This was originally published on Fusion. They have a lot of great cartoons in their archives.
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There’s a tendency among conservatives to act as if racists are unicorns . That is, they consider racism to be exclusively the province of people who not only consider non-whites inferior, but who say so explicitly.
But real racism happens in many more forms – and often these subtler forms are more incidious and harmful. One that especially infuriates me is the ongoing Republican party assault on voting rights. And as bad as it’s been, it could easily get worse, now that the Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act and Jeff Sessions is Attorney General. (Talk about putting the racist fox in charge of the henhouse….)
At this point, to be aligned with the Republican party at all is a form of racism.
Artwise, there’s some subtle differences in this cartoon, that reflects that my cartoons are being designed more for web than print. (Thanks to my Patreon supporters!) I wanted more room for words and art, so I made the cartoon taller than usual – which would be a problem for cartoons I draw for print. And I put the “kicker” image below the cartoon, rather than in a little box in the cartoon.
And a special thanks, in the sidebar of this cartoon, goes to my Patreon supporter SocProf. Occasionally I use the sidebar to thank patrons supporting at a $10 level, because that kind of support is awesome! So, thanks SocProf!
Transcript of cartoon:
CAPTION AT THE TOP OF CARTOON: The Six Kinds of Republican
CAPTION: 1. Overt Racists
IMAGE: A natty white man, with a shaved head and a pinstripe vest, is standing on a sidewalk talking directly at the viewer with an intense expression.
NATTY MAN: Obviously white people are better at civilization. That’s why we need to stop Blacks from voting.
CAPTION: 2. Strategic Racists
IMAGE: Same scene as panel one, but now an older, successful-looking white man, in a jacket and tie, has entered and is talking to the Natty Man, putting one hand on the Natty Man’s shoulder.
OLDER MAN: No, my friend! We have to stop Democrats from voting. But most Blacks vote Democrat, so we’ll find some excuse to keep the Blacks from voting.
CAPTION: 3. Enabler Racists
IMAGE: We are looking closely at the screen of a smartphone, being held by a hand. On the screen, a well-dressed white woman with a straight haircut is talking.
PUNDIT LADY: Voter I.D. laws don’t literally say “we hate Black people.” It’s unfair to call them racist!
CAPTION: 4. Pragmatic Racists
IMAGE: A suburban-looking white couple stands in front of a two-story house. The man is holding a baby.
MAN: Maybe voter I.D. laws do suppress the Black vote.
WOMAN: But we’re white, so that’s not a deal-breaker.
CAPTION: 5. Willing Dupe Racists
IMAGE: Two young white men are talking. One, with a chinstrap beard and a plaid shirt, is waving his arms and has an angry expression. The other, with neatly combed hair, a t-shirt, and a lecturing expression, has his arms folded.
PLAID SHIRT: In what way is systematically making it harder for Black voters to vote “racist”? (Stop playing the race card!)
T-SHIRT: We need I.D. laws because millions of “illegals” are voting! (But you’ll never see that reported by the lamestream media!)
CAPTION: Not Racist
IMAGE: A blank white panel, other than a caption in the middle of it.
CAPTION: (No example found)
Little “kicker” panel at the bottom
The plaid shirt guy from panel 5 is angrily gesturing.
PLAID SHIRT: This cartoon is why Trump won!
“At this point, to be aligned with the Republican party at all is a form of racism.”
When was the last time being aligned with the Republicans wasn’t a form of racism?
I expect many, many complaints about this one.
I guess if I’m critiquing this (and I am decidedly not a Republican) I’d say that I’d find it problematic if someone insisted that if I vote for Democrats then I must be signing on to every policy that the Democrats advocate. Actions taken by Democratic presidents have killed a lot of innocent people in other countries, for example, and have led to a reduction in civil liberties for many Americans. That’s a problem, and I’d like the Democrats to reform some of their positions, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to vote for Republicans, because on balance, Democrats pass better policies.
By the logic of the cartoon, for example, any persons who sincerely believe that human life begins at conception and that this life warrants invasive protective measures to be taken by the state is a de facto racist.
I disagree with that viewpoint, for many reasons, but I don’t know that it’s reasonable or productive to call it pragmatic racism.
(And yes, I realize that there are many ways that anti-choice policies can have a disparate impact on women and girls based on race, and that those are legitimate concerns. But there is no significant policy in the United States that cannot be connected to race in some way, so I don’t think that is a productive rabbit hole to go down. Also, the cartoon does not seem to be talking about that.)
But that’s not what this cartoon says. An example of a not racist Republican (at least on the voter ID issue) would have been:
“I believe Republicans have the right end of the stick on most policies. But this voter ID thing is seriously racist, and we should stop doing that, so we can focus on all the good things we do.”
Even better, of course, would have been someone working to make that happen. But, in my experience, few Republicans will call out individual policies like that, let alone take action. (I have no idea if Richard Posner personally identifies as a Republican these days; if he does, he’s one of the only ones I can think of. I think rounding down “just a few” to “none” is the kind of thing that makes sense for a political cartoon.) Instead, you get what you see in this cartoon: support and attempts at justification.
Amp, I particularly appreciate that Panel #3 has the talking head on a video player on a phone, instead of on TV!
So there is no valid position that voters should have to provide the same level of identity verification that is needed to cash a check, make a credit-card purchase, or drive a car?
… And no room to even question the assumption/assertion that African Americans can’t handle this basic task of modern life – far less complex than, say, registering a child for school or applying for welfare payments – or to call it out as glaring evidence of the “soft racism” of patronizing white progressives?
This cartoon is a very good example of the self-confirming (and not a little self-righteous), my-way-or-you’re-a-raaaaacist, bubble mentality that lost Lefties the election.
“I’d say that I’d find it problematic if someone insisted that if I vote for Democrats then I must be signing on to every policy that the Democrats advocate.”
The question is, does voting for a Republican count as “being aligned” with them? Not really able to read Amp’s mind on this one, although the fact that the cartoon describes ‘Republicans’, not ‘people who vote Republican’, perhaps not?
1. Ben David, wouldn’t your argument justify poll taxes? After all, it’s common for banks and credit cards to charge annual fees, and similarly one has to pay a fee to get a driver’s license. (In most cases, voter ID laws are in effect poll taxes, since getting ID costs money – quite a lot of money, for some people).
Voting is a right, and the central pillar of democracy. So yes, it’s even more important that everyone have access to the vote than that everyone have access to being able to drive, or to credit cards.
Finally, there’s a difference, in our system, between someone’s access to something being cut off by the government, rather than by a private entity. Although we limit how private entities can discriminate, the government is held to even higher standards, and rightly so. So although we accept that a store own can require ID before allowing a credit card purchase, the government making laws making it harder to vote should be held to a higher standard.
