Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Why ID?

Posted by Ron Coleman on January 9, 2008

In the context of the voter ID card issue, Orin Kerr considers some Supreme Court precedent — with a focus on Justiceunknown-comic.jpg Kennedy — on the topic of the constitutional recognition of the value and need for the state to be able to demand, in the appropriate circumstances, that a free person with all sorts of rights … nonetheless tell it who the hell he is.

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14 Responses to “Why ID?”

  1. Ara Rubyan said

    Am I missing something here or has there been an epidemic of voter fraud in recent elections?

  2. You may be missing something, as I was after listening to NPR yesterday announcing that besides imposing real hardship on some people, voter ID was a dumb idea because there’s no such thing as voter impersonation. Why would someone risk going to jail to cast one vote? I realized I was not getting the full story, and indeed, today your friend Glenn Reynolds linked to this very useful article by John Fund explaining the rest of it. Excerpt:

    Opponents of photo ID laws make a valid point that, while Indiana has a clear problem with absentee-ballot fraud (a mayoral election in East Chicago, Ind., was invalidated by the state’s Supreme Court in 2003), there isn’t a documented problem of voter impersonation. “The state has to demonstrate that this risk of fraud is more than fanciful. And it really isn’t,” says Ken Falk, legal director for the ACLU of Indiana.

    But Indiana officials make the obvious point that, without a photo ID requirement, in-person fraud is “nearly impossible to detect or investigate.” A grand jury report prepared by then-Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman in the 1980s revealed how difficult it is to catch perpetrators. It detailed a massive, 14-year conspiracy in which crews of individuals were recruited to go to polling places and vote in the names of fraudulently registered voters, dead voters, and voters who had moved. “The ease and boldness with which these fraudulent schemes were carried out shows the vulnerability of our entire electoral process to unscrupulous and fraudulent misrepresentation,” the report concluded. No indictments were issued thanks to the statute of limitations, and because of grants of immunity in return for testimony.

    Even modest in-person voter fraud creates trouble in close races. In Washington state’s disputed 2004 governor’s race, which was won by 129 votes, the election superintendent in Seattle testified in state court that ineligible felons had voted and votes had been cast in the name of the dead. In Milwaukee, Wis., investigators found that, in the state’s close 2004 presidential election, more than 200 felons voted illegally and more than 100 people voted twice. In Florida, where the entire 2000 presidential election was decided by 547 votes, almost 65,000 dead people are still listed on the voter rolls–an engraved invitation to fraud. A New York Daily News investigation in 2006 found that between 400 and 1,000 voters registered in Florida and New York City had voted twice in at least one recent election.

  3. Ara Rubyan said

    There are many, many, many ways in which our electoral system is flawed. Voter mis-representation is the least of them.

    This urge to require picture ID is just another way of implementing voter disenfranchisement.

    massive, 14-year conspiracy in which crews of individuals were recruited to go to polling places and vote in the names of fraudulently registered voters, dead voters, and voters who had moved.

    Not convinced that a photo-ID is the only way to neutralize this kind of abuse. Again, my hunch is that it would disenfranchise far more people than is wise.

    “The ease and boldness with which these fraudulent schemes were carried out shows the vulnerability of our entire electoral process to unscrupulous and fraudulent misrepresentation…”

    No doubt. But let’s not pretend that this is the only way to steal an election.

    [Roll the tape]

    In Florida, where the entire 2000 presidential election was decided by 547 votes…

    OK, stop it right there. The entire 2000 presidential election as decided by one vote: 5-4. And, besides, do you really want to re-visit that entire fiasco? Butterfly ballots that yielded tens of thousands of votes in Boca Raton for…Pat Buchanan? Come on.

    I have no doubt that voter misrepresentation exists. That said, the solution — picture ID — is not a good one because it disenfranchises too many people.

  4. Ara Rubyan said

    Point of clarification:

    This urge to require picture ID is just another way of implementing Democratic voter disenfranchisement.

  5. jaymaster said

    Ara,

    That’s one of the most prejudiced and bigoted things I’ve ever heard you say.

  6. Ara Rubyan said

    Pay attention Jaymaster: it’s what this case is all about.

  7. Jack said

    “This urge to require picture ID is just another way of implementing Democratic voter disenfranchisement.”

    The souls of Democrats will be stolen by the election board if they are photographed?

    Democrats can’t afford a decent picture because their expensive footwear ate up all of their disposable income for the month?

    They don’t understand how to write their names in English, because nobody ever taught em?

    They can’t understand how to match their own name and address to their picture, and so they don’t trust the department of Motor Vehicles to do it for them?

    Nobody has told them where they live yet?

    They don’t want their photographs taken because they’re afraid it might lead to a state enforced library card?

    They don’t want their criminal record photo to be confused with their Rotary Club membership photo, and so just to play it safe they’d rather not, thank you very much?

    They don’t feel death is a necessary disqualifier for their guaranteed Constitutional rights?

    Because when they go to get a driver’s license picture that’s disenfranchisement too and you just gotta draw the line somewhere, don’tcha?

    They’re afraid their cat will mistake it for a Baskin Robbins treat?

    They’re afraid it will look like their passport photo, and who wants that kinda thing anyway?

    They’re afraid they’ll lose it on the way to the museum of natural history and thereafter quickly suffer identity fraud?

    Cameras tend to discriminate badly against Democrats after 3.3 megapixels?

    I’m just throwing out some ideas here…
    But I think you gotta real good case.

    Ron, you and your argument are in a real tough spot.
    You’re gonna hav’ta really work for this one I’m afraid.

