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Voting in Wisconsin Just Became A Lot More Difficult
July 26, 2011 11:41 AM   Subscribe

After creating legislation that requires voter ID in order to vote, Wisconsin Governer proposes closing 10 DMV Offices. Requiring voter ID puts a disproportionate burden on elderly, low income and disabled voters who may not be able to wait in long DMV lines. The new Wisconsin laws are expected to potentially disenfranchise millions of voters across the state.

One voter this week surreptitiously videoed the process of attempting to get a voter ID for her 18 year old son from the DMV. The potential voter was required to show bank activity in his account in order to prove his identity. The clerk couldn’t explain what would happen if a resident was homeless or unemployed.
posted by Poet_Lariat (296 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pitchforks. Now.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:48 AM on July 26, 2011 [22 favorites]


Do people actually believe that the US is still a functioning democracy?
The country is quite clearly an oligarchy.
posted by Flood at 11:48 AM on July 26, 2011 [42 favorites]


Does this douchebag not realize he's being recalled? Or does he just want to spread the shit as far and as wide as he can before he gets the boot?
posted by elizardbits at 11:50 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's a good tag that can be used to tag the posts like this that will be made as this happens in numerous states leading up to next year's election?
posted by cashman at 11:50 AM on July 26, 2011


I don't see how this stands up to a court challenge.

I mean, isn't requiring people to pay for a document tantamount to a poll tax?
posted by inturnaround at 11:51 AM on July 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm shocked.

Wait. No, I'm not.
posted by rtha at 11:52 AM on July 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


If they check a box that it's *specifically* a voter ID, they are not allowed to charge the $28 fee.

However, the real issue at hand is that someone at the Wisconsin DMV is telling their employees that having a bank account is a prerequisite to get a voter ID. That's just plain unconstitutional and wouldn't pass the laugh test even if it were put before the likes of Justice Scalia.
posted by chimaera at 11:53 AM on July 26, 2011 [29 favorites]


I hope conservatives realize that they are jeopardizing their own safety and that of their ideological descendants by giving people nothing to lose and no say in the political process.
posted by dibblda at 11:54 AM on July 26, 2011 [35 favorites]


It doesn't have to stand up in court as long as they can drag the case out through the next election. It's been established in the past decade or so that in the United States it is unacceptable to "dredge up the past" and investigate these sorts of things.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2011 [34 favorites]


If your vote doesn't matter, why are they always trying to disenfranchise you?
posted by mattbucher at 11:59 AM on July 26, 2011 [44 favorites]


One of the DMVs that's been around for years (at least twenty two, I got my license there...) was closed earlier this year, and I was simply amazed because it was never not busy. This meant that the thousands and thousands of residents now have to trek across the county to a much smaller location which is expected to serve all its existing customers, plus all these new ones.

I never occurred to me that this was Walker trying to fuck with us yet another way, but I see it all makes sense now.

So not only is he disenfranchising voters, he's doing it in a way that makes the day to day lives of everyone in the area immeasurably worse for the rest of the year when we aren't trying to get IDs for voting.

I'm am getting really sick of this guy and what he's done to my state. And at this point, it seems like he's stacked the deck enough to ensure that he and his cronies aren't going anywhere, so congratulations Governor Walker, you've successfully started the process of pushing two contributing, tax paying citizens out of your state and into the arms of some place less ruined.
posted by quin at 11:59 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure it's so much an oligarchy as it is a kleptocracy at this point.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:59 AM on July 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


feloniousmonk: . It's been established in the past decade or so that in the United States it is unacceptable to "dredge up the past" and investigate these sorts of things.
This, a thousand times, is why the "we must move forward" approach is morally bankrupt, and the "reaching across the aisle" approach- locally or nationally- fails pitiably if you're dealing with people not acting in good faith.

I hope the good people of Wisconsin have not lost their sense of fight even though their story is out of the headlines, and that they push to recall these bastards and restore some fragment of democracy before a whole generation is raised that doesn't even know what it looks like.
posted by hincandenza at 12:01 PM on July 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


I...I have no words. Or no good ones, at least. Disenfranchisement has got to be one of the greatest sins against America. I rarely condone recalls, but this is such an obvious abuse of power that it's amazing in its hubris. Time for Walker and his cronies to start fearing his electorate; I hope they get him out of office ASAP.
posted by smirkette at 12:04 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


How much you want to be the ones closed are the ones in heavily democratic districts?
posted by usagizero at 12:05 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Does this douchebag not realize he's being recalled?

Not if he can disenfranchise enough voters, he's not.
posted by scody at 12:05 PM on July 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


usagizero: How much you want to be the ones closed are the ones in heavily democratic districts?

From the article: One Democratic lawmaker said Friday it appeared the decisions were based on politics, with the department targeting offices for closure in Democratic areas and expanding hours for those in Republican districts.

So, yup.
posted by smirkette at 12:07 PM on July 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


The State House in my state is voting tomorrow to override our Governor's veto of a similar bill. Right now they are trying to override her veto of a 24-hour waiting period for abortions bill.

