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VOTER ID: Issue is constitutional, not political

Letter by Brian T. Ward, Tacoma on July 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm with 28 Comments »
July 11, 2012 9:46 am

Re: “The only fraud is the claim of protecting the ballot box” (Eugene Robinson column, 7-10).

It is now common for politics to creep its way into anything and everything, so it’s not surprising that recent efforts against voter fraud have been politicized.

The goal of these efforts is to ensure that only U.S. citizens over 18 can vote in elections. How is that unlawful or even distasteful? It is only constitutional.

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. First define the problem and come up with Constitutional solutions to real problems before you come up with actions that are designed to quell fears and mythology created by people whose job it is to demonize the poor, minorities and people who might vote Democratic. Come up with solutions and actions that do not disenfranchize eligible citizens and do not require paying fees, taxes, investigative and other legal costs in order to vote.

    The politicization started when states instituted laws that were blatantly targeted at certain populations, like refusing to allow valid student ID’s, even if they met the strict standards, requiring people who have voted in past elections whose citizensghip had never been in doubt to come up with costly and time-consuming paperwork that may not even exist, but allowing other targeted groups that lean Repub lican, like gun owners, to use their photo ID’s.

  2. “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done.” -Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mike Turzai

    So this statement describing what the voter ID Laws in Pennsylvania are accomplishing, isn’t a political statement?

    Do these voter ID laws possibly go against the 24th Amendment,prohibiting conditioning the right to vote on any type of tax?

  3. charliebucket says:

    I do not ever remember providing ID to vote (in 30 years of voting). I remember walking up to the polls and saying my name and the worker checking my name off the master list of registered voters. I certainly do not show ID every time I mail my ballot in WA. Why, suddenly, the push for new laws?

    Someone said on another thread that there are enough safeguards in place to protect the vote now and I agree…if my signature being crosschecked with voter rolls etc, now, is enough “ID” on my ballot to ensure my vote is legitimate….it certainly seems that new stricter laws to make people prove who they are before they can cast a ballot are politically motivated to make it harder for certain folks from voting.

    At some point the ruse of “security” impedes all our rights and freedoms. Peering around corners looking for bad guys is unhealthy. That is what it comes down to for me….we have a system in place that has worked for a long time with no evidence of fraud (there are always going to be some problems, nothing is perfect)…..so it seems weird (and politcally motivated) to be fixing something that isn’t broken.

  4. If, and when, attempts to quell voter fraud are:
    1) Based upon real evidence of fraud
    2) Not targeted towards a group that tends to vote for the other Party
    3) Equally targets fraud that benefits both Parties

    Then I will believe that it isn’t just another attempt to gain the upperhand by voter suppression.

  5. SandHills says:

    Just cut to the chase and insert microchips like we do pets – or consolidate and digitize info already available
    (birth certificate / naturalization document / drivers license / SSN). Think of the jobs this will create.

    Today anyone who walks into a bank to ask for a loan – will your face get it for you?

    Someone needing a loan doesn’t affect me nearly as much as their vote.

    I see a cost factor to establish a standard voter identity process – other than that I have no objection.

    For the naysayers, why don’t they voice a legitimate argument why someone should not be required proof of identity to vote, anymore so than if they needed to rent a car, get a job, or get any government benefit?

  6. 20 years ago I moved here I registerred to vote I had to show ID. I also had to show ID to get a drivers license, ans a passport. When I write a check I need ID and many places ask for ID when I use a credit card. I just don’t understand the problem in asking for ID to vote. The police insist on seeing ID when they pull me over for a traffic citation and I’m white and over 60.
    The bank won’t even let you open an account without ID,and you need it to set up a cell phone acct. and utility acct. for your dwelling. If proving who you are is such a problem then I understand why some people might question your right to vote. You can’t legally get into this country without ID so why should i believe you belong here?
    One more point. It isn’t hard to get ID it just takes a few min.

  7. It’s as simple as proving that you are an American citizen. I don’t want Jose and Juan who just crossed the border yesterday voting for whoever LaRaza tells them to vote for. Nor do I want any foreigner from any other country who is here on a visa voting. Is that simple enough? Libs want to make this sound complicated. It’s not, just show some “VALID” I.D., not something you purchased on a street corner in Mexico.

  8. modyfied says:

    So much dillusion. There is no vote from us, its an opinion poll. If our corporate government says it isn’t going to pass, then it doesnt pass. Look beyond your noses, and seek the real truth of our “so-called” voting process..

