Balkinization  

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Carter-Baker Commission on Voter I.D.: Bauer and Gerken Respond

Heather K. Gerken

Bob Bauer

On Thursday Bob Pastor offered a measured defense of the Carter-Baker Commission's recommendation on voter identification against criticisms that we (along with Brad Smith) levied in the wake of the Supreme Court's Crawford decision. One of us agrees with a good deal of what Pastor says about the merits of shadow institutions like the Carter-Baker Commission and the useful purpose the Commission served in Crawford (see here); the other is more skeptical (see here). But there are a few issues where we both part company with Pastor.

We remain convinced that the public deserved something better than what the Carter-Baker Commission produced on the photo i.d. question. The main source of disagreement between us and Pastor turns on the difference between a bipartisan compromise and a nonpartisan decision. There are many issues for which a bipartisan compromise will be a satisfactory, even superior alternative. This is not one of them.

We see no reason to quibble with Pastor’s claim that Carter and Baker "both consciously tried to transcend [partisanship] in the deliberations of the Commission, most of the time." Neither of us was there for the deliberations. Nonetheless, regardless of the motives of the participants or the quality of the deliberations, the result was -- as one of us has already pointed out -- exactly the type of compromise one would expect if a prominent Democrat and prominent Republican sat down at the table and worked out an agreement. The Carter-Baker Commission blessed the i.d. requirement (something Republicans usually want) while demanding that the state take affirmative steps to distribute i.d. (something most Democrats would want if forced to accept an i.d. requirement in the first place).

The reason for our unhappiness with this portion of the report is simple: the absence of data and, in its place, reliance on assertions about what public "confidence" requires. While we are appreciative of the important role that the Commission played in compiling evidence for its report, this was not an area where it managed to find much. As the Carter-Baker Report acknowledges, there is "no extensive evidence of fraud in the United States." Indeed, to the extent that there is any evidence of fraud, it is due almost entirely to absentee voting scams or ballot-box stuffing, not to conspiracies to persuade large numbers of individuals to show up at the polls at the risk of criminal sanctions. There is precious little evidence, then, that the kind of fraud photo i.d. is meant to deter actually exists.

On the other side of the ledger, there is limited data suggesting that many people don't currently possess the requisite identification. These data standing alone cannot establish that an i.d. requirement would deter voters, but at the very least they suggest further inquiry is necessary. That is, in fact, exactly what Spencer Overton has argued. Our claim is not, as Pastor seems to think, that the Commission tried to suppress Spencer Overton's evidence -- again, we weren't there for the deliberations. We are chiding the Commission for not paying enough attention to it.

However much data the Carter-Baker Commission gathered, it's hard to see how the evidence it had led to the conclusions it reached. This is where our assumption of political bargaining takes root. It is buttressed by the Preface to the Report, penned by Bob Pastor, which opened by noting the sharp differences between the two political parties and the need, in bridging them, for "a strong bipartisan voice." Bipartisanship requires, at its core, political compromise. Nonpartisanship disregards partisan pressures; its goal is not to bring the parties together.

The Carter-Baker Commission did offer one other justification for an i.d. requirement -- the claim that such a requirement would enhance public trust in the system. That claim, too, is unsupported by empirical evidence (and may actually be misplaced, according to a recent study by Nate Persily and Steve Ansolabehere in the Harvard Law Review).

Of all the bits of "data" that could be offered in favor of an i.d. requirement, voter perception is the one that least stands on its own -- except, that is, where it is needed to fill in large gaps that should have been filled with hard data regarding the prevalence of fraud or the effect of measures to prevent it. As Ansolabehere and Persily observe, "casual assertions about popular beliefs should not substitute for the difficult balancing of the constitutional risks and probabilities of vote fraud and vote denial." This is not to say that public confidence is unimportant. All on its own, however, it is another way of saying that voter i.d. is just something voters really want, reinforcing the impression of a Commission anxious to settle the politics as much -- if not more than -- the merits of the voter i.d. issue.

