Earth is the center of the solar system, it is flat, and voter ID laws do not suppress votes
by Pete Johnson
Something we all should be concerned about, simply because we are citizens in a Democratic and free society is the way new voter IDs—usually requiring a photo, are being peddled almost exclusively by Republican controlled States, with Republican Governors—under the pretense that they are only a matter of common sense. We should be concerned, because the old, “this just makes sense tactic” is often used not just to promote genuinely needed laws and policies, but also to justify some of the most incredibly dishonest propaganda possible! Just recently the State of North Carolina used its Republican controlled political machine to pass one of the strictest and most dishonest photo voter ID laws in the entire country!
As always, such claims that they only satisfy common sense, are really examples of wolfs in Sheep’s clothing, which take the wool off of their eyes, and then pull it over the eyes of the public. Indeed, the new law contains a number of measures—such as providing free State IDs at local offices of the DMV—provided the recipient is registered to vote, or registers when applying for the ID, and if a voter lacks prerequisite documents such as a birth certificates or a marriage license, a North Carolina County Register of Deeds must furnish them free. The actual IDs required in order to get a photo ID, make up a list of pretty reasonable documents, such as; A NC driver’s license, a learners permit or provisional license, as well as a US passport, a military or veteran’s ID, or an enrollment card from a recognized NC Tribe, and, those who are non-drivers may receive a free non-drivers “special ID card,” which requires, again, that they are registered, or will register, when applying. So far so good—nothing seems too unreasonable here, but wait until we investigate a little further!
Beginning on Jan. 2014 North Carolina poll officials will ask voters for a photo voter ID, even though no ID will be required until 2016, and though North Carolina’s Republicans, will probably sell this misinformation as being required in order to give extra time to voters, presumably, voters who lack the necessary photo ID, might tend not to vote because they may think that the new IDs are required by 2014, and therefore, may think that their ships have already sailed in the 2014 election—if they don’t have one by then. And voters CAN cast a provisional ballot, BUT, they must present an acceptable ID to the County Board of elections by noon the day before the election canva — and then things really starts to get interesting”
The new ID laws allow for cutting early voting by a week, and even though all polling sites in a county must be open at the same times, except for the County Elections office or its alternative—in lieu of decreasing the time window concerning how long early voting is allowed, NC Republicans advance the argument that more polling places will be available and will make up for the reduction in time—since extra locations will, theoretically, result in providing equal accessibility. However, those who work certain hours or intend to cast early votes, are not limited by space, as much as time. What difference would it make if their polling places tripled but they just could not be off work early enough anyway? The shortened opening time would still be in effect, and therefore, the work schedules of many voters may still prevent them from casting a ballot, even if many more polling places are available.
Same day registration will be cut, and voters must register at least 25 days before the election — another requirement which may interfere with schedules of minorities and result in their veritable disenfranchisement.
Also, minority groups are not always up on the laws, and, might be disqualified even if they have voted in many past elections.
Get this one: straight party voting will also NOT be allowed! Voters must vote for a specific candidate, and, as many of us know, voting a straight tickets enables us to vote effectively for candidates from our own party, rather than playing Russia Roulette with unknown names and offices that we may not be familiar with—otherwise our votes may mistakenly be cast for politicians who are supported by, and who obey, wealthy Republican contributors—merely on the basis of name recognition!
Oddly even pre-registration drives for 16 and 17 year olds will end. Also, Citizens Awareness Month, and required registration drives in High Schools will be eliminated!—possibly reducing the interest of young voters (who most often support Democrats) once they are old enough to vote.
Polling hours can no longer be extended by County election boards, if there are problems such as a delay in opening, only the State Boards of Elections can extend hours to compensate. So, in any State which is predominately run in ways that satisfy Republican interests, this may amount to one more opportunity to put the fox in charge of guarding the henhouse! And, even those who are doing voter registration drives, will no longer be paid on the basis of how many completed forms they submit, but only for their time—hummm?
The handiwork of NC Republicans is also apparent in minor procedural changes like allowing any voter to challenge the legitimacy of another’s if also residing in the same county as the contested voter. Previously challenges were permitted only from voters who lived in the same district, so, this expanded rule could enable mass challenges and embolden vigilantes who want to influence the vote.
Incredibly, programs that provide Judicial and executive branch candidates a chance to qualify for public financing are now prohibited, and so candidates will be dependent on private funding—which gives wealthy and connected candidates an unfair edge— one that will surely prevent voters who are attempting to vote as others, from casting fraudulent ballots—Really?!
