We have had several discussions about the Voter ID law threat across the country. Republicans have said that the laws are “needed to ensure the integrity of the ballot.” I have written several times about how that is an absolute lie. In person voter fraud is all but non-existent. Voter fraud through absentee ballot is far more egregious, but these Voter ID laws do not cover absentee ballots.
Even if you think that I am just making this stuff up, Congressman Glen Grothman from Wisconsin, who was one of the driving forces behind Wisconsin’s law said this: “Now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is gonna make a little bit of a difference as well.” Back in 2012 when he was working to pass the law, he said “people who vote inappropriately are more likely to vote Democrat.”
That is a remarkable statement from a leader in a state legislature. He is saying that only Democrats are responsible for voter fraud. If a Democrat had said that about Republicans, the conservative media would have had a field day. The headlines would be splashed with all sorts of partisan complaints about “conservatives being targeted”.
The silence over these two statements from a Republican Congressman is astounding all by themselves. But, it does blow open the lie that Voter ID is anything except voter suppression against people who regularly vote Democratic.
In Arizona’s Primaries, there were waiting lines for up to five hours. In Wisconsin, there were lines that lasted for hours as well. The longest lines were on college campuses. The major reason for this is that when the Voter ID law was passed, Student IDs were not included on the “approved list”.
Additionally, the state law says explicitly that there was supposed to be voter education about the new laws and that public service announcements about the new law were required before the first election cycle that the law affected. That first cycle just took place.
Yet, in order to make sure there were problems and people did not have the necessary information to have the right ID, the state legislature refused to fund the education process their own law required them to do. As a result of this law, it is estimated that as much as 9% of the electorate in Wisconsin will be disenfranchised. Which is exactly what Republicans want to happen.
Wisconsin isn’t alone in their lie ether. Mississippi passed a similar law there. Once the law was approved and signed by the governor, the state announced and started closing driving licenses offices in “predominantly black and poor counties” across the state. It is a little hard to get your photo ID if there is nowhere to go to get it. (Note: the state’s actions are under federal investigation.)
To further add to the “controversy” Conservative Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit bluntly characterized Wisconsin’s law as a “poll tax.”
“There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud,” he wrote in an opinion for a case addressing Wisconsin’s law, “and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.”
Posner said the state’s argument in favor of the law exists in a “fact-free cocoon,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
I once had a friend tell me that “if you need to have a photo ID to cash a check, shouldn’t you have one to vote?” My response to him was to take the check to the bank he does business with and he wouldn’t need a photo Id because he is already registered with the bank. The same should be true for voting.
Republicans treat our voting rights as some kind of “privilege” that they are allowed to define. They simply don’t like the idea of “one vote per person”. They prefer to limit the poor, minorities, young, and elderly from casting their votes. As Congressman Glen Grothman said, the law is intended to limit democrats from voting.
I guess Republicans like Grothman think it is too late to do anything about voter suppression this late date into the election cycle. Maybe that is why he was so bold as to tell the truth for once. Voter Photo ID Laws do nothing to stem in-person voter fraud. It can’t because it doesn’t exist. The only purpose for such laws is to suppress the votes of people you think will vote against you.
It is time for Republicans to start thinking of policies that might actually get people to vote for them instead of ways to keep many of us from exercising our right and duty to vote. The only reason to suppress the vote in your favor is because you have nothing to offer.
The lie has been exposed by one of their own. The question is when will the American people tell Republicans to stop breaking the law.