2. And of course I am not claiming that “African Americans” as a class can’t handle anything; I have not seen any opponent of voter ID laws make that argument, and suspect it’s just a strawman you’ve made up. Rather, the argument is that barriers to voting deter some but not all voters of every race. But because Black (and Latinex and Asian) Americans are more likely to lack ID in the first place, and more likely to be poor with all the barriers poverty brings, voters deterred by voter ID and other vote suppression laws will be disproportionately non-white.
(Voter ID laws aren’t the only kind of voter suppression law Republicans use.)
If you support voter suppression laws that are obviously, and in some cases explicitly, designed to suppress non-white votes, then that’s racist. People like you, in the last century, complained that it was unfair to call poll taxes and literacy tests racist (or “raaaacist”). That was an asinine argument then, and it’s an asinine argument now. If you aren’t a racist, then you don’t support racist anti-voting laws. That is by no means an unreasonably high standard.
To support my previous comment, here are various examples of Republicans admitting, in one way or another, that voter suppression laws are intended to suppress either Democratic voters, or in some cases actually saying minority voters.
North Carolina’s Deliberate Disenfranchisement of Black Voters – The Atlantic
Some Republicans Acknowledge Leveraging Voter ID Laws for Political Gain – The New York Times
Unbelievable GOP Statements on Voter Suppression | BillMoyers.com
This week in the war on voting: North Carolina Republican admits it has nothing to do with fraud
GOP Official Resigns After Saying Purpose Of Voter ID Is To Suppress Votes Of Democrats, ‘Lazy Blacks’
Getting a photo ID so you can vote is easy. Unless you’re poor, black, Latino or elderly. – The Washington Post
The largest and most thorough study of voter ID effects yet:
Voter Identification Laws and the Suppression of Minority Votes: The Journal of Politics: Vol 0, No 0
An article by the study authors explaining their study:
Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research. – The Washington Post
I would respond to this, which is a fair point; but I think Harlequin already said what I would have said.
In a parallel example, I think it’s fair to say that by supporting the Democrats one is implicitly supporting the pro-choice position, unless one is actively and explicitly fighting against pro-choice laws. (Of course, I am pro-choice, so I think favoring pro-choice is a good thing; but the logic is still parallel.)
Thanks! I’ve been drawing talking heads on TVs for years, but it’s begun to feel ridiculously outdated. I think from now on I’m going to be using phones, laptops, and tablets as my default “talking heads” media.
Your draftsmanship is competent, but your political views are smug, far-left rubbish.
The only semi-true statement in the cartoon is the very last statement in the lower rught corner.
Heh. Now why do I suspect that somebody didn’t read the cartoon to the very end?
This comment is why Trump won!
Part of this is how we get tribalist thinking–we only have two major political parties. Unless you aren’t voting you have to deal largely with one of them. There is no way that you can agree with one party about EVERYTHING unless you are complete dupe. Which I suppose lots of people are.
The funny thing is that I think the end of the cartoon is more true than it is a joke. Polarizing each other over everything is indeed why Trump won. It meant that if you thought you had been damaged by the politics of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, what could you do? You don’t agree with EVERYTHING about Clinton so I guess you have to vote against her…
(That isn’t an actual argument for Trump, but a commentary on how we got here).
This also illustrates how horribly bad Democrats are at dealing with wedge issues. You should take them away, not whine about them for decades. Say, you know what, I think voter ID laws aren’t necessary. But rather than leave it sitting around as a wedge issue for decades we are going to it right. Issue everyone who wants one a free voter ID. Make it super easy to get, super easy to renew and super easy to replace. If the Dominionists think it is the mark of the Beast, give them alternatives that involve driving long ways and waiting in lines. Look the wedge issue hurts them instead of us now.
@Sebastian H, on voter IDs:
Setting out to make some bureaucratic process easy, and actually making it easy, are two very different things.
Take something that both sides of the aisle tend to agree on: Nobody likes that the waiting period for legal immigration, even for highly-skilled professionals in fields like IT where the US has a major demand, is typically years long. Yet, as I understand it, the wait lists don’t seem to be getting any shorter.
Also, keep in mind that it would be the local government offices in charge of the nitty-gritty implementation of new voter ID laws. Why wouldn’t they obstruct voter ID distribution in places where the local government is already finding lots of other creative ways to make it hard for people to vote?
I don’t necessarily agree with the thesis of this article (that Democrats should stop fighting voter ID laws) but I find the analysis to be well-phrased:
“…arguments on voter ID pit the intuitive against the complex.”
“Moreover, for the vast majority of people out of poverty who have always had an ID, it’s hard to imagine why it might be hard to get one. Explaining means wonking out about how the cost and availability of identification disproportionately affects certain demographics.”
Something I’ve wondered about, and this applies to getting an ID or other functions in society: Do people have any obligation to contribute to society? Should society put a litte pressure on people who only take and never contribute to society to get with the program?
I also wonder if societal pressure depends on racial or sex groups.
This is not necessarily a right-wing kind of thing. In many socialist / former communist countries, there definitely was pressure for everyone to contribute to the community. In the former East Germany, for instance, there were rotating work weekends to clean up the local community. Guys who didn’t want to participate had their doorbell rung until they got up out of bed.
John Kennedy also had the famous saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but …”.
Expecting certain racial groups to do certain things, backed with societal pressure, while not putting any, even minimal, expectations on other racial groups sometimes strikes me as a viewpoint that the latter racial groups are just not able to do anything on their own. Which is not true.
“But nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches, as to conceive how others can be in want.” Jonathan Swift, A Preface to the Bishop of Sarum’s Introduction to the Third Volume of The History of the Reformation of the Church of England (8 December, 1713)
“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well housed, well warmed, and well fed.” Herman Melville
“In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.” Anatole France, Le Lys Rouge [The Red Lily] (1894), ch. 7
Ell – the assumption that people who lack ID “only take and never contribute” is staggeringly unjustified.
“xpecting certain racial groups to do certain things, backed with societal pressure, while not putting any, even minimal, expectations on other racial groups…” Again, staggeringly unjustified.
I will now smugly note that my prediction was entirely correct.
The problem with right-wing defenses of voter ID, et c., is that they (generally very unconvincingly) argue that the costs are minimal while not actually providing much rationale for incurring any costs at all. This is a fairly common pattern in partisan debates.
It’s a long-held argument against Voter ID laws that they seek to solve a problem that doesn’t exist – illegal and resident aliens who are registered to vote and do so. The claim is that studies have been done and have not found this to actually occur.
Now comes this.
