Voter ID laws all about politics, not fair elections

Perhaps history will record 2012 as the year of the great voter fraud flap, when state legislatures across the country chose to tackle an imaginary problem while ignoring what appears to be a real and growing threat to fair elections.

Legislators in 37 states have been swept up in the voter ID mania, most passing stricter laws requiring voters to produce ID cards before voting.

The Maine State Legislature considered such a bill early this year, but no photo ID law resulted.

Republicans nationwide have been hot on the idea, strongly believing that voter fraud is a significant factor in elections and that it strongly favors Democrats.

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai was unwise enough to honestly explain the strategy in June.

In a laundry list of accomplishments, Truzai told Republican State Committee members, "Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, (is) done."

According to a video tape of Turzai's speech, the assembled Republicans erupted in applause.

Perhaps Turzai actually believes there is enough voter ID fraud in his state to swing an election.  More likely he knows that one in five people in Philadelphia, which votes reliably Democratic, lack the required ID, as do 760,000 residents statewide, mostly the poor, the elderly and minorities.

The state's attorney general recently testified that Pennsylvania has never prosecuted a case of voter fraud and is unaware of any current reports of voter fraud.

Meanwhile, a new nationwide analysis released last week of more than 2,000 reported cases of voter fraud over the past 12 years found only 10 cases of actual fraud.

That's because this type of fraud is risky and tough to carry out on a meaningful scale.

It requires finding a large number of people willing to engage in a conspiracy and then making sure they all remain silent afterward. As any criminal knows, the larger a conspiracy the more likely it will be detected.

Other types of fraud, like tampering with voting machines and absentee ballots, are much easier to carry off without detection.

And we have actual examples of that, and within the past two weeks.

A district attorney in Massachusetts' Hampden County is currently investigating whether a Republican candidate for state representative organized an absentee ballot scheme involving "hundreds of voters," Boston.com reported on Aug. 14.

Election officials became suspicious when Republican requests for absentee ballots in one suburb jumped from an expected 50 to 450. A friend of the winning candidate is suspected of changing party affiliations of hundreds of people and then voting them for the winner, John Villamaino III.

In Miami on Aug. 10, Sergio Robaina was accused with acting as a ballot broker, or "boletero," in Spanish, who may have used 164 absentee ballots to influence two political races.

The investigation now involves a county commissioner and the uncle of Hialeah, Fla.'s former mayor.

With the popularity of absentee voting growing, this form of fraud is likely to grow, yet neither political party has lifted a finger to restrict absentee balloting or even investigate the potential for fraud.

Voters like the convenience of absentee voting, and neither party sees an advantage in tightening those laws.

And that shows this debate, like so many others, has been more about party politics than preserving fair elections.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

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Comments

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Reason for Voter ID.

Washington DC voter enters polling location and proves he can get Eric Holder's ballot - easy.

https://www.theprojectveritas.com/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=97

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Here we go again, cries of

Here we go again, cries of unfairness. I’m not sure I want to waste my breath this morning. Vote early, vote often.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese......

Please don't infantalize the working citizens of this country and our seniors by implying they have no need for ID, can't afford ID, and or are too confused to figure out how to get ID, you know that is blantantly untrue. You can't open a bank account without proper ID. The left hears the clock ticking toward the end of voter fraud or at least making it harder to accomplish and are starting to panic. The recent "amnesty" granted unilaterally by the Obama administration for non-citizens, just prior to an election year is more of the same. But of course we are told "don't worry they aren't going to be able to vote." The smarter states have already blocked their access to a driver's license; much to the chagrin of the leftists; to make some effort to ensure they don't.

Jason Theriault's picture

Steaming load of crap

Stop hiding behind "fraud" claims. You don't want the poor voting.

Hell, your comments alone show how disconnected you are from the lower class...
"You can't open a bank account without proper ID"

Yes, and many many poor people don't have one of them either.

SHOW US WHERE THIS WILL PREVENT ACTUAL CASES OF FRAUD. YOU CAN'T

All this will do is intimidate the poor.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

This cry is like a catch 22.

This cry is like a catch 22. If one has no means and is not allowed to validate the right to vote, how does one measure fraud?
Opposition to voter ID is just an attempt to remove all means of measuring fraud.

That said, there are many documented instances of people voting that should not have voted. Now proving fraud comes with a strict legal requirement of proving intent.

Let’s say voter ID is a way to keep confused people, who are not allowed to vote, from voting.

Better living through smaller government.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Well let's see...

Those concerned about voter fraud tried to put a mere two day cut-off on same day voter registration; it was turned down by the voters.

Not sure where Sandra is voting, but I'm only asked for my name (and party during primaries)

If I want to same day register, I just need to show a piece of mail from the power company with my name and address on it. I'm sure that some non-citizens renting apartments can easily handle this strict requirement. It's laughable.

As far as absentee ballots and allegations of voter registration fraud...just think "Acorn"

Those folks who think voter fraud does not exist are like ostriches with their heads in the sand...or the three monkeys...hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.

