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Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in International, Law, Media, Places, Politics, Society, USA Presidential Election 2012 | 18 comments

The Right to Vote Being Imperilled in America! (La Repubblica, Italy)

Are U.S. Republicans genuinely worried about voter fraud, or are the legal battles playing out across the country really about reducing the vote among segments of the population that usually vote for Democrats? For Italy’s La Repubblica, columnist Frederico Rampini explains the differences between voting in Italy and America, and examines the motives of a party that opposes photo ID for sales of weapons and ammunition, but strictly insists on it for voting.

For La Repubblica, Frederico Rampini writes in part:

In Italy and many other countries around the globe, one is required to have an identity card. In America, in fact, you don’t. An identity card per se does not actually exist. The most common form of identification is a drivers license – or a passport for those who travel abroad (less than 20 percent of Americans). You could be asked for identification before being served an alcoholic beverage as proof that you aren’t underage; but in some U.S. states and under certain circumstances you won’t be asked for ID (as in the sale of ammunition on the Internet or weapons at “gun shows”), which you might use to go out and commit a massacre.


Then out of the blue, Republicans in many U.S. states introduced bills, according to which an ID is mandatory to register to vote or be admitted to a polling station on Election Day. This request, which may seem trivial in Europe, is in fact discriminatory in the United States. This serves to reduce the number of voters among the young, the poor and ethnic minorities: those who typically vote for Democrats. Why is this discriminatory? First of all, if you are poor and don’t read newspapers, you may not even know that these rules have been introduced, and don’t find out until Election Day, when you are unexpectedly asked for an ID: and then it’s too late. Second, getting an ID costs money and time (documents to fill out and long lines, etc.). And if you’re unemployed, Black or Hispanic, you are culturally and economically less equipped to deal with this obstacle course.


The right justifies this campaign by asserting a need to fight electoral fraud. But for the last 30 years, electoral malpractice in America has been negligible (the biggest case of “electoral fraud” in history was perpetrated in 2000 by the U.S. Supreme Court, which robbed an election victory from Al Gore). Yet this same right wing is prepared to denounce any attack on constitutional rights if it involves stricter control over who buys guns.

READ ON IN ENGLISH OR ITALIAN OR READ MORE ON GLOBAL VIEWS OF THE U.S. CAMPAIGN AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.

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  • The_Ohioan

    The man has a point. Maybe the voting and gun/ammunition buying should be linked. If you have to have ID to buy a semi-automatic weapon, THEN you have to have ID to vote.

    The most foolish part of all this foolish hoorah is that you can’t get on the voting rolls, which are checked on the day you vote, without identification. When you register as a voter, you are issued a voter identification card. Once you vote the voting roll is marked and you can’t vote again. No extra vote, no fraud. Those attempting to eliminate the total number of voters can understand numbers very well; that is what terrifies them.

  • ShockTheMonkey

    “…if you are poor and don’t read newspapers, you may not even know that these rules have been introduced.” If you are THAT uninformed, how can you possibly vote intelligently on the issues, let alone a candidate for office? (“Flip a coin” is not an acceptable answer).

    “The most common form of identification is a drivers license.” Yes, and the most common form of pick-up truck on U.S. roads is a Ford F-150; what’s your point?

    Several states have laws requiring an ID to vote, and which the Supreme Court of The Untied States has said the states’ laws are Constitutional. For example “CRAWFORD v. MARION COUNTY ELECTION BD” (April 28, 2008). In his concurring opinion, Justice Scalia wrote “The universally applicable requirements of Indiana’s voter-identification law are eminently reasonable. The burden of acquiring, possessing, and showing a free photo identification is simply not severe, because it does not “even represent a significant increase over the usual bur-dens of voting.””

    In his concurring opinion, Justice Stevens referenced the federal National Voter Registration Act. The NVRA was passed in 1993 by the Democrat-held House, the Democrat-held Senate, and signed by President Bill Clinton, also a Democrat. Section 8 requires States to keep voter registration lists accurate and current, such as identifying persons who have become ineligible due to having died or moved outside the jurisdiction – but when the state does, Democrats like to scream “Voter Suppression!”

