Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Meet---and beat---Indiana's law requiring Photo ID to vote head-on.

   There is a concerted effort to block people, legally entitled to vote, from exercising that right. One manifestation of that effort has been Voter ID laws. Indiana took the first dubious steps in enacting such statutes. A challenge of the statutes to the United States Supreme Court was unsuccessful.

   How, then, do we defeat the effort to disenfranchise so many voters? Mine is a proposal that would fight, at least to some degree, this effort.

The Problems:

   1) Indiana requires a government-issued photo ID to be presented at the polls to vote.

   2) If someone has neither an Indiana Driver’s License, an Indiana Residence Card, or a passport—as examples, and the most common forms, of government-issued photo Ids—a person must obtain one.

   3) For an Indiana Driver’s License or an Indiana Resident’s Card, one’s documents must provide:

a) Identity, including full name and date of birth;

b) Lawful status b U.S. (via birth certificate, passport "or one of several other documents");

c) Residence in Indiana (presumably a utility bill mailed to one’s address); and

d) Social Security Number. I.C. §§ 9-24-16-1, -2, and -3.5.

   4) Some people face barriers to obtain photo I.D.s:

a) They lack the ten bucks ($10) to pay for a birth certificate—if they were born in Indiana;

b) They lack the means to obtain their birth certificate from the State in which they were born; or,

c) They lack transportation to the County Department of Health or the State Department of Health.

The Solutions:

   1) Because the requirement of a birth certificate is the functional equivalent of a poll tax, and poll taxes were declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), the ICLU—or another nonpartisan group—should file an action to suspend the fee for a birth certificate if a person seeks that birth certificate only or chiefly as a means to obtain a government-issued photo ID to vote.

   2) Nonpartisan, not-for-profit (NFP) corporations should engage in a campaign to contact persons who are in need of assistance to wend their ways through the bureaucratic quagmire—simple as it may seem to some of us, but complex to others who have the right to vote—in order to obtain the necessary ID.

   3) In the alternative, should court action not succeed in obtaining relief for someone to obtain a birth certificate (shouldn’t each of us have a right to one copy of our own birth certificate; and not the one with the decorative/commemorative one with footprints and calligraphy suitable for framing—the real, bureaucratic stamped one?), those same nonpartisan NFPs should be willing to pay the ten dollars ($10) for the fee. It is illegal to "buy" a vote in Indiana and constitutes "voter fraud." I.C. § 3-14-2-1. In this instance, an NFP offering to provide a person of modest means the fee to be able to vote, without extracting a promise as to how that person intends to votes, would not appear to violate the statute.

Specific Mechanisms:

   1) The ICLU files suit for injunctive relief so that if a person is too poor to afford the ten bucks ($10) for a certified copy of her or his birth certificate (after all, like I said, we all should be entitled to one copy of our birth certificate).

   2) NFPs hold meetings or rallies to educate people about their rights and ascertain who needs the assistance I have described in this blog,

   3) Individuals can kick in ten bucks ($10) and pay for one other individual to obtain her or his birth certificate.

   4) On election day, drive someone to the polls—and don’t ask how she or he will/has voted. Gripe about politicians in general on the way to and from the polls. There’s no need to get partisan in that kind of a conversation.

Conclusion

   ALEC and other organizations do not want everyone to vote. On the other hand, I always was taught that voting should be encouraged. These are steps that perhaps others have suggested. If not, I hope either they provide people with a plan, or spark others’ ideas about how to meet this problem.

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Comment by Kurt Lorey on May 29, 2012 at 2:11pm

Paul, Paul, Paul.
You are omitting the fact that all of those "Democrats" (and likely all of their descendants) are now card carrying, ultra-conservative REPUBLICANS.

They only used the label "Democrat" until the Republican party had been thoroughly co-opted by anti-progressive reactionaries and corporatists in the northern states (back around 1968).

Other than that, their behavior is pretty much the same as you describe.

Comment by Paul K. Ogden on May 28, 2012 at 2:28pm

Thanks Matt for providing that research.  Yeah, if Republicans are "suppressing' the vote with the voter ID requirement, why has voting increased?  I guess we're just really bad at voter suppression, when compared to the Democrats.

Comment by Paul K. Ogden on May 28, 2012 at 9:52am

Mark, I don't know when you've written more left wing looninesss than you've written here.  The  voter ID laws are not even remotely equivalent to the history of actual voter discrimination and suppression that your party, the DEMOCRATS, practiced against black voters in the South.   There were counties in Mississippi that were 80% black and had zero blacks registered to vote because of the actual voter suppression that Democrats practiced.  Now that was REAL disenfranchisement.

I defy you to find more than at best a handful of voters in the State who can't get an ID and vote.  And what alternative would you propose?  We used to have a signature requirement in this state.  Anyone could go in and say they are someone and sign the poll book.  The signatures in the book were quite old, in my case it dates back to when I was 14 years old.  Meanwhile many precincts have more people registered than there are people over 18 living in those precincts.   Marion County in 2008 had 105% registration.  The fact is there are scores and scores of names in the poll book of people who have long ago moved or died.  Because the motor voter law all but eliminated purging for non-voting, it's difficult to get rid of those names.

Surely you don't propose going back to the signature only system.   We have several cases of election fraud being prosecuted in this state where people provided fake signatures of voters on petitions.   Now if you want to say that our voter ID law is too restrictive, that we ought to allow other forms of ID or possibly an affidavit backup if someone forgot that ID, I would sympathize with your position and may even support it.  But if you want to go back to the system where people can vote simply by signing their name, that is sheer lunacy.   

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