The article also cites (and links to) another study done. From the article:
Now, I’m not going to say “Oh this definitely proves that Pres. Trump was right about 3 million people illegally voting”. I’d have to plow through the methodology and results of these studies and the ones claiming that there is no such problem before I’d go out on that particular limb – and in any case, I don’t think the data to support that would be in any existing study. But what it does indicate to me is that the overall issue can’t just be dismissed. It seems to me that it is reasonable to consider the overall question of whether or not a significant number of people are voting illegally as open; and that there needs to be a study done on the matter with access to the various State voting registries and canvasses, open methodology and sufficient scope and funding to nail this down.
Unsurprisingly, RonF, one of the ODU professors cited by the Washington Times has said that the article misrepresents his work:
I do not support the Washington Times piece
Dear Washington Times,
As a primary author cited in this piece, I need to say that I think the Washington Times article is deceptive. It makes it sound like I have done a study concerning the 2016 election. I have not. What extrapolation I did to the 2016 election was purely and explicitly and exclusively for the purpose of pointing out that my 2014 study of the 2008 election did not provide evidence of voter fraud at the level some Trump administration people were claiming it did. I do not think that one should rely upon that extrapolation for any other purpose. And I do not stand behind that extrapolation if used for ANY other purpose.
I have not read the study, but I suspect this line from the Times must be in error:
Relying on the CCES responses to citizenship questions, ODU team estimated that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in the 2008 election. They presented a range as low as 38,000 and as high at 2.8 million.
Because elsewhere, Richman says this:
If the assumptions stated above concerning non-citizen turnout are correct, could non-citizen turnout account for Clinton’s popular vote margin? There is no way it could have. 6.4 percent turnout among the roughly 20.3 million non-citizen adults in the US would add only 834,318 votes to Clinton’s popular vote margin. This is little more than a third of the total margin.
It should also be noted that the study itself has come under fire from several social scientists for its methodology.
Finally, your calls for “sufficient funding” for the government to investigate this are…well, intriguing to me given your usual rigorous standards regarding what the government should and should not fund.
More from Richman:
We also find that one of the favorite policies advocated by conservatives to prevent voter fraud appears strikingly ineffective. Nearly three quarters of the non-citizens who indicated they were asked to provide photo identification at the polls claimed to have subsequently voted.
An alternative approach to reducing non-citizen turnout might emphasize public information. Unlike other populations, including naturalized citizens, education is not associated with higher participation among non-citizens. In 2008, non-citizens with less than a college degree were significantly more likely to cast a validated vote, and no non-citizens with a college degree or higher cast a validated vote. This hints at a link between non-citizen voting and lack of awareness about legal barriers.
It is indeed untrue that white people are uniquely incapable of understanding any one else’s point of view or experiences, even when led carefully and compassionately to ideas about the difficulties other racial groups experience…
…oh, did you mean something else?
RonF: Helpfully, Charles S addressed this only a few weeks ago.
The new component is some survey of 800 Latino people that someone did back in 2013, which asked about citizenship status and voter registration status, among a bunch of other stuff, and had about 50 people answer that they were both registered to vote and not citizens (13% of registered voters). The Washington Times (!) article doesn’t link to the study, but it is probably this one. Unfortunately, that presentation doesn’t include any details of the phrasing of the demographic questions, and it doesn’t have the same strengths of repeat polling of the same sample as the CCES that allowed researchers to identify incorrect response to the citizenship question, so there isn’t a way to clearly demonstrate that the poll is wrong.
No, that’s exactly what I meant. Republicans are racists with the exceptions noted by Ampersand in his comic. Further, as you note, white people are uniquely incapable of understanding any one else’s point of view or experiences and are therefore, as a consequence, narrow-minded bigots (pretty much the definition of what you describe). I agree with you and Ampersand. Racists and bigots and bears.
But I asked one question, as a non-white person and a person who didn’t vote for anyone at all, and Ampersand’s response was so far away from an answer to my question as to be dumbfounding. It’s like I asked what elements were prominent in the soil of the moon, and the answer I get is seventy-seven ducks in Chinese.
I’ve had this debate before–and I know there is really room for argument–but when you say “white people are …”, then many would assume that you mean white people, as in all white people.
After a cursory perusal of images in the Internet, I see that Mr. Deutsch is likely not Asian or black. I will assume that he is a white male.
I take it that your expressed opinion of white people is merely hyperbolic speech, and you are not including Mr. Deutsch under the rubric of ignorant bigot. In other words, you don’t mean what you are writing. Or?
Uh-oh, sorry. I see that it your specific assertions about white people are UNTRUE.
My own opinion is, to whom much is given, much should be expected.
I, personally, have been given a lot. Easily top 10%. I have a great life. I’ve worked hard, sure. But I have no illusions. If I’d been born poor instead of upper middle class, my hard work would not have produced the return it did. I also made some mistakes. Mistakes that could have been devastating if I didn’t have the education, and social network to put things together again. But I’ve also known people who were born rich. I never had a chance of attending an Ivy straight out of high school. Didn’t go to the right kind of high school for that. Whenever I meet someone who went to an Ivy, but doesn’t seem very bright (and I got to a point in my life where I meet them a lot, so I know it was no meritocracy that got them in but not me), I ask – “So is attending Harvard/Princeton/Yale (the others don’t count) a family tradition?” They will wax on and on about that. Legacies – no greater affirmative action than that!
In the media and politics, I see a lot of people (eg. Trump, Romney), born to wealth, who seem to think that just reinvesting that wealth and paying the bare minimum in taxes means that they’re, not just contributing, but heroes. I don’t buy that.
On the other hand, someone born into extreme poverty, with few opportunities might be contributing a great deal by having a job and managing to raise their children well, with the help of some public assistance. Some people with severe disabilities may only be able to manage living with support, in a group home, doing their share of the chores. They were born with pressures that I can’t imagine. What do you imaging adding yet more pressure to the lives of such people will accomplish? It could kill them. It already does kill many of them.
Most people really will put enough pressure on themselves. Most parents really do want what is best for their children. And, if nothing else, most people want a better television, car, clothes, etc., and if they can see a route to that through work, they’ll do it. Putting more pressure on people who aren’t already driven my some dream of their own will only drown them.
Dems get hammered on this issue because lots of people feel like voter fraud is important to them. When someone says “I feel strongly about this,” the unfortunate Democractic response usually goes down one or both of two roads: 1) it’s only important to you because you’re a racist; and/or 2) it’s only important to you because you’re an idiot who doesn’t understand voting. But those are not politically viable responses, as we have recently seen.
The democratic response should be threefold.