    In the year 2000, after the Democrats passed NVRA, an investigation by Bill Theobald of the Indianapolis Star found that 20% of the registered voters reviewed had died, moved or gone to prison.

    ..demonize the Supreme Court as having “robbed an election victory from Al Gore.” Yet, when lawyers attack voter ID laws, they raise previous Supreme Court decisions in their arguments. Our Constitution gives final authority on Constitutional legality to the Supreme Court. Al Gore lost his case ..

    • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

      hi there STM, read commenters rules at top of home page. Keep your comments civil and directed at topic, not writer, site, or other commenters. There is more, and you can find them in the commenters’ rules. Thanks

      archangel/ dr.e

  • ShannonLeee

    Free ID? Where? I am sure it exists, but I have never heard of a place that gives out free IDs. My DL and passport all came with a fee.
    Can I get a free ID at the post office?

  • The_Ohioan

    Even if the ID card was free, it’s the cost of getting to the bureau that issues them that is sometimes prohibitive. Will the local city pay for the ambulances and taxis needed to get voters to the bureau? If they were going to send them free through the mail, like they do the absentee ballots for registered voters, what would be the security against all these phantom fraudsters? Maybe they can ask the postman to register voters as they deliver their mail? And give them an absentee ballot at the same time.

    As far as the Supreme Court, they had no authority to rule on a state’s right to determine its voting procedures as the dissenting justices stated.

  • SteveK

    As far as the Supreme Court, they had no authority to rule on a state’s right to determine its voting procedures as the dissenting justices stated.

    Tell that to Alabama in 1964.

    Voters rights trump white Republicans even if they are in the northern states,

  • SteveK

    Wikipedia – Voting Rights Act

    The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called “covered jurisdictions”) could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance. These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964. The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.[

  • SteveK

    I should have said Federal oversight instead of implying that the Supreme Court had authority because I’m not sure of the specifics. My point was that the Federal Government has legal authority. The last 25-year extension was sign into law by George W. Bush in 2006.

  • StockBoyLA


    “…if you are poor and don’t read newspapers, you may not even know that these rules have been introduced.” If you are THAT uninformed, how can you possibly vote intelligently on the issues, let alone a candidate for office? (“Flip a coin” is not an acceptable answer).

    Then tell me which is better: watching FOX News spreading lies and propaganda to get their man elected or… people who talk to their neighbors, have seen the effect of a president’s policies over the past few years and still support him, a man like them who was born to a single mother of modest means and through hard work and education rose to become the president? People who vote DO keep up with the issues important to them. And if you want to talk about people being informed before voting… not even legislators read all the bills before they vote on them. And these are laws that apply to everyone.

    And furthermore…. if you think people should be informed to vote, then surely you’d agree that all those people who vote against Obama simply because he is black should not vote. That’s even worse than choosing who to vote for by a “flip of a coin” because the decision is driven by hatred and not by chance.

    As far as IDs… what if the state ID issuance agency was open from 9 am to 5 pm, M-F and you worked 8 am to 5 pm M-F. And it takes you 15 minutes to get there from work, 15 minutes to get back….which leaves 30 minutes to get an ID. I don’t know about you but the CA DMV can’t get things done that quickly. The point is VOTING is a RIGHT, not a privilege. Why place conditions on RIGHTS? And I haven’t heard ANY Democrat say that removal of dead people from voting rolls is wrong. What is wrong is when voters with similar names to someone who is dead are purged because they are thought to be dead. How would you like to show up at the voting booth and discover that your name was not on the register?

  • zephyr

    Excellent points StockBoy.

  • StockBoyLA

    Thanks, Zephyr.

  • Rcoutme

    To be fair, most of the recent voter ID laws do include a provision to grant free ID’s to voters. I am not saying that the Reps are not trying to suppress the vote, but it is inaccurate to claim that there is a direct cost involved. The Poll Tax elimination made offering free ID’s mandatory in order to implement such an ID law.