  9. charliebucket says:

    I am not saying that to register to vote you don’t have to verify who you are, but each time you vote you should not have to bring any special ID. Once you are a registered voter then you should be able to vote whether you use your school ID, hunting license, driver’s license, a utility bill or whatever, IF asked for ID. My point was, I have never, ever, been asked to show ID to cast my vote in 30 years. And I certainly am not asked now, bc we have all mail in ballots in WA.

    If my signature qualifies as my “ID” on my mail in ballot….why should other people need more ID than me??

    Anyone who is a registered voter will be on file and any kind of ID, or their their signature, can be compared to the voter rolls to continue to ensure one person, one vote.

  10. 12 April 2007 – After five years of investigation on voter fraud the Justice Department has turned about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted between 2001 and 2006.


    The fools’ goal is being sold as ‘protecting the ballot box’ but the real goal is to deny the right to vote to groups of legitimate voters who trend to not vote for GOP and other conservative candidates.

    The best way to protect the integrity of the ballot box is to ensure a fair, proper, and reproducible accounting of all ballot

  11. SandHills says:

    No “fools gold” to simply require a photo ID to vote just as most people do on a day-to-day basis for things much less important than the ballot box.

    An objection to proof of identity based upon the lack of fraud is akin to the adage: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”

  12. Sand Hills, so what is your solution for the people, through no fault of their own, who cannot get an original birth certificate and who have been voting for almost 8 decades of their 94 years? Why set up barriers for non-existent problems?

    The Republicans, in its Indiana case, cited Washington State as a state with “major voter fraud” issues because one case of voter fraud was found in the last 20 years ( a vote for Rossi in the contested case) and twelve more voters could not be found (all who voted for Rossi).


  13. charliebucket says:

    I was thinking about this while I was cutting the lawn….I guess if more strict voter ID laws are passed in WA then we can kiss mail in voting goodbye, in a nutshell. If we are truly worried about fraud, then mailing ballots to registered voters, some who may be dead, who may have moved etc or to the rest of (millions) who do not have to show ID to mail it back, all whose ballots could be fraudulently filled out by anyone who gets ahold of that ballot, then vote by mail will have to go. And also absentee voting for our military and for college students away from home etc will have to go. Absentees do not show ID and why should we let some people vote if they do not show ID but the guy at the polls needs to produce an ID?

    If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

  14. SandHills says:

    tuddo, obviously anyone who has established themselves as legal residents – even less than 94 years – has had to have had some other documentation to serve as proof of identity. I don’t doubt there is someone like your example that seemingly appeared from an alien space ship without anyway to prove who they are after 94 years, but are they drawing any medicaid or social security? If so the Social Security Admin has already vetted them, if not then I would have to wonder if an alien spaceship wasn’t involved.

    To me it is simple, it is less about fraud than it is that proving who you are and where you have a legal residence to vote -whether in your state, congressional district, or school district – and that proof of residency to cast a vote is at least as important as proving you are 21 in order to buy a beer.

    Fraud? Why does that seem to be the major argument for not having an ID to vote?

  15. LeePHill says:

    “frosty says:
    July 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm It’s as simple as proving that you are an American citizen. I don’t want Jose and Juan who just crossed the border yesterday voting for whoever LaRaza tells them to vote for.”

    So your OK with anti-Castro Cubans, who are not American citizens, voting for whoever the Republican Party tells them to vote for because the GOP runs the Florida Cuban immigrants?

  16. LeePHill says:

    When the Republicans start worrying about who makes voting machines and how they can be hacked, I’ll know they really care about voting fraud.

  17. charliebucket says:

    sandhills, my understanding is that the reason given (by republicans) for implemementing new voter ID laws is because of (current levels of democrats committing) fraud. I am not saying there is fraud. In fact I believe that voting problems are miniscule and the whole voter ID argument is politically motivated to keep certain LEGAL voters from voting for democrats…….

    So, I am saying that if there really is fraud and fraud is really the reason to implement new ID laws then some of our current ways of voting will need to go because if it is too easy for someone to defraud the system now because they don’t have ID or are somehow working the system, then it is WAY TOO easy to commit fraud by mail in ballot where there are no ID requirements. Dead people getting mail in ballots, people who have moved still getting ballots sent to their old address, military persons receiving mailed ballots that could fall into the wrong hands or easily be returned by someone else, college kids allowed to vote absentee etc etc…..none of these votes are double checked with ‘proper ID’. How do we know they are not fraudulent?

