L. Rowland: Pointless stumbling block

This is in response to the Sun Journal editorial of Jan. 1, “Making voting easy and secure our ultimate goal.

The Sun Journal had it right when its editors cited Brennan Center studies on suppressive voting laws and concluded, “Elections should be won on the basis of superior ideas, not by throwing pointless stumbling blocks in front of honest voters.” Yet, oddly, that same editorial concluded by endorsing just such a pointless stumbling block — a photo ID requirement at the polls.

Brennan Center research demonstrates that up to 11 percent of eligible citizens lack photo IDs for voting. Recently, the Justice Department rejected South Carolina’s photo ID law, finding it to be a discriminatory, overly burdensome requirement that blocks eligible American citizens from voting. Furthermore, the impact of a photo ID law would be greatest on those “honest voters” who are most vulnerable to the partisan manipulation of the electorate: students, seniors, people of color, low-income voters, and people with disabilities.

Maine voters sent a resounding message to the Legislature last fall, demonstrating confidence in Maine’s long-standing and successful elections system. They were right to do so, and should continue to reject measures — such as mandatory photo ID — that place politics above the honest elections championed by this very paper.

Lee Rowland, New York City

Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice

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Cris Johnson's picture


The argument in favor of Voter ID is a murky puddle of disinformation, innuendo and fear. It was refreshing to hear Lee Rowland speak this week and I'm grateful that the League of Women Voters brought her to Maine to tell the other side of the story.

Not only did she simply point out that the things I've heard about actual fraud in the voting booth are largely mythological, she laid out in plain language the massive overkill voter ID accomplishes by creating difficulties for legitimate voters.

We live in a state which is rightly proud of it's citizen voter participation. In 2008, we were fifth in the nation in voter turnout. Yet nearly 1/3 of eligible Mainers didn't vote! Across the nation, nearly 40% of voters did not cast ballots. In non-presidential elections the numbers are worse.

It seems to me that we have a far bigger problem encouraging citizens to participate in their democracy than worrying about phantom problems.

While the instant editorial recites all the points that lead to a conclusion consistent with the Brennan Center's extensive research, it takes a sudden right-hand turn by concluding that we must support Voter ID laws, as if it were a fine compromise.

Government compromising anyone's right to vote is a grave concern particularly when it's supported by inapposite comparisons. Neither driving nor cashing a check nor buying alcohol is a right.

The Sun Journal doesn't advance the cause of seeing the problem clearly by stirring the waters.

 's picture

voter fraud

How come most of the voter fraud you hear about comes from the GOP? Like this: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20120112/NEWS0605/701129979

 's picture

Project Veritas???

"The video was produced and posted by Project Veritas, a national organization that has snared ACORN, National Public Radio and others in clandestine video recordings." Let us remember that the "snare" was for Project Veritas because all of their videos have proven to be edited to convey the opoosite impression of what did happen i.e. they are liars.
But no one can be surprised that "dead voters" still on the voter lists could get ballots. In SC it has been discovered that 900 "dead" folks did in fact vote in recent elections there. That's much more troublesome. It couldn't happen here. Our Centralized Voter Repositor updates voter information with death certificates, changes in drivers license, etc. Apparently only in GOP states where they have cut back on state employees and services are the methods of voter fraud still open. Wonder why?

Mark Elliott's picture

Because Democrats use voter

Because Democrats use voter fraud to their advantage so they have no interest in stopping it, therefore they ignore it.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture



 's picture


A few days ago, this newspaper ran the cartoon below. Evidently the editors have no problem with suggesting that white rednecks and hicks shouldn't be allowed to vote at all, ID or not. Partisan manipulation occurs from all points along the political spectrum. To claim it comes only from Republicans is just the kind of shallow comment we have all come to expect from Breton.

But not nearly as shallow as suggesting that politics should have no place in political elections.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Perhaps I'm wrong

Perhaps I'm wrong that cartoon is yelling the truth. People from two of the lowest populated states decide who is going to be President. There should be on day wwhen nation wide there is a primary election for both parties to decide who their candidates are.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"People from two of the

"People from two of the lowest populated states decide who is going to President."
I thought it was the people of oBAMa's 57 states that got to decide on November 6th, who would get to be President. What was I thinking?

ERNEST LABBE's picture

New Hampshire

New Hampshire and Iowa decide who the candidates from the two major parties are going to be. Therefore they determine who is going to be president.

Nathan Schultz's picture

Nothing is decided

Unless the rest of the nations republican electorate allow it to be so. Mitt Romney has less than 1% of the delegates he needs to win the nomination. If New Hampshire and Iowa decide who the nominee will be it is only because the rest of the electorate allows themselves to be lead around by their nose.

Mark Elliott's picture

Gee, I actually agree with

Gee, I actually agree with part of this Dan, except where you blame the right. I will add, it isn't those two states that decide, it isn't any one party that decides. It is the media leading people to believe that those two states decide, but that is getting more difficult to sell with each election. The media plays a big role in changing public perception on the candidates it the way they choose. Ignore the media and listen to the candidates so "we the people" can decide on our own.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Voter ID would sure eliminate

Voter ID would sure eliminate a lot of dead wood. You know, the people who haven't a clue who the Secretary of State is, or those who think "qualms" is a foreign bird. People that dumb shouldn't be allowed to vote. In fact, instead of voter ID, a person should be required to possess an IQ that will at least match room temperature before being allowed to vote. The problem with that is that 65% of the voters probably wouldn't qualify.

 's picture

A step further.

Let's have an IQ test for Congress. Anything average (100) or above would empty the place and stop the damage they're inflicting on the country.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Sign me up.

Sign me up.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot sez he had an

The parrot sez he had an anathema once just before surgery for a beak transplant.

 's picture

Is "clan" your new favorite word?

You use it often enough. Why don't you spell it with a K? You know you want to.

Blacks and Asians, and I'll add Latinos, are more conservative than you liberals believe. They just want to be left alone to succeed or fail without the government on their backs, but you guys insist on shackling them to the Democrat plantation. Lift that bale.

This country has had an oligarchy for more than a century, started by TR, cemented in place by FDR, nurtured by leftists ever since. I agree 100% that it's an anathema. We'll never get rid of it as long as we allow malleable dopes to vote on anything more important than the state flower.

By the way, most parrots I've met can talk you right out of your cage, since their vocabulary doesn't originate with the DNC.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Great points, Frosty...

Great points, Frosty...

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Hahaha...the parrot, your

Hahaha...the parrot, your liberal buddy, typed that in while I was up getting myself a cup of coffee. You, know, the little sucker does have a point, though, although I don't believe he'd support your premise of denying the right to vote to people who believe parrots can talk. Pretty narrow minded, even for you,T...

Mark Elliott's picture

Yeah, it's a shame to

Yeah, it's a shame to disenfranchise the voters in this video -> http://dailycaller.com/2012/01/11/video-nh-poll-workers-shown-handing-ou...


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