In the end, the problem all this engenders becomes clear. The Supreme Court didn't have much to cite for its views that fraud is a problem. So it cited the Carter-Baker Commission, which in turn didn't have much to cite. The Supreme Court had no evidence to cite for its intuition that people won't trust a system that lacks an i.d. requirement. So it cited the Carter-Baker Commission, which in turn had no evidence to cite for its claim. It's turtles all the way down.


Shadow commissions like Carter-Baker could -- and in this instance did -- play a constructive role in the debate over electoral reform. But as one of us has discussed in detail, the design of such an institution poses challenges, one of which is to manage the politics without being overwhelmed by them. Despite its many accomplishments in other areas, we do not believe that Carter-Baker met that test on the voter i.d. issue. And given that this is the area where its influence has been greatest, that is quite unfortunate.

-Heather Gerken and Bob Bauer


Comments:

This is an excellent, and wholly convincing, post. I have only one thing to add: If one is genuinely interested in reaching a "bi-partisan" compromise, then one would like people of equal bargaining talent doing the negotiating. James Baker is one of the world's most skilled partisan negotiatoris (as delineated in the HBO film Recount). He knew what he wanted--a George W. Bush victory--and was willing to do whatever it took to get it. Al Gore, on the other hand, was represented (if that is the proper word) by a world-champion patsy, Warren Christopher (not to mention being sold out by his ostensible running mate Joseph Lieberman). Jimmy Carter may be a great man, in many ways, but he is one of the last persons I want to represent the interests of the Democratic Party against a shark like Baker. It is no surprise that the Democrats were taken for a ride.
 

Sandy:

Mr. Carter makes Mr. Warren look like a shark. I am unaware of anyone who cannot take Mr. Carter for a ride.
 

I am unsure why one needs a track record of fraud in order to take reasonable steps to prevent it.

A picture ID is the nearly universal method of preventing fraud by the government and private sector.

It is far more difficult to live everyday without an photo ID than it is to simply obtain the ID for free from the government.
 

When one side is bad and a fundamental right is at stake, a "compromise" can very well not be a good thing. This isn't playing nice at the playground. The mean isn't always the best result.

But, out of desire to keep out of the political thicket, and try to retain the best of a bad situation, the author of the plurality used thin gruel to uphold a provision that burdened a fundamental right, and using a more burdensome method than even some id laws (and as the dissents noted, even this commission) req.

This gives "compromise" a bad name.
 

When our other fundamental rights are subject to similar obsessive shielding from even the slightest impediment to exercise, (2nd amendment, anyone?) I'll get upset over the thought of being required to prove that I'm Brett before casting Brett's vote.

Requiring ID, and providing it for free, is a reasonable compromise, which clearly renders the currently lacking in ID better off than they formerly were. Some negotiation over the extent to which people need to be aided in getting the ID may be in order, but the demand that people must be allowed to vote without establishing their identity, in a country with millions of illegal aliens resorting to identity theft, is mad. Simply mad.
 

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Brett,

Check out what "identity theft" by undocumented aliens means:

It simply means that an alien who does not have legal access to a Social Security Number uses a number that has not been assigned to him or her.

The immigrant using the non-authorized SSAN does not use the name of the person whose SSAN the immigrant is using.

Since it is the voter's name that is on the registration rolls, the typical "identity theft" by an immigrant does not provide any kind of basis for pretending to be the original SSAN holder to cast a fraudulent vote.

Immigrants who use non-authorized SSANs do so almost exclusively for one purpose: to obtain employment. These immigrants do not want to draw anyone's attention to themselves; they want to stay under the radar of any bureaucracy as much as possible. The last thing that someone using a non-authorized SSAN wants to do is to have a state election commission check the non-authorized SSAN against a national databank and discover that the SSAN was never issued in that immigrant's name.

Completely specious arguments like yours - i.e., that many illegal immigrants who have committed identity theft can use the stolen identities to vote - are a good example of the many baseless assertions that may cause some people to believe that a significant number of fraudulent votes have been or might be cast.
 

I think any argument against voter ID based on the concept that "No X does Y" is about as specious as you can get. And we DO have close elections in this country from time to time, so it only takes a few X doing Y.

