Civil Discourse Now

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

Voter fraud!? Let's roll out some unnecessary ID laws!

   "Voter fraud!" OMG! Such words bring to mind Mayor Daley and rigged elections in Lake and St. Joseph counties. The Republican Party has stepped forward to combat this menace to our republic! After all, the root of the word "republican" is right there. They are rightful guardians of the Republic. There could be no ulterior motives in waging war against Voter Fraud. Let’s go ahead and use upper-case on both words while we’re at it.

   Unfortunately, there has been very little voter fraud of the type bandied about by the Republicans as they pass measures through Republican-majority state legislatures to restrict voting. The statistics do not support Republican claims. Instead, the Republicans are attempting to restrict voting—i.e., disenfranchise voters—of those with more likelihood to vote contrary to the Republicans.

   I do not view myself as a Democrat. I certainly am not a Republican. I voted for Ed Clark in 1980, but that does not make me a Libertarian. Republicans have spun the phrase "Voter Fraud" into a rallying cry to warrant their push for legislation that is more likely to prevent poor people and people of color from being able to vote.

   This will be our topic for discussion on "Civil Discourse Now" on Saturday, December 17 at 11 a.m. We will shoot a show earlier, about my novel Crime Pay$, a fictionalized account of the Cook Brothers trust in the 1960s—the largest Ponzi scam in Indiana until the Durham Ponzi scheme came to the fore a couple of years ago. The reason for the two shows being shot on one day is that co-host Paul Ogden is taking Christmas Eve off. I, on the other hand, will be at work. So we will put the second show up on December 24.

   All are welcome to come and watch the discussions on Saturday, December 17, at Big Hat Books, 6510 Cornell Avenue in Broad Ripple. 

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Comment by Roberta Ecks on December 18, 2011 at 8:10pm

So, why, exactly, did I get a voter registration card when I registered to vote?  And would that be too much to ask, Mark?

     The last time I looked, the very same law that called for photo ID to vote also obliges the State to provide access to it for persons who cannot afford (or travel) to do so.  Looks like the Legislature really did do what they could to make the requirement not be a barrier.

Comment by Mark Small on December 15, 2011 at 7:26am

Nicolas,

  There is little need to travel to obtain a smart phone (I preferred the old flip-phones, myself). There also are "burners"---phones that have pre-set minutes on them and for which a person pays cash. There is no two-year or whatever subscription. But let's get back to the notion of voter fraud and the reason given for these requirements. How many cases of voter fraud in which the circumstances were such as to be addressed by the voter ID laws have occurred? If virtually none---as the stats from Wisconsin, for example, show---then why "fix" a problem that does not exist? My statement "voter fraud does not exist" was incorrect. I apologize. I should have said this TYPE of voter fraud does not exist. The voter fraud that exists is in the form of manipulation of polling sites (such as occurred in Ohio in 2004) and in such over-the-top, out-in-the-open situations as 2000. There also are concerns about the push to rely upon computers. The CEO of Diebold, the manufacturer of many of the voting machines used in that year's election, guaranteed the presidency to "W."

And Paul, yes these restrctions are like the old restrictions---when they have the same effect. 

Comment by Mark Small on December 14, 2011 at 8:53pm

Paul, The differences between the Southern Democrasts in the 1920s -1950s and the Republicans today are nuances. Just because they are nuances does not diminish the significance of the effects.

But first: what is the problem? Voter fraud is of no consequence. We shall discuss the merits of our respective positions on Saturday.

Comment by Paul K. Ogden on December 14, 2011 at 8:13pm

Seriously Mark, you're comparing asking someone to show a photo ID to vote to what the Democrats did to the real voter suppression efforts Democrats used against African-American voters in the south?    Surely you know the history of Democrats enacting poll taxes, literacy tests and holding white primaries.  There were counties in Mississippi that were 90% black and had no blacks registered to vote.    The Democrats would require people to go to the courthouse to register and whenever they heard an African-American was coming to vote, they'd shut down registration.  I think we can debate what type of ID should be required and possibly having an affidavit backup, but the notion people should be able to vote simply by signing a name - the old system - is way out there.  It's crazy, crazy I tell you.

Comment by Mark Small on December 14, 2011 at 7:17am

Nicolas,

I knew that Reagan was not swift, Carter was as corrupt as his predecessors (and successors for that matter), and John Anderson was a different face on the typical Demo/Repub. Besides, Clarke wanted to legalize drugs (as I recall). My vote was a protest. I lived in West Laughalot at the time, on staff at Purdue. Reagan was going to carry the state, so my vote could only have a symbolic effect. And I did not know one of the Koch brothers was Clarke's running mate or what that particular person's views were. It's too bad there was not a "none of the above" lever actually on the machine.

The voter IDs are meant to put an unnecessary step into the process of voting. Some people are so mobile---they are evicted, seek new shelter---and/or ironically lack transportation (they have to move but they have no regular means of transport like a car) that to require IDs of a certain type of them places an mpediment to their voting. Restricting hours of voting does the same for people who have to work double shifts or overly-long days. Social Security uses means of identification that seems to work. Or how about matching up people's signatures? Bottom line is---there is no problem with voter fraud and, as the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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