Monday, May 12, 2008

Battle Over Voter Fraud

I never cease to be amazed at how I can so consistently come down on the opposite side of all things "progressive." Does that make me regressive? I certainly hope not!! 

Anyway, there's a big hullabaloo over voter's rights. Apparently some people are irritated that illegal aliens are voting here. I've heard it been said before that people can be a bit put out when they see that Tinkerbell and Mickey Mouse are voting. Oh, and the dead... some of them come out at voting time, too. (Come to think of it, I may have seen one or two of them at the polls last time I went!) 

Me, I can't figure out why this isn't a no-brainer. Well, that's not entirely true. I think I may have figured out why it's not. But it still SHOULD be a no-brainer. In order to vote, you are supposed to be a citizen of this country. Duh. You're supposed to still be alive. Double duh. And you're supposed to be REAL. I don't think that Mickey Mouse counts as a legitimate United States citizen no matter how much a part of our history he may be. This is duh-DUH. It would take a dizzying intellect indeed to confuse me on this issue. 

Leave it to the New York Times to give it the ol' college try, though...

"Voter ID Battle Shifts to Proof of Citizenship," proclaims the headline. Methinks I finally understand what they were talking about when addressing the Supreme Court and voter's rights... the NYT is unhappy that people are being "disenfranchised" in certain states because those states have elected by popular vote to require identification at the polls in order to vote. The Supreme Court upheld that law, and the NYT was irritated.

But now, NOW... things are just getting out of hand! Now we're going to require proof of citizenship, too?? Oh, the humanity!! I mean, how DARE we think of putting in safeguards to ensure that illegals aren't voting themselves extra social programs!! (Not that we aren't doing a fine job of voting the programs in ourselves.) 

Get this:

Sponsors of the amendment - which requires the approval of voters to go into effect, possibly in an August referendum - say it is part of an effort to prevent illegal immigrants from affecting the political process. Critics say the measure could lead to the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal residents who would find it difficult to prove their citizenship.

Okey-dokey... What in the world could they be meaning, you ask?? Well...

In Arizona, the only state that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote, more than 38,000 voter registration applications have been thrown out since the state adopted its measure in 2004. That number was included in election data obtained through a lawsuit filed by voting rights advocates and provided to The New York Times. More than 70 percent of those registrations came from people who stated under oath that they were born in the United States, the data showed.

It's getting clearer... sort of. I mean, if the people are willing to state under OATH that they're citizens, that should be good enough, huh? Because nobody would say something that wasn't true if they were under OATH. Oh, my. Are we that trusting?? I'm betting not.... but there's always an agenda of some sort behind the protestations... 

The big story is that Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Missouri all have bills with strong support for a measure such as this. And bills are being considered in at least 19 state legislatures. "But only in Missouri does the requirement have a chance of taking effect before the presidential election." 

Already, 25 states, including Missouri, require some form of identification at the polls. Seven of those states require or can request photo ID. More states may soon decide to require photo ID now that the Supreme Court has upheld the practice. Democrats have already criticized these requirements as implicitly intended to keep lower-income voters from the polls, and are likely to fight even more fiercely now that the requirements are expanding to include immigration status... The Missouri secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, a Democrat who opposes the measure, estimated that it could disenfranchise up to 240,000 registered voters who would be unable to prove their citizenship...

This is nuts. How is it possible for an entire political party to be such a polar opposite of everything I think?? It's so strange... requiring proof of who you are is NOT intended to keep lower-income voters from the polls. It's intended to keep fraudulent voters from the polls!! And requiring proof of citizenship would be intended to keep illegal aliens from the polls. I have a very difficult time believing that the State of Missouri truly has 240,000 people who are legitimate citizens of the United States with no way to prove their citizenship. That's just preposterous. 

In most of the states that require identification, voters can use utility bills, paychecks, driver's licenses or student or military ID cards to prove their identity. In the Democratic primary election last week in Indiana, several nuns were denied ballots because they lacked the required photo IDs.

Really? Several nuns?!? Is this supposed to get me to say, "Oh, my!! They're disenfranchising the little old nuns now!! It's gone too far!!" Not going to happen. Just because somebody puts on a habit doesn't make them holy. And nobody can possibly convince me that the Catholic church is now checking citizenship before allowing somebody to become a nun.

Critics say that when this level of documentation is applied to voting, it becomes more difficult for the poor, disabled, elderly and minorities to participate in the political process. "Everyone has been focusing on voter ID laws generally, but the most pernicious measures and the ones that really promise to prevent the most eligible voters from voting is what we see in Arizona and now in Missouri," said Jon Greenbaum... director of the voting rights project at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a liberal advocacy group.

Well, nobody said life would be easy. Frankly, requiring proof of citizenship makes things more difficult for all of us. And I'm okay with that! Make it harder -- make it so that we have to actually care enough to put some effort into voting! The fact remains that even if it makes things more difficult for us, it makes it next to impossible for the dead, the illegal, and the repeat voter. Sounds like a fair trade-off to me. After all, for every fraudulent vote accepted a legitimate vote is disenfranchised. 

Jon Greenbaum needs to be more specific... what in the world does he mean when he says that these measures promise to prevent the most eligible voters from voting? I assume he means the largest number.... but why eligible? What makes the people banned from the poll eligible? 

But now we can get to the agenda part of the article... because:

Aside from its immediacy, the action by Missouri is important because it has been a crucial swing state in recent presidential elections, with outcomes often decided by a razor-thin margin.

Ah-ha!! Can't tip the scales in the wrong direction then, can we?

My favorite quote from the article was by a supporter of the measure. Mr. Hearne said, "To those who have spent great energy opposing some of the voter registration or voter identification requirements, I would say their energy would be much better spent working toward trying to provide identifications to those who need them or assisting these people with getting registered." 

To that I give a resounding AMEN!!

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