By the way, even if the SS deliberately refrains from notifying anybody that the SS number on that employment application doesn't match the proper name for the account, (Apparently the money just goes into an agency slush fund instead of that number's account, so I suppose they've got their reasons...) it DOES result in blowback sometimes when the illegal immigrant gets a loan using the number, and then doesn't make the payments.

But you're missing my point: Let's put this in context. The proper context being accepted impediments to exercising OTHER fundamental rights, and their hokey justifications.

Like campaign 'reform' attacks on the First amendment, nominally to prevent the appearance of corruption. You know, like the threat that somebody might see it as a bribe when an independent issue organization mentions a candidates' name a couple of months before an election?

Or "One gun a month" laws which deal with the looming threat of somebody who already owns guns buying a gun in a moment of passion?

The problem for opponents of voter ID is that, while the benefit from voter ID laws is relatively small, so is the cost. And the cost benefit ratio could be better than a lot of OTHER impediments to the exercise of basic liberties, since getting somebody that ID will make their life easier in all sorts of ways that don't involve voting.

In short, voter ID laws are attacked on a basis that isn't really being used when analyzing laws impacting OTHER basic liberties. The 'right' to vote without establishing your identity is, it seems, some kind of uber right, vastly more important than any other.
 

I think any argument against voter ID based on the concept that "No X does Y" is about as specious as you can get.

But nobody is making this argument. Instead, people are asking "what is the evidence that X does Y?" In the absence of any such evidence, then voter ID is a solution in search of a problem.

The problem for opponents of voter ID is that, while the benefit from voter ID laws is relatively small, so is the cost.

If the cost is so small, then why don't people already have IDs? The obvious reason is that the cost is not small.

In short, voter ID laws are attacked on a basis that isn't really being used when analyzing laws impacting OTHER basic liberties.

Again, no. Voter ID laws are being demanded in the absence of evidence. The argument made is a logical one -- someone might vote fraudulently -- instead of a factual one -- someone did vote fraudulently.
 

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Mark Field:

Again, no. Voter ID laws are being demanded in the absence of evidence. The argument made is a logical one -- someone might vote fraudulently -- instead of a factual one -- someone did vote fraudulently.

Not to mention, there's other remedies should people actually be voting fraudulently.

The "voter ID" laws are a bit like preventive detention or prior restraint.

The fact of the matter is that Republicans want "voter ID" laws because they are thought to discourage if not outright disenfranchise voters who would tend Democratic.

Republicans and voter suppression techniques have had a long and happy marriage, as shown by, for instance, Rehnquists's early days in 'service of his country'....

Cheers,
 

"If the cost is so small, then why don't people already have IDs? The obvious reason is that the cost is not small."

The obvious rejoinder is that the Supreme court, properly, only approved Voter ID where the ID is provided for free. By definition, then, voter ID laws as approved by the Supreme court can only involve small costs. Prove that they aren't small, and you prevail against them.

As I said, there's room for negotiation over how much aid should be provided in obtaining the ID. I personally think not only the ID, but all public records such as birth certificates necessary to obtain it, should be free.

But, then, I don't think the government should be imposing a lot of regulations that impact basic rights. I really am only adamant that this particular right not be elevated above all others in that respect, by the pretense that fundamental liberties are *normally* protected from even minor impediments imposed for dubious reasons.
 

arne langsetmo said...

The fact of the matter is that Republicans want "voter ID" laws because they are thought to discourage if not outright disenfranchise voters who would tend Democratic.

You mean like illegal aliens, the dead and random imaginary cartoon characters registered by ACORN?

It is amusing to see the the same Dems protesting free ID checks also think that Dems voting in Michigan and Florida are only worth 1/2 a person when even slaves counted as 3/5ths of person.
 

I am with Baker and Carter. I know there isn't any significant amount of voter fraud, but why create a system that is easy to game? Especially since the poor would benefit from obtaining ID's anyway (they can use them to cash checks, etc.)?

So I support having an ID law so long as we really do make the ID's free and easy to obtain.
 

It is amusing to see the the same Dems protesting free ID checks also think that Dems voting in Michigan and Florida are only worth 1/2 a person when even slaves counted as 3/5ths of person.

Of course, Bart, the Republicans are also treating them as worth only 1/2 a person, because the states violated the same rules in that party as well.
 

