Bill addresses the issue of voter ID in his book. I must confess, I really don’t get what the big deal is about requiring photo ID to vote – especially in light of all the fraud we saw in 2008 (of course, not requiring proper ID not only led to caucus fraud and voter fraud, but also to a certain candidate allowing illegal donations on his website by dismantling the software which checks “ID” so to speak). Well, first of all, elections don’t come out of the blue – they’re rather regular activities for the last couple of hundred years. They’re not going to be a surprise – you have time to prepare!!! Wisconsin even provides FREE photo ID cards for voting purposes! Nikki Haley, republican governor of South Carolina, set up a program to provide free rides (including using handicapped vans when needed) to the DMV for people to get photo IDs for voting – only 25 people in the whole state took her up on the offer. Many more than that 25 called for info, but then proceeded to get themselves to the DMV to get their photo IDs.
Forgive me for being blunt, but they always say it’s the poor and minorities who won’t be able to vote. So, then aren’t they on welfare, food stamps, have a bank account for the direct deposit of their SSI check, etc? You need photo ID for these services! There are homeless people who live part of the month in hotels until their SSI runs out, then go back to the street. Guess what you need to rent a hotel room, even in many SROs (single room occupancy – ie, hotels often used as “residences”) – a photo ID! Not many poor are not on any governmental assistance. So, this argument seems partisan, disingenuous, and manipulative to me.
It would make far more sense to put money into getting IDs for the few people living at the top of mountains (or wherever these people are who have no photo ID and yet somehow survive in the modern world) than to thoroughly let voter registration remain so full of huge holes that a million obots can drive right through them to subvert our democracy (again!). Bill, what’s so hard to understand about that? I mean, we’re not talking about illegals who have no ID because they’re illegal and aren’t going to be voting anyway – right? RIGHT, Bill????
In 2011, 14 states in which republicans held governorships and legislative majorities, imposed new restrictions on voting rights, including photo ID requirements, restrictions on voter registration drives, the elimination of election day registration, and fewer days of early voting. According to The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, these new laws could make it especially harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012. Most of them young, minority, disabled, low income, and the elderly.
Gosh Bill. How about all the people who are disenfranchised in caucus states, even withOUT the cheating? Many people can’t make that specific 2-3 hour window for the caucus on that specific date – they’d probably prefer a whole day during which they can dash to their polling station, run in and vote, and get back to work! How many million people are being disenfranchised in all those caucus states? Many more than 5 million!
Now this next blurb really blows me away. I really feel this statement is also partisan and disingenuous. I don’t know what needs to be shown for a concealed weapons permit (some info here), but isn’t Texas one of the states that lets illegal immigrants attend college? Even a legal immigrant who is just here from Saudi Arabia to study before moving back home will have a college ID! And besides, a concealed weapons permit must be overseen at either the state or the federal level – that process strikes me as having far more rigor than some college-run ID program! Here is Bill being facetious (and possibly seeking a certain effect by blowing the “gun whistle”):
My favorite is Texas’ new law, that accepts as proof of identity, a concealed weapons permit, but not a University of Texas student’s college ID card.
From a non-official DMV site which lists information for all the states:
Having some form of photo ID is critical in our world today; you need to be able to prove you are who you say you are in many situations. You’ll need a picture ID to board an airplane, get a job, set up bank accounts, and in order to make certain purchases. You may need one to rent a DVD, enter a nightclub, to see certain movies, applying for volunteer opportunities, to purchase alcohol, to cash a check, to enroll in school…
I put this graph together with information about state issued photo ID cards (for those who cannot or do not have a drivers license):
|State||Fee||Renew in||Seniors||Free ride to DMV||disabled||Low income|
|Arizona||$12||No expiration||Free if 65||Free if on SSI|
|California||$26||6 yrs||free if 62 y/o or if lost DL due to medical condition||$7 reduced fee for lower income|
|Colorado||$10.50||5 yrs||free if 60|
|Georgia||$20/$32||5 yrs/ 8yrs|
|Hawaii||$15||6 yrs||$10 if 65|
|Idaho||$10/$20||4 yrs /8 yrs|
|Illinois||$20||5 yrs||Free if 65||Free|
|Indiana||$13||6 yrs||$10 if 65||$10||Free|
|Kansas||$18||6 yrs||$14 if 65|
|Louisiana||$21||?||free if 60|
|Maryland||$15||5 yrs||Free if 65|
|Michigan||$15||4 yrs||free if 65||free|
|Minnesota||$18||4 yrs||$11 if 65||.50|
|Nevada||$12||4 yrs||$7 if 65|
|New Hampshire||$10||5 yrs|
|New Jersey||$24||4 yrs|
|New Mexico||$10/$18||4 yrs/8 yrs|
|New York||$10/$14||5 yrs/9 yrs||$6.50 if 62; valid 10 yrs||$6.50 if on SSI; valid 10 yrs|
|North Carolina||$10||5 yrs|
|North Dakota||$8||10 yrs|
|Rhode Island||$26.50||5 yrs||Free if 59|
|South Carolina||$5||5 yrs||yes|
|South Dakota||$20||5 yrs|
|Texas||$16||6 yrs||$5 if 60|
|Vermont||$17||4 yrs||$10 if on SSI|
|WashingtonDC||$20||8 yrs||Free if 65 or released from prison last 6 months|
|Wisconsin||$28 (free on request)||8 yrs|
So, the current population of the U.S. is about 311 million*. Bill projects that 5 million people will not be able to vote if people can’t register to vote the day of voting or must have a photo ID. By my figuring, 5 million is about .016, or 1.6% – I hate to sound like an old grump, but after what we saw in the 2008 primaries (can we PLEASE outlaw caucuses NOW?), I just don’t feel 1.6% is worth allowing huge loopholes through which, as we have seen, wicked people will subvert democracy.
I think the answer will be better found through enabling that 1.6% to get with the voter ID program – although I think we’ll find that many just aren’t interested. Even with all of our already registered voters, our turnouts are typically pretty dismal. But when I look at the chart above, the most expensive state is blue Oregon (I was sort of surprised by that!), but even that averages out to about $5 a year to have a state issued photo ID card. And many of the states already waive or reduce the fees for low income, disabled, or the elderly. And as mentioned above, many, many, many everyday activities need a photo ID. Not many things in life are this cheap. So I’m not all that convinced that some hardship in getting photo ID is what is keeping some people from voting.
We all make priorities in our lives, and for some, voting is not a priority – and I have a sense that this may be a factor in our 1.6%. So the solution to Bill’s concern may NOT be keeping voting rules all loosey-goosey – instead, the solution may be his accepting that not everyone wants to be the type of citizen that Bill wants them to be….. (and really, after the cheating he saw employed against Hillary, how does he even go there…..?)
PS. I still love Bill. This is “tough love”!
* I realized afterwards that the 311 million population statistic I found is for ALL people, not just people of voting age, whereas Bill’s number of 5 million is specifically for people of voting age. So that will affect my percentage – but I stand by my point! 🙂
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