February 20, 2006

What's the problem, Fast Eddie?

Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell just vetoed a bill that would have mandated voters show ID when voting in the state:

Rendell said that the bill, which passed the legislature last week on largely party-line votes, would have the effect of disenfranchising those without easy access to identification, including nursing-home residents, displaced families, the very poor and those without a driver's license.

In addition, he said that the identification requirement, which now applies only to people voting at a polling place for the first time, would slow the voting process on election days, likely causing some would-be voters who are pressed for time to leave without casting ballots.

The governor said the bill also might be unconstitutional.

Not so fast, Eddie. Maybe you and the state Republicans could get together and get a measure similar to that of Georgia's second effort at voter reform. That state's initial law was suspended by a judge, who said the law amounted to a poll tax. People would have had to spend $20 to get the necessary state-issued ID. Now, however, the judge's concerns have been apparently rectified, and Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed the revised bill into law.

Still, civil rights groups are unhappy.

"Removing the $20 fee voters have to pay to the state for a photo ID does nothing to address the costs and difficulty of getting the documents required to qualify for a 'free' ID," said Neil Bradley, associate director of the Atlanta-based ACLU Voting Rights Project. "And the core constitutional defect remains: if a voter does not possess a government-issued photo ID she is conclusively presumed not to be the voter she claims to be."

I wonder if under-21 college kids could use that argument when they're carded at the local watering hole. Imagine -- "Hey, Mr. Bouncer! What do you MEAN? Just because I do not possess a state-issued ID you're conclusively presuming me to be underage?? That's unconstitutional!"

And what precisely are the "costs and difficulty" of getting the free ID? The "cost" of a stamp for a request letter to the appropriate office? The "difficulty" of filling out the necessary form for the ID? Are you kidding me?

Why are groups like the ACLU so against measures to prevent voter fraud?

Posted by Felix at February 20, 2006 06:54 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

To begin, your analogy is rather useless, as no one has the "right" to go drink in a private establishment. While it would be illegal for them to exclude people based on race, etc., it is not a "right."

Voting, on the other hand, is. In our free and democratic society, it is crucial that we do everything in our power to allow the maximum number of voters to participate. Particularly in the American South, with its history of voter fraud, mistreatment, and intimidation, we must be cautious when it comes to restrictions on voting.

I'd much rather we err on the side of liberty.

Posted by: Mike McKain at February 20, 2006 08:32 PM

But which has more potential to undercut the right to vote? Requiring an ID to vote and ensuring that citizens can obtain a free ID if they haven't a driver's license; or not requiring any identification and leaving an open door to election fraud? Personally, I'd say the latter.

Posted by: Jake at February 20, 2006 10:46 PM

I'd rather err on the side of liberty too, but since instead we've decided instead to let 51% of the country decide what we can't do, I suppose we should make sure people are eligible to vote at least.

Posted by: The Unabrewer at February 21, 2006 01:09 AM

Good post and I like to call him FAT Eddie. Cause he is and he sure ain't fast.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at February 21, 2006 08:52 AM

Who the hell doesn't have an ID? Come on, you need an ID to buy cigarettes and alcohol, and I don't see anyone claiming that's an infringement on anyone's rights. Come to think of it, the only people I can think of that wouldn't have driver's licenses are those who had them revoked or suspended for DUI or for whatever felonies they may have committed. Or maybe they aren't in the US legally. Or maybe they don't want to identify themselves because they have outstanding warrants. Hmm, looks like Rendell, Clinton, and the rest of the Dems who are pushing these ideas are trying to sew up the illegal vote! Don't I, as a tax-paying citizen of the US, have the right not to have my vote cancelled out by a dead guy or an illegal alien? Of course I do.

Posted by: G Rex at February 21, 2006 09:27 AM

It's not just the ACLU. Any organization that values group rights over individual rights. Or any organization that wants to increase Democratic participation in government is looking for shortcuts. We have it happening next door in MD too.

Posted by: David Gerstman at February 21, 2006 11:42 AM

duh, do any of you vote in Delaware? you have to show ID every time.

Posted by: Grump at February 21, 2006 01:48 PM

Umm I'm a little confused because I had to show ID to vote in this last election. I didn't think anything of it. As a matter of fact it made total sense because of all the screaming that was going on before and after the election about voter fraud. You can't have it both ways - either require people show ID's or shut up about the election results.

Posted by: NosyNeighbor at February 21, 2006 01:56 PM


Posted by: schmitt at February 21, 2006 02:07 PM

Well clearly Delaware wishes to bring back poll taxes no less than those who think that felons shouldn't necessarily get back their voting rights immediately upon release from jail.

Posted by: David Gerstman at February 21, 2006 04:56 PM

Yes, Mr. Gerstman, and clearly Democrats have realized the only way they might win elections in the future is if they get the voting dead and paroled robbers/murderers/rapists/etc. to the polls. Nice constituency.

Posted by: Jake at February 21, 2006 11:41 PM

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