"I am with Baker and Carter. I know there isn't any significant amount of voter fraud, but why create a system that is easy to game?"

For my part, I don't know anything of the sort, either way. The current lack of voter ID pretty much assures that if impersonation fraud is occurring, you couldn't prove it. So, no evidence it's happening, no evidence it's not. We're simply ignorant, end of story.

On general principles, I expect that absentee ballot fraud is considerable more of a problem. But, as I've said before, there's no constitutional mandate that legislatures must address problems in strict declining order of seriousness. It might be stupid of them to go after minor problems while leaving major problems unaddressed, but it's not unconstitutional.

Honestly, about the only thing that makes me suspect impersonation fraud might be more common than I'd otherwise be inclined to believe, is the sheer hysteria any measure that might stop it is met with.
 

Brett:

The obvious rejoinder is that the Supreme court, properly, only approved Voter ID where the ID is provided for free. By definition, then, voter ID laws as approved by the Supreme court can only involve small costs. Prove that they aren't small, and you prevail against them.

"Sure. Your free speech is free. Won't cost you a dime. To use it, all you have to do is go down the block, take a right, down ten blocks more, pick up the A bus cross-town, get off the second stop in Podunkville, and go into that chain-link-fenced area with the 'Free Speech Zone' sign on it. We won't charge you a dime...."

Lest you complain this is not a fair comparison, in one state, to get the required ID if you don't have a driver's license, you only need to go to the county seat, a couple towns over, and get in line, to get one. NP ... well, except these people don't drive....

Once again a "solution" looking for a pretext.

Tell me, Brett, why not just arrest those people that are registering or voting fraudulently? Oh ... right ... there essentially aren't any. Now, that would never do....

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DeDicta:

[Arne]: The fact of the matter is that Republicans want "voter ID" laws because they are thought to discourage if not outright disenfranchise voters who would tend Democratic.

You mean like illegal aliens, the dead and random imaginary cartoon characters registered by ACORN?


No, "Bart". I meant what I said (and said what I meant).

Yes, it's true that you Rethuglicans are concerned about "imaginary ... characters". But that's your (and your doctor's) concern, not ours.

As pointed out in the court case, there was no evidence of any fraudulent voting. Just ginned up fears by Republicans (you seem to have the patent on scairdy-cat behaviour ... when it suits your purposes).

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DeDicta:

It is amusing to see the the same Dems protesting free ID checks also think that Dems voting in Michigan and Florida are only worth 1/2 a person when even slaves counted as 3/5ths of person.

It's the Dem's primary. They're free to set the rules. In states with closed primaries, they think that Rethuglican votes aren't worth anything at all. And that's legal. Not to mention they are probably right.

Cheers,
 

"Tell me, Brett, why not just arrest those people that are registering or voting fraudulently?"

Excellent idea. Lets. Of course, in order to do that, we'll need some way of, what was that word? Oh, yeah, identifying them.

Look, Arne, let me be very clear about this: Voter ID isn't the first thing that I'd do in to combat ballot fraud, if it were left up to me. I'd start out by radically curtailing use of absentee ballots, maybe replace local partisan elections officials with some kind of national election corps randomly asigned to precincts to prevent collusion, that sort of thing. But, yeah, it would be in the mix, because I don't have a right to vote. I, Brett, have a right to cast Brett's vote. And how am I to do that if they don't know I'm Brett?

But, to continue beating on a dead horse, let's put this in context, shall we? I've got rights which I actually value more than the right to vote, a lot more. And they are routinely burdened more than Voter ID laws burden the right to vote. For poorer reasons.

Wake me when you propose to treat all fundamental rights to this degree of respect. I'm not holding my breath.
 

As I said, there's room for negotiation over how much aid should be provided in obtaining the ID. I personally think not only the ID, but all public records such as birth certificates necessary to obtain it, should be free.

I agree wholeheartedly on this point. While I agree with Mark that Voter ID is a solution in search of a problem, making the process free--including all the prerequisite documents, as well as the adjudication fees--would remove a great deal of my objection to the whole thing.

