is not how some people on the left claim to see it. To them, evil Republicans just want to make sure the poor and the elderly are forced to stay home on election day. Today I had a twitter exchange that typified the attitude of many anti-i.d. folks. It hammered home a few things about their attitude that is frankly quite scary.
1. Opponents of voter i.d. laws celebrate helplessness. You almost have to applaud people who are so committed to their cause that they are willing to openly confess levels of idiocy and/or helplessness that would shame most. When my twitter interlocuter complained of the excessive effort it took to get photo i.d., I replied that it took me about three minutes to assemble all the documents I needed when I had to replace my driver license. Not so for this fellow. Evidently it took him months to get his birth certificate, social security, and other documents. What this told me is that this guy was walking around without a driver’s license, a social security card, and a birth certificate, because he was waiting to obtain these documents. How does someone in their 30s or 40s not possess any of these documents, and why did he wait until he needed a new driver’s licence to get replacements?
Look, we’re all a little disorganized at times, and I’m sure it would have taken me much longer to find my documents had my wife not organized our file drawers. Yet even messy, occasionally ditzy me would have known enough to keep those things around somewhere.
I don’t mean to make light of people who move around and are at a place in their life where it is difficult to keep track of stuff. But to essentially boast of helplessness, and to argue against identification laws on the supposition that everyone out there is as helpless as you is kind of sad. My mother is 75 years old, and I am pretty sure she knows where her birth certificate is.
2. To the degree that it is difficult to obtain photo identification, it is because of government bureaucracy. This is actually a point my twitter opponent made, so I’m just re-iterating it here. It’s just funny that the people most vociferous in their opposition to these laws come up with the laws and rules that make trips to the DMV less enjoyable that transferring at Hartsfield Airport.
3. Arguments about voter suppression reveal more about the Democrats’ agenda than it does about Republican motivation, namely that they are okay with voter fraud because they benefit from it. This is the big one. Democrats argue that Republicans want to enact these laws because it will help Republicans in general elections. As are most Democratic arguments, it is a variation on the “Republicans are mean, racist, bigoted, sexist, homophobes who want to starve granny out of her house” theme. Yet what does this argument implicitly say about Democrats? That they benefit from people voting illegally. Oh, they’ll say it’s because the type of voter “suppressed” by these laws are Democratic-leaning voters. For once they are speaking the truth. Illegal immigrants and felons do tend to vote for Democrats in unusually high proportion. When Democrats caterwaul about vote suppression, they actually mean it. They realize that every vote counts, so even a few extra hundred illegal votes could mean the difference between defeat and victory. Right, Senator Franken? They are petrified that only people eligible to vote will be able to do so.