    We don’t. But we have systems and cross checks in place to try to minimize voting problems whether by by absentee, at the polls etc. and even those improper acorn signatures were rooted out etc etc and there is no evidence of significant fraud in our elections….so if it ain’t broken don’t fix it.

  18. SandHills says:

    charlie, on first take I have no argument with your logic. Although it is assumed that to be registered to vote you established proof of identity in order to get a ballot mailed to you – and many of the arguments you use are moot up until the point a fraud is committed.

    My guess is that so little voter fraud is committed (or at least caught and convicted) simply because there is no apparent value is committing individual voting fraud (with a risk of penalty if caught). Organized fraud is a whole other animal – and even that is not always challenged (Cook County, Ill has long had the reputation of keeping dead people on the voting rolls).

    But in order to be a registered voter you have to provide some proof of legal residency (even for military and students living out of state) to get registered as a voter – and only registered voters can vote, so in reality you have already provided proof unless you are committing fraud.

  19. LeePHill, read my comment again. Did I say it’s o.k for any illegal immigrant to vote? BTW, as expected the black politicians were on MSNBC today whining about why a convicted criminal should not be allowed to vote. Boy! They sure are running scared.

  20. Sandhills, “fools’ goal” as in the GOP goal to be sold to the American voters is the id laws are necessary to’ protect the sanctity of the ballot box.’

    Under the guise of ‘protecting the sanctity of the ballot box’ the GOP is trying to disenfranchise large numbers of voters they have identified as tending to NOT vote for GOP and conservative candidates.
    Birth Records (of some kind) may exist for 1918 – the problem is finding them. EVEN if someone comes up with a valid birth certificate, who is to say it is actually their birth certificate?

    There are still people who claim The Presidents long form certificate is a fake.

    Most, as in almost all, Military Personal Living out of State vote using absentee ballots from their home states.

    Some states actually count absentee ballots, many others only count them if a race is close (as in may require a recount or the person behind is a Republican as is the local election commission or county clerk.

    When I was in college during the 1970’s many students both instate and out of state, registered to vote in the district where our college was – and the only id required was their College ID. In addition, we were a private school. The new Texas and Wisconsin Laws do not accept College IDs even when issued by a state school

    Charlie – and if we were really serious about election fraud we would not allow the use of electronic devices that are easily hacked to produce any desired result, and leave no paper trail to confirm the validity of the reported vote count.

    In Ohio, in the 2004 Presidential Election there were 20,000-reported case of people who voted for Kerry, but when the submitted the ballot saw their votes switched to Bush.

    There were no reported cases of Bush to Kerry switches.
    And what is the GOP response to this – they brand it a Liberal Lie of course.

  21. SandHills, as I’ve said on many related threads, some people, including you, are defending photo ID’s, when the issue is voter ID’s that in some states require mcuh more than a state issued ID or a driver license. Those things don’t count in those states unless a person has provided an original birth certrificate.

    And, my signature is the best proven way of establishing identity, and that is what Washington State uses, almost as good as a fingerprint. Much more accurate than a photo.

  22. took14theteam says:

    Has your signature changed over time? Mine has. So it is up to the “poll” worker to determine if your signature matches. And your vote can be tossed based on the subjective opinion of the “poll” worker.

    Yes you can update your signature on file, as I had to when they switched us over to all mail voting last summer, but do you need to do it before every election to make sure your vote is counted?

    I prefer to see my ballot go through the machine and watch the vote total increase by one.

  23. took, even concious changes to signatures can be readily seen as the same signature in adults. People’s signatures do vary a little over time, but remain fairly constant over a 20-year period in adults. Old age can add shakiness and some distortion, but these can be readily seen as the same signature.

    I’ve been a vote-count watcher and watched how they an analyze signatures. Only on a few are true handwriting experts needed, and when in doubt they put it in a provisional vote stack. If the provisional votes would possibly make a difference in the vote, then the expert looks at them and/or other research is done.

  24. Wow, that sounds efficient and fair. Much easier then just showing a drivers license.

    Funny that the left keeps using republican instances of fraud, yet claim this is all targeted at leftist minorities.

  25. So we leave the final decision to some poll worker to decide if someone is casting a legal vote or not. This is the 21st century isn’t it? I’m with CT7, require valid I.D.

  26. What do poll workers look at when they match a voter list to a photo ID? The signature. Photos can be outdated in one day, not the 20 years or more for signatures.

  27. Why not go with thumbprints – they are unique, seldom change, and are difficult to forge or fake.

  28. That would disqualify most demokrats from voting xring. Have you lost your senses? Oh, never mind.

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