First, agree to verification laws, contingent on availability of IDs. “We will commit to new voter ID requirements provided that a minimum of 90% of folks in every district who want one can get one. We have submitted a limited budget proposal that does nothing but provide funds to allow people to get a nationally verified ID, including an interview and biometric verification process for people who have limited documentation. We’ll stand by the results, whatever they are. We encourage the Republicans to pass it so the country can move past this issue.”
If Dems are certain that there is not really much voter fraud then this is a very low-risk offer with a very high payout.
Second, put the issue in an appropriate context of importance. Because while voting is important, it is not any more important than other things like staying out of jail, avoiding government suppression of speech, and all the other rights we have. We’re not perfect at dealing with ANY of those rights. We arrest and detail a lot of folks who are innocent; we suppress a lot of free speech; and so on. Dems should be up front about the appropriate error rate and the costs of Type 1 and Type 2 error. And they should tie it in to other rights.
Right now, republicans have more consistency here because they are generally on the side of “preventing crime” and not “preserving rights.” Dems don’t have as good of a platform these days. But the classical liberal rights-focused approach was a great success before and could be again, if Dems would return to it.
Third, Dems should be up front about what would satisfy them. Refusing to be specific while nay-saying the verification process is what killed Dems in 2016. Republicans have a specific platform “all illegal voting is bad” and Dems have nothing to compare it to. If you think it’s reasonable to say “we are not concerned about any illegal voting which is less than 0.1% of total votes,” then say so! You’ll have to deal with the fallout of approving up to 100,000 illegal votes in 2016 but you’ll get a huge trust boost and hopefully many people will agree.
“First, agree to verification laws, contingent on availability of IDs.”
You are assuming a very high ability to communicate nuance via mass media.
The message you’re saying that Democrats should put out would simply be averaged down to “Democrats oppose voter ID”
Well, Dems could draft a specific bill which would simultaneously restrict voting without IDs, as of a certain year (say, 2020) and also provide for funding to make sure that citizens can have those IDs.
Obviously you can’t control what the media says but this is not a position which requires a ton of nuance and I think it would be difficult to interpret that law as “opposing voter ID.” Moreover the media is fairly friendly to Democrats.
G&W – anything that costs any money will be met with “Why can’t they just use their drivers liceences like the rest of us? It’s not that hard.”
Also, you’re assuming that most people are arguing in good faith, and won’t move the goal posts. I see no reason to believe that.
Still, initiatives to help people get ID’s would be valuable in their own rights. For example, many people who can’t get ID’s turn to predatory check cashing shops, because they can’t open bank accounts.
Lack of voter ID laws probably allows dozens of voter impersonation frauds to be perpetrated per decade. I am okay with even 100 voter impersonation frauds being committed out of 100 million + votes. There is no evidence whatsoever for claiming that there are 100,000 fraudulent votes that would be prevented by stricter voter ID laws, so I’d appreciate it if you’d stop repeatedly making up claims of large numbers of fraudulent votes. It is dishonest, stupid, and harmful.
Meanwhile, voter ID laws have demonstrably prevented 10s of thousands of people from voting. I’d guess a national campaign costing $100 million/ per election could probably ensure that those people are able to vote. The idea of spending $100 million per election to prevent some of the less than a hundred fraudulent votes strikes me as absurd.
I seriously doubt that opposition to voter ID laws cost the Democrats any elections this year. I don’t think it is a high priority for voters, and I think it is mostly a high priority for committed Republicans for the few voters it is a high priority for. I think surrendering on voter ID laws would be awful tactically, strategically and morally. I think linking surrender on voter ID laws to stronger advocacy for criminal justice reform is a bizarre non-sequitor. Criminal justice reform is an issue that (a) actually does have the potential to cost Dems significant votes (‘soft on Crime’ etc) and (b) has developed fairly well as a bipartisan issue, where strongly partisan advocacy would be counter-productive. The rest of the tactical arguments in that comment are equally nonsensical.
Republicans are engaged in a war on voting rights. We are better off calling it what it is and fighting it on those grounds.
Notably, states that have passed voter ID laws have no higher public confidence in fair elections without voter fraud than states that have not passed voter ID laws, so the argument that lack of voter ID laws is damaging because it reduces confidence in elections is false.
If only there were some sort of… high quality research or something on this Voter ID issue.
Seriously, dude, the word “if” illustrates that it’s a hypothetical; the words “hopefully many people will agree” illustrate that I personally don’t see even 100,000 as a problem; and the entire post is discussing political choices (not facts) with a stated goal of improving the Democratic position, so back off the snark.
Moreover, your position is precisely why we got stuck with Trump. I’m going to do you the courtesy of quoting you and assuming you mean what you write, so:
“Dozens…per decade” is a horrific choice. That’s what, 15 per year max? If you think it’s politically wise to claim certainty that there are roughly ten million legal voters for every illegal voter, you’re nuts.
Because there sure are a lot of potential illegal voters. Those include at least ten million illegal immigrants, none of whom are eligible to vote. There are six million disenfranchised citizens who are also ineligible to vote. There are 12-13 million legal immigrants (with green cards or other visas) who may be able to vote in state elections, but who are ineligible to vote in federal elections. Finally, there are U.S. citizens who may vote improperly (i.e. more than once or in the wrong place.)
That’s 26 million potential illegal voters as a base, plus the entire legal voting population of the U.S. Each one of them may do it wrong, either intentionally or accidentally; this makes no difference since it’s an illegal vote either way.
One error out of every two million would probably be the best error rate that government has ever achieved in the history of the world. Humans have never come close to the “Charles error level”, in any department or any policy, in any country. But even if you think this is a rare exception it it certainly not a natural error rate and it would, at a minimum, require government to try pretty hard. Which it does not do: Six states accounted for 59% of unauthorized immigrants in 2014: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. Of those six states, California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois require no ID at the ballot box. Florida requires a photo ID which may include a debit or credit card; student identification; retirement center identification; or neighborhood association identification. Texas is stricter, it permits you to fill out an attestation and submit documents including a valid voter registration certificate, copy of current utility bill, or a copy of bank statement.
I don’t. Certainly I think snide responses like yours on this subject and many other subjects were a huge part of why the Dems got their ass handed to them, and I would desperately like for that to stop. Ditto with the “republicans are racists” thing, which has royally backfired in case you missed it.
So out of curiosity, how many of the people who you normally hang out with an interact with are not left-wing liberals? Because I know a ton of people who share my view, which is basically “there is probably some substantial number of illegal voting merely because there are so many people involved; but it’s too small a percentage and too diffuse to give a shit about; nonetheless our politicians should stop running away from the question because it makes us look like untrustworthy idiots.”