Immigrants will still be shafted, as will those people born overseas to American parents who were underdocumented (I can tell you horror stories). Elderly voters' mobility issues will still be present (especially if you were to get rid of absentee ballots). I agree with Bauer and Gerken: more data about potential impact are necessary in order to weigh the costs and benefits.

Overall, I still think the millions of dollars this program would/will cost could be better spent on serious (actual) problems.
 

dilan said...

It is amusing to see the the same Dems protesting free ID checks also think that Dems voting in Michigan and Florida are only worth 1/2 a person when even slaves counted as 3/5ths of person.

Of course, Bart, the Republicans are also treating them as worth only 1/2 a person, because the states violated the same rules in that party as well.


I know what the GOP is doing.

My point was not to attack the propriety of party discipline or regulations on elections, but rather to skewer the overweening self righteousness of the Dem shibboleth of "counting every vote," when that mantra is situational depending on whether the votes are going to their preferred candidates.
 

"Tell me, Brett, why not just arrest those people that are registering or voting fraudulently?"

Tell me again why Dem elections officials in Dem precincts are going to challenge, nevertheless arrest, fraudulent voters they think will vote Dem?

Vote early and often.

This is not a self policing system, thus the need for proactive preventative measures.
 

"Immigrants will still be shafted,"

My wife is an immigrant. Legal immigrants are some of the most throughly documented people on the face of the Earth. Illegal immigrants, OTOH, are supposed to be "shafted".
 

Brett:

[Arne]: "Tell me, Brett, why not just arrest those people that are registering or voting fraudulently?"

Excellent idea. Lets. Of course, in order to do that, we'll need some way of, what was that word? Oh, yeah, identifying them.


So you think this is a problem?!?!? Perhaps you're under the mistaken idea that bank robbers present ID before they do their heist.... Nevertheless prosecutions fot bank robbery and other various and sundry crimes proceed apace. Why don't you think about what you're saying again before you say it?

Care to explain why you think that "prior restraint" considerations don't apply here? The crime is the fraud, not the absence of ID ... at least not yet, at any rate.

Cheers,
 

Brett:

But, to continue beating on a dead horse, let's put this in context, shall we? I've got rights which I actually value more than the right to vote, a lot more. And they are routinely burdened more than Voter ID laws burden the right to vote. For poorer reasons.

Wake me when you propose to treat all fundamental rights to this degree of respect. I'm not holding my breath.


The tu quoque argument for acceptability, eh?

But you'll notice (or you should have noticed) that I wasn't too friendly towards other such "inconveniences" WRT other rights either. Go back and read my "free speech" comment and ask if I'm the one being hypocritical; I think I was making pretty much the same argument as you seem to be trying to make....

Cheers,
 

"This is not a self policing system, thus the need for proactive preventative measures...."

... said the Schutzstaffel officer as he led off the unfortunate pedestrian wearing the yarmulke.

"Vote early and often."

Oh. You meean like the guy who proudly admitted to doing so twice for Dubya in 2000 in Florida, as recounted by van Natta in the N.Y. Times?

Tell me again why Dem elections officials in Dem precincts are going to challenge, nevertheless arrest, fraudulent voters they think will vote Dem?

You never know, "Bart". Could be that they're not arresting such because there are no such.

But "challenging" voters is another time-honoured Rethuglican technique of voter suppression. It's called "voter intimidation"; see, e.g., Rehnquist.

Cheers,
 

Brett:

Legal immigrants are some of the most throughly documented people on the face of the Earth.

Perhaps for some. But FWIW, I'd have a hard time getting a birth certificate, should it ever come down to that....

Cheers,
 

My point was not to attack the propriety of party discipline or regulations on elections, but rather to skewer the overweening self righteousness of the Dem shibboleth of "counting every vote," when that mantra is situational depending on whether the votes are going to their preferred candidates.

Bart, you can't make this argument because you are being situational as well.

BOTH parties, and BOTH candidates within the current Democratic primary, made and make situational arguments regarding electoral fairness issues. In fact, ALL POLITICIANS IN CLOSE ELECTIONS DO. Bush made a ton of them in 2000. So did Gore. Neither side wanted to "count all the votes". Neither side wanted to "strictly enforce the rules". Gore partisans didn't want to count military absentee ballots, and Bush partisans didn't want to strictly enforce the rules to strike them.

