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Voter ID Laws Solve No Existing Problem

By David Dayen, Firedoglake - August 6, 2012

Rick Hasen points out how, even if voter fraud were a problem (it isn’t), voter ID laws would be no kind of solution. There are several types of voter fraud, according to the most fervent promoters of it. You have voter registration fraud, when someone sends in a bunch of fake names and registers them to vote. For that to matter, Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck would have to actually show up at the polls to vote. You have absentee ballot fraud. There’s insider voter fraud, where elections officials manage the votes to get a particular candidate elected. Finally, you have in-person voter fraud, where someone votes in an election more than once. That’s the only one that would be captured by the voter ID law. And that one really never happens.

The only kind of fraud such ID laws prevent is impersonation: a person registered under a false name or claiming to be someone else on the voter rolls.

I have not found a single election over the last few decades in which impersonation fraud had the slightest chance of changing an election outcome "” unlike absentee-ballot fraud, which changes election outcomes regularly. (Let's face it: impersonation fraud is an exceedingly dumb way to try to steal an election.)

Pointing to a few isolated cases of impersonation fraud does not prove that a state identification requirement makes sense. As with restrictions on absentee ballots, we need to weigh the costs of imposing barriers on the right to vote against the benefits of fraud protection.

Indeed, as one strategy to ensure legal voting in Pennsylvania in the event of a voter ID law that could lock out 1 million eligible voters or more, officials are advising senior citizens to request an absentee ballot. There are somewhat stringent requirements for absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, but a senior citizen who faces hardship getting to the polls can probably obtain one. And they don’t need to present a voter ID in order to do it.

The point is that voter ID laws solve no problem, but force eligible voters to seek other ways to get their vote cast. Inevitably some of them who would have otherwise voted will give up. And that’s what they call voter suppression.

We ought to take a lesson from the happy country to which we provided Democracy, Iraq: Let each voter dab their right index finger in ink to show that they’d already voted. I would suggest another digit, but…

In some states, shouldn’t the sign say “JUST TRY TO VOTE HERE“

That could work, BUT…

I think the best solution for the VOTER perspective is register in several counties or precincts so, in case they won’t let you vote in one, you can vote in all the others.

As has been pointed out, there *is* an actual “problem” that voter ID laws are designed to solve: Too many people are voting for candidates who aren’t Republicans.

what if it turns out the only case of voter fraud was Mr and Mrs Mitt?

And…..it’s getting worse and worse every year.

Hispanic and Asians have the highest birthrates and they are gonna desimate the GOP.

Champagne anyone???????

Where does he vote? Massachusetts. Vermont, Utah, California?????

in similar fashion, it appears Fox Noise has decided you’re not a patriotic enough Olympic Athlete unless you’ve got the right colors. Raise your hand if you think they’re talking about Gabby’s pink leotard…nope, me neither.

not Vermont. NH and all the rest mayhap….

I worked with a guy who went to grad school at Penn in 2006. In 2008 he told me that he had voted absentee in Pennsylvania, and in person in Minnesota. So there must be an absentee voter purging problem for people who have lived in more than one state in 4 years. Do States even share voting registration data?

Voter ID laws have been passed by conservatives – whether they call themselves Republicans or Democrats is irrelevent – to prevent minorities from voting. The end.

Of course, everyone here knows that already. Just saying…

Oh, you’re fogetting Jon Huntsman & Anne Coulter/.

Apparently most of the Voter Fraud that occurs in Team USA is by rich Republicans. But who’s counting that?? They are WHITE after all, rich, and vote conservative and are approved of by the 1%.

Denying the right to vote is a strategy of the one percent. If you can block the democrats from voting., you win. If,you can convince everyone that the dems are no good or no better than the Rs, you win bc you know the wingnuts will always vote for,you.

My Republican-voting mother (may she RIP) used to vote for my Dad, who had Alzhiemers. Probably did so for at least 4 elections. My Republican family were all “good to go” with this incidence of voter fraud.

While it’s true that my Dad most likely would’ve voted the way my mom did it for him, it still was fraud.

But duely noted that when I protested it, my rightwing family shouted me down.

Anyone surprised?? Didn’t think so…

It,is more specific than that. The idea is to be sure the Rs win.

As a young man I didn’t vote one year. But the town folk told me not to worry, they did it for me. This was a solid thug rural town. Guess,who,they voted,for?

It’s only “voter fraud” if someone votes – illegally – for “Democrats” or for so-called “liberals.” Anything else is “legal” and fair and balanced… just like Fake Noise. Right??

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