Pick an area–somewhere in California, since there are a ton of illegal immigrants there and it’s where Trump focused on. Run a test on the district, where you provide a lot of money to verify IDs and provide IDs, and where you then require those IDs for voting. See if you get a change. It isn’t so hard to force Republicans to put up or shut up, if only we’d stop running away.
Other than the generic “I’m right” stuff, what’s the moral objection to combining “available ID” and “ID required?”
Well, Republicans are winning in a landslide. So your idea of what is better may not be a good one.
Perhaps Dems should start doing what they say.
If you claim that there are essentially no illegal voters (“dozens per decade”,) you should not be frightened of people looking for them. There’s nothing to find, right? But Dems oppose those investigations, which makes them seem like they’re trying to hide something.
Dems should not be frightened of at least some low-level verification. Say, like CT or Washington, both of which are solidly Dem states, or like FL. Or, get Republicans to concede on some state, like one of the light-blue ones in the central US which voted solidly for Trump, and then propose to adopt those laws nationally. But Dems oppose any verification increases, which makes them look untrustworthy.
Or, if you think that the main issue behind ID laws is that poor people can’t get IDs, you should be fine with a solution which provides IDs for poor people. But you opposed that suggestion when I made it. You apparently think voter ID is immoral even if voters have help getting ID, which…
So what it comes down to is that having decided this is not a problem, Dems like you oppose any compromise or discussion with the folks who think this IS a problem, even when the compromise/discussion would allow you to prove the opponents wrong. This is really dumb.
I brought up ERIC, so your claims that I’m opposed to verification are just you ranting at ghosts. I’m in favor of sensible verification and opposed to verification that is de facto voter suppression.
Strict voter ID laws are a bad idea. Sure, we could combine them with a massive program of ensuring everyone in the country has adequate ID, but the chance that that would be adequately funded and maintained seems pretty slim to me in the current environment, and even if it were adequately maintained it would continue to suppress more legitimate votes than it would prevent fraudulent in person impersonation votes.
I would not be fine with a 0.1% voter fraud rate. That is larger than the victory margin in 2 of the last 5 presidential elections. It doesn’t make sense to say that you would be fine with that level, but we’re going to institute strict controls that suppress the vote on the off chance that voting fraud levels are higher than that, particularly when there is no evidence that voting fraud levels are anywhere near that level, and when the particular forms of voting controls we’re talking about don’t even target most forms of vote fraud.
I continue to reject your baseless claim that opposition to voter ID laws are what is costing Democrats elections. Do you have any evidence for that claim?
As legal immigrant, I can testify that it would be insanely easy for me to vote. I spend more than a few hours every year to explain to people that I am not eligible for jury duty. I have had to go to the courthouse and show my Green card to prove that I should not be sitting on a jury. I have been accidentally registered to vote twice. Once, when I was helping my wife set up a voting ward, one of the people in charge offhandedly said “you can get registered if you wish”. I looked at her, and if she was making a joke, I did not see it. I am not 100% sure that she knew I was not eligible to vote, but my status had come up minutes earlier.
In my anecdotal experience, there is absolutely no gravitas in the way many on the Left in California talk about voting fraud. I am absolutely sure that it makes no difference to the final outcome, and I think that claims of millions of illegal votes are insane, but the point is, it pisses me off.
I like it when people re-enact the kicker panel of my cartoon. However, there is no actual evidence to support your belief, as far as I know. If you have any actual evidence, please present it.
There’s an enormous amount of evidence that non-citizens voting is vanishingly rare, at rates much lower than you claim are plausible. For example,
The Florida investigation was run by Rick Scott’s administration; Scott is a Republican.
This sounds like you’re saying that the people Charles knows are not a representative sample (fair), but that the people you know are a representative sample?
I favor more investigations, if performed by credible scholars and organizations (a category that doesn’t include the Trump administration). (Especially if the investigations are designed to also generate data on other information on voter behavior that might be useful in encouraging registered voters to vote.) But I am skeptical that they’d do any good politically. There is already a lot of high-quality evidence, both about immigrants illegally voting, and about voter impersonation fraud. Why do you think Republicans won’t just continue ignoring the evidence?
Voter fraud is an issue like global warming, which is to say, an issue in which evidence makes no difference to those adhering to the anti-fact position. No matter how much evidence three is, those who are now claiming that voter fraud is a massive problem will continue to claim it, just as those convinced that global warming is a myth will not change their minds based on evidence.
I’m not against further research on climate change. (Quite the opposite). But I see no reason to believe that further evidence will resolve, or even have any effect on, the issue at a political level.
Similarly, I don’t see how a nationwide voter ID, even if it existed, would change anything. People who are not convinced by evidence, will not suddenly be convinced because of a widespread voter ID. All that would happen is that Trump and Briebart would claim that there’s a national crisis of “illegal aliens” voting with fake ID cards, and therefore we need to restrict voting access in some new way, and that would become the new claim.
I’m not against voter ID cards in theory. But I’m leery of anything that can be used by Republicans to make it harder for people to vote (for instance, what if the law is passed with strong requirements for providing everyone with free ID, but at the next budget crisis the GOP declines to continue funding the mechanisms for that?)
And the fact that such a law is entirely wasteful – in that it’s addressing a virtually nonexistant problem – is an argument against it. Problems that actually exist should be considered higher priority when it comes to government spending.
Seriously?, your experience is anecdotal. Nor is registering to vote the same as voting. Indeed, there are Republican voters who, based on anecdotal evidence, decided it would be easy to double-vote – and found themselves arrested for their troubles. They were sure it would be easy, but they were mistaken.
Not that I think you should try it out, of course. The penalties for illegally voting can be ridiculously harsh.
What we really need is judicial enforcement of the 14th Amendment clause that requires that, if a state prevents some of its citizens from voting, it loses a concomitant amount Congressional representation.
(Also, again I’ll say: any voter ID requirement that prevents more citizens who want to vote from voting than non-citizens who would have tried to vote in its absence defeats its own purpose.)
(Assuming its purpose is ensuring the integrity of the vote, rather than suppressing the vote.)
This is not true. The election was close. More people are registered as Democrats than as Republicans. And, you’re arguing that what Democrats need to do is capitulate on laws which will make it even harder for their base to turn out. People who think in person voter fraud is an actual issue won’t be satisfied until they see no brown people voting, at all. This is not an issue that brings swing voters to the polls. The economy, terrorism and violent crime bring swing voters to the polls.
You insist that calling Republicans racist is a losing strategy. Problem is, they are racist. I don’t see how losing touch with reality is a winning strategy. In my experience, no matter how you try to placate them, they will never vote for the party which the vast majority of people of color support. This is not me, speaking from a liberal bubble. I was raised Catholic, read First Things, and have Evangelical friends (granted, I don’t live in the U.S. right now). This is me, speaking about the Trump supporters who I grew up with (yes, even in suburban MA, they are there).