So telling us that politicians are situational with respect to election rules is like saying the sky is blue. And if you were more honest, you would admit that the Democrats' positions are no worse than the Republicans' on this issue.
 

What I'm pointing out, Arne, is that the level of, shall we say, "non-impediment" that's being demanded here, actually goes far beyond what's standard treatment for civil liberties. Now, perhaps they all SHOULD get less in the way of impediments. But that's not the argument I'm hearing. Or perhaps for some reason the right to vote should get enormously more protection than other civil liberties. But I'm not hearing that, either.

What appears to be the argument here is that this is the treatment the right to vote is due just for being a basic liberty. With no consideration to the fact that this is NOT standard treatment for civil liberties.

"Perhaps you're under the mistaken idea that bank robbers present ID before they do their heist."

Perhaps I'm under the impression that, if somebody pulls a gun on a bank teller, and demands money, you don't need to know who they are to know that they're committing a robbery. Perhaps I'm under the impression that if somebody demands money in a bank, and non-violently refuses to identify themselves, they'll at best be ignored.

Perhaps I'm under the impression that, if somebody walks into a polling place and demands to cast Arne Langsetmo's ballot, we don't know if they're committing ballot fraud until we find out who they are, because it's not ballot fraud if they actually ARE Arne Langsetmo.

As I said, I tend to think that the real problem is with absentee ballots, and that impersonation ballot fraud is relatively rare, but nothing causes me so much doubt about this as the hysterical reaction to any effort to make impersonation ballot fraud difficult.
 

Dilan:

Neither side wanted to "strictly enforce the rules". Gore partisans didn't want to count military absentee ballots, and Bush partisans didn't want to strictly enforce the rules to strike them.

Actually, after the Dem's memo was leaked, and Lieberman complained, the Dems abandoned any attempts to challenge overseas ballots for legal insufficiency (allowing, as the N.Y. Times pointed out, many ballots that were clearly illegal, including one faxed in, to be counted). But the Republicans ... had a memo with pretty much the same instructions as to challenging ballots, which they went and did ... in counties that tended Democratic, but in Republican-leaning counties, they pushed for the inclusion of any and all ballots, no matter how legally deficient (and the Dems didn't challenge these, thanks in part to Lieberman's hand-wringing). This was all detailed in a long N.Y. Times article in July of 2001, by Dale van Natta et al.

Just to set the record straight.

Cheers,
 

Brett:

What I'm pointing out, Arne, is that the level of, shall we say, "non-impediment" that's being demanded here, actually goes far beyond what's standard treatment for civil liberties. Now, perhaps they all SHOULD get less in the way of impediments. But that's not the argument I'm hearing.

When you're talking to me, you ought to pay attention to what I say. And if you didn't hear me say that, then you need to read it again.

Now, as a matter of law, the test as to whether something unfairly (and illegally) restricts (or "inconveniences") someone's fundamental rights is a rather more elaborate balancing of the inconvenience, the purpose of such, the effect, the availability of alternatives (on both sides), and the state's level of interest in imposing their restrictions. Within the "purpose" (or "intent") category, the level of scrutiny is highest for invidious discrimination, and given the U.S. history of deliberate disenfranchisement of minorities, perhaps that applies here. LRM and "narrowly tailored" analysis pops up in a lot of these cases. LRM+NT would tend to say that the "voter ID" laws are overinclusive, and other alternatives are available.

Cheers,
 

Brett:

Think about it some more:

[Arne]: "Perhaps you're under the mistaken idea that bank robbers present ID before they do their heist."

Perhaps I'm under the impression that, if somebody pulls a gun on a bank teller, and demands money, you don't need to know who they are to know that they're committing a robbery. Perhaps I'm under the impression that if somebody demands money in a bank, and non-violently refuses to identify themselves, they'll at best be ignored.


You're missing the point. To catch bank robbers, you don't need to know their identity in advance. Same for voter fraud.