And, of course in the interest of preventing non-existent fraud, NC Republicans are increasing the contribution limits to local or State candidates—PACs will now be allowed to make $5000 donations instead of only $4000 ones, and limits for judicial nominees will jump from $1000 to $5000: a 500% increase!
Changes in disclosure rules will enable outside group to make unlimited donations and run negative ads against opponents, or, for other, “electioneering,” expenses, and they will not be required to reveal either the amounts of their donations of where they come from. New laws also end requirements that print ads and mailers by outside groups should include a list of their top five donors. Apparently these changes are made possible by a SCOTUS, which so valiantly defined money as free speech, and helped end election fraud by giving those poor, rich and powerful corporations, a chance to throw unlimited cash at the candidates they support—otherwise how could we ever avoid corruption in politics?
Amazingly as of Jan. 2014, a new State Supreme Court ruling requires that records to and from private Attorneys hired by legislators for the redistricting process will not be subject to open records laws—damn right! Every crooked political maneuver deserves to be kept from the prying eyes of those that will be affected by them! Protecting the right to use unfair gerrymandering is just common sense!
Along with the Republican theme that all of these changes, which come along with new photo IDs are only “common sense,” one of my personal most favorite creatively devious ways to promote fraud is that now, NCs “Stand by Your Ad” law will end. So, this means that no longer will candidates be required to state their names and say, “I approve of this message.” Instead, they will bear the burdensome requirement of having a small photo appear in their ads for at least 2 seconds (a veritable eternity) but they will not be required to include similar acknowledgements in radio ads, or ads funded by those darn “independent outside groups.” Lord knows that any forthright candidate should never be accused of making false statements which really come from these “non-affiliated sources,”—wink, wink…right?
As already stated, the basis for defending all of these valiant attempts to prevent kinds of fraud which are really less possible than being struck by lightening, benefit from that “indisputable” claim that they represent only “common sense.” Those in favor are quick to point out that almost every activity we do, or every right we exercise, commonly requires an ID for the user. Thus the Constitutional protections for one of the most important and cherished personal freedoms—the right to vote—are placed on the same level as acquiring a library card or a fishing license. Isn’t it obvious that freedoms which potentially enable every American to choose who will be in the government, and how it shall be run—as well as which laws will affect all of our daily lives—are obviously no more exempt from impediments to their free use—than a library card, or that all important fishing license?
Republicans are so fond of spreading the myth that Democrats are eager to commit fraud, that they are fond of implying that, we would spare no expense, when bribing (presumably thousands of voters) who might be required to affect the outcomes of important election — along with the massive total amounts of money that would be needed to bribe them, or, that we would encourage these thousands of well paid fraudulent voters to risk being charged with a felony, just to help a party they may not even care about anyway!
The new ID laws are specifically intended to prevent in person voter misrepresentation fraud, which happens only in a handful of cases nationwide.
But, they may actually prevent, only say, three or four actually fraudulent cases of this type out of millions of legitimate votes. Their supporters are generously willing to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer’s dollars to prevent voter fraud from influencing North Carolina’s elections—only from the goodness of their hearts! Never mind that almost all of these photo ID laws are being promoted by States with Republican Governors — Governors who also have the nearly unlimited advantage of working with rubber stamp Republican legislatures! And never mind that the vast majority of the minorities which could possibly be disenfranchised, are those which traditionally have voted heavily for Democrats!—who are we to suggest subterfuge from a party committed to making such a noble gesture?
History is rife with examples of Republicans who have stuffed ballot boxes, sent misleading robo-call—which deliberately misstate the times and places required for voting—as well as perpetrating many other incredibly devious attempt to manipulate the outcomes of close elections. So, are they really qualified to portray Democrats as just itching to risk committing felonies by doing something which probably would involve no more than a handful of successful attempts out of millions of votes?
We are most likely all aware of the fact that Democrats stole the 1960 Presidential elections with the help of former (Mayor Daily Senior) of Chicago, and we are usually knowledgeable of the fact that he accomplished this in part, by adding the names of scores of deceased voters to the voting rolls. We also are likely to admit that it only makes sense that Democrats have also engaged in other types of fraud as well. But compared to methods like ballot box stuffing, misleading robo-calls, telephone intimidations, or electronic manipulation of voting machines, etc., in person voter misrepresentation fraud, is an extremely less effective type of fraud to undertake — therefore to try and implement it on a massive scale, would not exactly speak well for the level of intelligence among Democrats, who are supposedly hell bent on using it to their advantage.
Regardless of all of these impediments, Republicans have busily spread the unsubstantiated myth that voter ID laws are necessary to “preserve the integrity” of fair election.