And, I’m sorry, some of them are stupid. What else can you call it when someone gung-ho for Trump and the Republicans is suddenly gutted because she realizes that she won’t be able to keep her disabled son on her health insurance if the ACA is repealed. And I simply shared her post to get people to call their representative, with no “I told you so’s.” But, she already knew that keeping the ACA is one of the reasons I have for supporting Democrats. And if her son loses his insurance, she’ll be more angry with me than she is with Trump or the Republicans. I have no idea how to fight this. But, your surrender strategy seems worse than nothing.
PZ Meyer has an excellent response to G&W style concern trolling. Some of my favorite bits:
David Simon, @14:
Sorry – I know this is off topic, but it struck me and I just can’t let it pass:
Both sides of the aisle agree on this? Maybe THIS is why Pres. Trump got elected. The politicians may agree on this, but the public I talk to has a different opinion. I’ve been working for an IT company for 18 years now. We didn’t seem to have problems hiring people. Then, we changed ownership about 2 years ago, getting bought up by a couple of equity partners. Since then the following things have happened:
1) The company stopped hiring natural-born American citizens. Department heads I talk to no longer even get resumes from such forwarded to them from HR.
2) Salaries are frozen.
3) We had to put a sign up in the men’s room that says “Please Flush Urinals”.
The people who run companies like Microsoft, Amazon, etc. may well be pushing for more H-1B visa workers in IT. The people working there, not so much. At least not the ones who are eligible to vote. There were very few vocal supporters of Ms. Clinton where I work, and I live in a very blue state. When word got out that then-candidate Trump was listening to people who were telling him to freeze the H-1B visa program, it got him a lot of votes in my industry.
We have yet to run good studies to find out because we are sampling the wrong populations.
For example, you have studies that purport to show non-citizens voting. But those are based on self-reporting and are not powerful due to VERY small sample sizes. And while the http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/cces/news/perils-cherry-picking-low-frequency-events-large-sample-surveys correctly note the sample and power issue, they don’t provide new data to counter it.
I don’t have the stat tools to do this any more and have long since forgotten how, but perhaps someone else can tell the sample size you need to have enough power to find the real probability, with 95% confidence, and a margin of error which does not exceed 25%?
1) If you survey authorized voters with an assumed illegal-vote probability of 1 in 100,000 (akin to ~1,000 voters out of ~100 million.)
2) If you survey unauthorized voters with an assumed illegal-vote probability of 1 in 26000 (akin to ~1000 voters out of ~26 million.)
That wouldn’t get around the other issues (who to test and how to get them to accurately self-report a crime, especially when they know doing so will incentivize stricter laws) but at least you’d know how many folks to look at.
You don’t just have to put up that sign for foreign programmers. We had to put up that sign for drivers & warehousemen.
But I’m with you on the rest of your comment. H-1B visas aren’t for filling otherwise unfillable positions. They’re to save money. A doctorate from India in 1993 wasn’t earning as much as a 4th year, no degree programmer. We could’ve hired a US citizen but it would have cost a lot more.
Longer post in response:
Well, the crucial difference is that Republicans are cackling all the way to the White House, while I am banging my head against the desk in frustration.
Well, that is true if you count everything I’ve said, or that other people have linked to, or that you posted, as “not evidence.” But that is not actually how evidence works.
Moreoever, you’re incorrectly assuming your argument and demanding that it be disproved. For example, you are demanding evidence that this policy does not have an unbelievably low error rate; but you’re not providing an explanation about why policy this in particular would have that error rate.
And you’re not talking about other circumstantial evidence, such as people are willing to march in public with “I am an illegal immigrant” signs, or who are willing to openly advertise their deportable status; or who are willing to continue to break other immigration laws on behalf of strangers. In my view, that’s evidence which would lead one to ask the likelihood of such people being willing to “break a voting law if they think there was a predicted chance of prosecution that approaches zero.”And so on.
Are we talking about illegal voting or non-citizen voting? Those aren’t the same thing.
Huh? On what basis do you claim to know that? Merely saying “we haven’t found it” is not enough; you need a study which has enough power to distinguish between, say “10 out of 100,000,000” and “10,000 out of 100,000,000.”
A FIFTY-SEVEN PERCENT MAJORITY of California ballots in 2016 were absentee (mail-in,) which is roughly eight and a half million. Even the DOJ acknowledges you can’t usually catch absentee fraud without the compliance of the original voters. What study, precisely, has ever tried? What study would ever have been capable of finding even as many as 1,000 illegal votes hidden in the 8,443,594 ballots?
Again, on what basis do you claim to know that? I can understand the claim “non-citizen voting is a dozen out of 100,000,000” and I can understand the claim “we know just how non-citizens tend to vote,” but I don’t see how you can logically make both claims at the same time.
Yes and no: If a
non-citizenineligible party were to vote, their namethe name under which they voted would be permanently listed in the record of persons who voted in that election…
Just to choose a single group, surely you’re not claiming that the 10 million+ people who are illegally present in the U.S. are accurately identified on a government list by name and voting jurisdiction?
Yes, among other reasons. Some estimates show 46,000 John Smiths in the US.
Yes and no: it would simultaneously fail to catch any names who were not on the “banned” list and overcount any names which were on both lists. While I agree that the net result would be to overstate the problem, you should realize this is actually based on an assumption that the set of “illegal vote, name not on list” is smaller than the set of “legal vote, name on list.”
The records allow us to identify any
non-citizens who voted in an electionany people who happen to be on a specific list.
Out of curiosity, how much do you trust state election officials; and how often do you consider them reliable? Personally, I generally distrust them all (red and blue,) and I generally consider them politically motivated in their findings. Because they’re politicians.
And this goes both ways, as it should. One side is not more corrupt than the other: Just as I believe that Florida election officials will try to push the state red, I suspect that California officials will try to push the state blue. Both sides will claim they’re doing a great, nonpartisan, job. Both sides are probably lying.
Right, though as I keep saying (a) this is not evidence of absence; and (b) it is consistent with a pretty broad range of numbers. As you say:
Great. Let’s talk about this:
1) It wasn’t capable of identifying absentee fraud;
2) It wasn’t capable of identifying people who were not on a list on “banned voters”;
3) It took place in a state which–unlike places like California–already had a photo ID requirement, though not a “strict” one.
4) Nonetheless, it seems to have identified 85 problems out of 12 million, which extrapolates to roughly 850 problems in the 2016 election. Which is, like I keep saying, simultaneously “not enough to care about” and “large enough that you should stop using words like dozens, handfuls, etc.