Perhaps I'm under the impression that, if somebody walks into a polling place and demands to cast Arne Langsetmo's ballot, we don't know if they're committing ballot fraud until we find out who they are, because it's not ballot fraud if they actually ARE Arne Langsetmo.

That can be (and is) determined in any number of ways, and it doesn't need to be done beforehand. There's any number of ways to commit vote fraud (say, by voting twice, or registering illegally, etc.), and not being "Arne" when you vote as "Arne" is just one of them. Not being "Arne" is not the crime, the voter fraud is.

In point of fact, many such laws have to do with registration, not the vote itself, and if there's a fake voter registration, that fact can be determined after the fact too, and the registrant, if identified, prosecuted....

My point is that you can prosecute those that actually commit vote fraud. Why inconvenience those that aren't?

Cheers,
 

Dilan: So I support having an ID law so long as we really do make the ID's free and easy to obtain.

Charming, if this is actually what happens. As to checks, I assume if they needed it for that, they might have it, though the id used to cash checks can very well be less strigent than the state issued id req. by the laws here.

But, in practice, the cynicism and concern raised by some here is shall we say rationally based.

Anyway, as with the 2A, fundamental rights like the right to vote brings with it some costs in certain situations. The right to vote is fundamental to a republic and protective of all other rights (more so than a gun in some situations).

It can't be burdened just because it might be useful in some fashion. But, Brett seems to favor other rights. Fine enough, but the Constitution protects rights, like equality, that some favor less than others.
 

"That can be (and is) determined in any number of ways, and it doesn't need to be done beforehand."

True, and the law before the Supreme court permitted you to cast a provisional ballot, and return days later with ID.

But some of those "other ways" critics suggest, like providing utility bills, are simply pathetic! That doesn't prove you're X, it proves you had access to X's mail.

"There's any number of ways to commit vote fraud (say, by voting twice, or registering illegally, etc.), and not being "Arne" when you vote as "Arne" is just one of them."

Yup. Let's deal with the rest of them, too.

"Not being "Arne" is not the crime, the voter fraud is."

That's true, you walk into a polling place, you haven't committed fraud until you actually lie about who you are. The ID is just to make it harder to pull off the lie undetected.

Look, there's a legitimate argument here about how much assistance the state must provide in obtaining ID if it's going to require ID to vote. But when a particular person only has the right to cast that person's ballot, requiring them to establish that they really are that person is NOT an unreasonable requirement.

It could be done unreasonably, but the objections Voter ID keeps meeting with seem to go beyond how hard it is to get the ID, and attack the very notion of requiring it. And that's just crazy.
 

Brett:

Look, there's a legitimate argument here about how much assistance the state must provide in obtaining ID if it's going to require ID to vote.

These law that are being challenged are not "provid[ing] ... assistance" in "obtaining ID". Any law that actually did this would not be challeged. The laws requite specific ID that not everyone has (nor can they obtain such easily).

Given the demographics, and given the known tendencies of the Republicans to engage in voter suppression, along with their passing these types of laws (along with flimsy "justifications" for such), these laws need to be looked at askance.

I have long been of the opinion that courts can look at obvious motivations of lawmakers, and consider them WRT the validity of laws (Wallace v. Jaffree and Edwards v. Aguillard being two such rare cases where the perps had been just a little bit too open about their purposes for the court to stomach, but such cases are rare; Cleburne is an example of the usual tack). What we all know to be the truth should be taken into consideration in the interest of justice. But that's just MNSHO....

Cheers,
 

Dilan:

Neither side wanted to "strictly enforce the rules". Gore partisans didn't want to count military absentee ballots, and Bush partisans didn't want to strictly enforce the rules to strike them.

Further on this:

There is some anecdotal and circumstantial evidence that there was a concerted effort to try and sneak in military ballots after the election, once Florida showed up as being "too close to call". Under such circumstances, prudence (and the fairness inherent in not allowing "revotes" depending on results) should have dicated that the ballot rules be fairly and uniformly enforced WRT such ballots. Because the challenge procedure is a partisan/adversary procedure, and not taken as a matter of course by civil servants, we had the outcome we had, with wildly varying "standards" for acceptance of the absentee ballots ... and all due to the Republicans, after the Democrats essentially decided to abstain from the process.

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