When my conservative friend in Milwaukee called and asked me how I liked voter ID in the primary, he was smugly reminding me of how smoothly the GOP’s voter suppression scheme went. It was sad.
I asked him if he actually believed this whole voter fraud, voter ID scam, and he said he did. He seemed excited about creating the most convoluted restrictive system ever. It’s similar to seeing someone marvel at the latest Rube Goldberg contraption to fry eggs.
Why make this constitutional right delegated to the states harder? I asked him if he’d be okay with a picture ID and defined hours to buy a gun? After all, the Constitution doesn’t say anything about retail sales.
But to Republicans, the inconvenience is the price of freedom (except when it comes to guns. Heck, we just got rid of the 48 hour cooling off period to buy a gun because it was inconvenient. Not surprisingly, a young woman was murdered by an angry guy who bought his gun within that 48 hour cooling off period).
I asked my conservative friend if he noticed any ads or billboards explaining the new voter ID requirements? He didn’t. That’s not suspicious? The fact that Republicans didn't give the Government Accountability Board any money to promote and explain the voter ID law to Wisconsinites should point to motive. Nope.
Here are a few other examples. The Daily Beast:
1. In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled legislature and Republican governor eliminated early voting days. In 2012, 900,000 voters cast their ballots during the early voting window. In 2016, that number will be zero.
2. Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project said, “We’ve litigated over Voter ID laws in a number of states—Indiana, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Carolina. In none of those states were government officials able to point to a single instance of in-person voter impersonation happening. But in every case we’ve had we’ve identified tens of thousands of people who don’t have photo IDs. There’s no evidence of voter fraud and plenty of evidence of disenfranchisement.
3. Ten years ago there were zero states with a strict voter ID law, and no states cutting back on early voting. All these laws started after the 2008 election, which saw record numbers of young voters and record participation by people of color” voting Democratic.
4. Dale Ho explained: “And then, as if by coincidence, we have all these laws passed—25 in 2011-12 alone—that disproportionately impact young people, people of color, and poor people. That is, to put it mildly, suspicious. We do catch other kinds of fraud … an organization paid people based on the number of registrations they got, and people filled out Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and so on. The point is, we catch them.”
But will that one fraudulent voter swing an election? It might be difficult:
Between 2000 and 2014, there were 31 reported instances of voter impersonation out of more than 1 billion ballots cast. But that means the odds of voter fraud are 1 in 32 million. By way of comparison, your odds of actually becoming president are 1 in 10 million.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach … prosecuted … all of three cases, none of which involved voter impersonation. In fact, all three appeared to be mistakes, in which senior citizens voted in two states by accident.
Not a single instance of voter impersonation. Bans on early voting wouldn’t even prevent these kinds of fraud; it’s not clear what they’re supposed to do, other than make it harder for working people to vote, and harder for get-out-the-vote operations to help people do so. In short, none of these laws prevent voter fraud. They prevent voting, mostly for Democrats. And thanks to new laws in four swing states, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio, they might just prevent a Democrat from getting into the White House.