5) And last but not least, the people investigating were also the people responsible for prevention, and for whom discovery led to more work, which brings to mind the old quote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”
This is not surprising, since (a) it is hard to find folks in the first place; (b) it is even harder to convict them since it usually involves an intent provision; and (c) the DOJ tends to focus on larger issues and not individual errors (see, for example, this 2007 DOJ publication, page 10-13). Hell, this is not so different from the rape conviction rate and I think we both agree that is not a measure of actual rapes.
Probably not–but since Charles is basically claiming that such a perspective does not exist, the fact that I interact with plenty of them is relevant. If I were saying “it is ridiculous to claim that Dems think like Charles” the reverse would be true.
Sure, though if you think that there has been “literally no evidence” of any voter issues whatsoever, I am not necessarily going to agree with your definition of “credible.”
Eh. That’s a bad idea. I don’t care who chooses to vote–it’s a right, not an obligation–and I don’t think that encouraging more folks to vote will improve our process. But more to the point it’s a bad idea to combine advocacy and study, much as folks unfortunately like to do so.
Because Dems never got them to sign on to the outcomes before they ran the study. First you get people to agree on the outcome, and THEN you run the test. Otherwise you end up here.
Really? That language? I am personally convinced global warming is real, but this type of presentation is a horrible political idea. When any dissent is treated as “anti-fact” or “denial” you will drive people to the other side as has happened here. most of the folks who don’t toe the line on climate have a pretty basic one-sentence argument: They think the predictions don’t match reality so they don’t trust the predictors. Calling them idiots will not help; explaining the predictions will.
First: I challenge you to make that sentence more general and tell me that you would accept anything like it aimed at a perspective you like. It amounts to “you’re an immoral person who is lying about your aims and interests” and you should retract it.
Second, where did those goalposts go? Only a handful of posts ago, Charles’ position was “dozens… per decade” (let’s say “10/year.”) In this paragraph your position is “not massive.”
But getting Dems to concede the possibility of minor fraud while maintaining it is “not massive”was the whole point of my post.
Well, I think that more accurate predictions would go a long way to increasing reliance on the predictors, but I suppose we can disagree on that. I agree it’s mostly a presentation issue and I think Dems are doing a horrible job.
Again, I don’t think you would really accept this argument anywhere else, and I’m bummed you’re making it. There’s no other polite response.
Great! Now, in a gesture of good faith, can you put on the hat of the folks who are equally leery that the low-level enforcement in certain very-blue states, especially states that already oppose other federal immigration law, may be used by Democrats to make it easier for illegal voters (who skew very democratic) to vote?
Yeah, sure, but if you want to play the “wasteful spending” game I don’t know if Dems have the winning side. Let’s not go therer.
Yes, I agree that the H-1B visa program is intended to drive down wages. I’m just not sure that stopping or reducing it is going to save those jobs for Americans in anything but the short term. Won’t they eventually just move directly to a country where labor is cheaper? (Honest question – what do people in the tech sector think? is there infrastructure in developed countires that isn’t likely to be replicable in low wage countries?)
Ultimately, I think the choice is between protectionism, balanced regulation, and free trade. I think balanced regulation is the best option – it’s also the most complicated and difficult to sell politically. “Free trade” with just one component, labor, unable to move with demand is the worst of both worlds for labor. If it were a choice between that and protectionism, I’d agree that protectionism is preferable.
Not in the industry I was in. Consulting requires programmers to be onsite on a pretty regular basis. It’s hard to outsource that to India or whatever the next cheap spot is. So the answer is, some industries will but other industries can’t. In the long term, I think, it saves the jobs that can be saved.
Back to the argument about voting fraud:
Again, there is a large body of research and investigations. They show tiny numbers of fraudulent votes of each different type (my dozens
over a decade was specifically in-person voter impersonation fraud- a weird, super rare form of voter fraud, which is about the only thing
voter ID laws actually prevent). We’ve pointed to these studies and investigations to support our claims, repeatedly. Meanwhile, you’ve thrown out a scattershot of incoherent “common sense shows…”
arguments and backed up none of them, and then you insist that you don’t have to back them up, because us doubting them is the real claim
that needs to be backed up (even though we’ve repeatedly backed up the reasons for our doubts). You’ve also made incoherent arguments that
Republican attorney generals and secretaries of state are covering up (or just too incompetent to find) voter fraud, even though finding voter fraud has a huge amount of political value to the Republican
party, as an excuse for why Florida Republicans finding only 85 people improperly registered isn’t evidence that there are vastly less than 100,000 illegal votes cast.
What would a study that would demonstrate to you the actual rate of various forms of voting fraud even look like? Who is qualified to conduct it, and what would it prove? How on earth would you get
pre-buy-in from Republicans that the result of the study would be determinative? How would you prevent it from being treated by the Koch
funded Berkley Earth replication of the hockey stick study (in which climate change skeptics carefully worked through the global temperature record in a serious attempt to disprove the claim that global temperatures had risen massively in the later 20th century, instead once again replicated that result, and were then ignored by denialists who continue to attack Michael Mann for the original
Your shock (Amp should retract his statement! You are saddened that he would make such arguments!) at the suggestion that there are people who argue in bad faith (on climate change and on voting fraud) for their own gain, and that there are people who believe arguments for reasons of partisan loyalty, not because of a careful examination of the facts is beyond bizarre. You’ve chased yourself deep down a rabbit hole here. We’ve all been there. Say hi to the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts for us. Now wake up and look around you. Groups (the Republican Party, Exxon, tobacco lobbyists) create disinformation campaigns all the time. People believe that disinformation through inattention and through partisanship all the time. You know all that.
It is perfectly obvious.
You also have nothing except “some of my friends think that Democrats should admit that there is lots of voting fraud” to back up your claim that Democratic opposition to voter ID laws and other Republican vote suppression tactics is killing Democrats at the polls. Do you understand that that is completely worthless evidence? Do you understand what actual evidence of what affects Democratic performance at the polls would look like? I mean, I personally know lots of people
who think that Democrats do badly at the polls because they are insufficiently radically left, and if only they’d abolish Wall Street and impose single payer, they’d win all the elections! I would never
claim that those people holding those opinions was evidence of why Democrats have been losing elections for the last half decade.
Everybody has their personal hobby horses for why their party doesn’t do as well as they want it to, apparently this is one of yours (along with insufficiently vocal support for criminal justice reform, a well known vote winner for the Democratic party!).