JEAN FORD's picture

There are countless people in

There are countless people in cities that use mass transit and have no need of a driver’s license. There are many poor and disabled for which having to travel to a state office to get id would present a significant hardship. There are many more elderly and students who simply lack transportation. Why should they have to jump through hurdles to exercise their rights? In a democracy should we not make voting more easily accessible as opposed to less?

Jim Cyr's picture

Voter ID

is no more about politics than ID for cigs, booze, or apply for the privilege of a drivers license. Is voting not more important for a civilized society ? And now that the Pres has side stepped Congress and allowing millions of ILLEGALS to stay and apply for work when we have our own Vets unemployed and homeless. Not to mention the unemployment situation nation wide. Now that's Politics. The more you give, the more they will be swayed your Progressive ways and take this great country down the path of no more individual choices nor freedoms.

JEAN FORD's picture

Nice of you to ignore all of

Nice of you to ignore all of the facts in the article and then immediately compare voter ID to activities that are "privileges" and not CONSTITUTIONAL rights. Apples and oranges...

Jim Cyr's picture

Ms. Ford,

Yes you are correct about the Constitutional Rights. But don't you ignore that these RIGHTS have always been intended for U.S. citizens, not wannabes. You and the Editors can spin it anyway you like, voter I.D. does not deprive any citizen the right to vote, only verification that you are who you say you are !

Steve  Dosh's picture

Voter ID laws all about politics, not fair elections

Rex, 12.08.19 13:33 hst ? 
Good editorial
Reminds us of States rights and the stuff going on in Mississippi , South Carolina , and Alabama in 1 9 6 2 . It does . This time it was PA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strom_thurmond
h t h ? Steve Dosh , Returned Peace Corps Volunteer ( R P C V ) and former member of the K K K ( Kennedy's Kiddie Korps :) Vounteer at your local school t o d a y

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You’re stretching to make

You’re stretching to make that connection, but you’re attempting a common democratic tactic – call some a racist. We are not buying your crocodile tears.

JEAN FORD's picture

Strom Thurmond...I remember

Strom Thurmond...I remember him saying that in cases of real rape a woman couldn't get pregnant because "the juices didn't flow" and all these years later we have a Republican from Missouri saying "“From what I understand from doctors ... if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” The blistering ignorance makes my head spin!

Presumably, if you get pregnant then it must have been consensual...

MARK GRAVEL's picture

How did you get off topic?

How did you get off topic? Perhaps just an opportunity to say R –bad, D-good. Please pick up you knuckles off the pavement, it is unbecoming.

JEAN FORD's picture

There are just too many

There are just too many elderly and poor that would be disenfranchised and if it was just about making the process fair…why would Republican governors be making laws to stop early voting, to punish groups that try to get out the vote, to fail to expand the hours of their state ID offices and refuse to budget money to handle the onslaught of millions and millions of people that have to comply with these new laws. To scare the League of Women Voters out of Florida after 75 years with the threat of criminal prosecution and outrageous fines if they did not comply with onerous new laws.

Then there was the Florida Republican Party Chair who said he sat in on strategy sessions on how to suppress the vote, especially the black and minority vote. And how can anyone ignore Pennsylvania Congressman who said “Voter ID laws, that are going to allow Governor Romney to win Pennsylvania…DONE!” Does anyway really believe these laws are about protecting the integrity of the vote??? We should be trying to expand voting…not suppressing it!

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Once the ballot box can no longer be trusted....

...all is lost. Yes it's political and it is the left who made it so..They keep trying to compare proof of citizenship with "poll taxes" which is comparing apples and oranges. I always have to wonder, why is the left so adamant about not identifying yourself when you vote? I understand that in order to get voting credentials at the Maine Democrat convention you had to show ID; correct? Is it any wonder we are concerned, when we have leftists down in Portland who want to give non-citizens the right to cast a ballot. This is a no-brainer and should be passed in every state in America. Some elections in Maine have turned on a handful of votes, we need to make sure EVERY one is valid. It's not right or left...it is just the RIGHT thing to do. Those on the left need to quit making excuses for adults inability to provide proof of identity.

JEAN FORD's picture

You do have to identify

You do have to identify yourself to vote, where have you ever voted where you didn't show some form of proof?

Jason Theriault's picture

Voter ID is stupid.

I want every vote to be valid as well. But I can point to numerous studies that say that:
1. This won't lower fraud
2. This will disenfranchise the poor and elderly.

Voter ID is stupid. The areas of fraud I'm worried about are tampering with the machines and stuffing the box. Voter Id would prevent the most inefficient fraud - going to the poll and casting a fraudulent ballot at the expense of thousands of entitled voters. Meanwhile, diabold machines have been shown to be able to be rigged quite easily time and time again. You want to upend the process to stop the possibility of one or two fraudlent votes. How about you tackle situations where thousands of votes are at risk. Then we can talk about voterid

JEAN FORD's picture

And why isn't absentee

And why isn't absentee balloting ever brought up? Wouldn't that be the easiest way to cheat? Just asking...