  • thermo1

    Interesting. USA may be the only country in the world that doesn’t require proof of citizenship to vote. You can register with a utility bill as ID, then show up and vote just by giving your name and address. In my state and city, getting a pistol permit (to exercise my constitutional right to bear arms) is a byzantine process that requires a $100 fee, mandatory membership in a gun club (3-4 hundred dollars) and travel to a remote police range (literally on an island) to pass a shooting test designed for armed security guards. How’s that for depriving poor people of a right guaranteed by the Constitution? The difficulties of getting a photo ID are wildly overblown. People who live “off the grid,” don’t read newspapers, and can’t display a modicum of initiative have disenfranchised themselves.

  • The_Ohioan


    Move to Texas

    Texas State Requirements

    Rifles and Shotguns •Permit to purchase rifles and shotguns? No.
    •Registration of rifles and shotguns? No.
    •Licensing of owners of rifles and shotguns? No.
    •Permit to carry rifles and shotguns? No.

    Handguns •Permit to purchase handgun? No.
    •Registration of handguns? No.
    •Licensing of owners of handguns? No.
    •Permit to carry handguns? Yes.

  • StockBoyLA

    People who live “off the grid,” don’t read newspapers, and can’t display a modicum of initiative have disenfranchised themselves.

    And I think those people who live “off the grid” aren’t registered to vote (hence living off the grid) and therefore don’t vote.

    About 58% percent of Americans don’t vote. Some are poor, and some are rich, like Meg Whitman who didn’t bother to vote until recently.

    As far as depriving poor people the right to own guns…. Not every poor person wants to own a gun and guns cost money (to buy and ammunition). I haven’t heard any poor people whine that they can’t afford to own a gun.

    The “byzantine” (love that word) process and laws that thermo1 described are local laws and not federal government laws. So the right to own guns doesn’t cost anything from a federal government perspective. The federal constitutional right is free. It’s the local gun laws that cause these restrictions. If someone doesn’t like their local gun laws they should see their local officials (and not blame Obama and/or the federal government). To be clear I’m not suggesting that thermo1 is blaming Obama…. there is absolutely nothing in the post to suggest that. My point is that a lot of people don’t like their local gun laws and for some reason blame the federal government. Perhaps they’ve been listening to the NRA blame Obama and liberals for taking away their gun rights?

    If we think gun ownership is a right and everyone should own a gun, then perhaps the government can buy guns and ammo for everyone. That would make things VERY interesting around here. [Sarcasm]

  • The_Ohioan

    Stock Boy

    An interesting observation. If health care is a right, then owning a gun may be a right. If we have a mandate for one, shall we have a mandate for the other. What would the US be like if each and every citizen owned a gun? Has there ever been a Sci Fi story on that? Where you Asimov when we need you!

  • StockBoyLA


    Voting and owning guns are rights that don’t cost other people money. Neither voting nor owning guns are mandatory. And the idea of gun ownership is based on a civilian militia… people have guns in their homes to protect the US. Healthcare is a right which everyone uses. If someone chooses not to pay for healthcare then others pick up the cost. I don’t think we should have a mandate that everyone own a gun.

    As far as the mandate for everyone owning a gun and a sci fi story…. yeah, as I was making the comment I was thinking about what the US would be like if everyone was required to own a gun and I didn’t like what I saw. It would make an interesting movie.

    However we could do away with security checkpoints at places like airports, courthouses, etc. since everyone had a gun and a right to carry it. 🙂

  • The_Ohioan


    This is great! All kinds of possibilities are opening up! If we can do away with all security checkpoints, maybe we can do away with all the rest of the national security apparatus. No need to do any wireless wiretapping, no watch lists or pat-downs for boarding a plane, no disarming at the schoolhouse door – we will all be able to protect our own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness with our very own weapon. I’m a little conficted, though; should we be able to have our very own rocket launchers and drones – what do you think? Too much?

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