If 100,000 people were illegally voting per election, despite the fact that there are no coherent campaigns of election fraud, if that were just the baseline level of incompetence, if our ability to detect illegal voting were such that even the best efforts to detect it could only detect less than 1% of it, not just immediately, but through thorough investigation after the fact, even partisan motivated witch hunts still only able to find 1% of the real cases, that would be a huge problem, a sign of an election system ripe for undetectable stolen elections. It wouldn’t be a matter of “oh, Dems should give some ground on this because it looks stupid when they don’t” it would be a matter of “Holy shit, our election system is in a state of complete collapse!” The idea that we should assume this is happening, but be fine with it anyway, on little more than “Oh you know what those stupid pencil pushers in Washington/Boston are like” is absurd.
We should continue to improve election security: through more accurate voter registration lists; through improved election result auditing (Colorado’s risk limiting auditing law is the probably the model law for this); through sufficient funding for functioning voting machines that produce certifiable, recountable paper records; and through automatic registration as in Oregon and California (where registration happens automatically at interactions like getting a state ID, where proof of status is already required anyway). We should also push for greater voter registration and greater voting access, because greater civic engagement increases public confidence in the legitimacy of elections (unlike voter ID laws, which don’t actually even serve the supposed purpose of making people think that elections aren’t corrupted). We should also restore pre-clearance at least for the South (and given Wisconsin, probably for the entire country). The specious reasoning of that Supreme Court decision has been demonstrated to be absolutely false by the immediate wave of blatantly anti-black voter suppression measures that swept the South the moment pre-clearance was removed.
What we shouldn’t do is give in to Republican voter suppression measures dressed up as election protection measures, nor should we take ridiculous lies from the Republican president and decide that the real number must be somewhere between that lie and what Democrats claim (notice how your arbitrary claim went from 5000 earlier in the thread to 100,000, shortly after Trump doubled down on being serious about millions of illegal votes? Good job on the split the difference fallacy!).
[edited to fix a formatting problem]
Back to the substance of the thread:
For me, the cartoon can be boiled down to “Republicans are Racist, No Exceptions Found”. And then there is the kicker from one of the Republicans profiled in the cartoon, that (huh!) “this cartoon is why Trump won”.
I’m not sure what to make of that last thing. A lot of voters are sick of having any other ideas – outside of the accusers field – being labeled as racist. A lot of voters – right and left – democrat and republican – green party and libertarian party – are sick of the (hopefully former) trend of simply finding any possible sticking point in an argument that could be labeled racist or sexist or homophobic or xenophobic or transphobic oder fat-shaming or ageist or intersectionalistic, and then only addressing that aspect and never listening to what someone is trying to *say*. Someone who may be different than you.
Yup, calling every last Republican a racist without further examination of any motive not immediately deemed evil is something that people are starting to question. I find that good, not something to be shamed.
The quote “literally no evidence,” which you put in quote marks to imply you’re quoting something I wrote, was not used by me in this thread – or by anyone else, before you used it in quote marks.
Of course, neither I nor anyone else on this thread thinks that there is “literally no evidence” of “any voter issues whatsoever.” That you seem to think otherwise, and put it in quotes as if you’re quoting someone, suggests that your perceptions of what other people in this thread are saying are inaccurate.
I seem to recall admonishing you about this before, although my google skills are not up to finding the link. But this is not the first time you’ve used this sort of paraphrasing – “Charles is basically claiming….” – to make false claims about what other people have said.
Summing that up as “Charles is basically claiming that such a perspective does not exist” is dishonest at worse. At best, it shows that you’re not correctly parsing opposing arguments.
As I believe I asked last time, please directly quote people’s words, rather than using “he is basically claiming” sort of phrases to sum up what you believe they’ve said. I think this is a fair thing for me to ask, since you’ve demonstrated that your beliefs about what people have said are frequently mistaken in ways that amount to creating strawmen.
Note to everyone: There was a substantial discussion of global warming going on in this thread. In order to better facilitate that discussion, I have moved those comments to their own thread. I want to particularly thank everyone who made it easy for me by putting their global warming discussion and their voter ID discussion in separate comments; that makes this SO much easier for me to do!
If the Republicans were really concerned about voter fraud and not with suppressing the vote, then their voter ID laws would come with government mechanisms and funding to make sure every citizen could get an ID without any cost to the individual and with the state government required to assist each citizen in acquiring the necessary documentation.
But in fact in Indiana (and everywhere else as far as I can find out) the burden is on the citizen. My mother, for example, does not have a birth certificate. Instead she has a certificate from the state saying (in effect) they don’t know where her birth certificate is but that they believe the hospital records of her birth. She could not get an ID* with this and the BMV people basically shrugged their shoulders about what to do next. Fortunately (not really), her dementia which was slight at the time became much worse after an illness and as she no longer votes, she no longer needs an official ID.
* Because she had stopped driving, she had let her driver’s license expire and we were trying to get her a state ID card.
My friend’s cousin (in Minnesota) let his driver’s license expire, and then had to get a new one. He needed a birth certificate, which he couldn’t find, to get the license. So, he went to get a new certified copy of his birth certificate, but they wouldn’t release that to him without current photo ID. After a couple rounds of this, someone at the vital records bureau finally told him that he could get the birth certificate if he brought in a notarized letter from someone who’s known him since birth, saying that he is who he says he is. His cousin is a few years older than him, so that counted, and the cousin wrote the letter. But that was far more complicated than it really should have been — an expired ID doesn’t establish residence, but it does establish identity.
“If the Republicans were really concerned about voter fraud and not with suppressing the vote, then their voter ID laws would come with government mechanisms and funding to make sure every citizen could get an ID without any cost to the individual and with the state government required to assist each citizen in acquiring the necessary documentation.”
This is exactly what I mean about Democrats tackling it from the wrong approach.
Republicans appear to have gotten lots of mileage out of voter ID issues. Assuming that they really are getting voter suppression out of it (if they aren’t we should just let them have their ID laws and stop wasting time fretting about it), we don’t have to care what they want or why. There are essentially two possible ways of dealing with their ability to successfully leverage voter ID issues into voter suppression. 1) We can fight a rear guard action attempting to thwart them each time they try a voter ID law and risk disaster every time they succeed. That has been the approach for the last 20-30 years. It appears not to be working. I suspect that part of the reason it isn’t working is that about 80% of the population is in support of requiring a photo ID including even 63% of Democrats.
2) We can remove the issue from contention by passing transparently fair and good voter ID laws (say modeled after Canada or Germany or the Netherlands).
Next time we are in power, perhaps we should do this federally. Until then, we could do it in the states we currently control showing a model for good voter ID laws. This would remove an apparently potent political weapon from their arsenal. The beauty of it is that we don’t have to care what the Republicans are trying to do with it.