Steve  Dosh's picture

Amedeo 12.08.19 2 pm hst

Amedeo 12.08.19 2 pm hst ?
http://occupybangor.org/
Which Portland ? Which America ? North or South ¿? Central possibly ?
http://www.mainersunited.org/
. . 0Oo0OøºHhh. the - r i g h t - coast
We momentarily forgot ?
Aloha form Pahoa HI , Dr. Dosh and ohana

Robert Cook's picture

Voter ID

There are far too many close elections for the voters to ignore the possibility of voter fraud. Because it benefits the Democrats they are pushing hard to prevent voter Id. Voter fraud is easy to do. Keep a list of the obit’s from the previous year and ask for a ballot in their name. Deceased names are not purged from voter lists immediately following death. It’s simple to ask for a ballot in their name and no one is wiser. A ballot also can be obtained for a living voter as was demonstrated last year in NH. A photo Id stops all that. The Democrats are looking very sleazy on this issue!

JEAN FORD's picture

I absolutely disagree...the

I absolutely disagree...the Republicans look like they cannot win without fixing the election. The way they have chased blacks, minorities, women, and gays out of the party...I can only think they believe they will win by mere dint of voter suppression.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Bob , 2 pm Hawai'ian time

Bob , 2 pm Hawai'ian time Sunday
Sleazy ya' think ?
Howz about hem hanging chads in Flori-duh in Jeb Bush's election ? Ayuh .
Bush stole that election from Al Gore ?
Lotta' finger pointing going on now huh ?
You can call us n e thing . Call us scum yet scum rises to the top . Stix and stones . .
/s Steve Dosh in the birthstate of our sitting President ( and his Magna Cum Laude Princeton grad wifey ., ) i e., the good former Senator from Illinois , Barack Hussein Obama He's Irish , right ? O'bama ? :P

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Excellent post.

Excellent post.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Voter fraud

Most cases of voter fraud that have actually occurred happened after the voting was done. Those absentee ballots that show up that were never requested, on unofficial forms, with military names on them, that show up weeks after the voting was done, voting machines that go awry, boxes of ballots that disappear, precincts that ran out of ballots. All the concern about voter fraud in Republican circles never includes ballot stuffing, voting machine irregularities and absentee ballot fraud because that's their preferred modus operandi. People voting in someone else's name practically never happens but it is the crime they want to prevent because people who do not carry ID generally do not own cars or have driver's licenses. Who would that be? Well, city dwellers, the young, the old and the poor often don't have much need for a driver's license. So if that's you , you have lost your right to vote this year in many states and Republicans feel they need to deprive voters who do not agree with them of the right to vote in order to win. It's hypocritical to say you care about the sanctity of the vote when you care more about winning than about real voter fraud.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“People voting in

“People voting in someoneelse's name practically never happens”

Another baseless claim from Claire for convenience.

http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Dead_people_voting

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Don't for get the Chicago example...

I hear that in Chicago, people there are so patriotic about their voting rights, that many of them continue voting long after their dead. Now that's what I call patriotic......

JEAN FORD's picture

Geesh, got an anecdote from

Geesh, got an anecdote from this century?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Their mantra is vote early;

Their mantra is vote early; vote often. I wonder how many times Michael Jackson will get to vote this year.

JEAN FORD's picture

As long as he votes as a

As long as he votes as a democrat I say as many times as he wants to.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Are you making an attempt at

Are you making an attempt at jocularity or are you unaware that he is dead?

JEAN FORD's picture

Is there anyone in the world

Is there anyone in the world that doesn't know the King of Pop is dead?! Yes it was a joke.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

In a society where at least

In a society where at least half of the inhabitants think they're better off today than they were four years ago, one has to ask the question.

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

republicans cant win

Repubicans cant win so they resort to voter tampering and other schemes, if it wasnt for these schemes they play george bush would not have been president for 2 of his terms and many more elections have seen COMPLETE DISREGUARD for the election process they do try to win by hook or by crook.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

...."if it wasn't for these

...."if it wasn't for these schemes they play george bush would not have been president for 2 of his terms"...
How many more Bush terms were there?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

There is only one valid

There is only one valid reason for a person to be opposed to voter ID--it denies them of the opportunity to cheat.

JEAN FORD's picture

Please give some examples of

Please give some examples of in-person voter ID fraud. I read that as desperate as the Bush administration was to prove it, they found less than 10 cases in over a decade or .7 cases per state in that 10 year period. Maybe I'm missing something.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

One fraudulent vote would be

One fraudulent vote would be a dozen too many. Regretfully, I do not have that person's name at my disposal.
Getting back to my original point, the only reason a person could have for not wanting voter ID is that it deprives them of the opportunity to cheat. Where voter ID is required, it works. Hell, you can't renew a valid drivers' license without showing your birth certificate. Having to show proof of identity for the privilege of voting is certainly not too much to ask, except to those who have dishonest intentions.

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