  8. jan said

    And there’s this:
    On the eve of a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Indiana Voter ID law has become a story with a twist: One of the individuals used by opponents to the law as an example of how the law hurts older Hoosiers is registered to vote in two states.

  9. Ara said

    The souls of Democrats will be stolen by the election board if they are photographed?

    Of course! And because Republicans are OK with this, it must mean theirs were stolen long, long ago.

    Seriously, I think it’s a generally a good idea for an independent judiciary to restrict legislators from having the final word on the rules by which those legislators themselves are elected or turned out of office. Makes sense to me. How about you?

    Studies generally show that somewhere in the range of 10 percent of voting-age citizens—or more than 20 million people—lack a government-issued photo ID. Many of these people do not drive and do not have a license, the most common form of government-issued ID. Lower-income, minority, and young and old voters are far more likely to be in this group. In that light, it is unsurprising that the Indiana photo-ID requirement was enacted on a strict party-line vote, with no Republican voting against the measure and no Democrat voting in its favor.

    In short: if you think it should be easier for people to vote, you’re probably a Democrat; if you think it should be harder, you’re probably a Republican.

  10. Ara, you embarrass yourself by ignoring how one of the “poster children” against photo IDs is registered in two states, as Jan points out in the comment before yours.

    As for the 2000 fiasco, don’t even go there. You’re going to claim that several hundred (or several thousand) voters were too bloody stupid to understand a simple butterfly-ballot? We used those in Ohio for decades before the psychotic rush to migrate to Diebold electronic systems. I’ll give you that much; I don’t trust Diebold that much. My own very strong preference is for optically-scanned “check in the box” paper ballots. I figure we can afford the extra several-dozen hours it might cost to determine the winner of an election over a purely electronic system.

    Still, it’s pretty funny that you insist on following the party line one how photo IDs disenfranchise Democratic voters. I suppose they’re too stupid or too poor to afford the free IDs states provide?

    It’s interesting that Democrats (AKA the party of Richard Daley) are the ones opposing photo IDs. I suppose they don’t appreciate how hard it is to get cigarettes or booze without a photo ID, so most normal human beings already have one. Apparently it isn’t a terrible burden on the “lower classes” to obtain a photo ID for tobacco and beer, but it is an insupportable burden to require a similar process to vote.

    This is especially ironic in that the Democrats have been the most vocal since 2000 with respect to “voter fraud,” but have also been the most resistant to any measures to restrict said fraud.

    We will RESIST any attempt to disenfranchise Democratic voters who are too poor or too stupid to obtain a free state ID, while at the same time we will vociferously scream bloody murder, and claim FRAUD when we lose due to machinations of the Cheneyites manipulating the vote counts!!

    To put it another way: Democrats proudly point to the “will of the people” when they win, and complain about “Rethuglican fraud” when they lose. If anyone tries proposing methods to enhance reliablity -such as photo IDs- Democrats collectively wet their pants, even though state photo IDs are easily available at little or no charge.

    Again, I cite the the simple fact that anyone who wants a photo ID to buy beer or cigarettes as evidence. Preventing the locals from getting their booze or smokes would cause a much bigger ruckus than any alleged “disenfranchisement” would.

  11. Ara said

    Ara, you embarrass yourself by ignoring how one of the “poster children” against photo IDs is registered in two states, as Jan points out in the comment before yours.

    Argh. Do you even READ the stuff here?

    Fact: being registered in two states is not a crime. Nor is showing an invalid ID when it’s time to vote. Read the got-dang article.

    As for the 2000 fiasco, don’t even go there.

    [insert emoticon for eye-rolling] Ron went there, not me.

    it’s pretty funny that you insist on following the party line one how photo IDs disenfranchise Democratic voters. I suppose they’re too stupid or too poor to afford the free IDs states provide?

    It isn’t a matter of stupidity; if it was, everyone would vote Republican.

    Apparently it isn’t a terrible burden on the “lower classes” to obtain a photo ID for tobacco and beer, but it is an insupportable burden to require a similar process to vote.

    So you’re saying that if you don’t smoke you shouldn’t be able to vote, right? Furthermore (and henceforth), all 18 year olds are hereby eliminated from voter participation by decree of Casey Tompkins!

    This is especially ironic in that the Democrats have been the most vocal since 2000 with respect to “voter fraud,”

    Wrong again, and in a BIG way. There is a crucial difference between gaming an election and voter fraud. For one thing, the former is an all too frequent occurance; the latter is essentially an imaginary one.

    Didn’t you live in Ohio in 2004? Either way, you must recall how many precincts with predominantly A-A populations had, like, one functional voting machine? It’s a story problem, Casey. Put on your thinking cap. How many people stood in line for 3 hours (or more) before leaving … and not voting?

    As for this business of voter misrepresentation, I think you and I agree: there are lots of ways to verify identity without requiring photo ID. If that is the case, why go on and on about it? Why keep arguing? Let’s sing Kumbayah and get on with our lives.

  12. Jack said

    “Of course! And because Republicans are OK with this, it must mean theirs were stolen long, long ago.”

    Well, it was just a working theory Ara.
    Nothing works in real life like it does on the internet I suppose.

    But now that we know the actual facts of the matter, I feel a lot better somehow.

  13. Ara Rubyan said

    I once met Karl Rove. Instead of punching him in the throat, I took his picture with my cell phone camera. Now he can’t even get a decent book deal.

    I’m just saying.

  14. Jack said

    “Instead of punching him in the throat, I took his picture with my cell phone camera.”

    If you’d have punched him in the throat you’d have probably got a better angle.
    It’s something to think about for next time.

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