One of their most famous efforts to implicate Democrats of actively pursuing fraud is the case of ACORN (a community activist organization which among other things conducted voting registration drives) which supposedly encouraged fraudulently registering voters to steal the 2008 elections. And despite that their other activities include, improving housing, wages, access to credit, and public education, Republicans were only interested in the fact that ACORN may have encouraged the “wrong” kinds of voters i.e. Democrats! They supposedly proved this by using a video created by James O’Keefe, which allegedly revealed a sinister underground effort by Democrats to fraudulently register voters. But the video is widely discredited for using deceptive editing and involving entrapment of those who appear in it. If one actually views the video, as I did, it becomes apparent that parts of it were deceptively edited, and that, O’Keefe asks leading questions which encourage a Democratic campaign worker to humorously go along with discussing a hypothetical preplanned fraud —never mind that firstly, this case involved registration fraud—not election fraud, and that the fraud was committed AGAINST ACORN by a few self-centered employees who tried to stuff their own pockets—not the ballot box.
And, although ACORN did (as critics claimed) report many phony names that these unscrupulous employees used to register voters –because such disclosure was required by law — more importantly, it was really ACORN that originally flagged them for scrutiny. So, paradoxically, ACORN was accused of voter fraud, as the result of its own efforts to expose such fraud! And, though rigorous investigations did eventually clear them of all charges, few in the supposedly “liberally biased” media even bothered to report Acorn’s exoneration.
Another notorious case involving Republicans tampering with elections on a large scale was perpetrated in Florida between May of 1999 and Election Day in 2000. Two secretaries of State—who were protégées of Governor Jeb Bush—ordered almost 58,000 ex-felons, who were prohibited from voting under Florida law, to be struck from voter rolls. But the really devious scam that ensued was made possible because the voters whose names had to be removed, matched the gender, birth information, race or names, of one of tens of millions of ex-felons in the United States—You see there were 35 states, which, at that time, allowed ex-felons to vote, and 90% of these could be expected to vote for Democrats. Since these voters, who were stuck from Florida’s rolls, were selected because their names were the same as felons found in other States, no extensive research was done to verify the matches.
In fact 325 names on the Florida voter’s purge list, involved future conviction dates, even though that meant they were not really felons at the time of the elections. Even Madison County’s elections supervisor, Linda Howell refused the purge list because her own name was discovered on it! All of the sordid details are included in an article by Greg Palast, an investigative reporter whose book—“The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” became a New York Times bestseller, He can be reached at: http://www.gregpalast.com.
What we as voters need to realize is that we are being told about voting scams by a GOP which could be considered the king of Cons itself. And, by using an argument that insists that a sacred right such as voting should be considered as no more important than a fishing license, at least as far as the ID information required is concerned. This particular scam involving individual personal voter misrepresentation is one of the least successful election scams, and has not even been proven to exist in some of the States seeking to implement voter ID requirements.
So in essence the Republican Party wants to spend large sums of money to ensure that something which almost never happens will continue not to happen.
As it does this, it places numerous impediments in front of minority voters who need the photo ID to vote, and, who suspiciously, tend to vote largely for Democrats. I also can’t help but mention, that the paradoxical requirements concerning other valid IDs, which can be accepted as qualification for obtaining the new Photo IDs, begs the question, “Why then, are the prerequisite IDs not acceptable in and of themselves—as they usually have been in most polling places in the past?
Some proponents for the new law, site court cases in which these laws have been approved by certain states, but they fail to mention that even liberal judges, respect the need for already established precedents, which could definitively prove that such new photo ID laws really do impede voters—ironically they cannot do that, because most of these new laws represent brand new policies that have no previous records which might be used to establish such a precedent! So essentially they are approved on the ground of referencing a catch-22 like argument.
No doubt all of these fraudulent efforts by Republicans to unfairly tip election scales have been made much easier because of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, and, by Republican controlled legislatures in States run primarily by Republican Governors. And, despite the fact that what they involve is really a fraudulent attempt to convince voters that such photo voter IDs are politically harmless — only making use of “common sense, — these new IDs really represent an unnecessary and corrupt attempt to control the outcomes of elections.
In reality, there is nothing common or sensible about them. So think twice before you fall for this outrageous hype which we are being spoon fed by Republicans.
Peter Johnson is a senior citizen who has become much more interested in what is happening in America and the world, than he was as a young man. He’s interested in poetry and expository writing, and has had letters to the editor published in Time magazine, Newsweek and Playboy magazine. He is concerned about ignorance and indifference that has been circulated concerning the significance of man made global warming and is dismayed dismayed by the way political lies and corruption are being used to influence the public (apparently free from any penalties or adequate culpability). He frequently writes letters of opinion to the editors of his local newspapers.