That would be that Republican Legislature that got voted in last year because of that whole people not having jobs thing.
posted by marxchivist at 12:07 PM on July 26, 2011


One voter this week surreptitiously videoed the process of attempting to get a voter ID for her 18 year old son from the DMV.

Why can't the 18 year old get it himself? In fact, why should anybody but the voter even be allowed to apply? It seems like a invitation to fraud?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:08 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Voter issues aside, I find the DMV closure interesting. I think a lot of folks who didn't care about state workers losing their rights is exactly because of the DMV.

DMV lines and indifferent DMV workers is a staple for stand-up comedians. No one likes going to the DMV because it is a PITA of bureaucratic red tape, unhelpful employees etc etc.

So when folks think about how they've interacted with a state gov't employee, are they thinking of the last time they had to deal with the DMV ? If so, they're gonna say "damn right make those lazy worthless asses down there take a shave" when it comes time to cut rights for state employees.
posted by k5.user at 12:09 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Y'know, everyone says that Walker can't be recalled until he's been in a year. But he's done any number of blatantly illegal things, hoping to ride them out. Why not go ahead and get the recall movement going now? I mean, it's not like he can say, "Well, you can't do that," with any goddamn moral authority.
posted by notsnot at 12:10 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why can't the 18 year old get it himself?

He had never done it before? He was looking for help from his parents? Some kid's mom going into the DMV with her child to get his ID doesn't even begin to ping my weirdness radar,

Shutting down DMVs, on the other hand, makes it ring like a gong in a hailstorm.
posted by quin at 12:15 PM on July 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


One Democratic lawmaker said Friday it appeared the decisions were based on politics, with the department targeting offices for closure in Democratic areas and expanding hours for those in Republican districts.

...

So, does this guy have the talking, re-animated head of Boss Tweed in a jar in his office or something? "So you closed them down? Ah, bully! Now let me teach you of 'disappearing' your opponents ..."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:16 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


You forget he's extending DMV hours in other districts!
posted by imaswinger at 12:20 PM on July 26, 2011


How does banking activity constitute proof of identity?
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:21 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why not go ahead and get the recall movement going now?

There's some discussion going on about the optimal time to try to recall Walker. Or, well, I guess I haven't actually heard anyone talking about it, but I've seen a couple of blog posts.
posted by Vibrissa at 12:21 PM on July 26, 2011


Do people actually believe that the US is still a functioning democracy?
The country is quite clearly an oligarchy.
posted by Flood


I take issue with this, actually. Clearly the few people in power are trying to consolidate their control, but I find it interesting that they are doing so through the system of democracy. If America was truly an oligarchy (and I'm not saying that we're not), then the governor would be handing out free voting passes to everyone, busing them to the polls, and then smiling as he lied about the numbers.

Hey, where have I heard that before?

Really, I think that the governor is a small fish trying to make a big splash, but in the end he's still trying to win wile still playing by the rules of democracy.
posted by rebent at 12:22 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


That's just plain unconstitutional and wouldn't pass the laugh test even if it were put before the likes of Justice Scalia.

Actually, I'm not sure I'd even want to give it that laugh test, in light of recent SCOTUS trends.
posted by aught at 12:23 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


How does banking activity constitute proof of identity?

Maybe they want to see your balance in case you're too poor to vote.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:23 PM on July 26, 2011 [20 favorites]


The clerk couldn’t explain what would happen if a resident was homeless or unemployed.

We're going back to the original system: only white male property-owners may vote. If it was good enough in 1790, right?

In all seriousness, how does a homeless person prove their eligibility to vote? In Canada, where you can actually register when you go to vote (I'm still amazed that you can't do this in the US), a homeless person has to prove his/her identity and address with a piece of ID and a letter from a homeless shelter that he or she has used OR by swearing an oath and having someone vouch for him or her.

Even this seems like quite a hurdle for someone who is living on the streets (as opposed to couch-surfing until they get back on their feet), so to add something as bizarre as needing to prove bank activity would seem to make it pretty much impossible for a homeless or unemployed person to vote in Wisconsin.
posted by asnider at 12:23 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is concerted Republican effort to disenfranchise voters that would tend to vote Democratic. It's happening in a lot of states. Georgia. South Carolina. Florida. Ohio. North Carolina. Iowa. New Hampshire. Missouri.

They are pushing things like taking away the right of college students to vote in the precinct where they attend school - never mind that that they spend 3/4 of the year in residence there.

They are pushing new photo IDs that put a burden on the poor, elderly, and infirm. It is a poll tax. Only Tea Baggers and the insane can't see that.

They are cutting the number of days of early voting.

They are upping penalties and increasing infractions for voter registration groups. In Florida the League of Women Voters has quit registering voters because they are afraid of their legal liability. The fucking League of Women Voters!!!! The most non-partisan group you could probably find.

This is concerted. This is blatant. Anyone who has the nerve to call themselves a patriot and then turn around and support disenfranchisement on any level needs to be smacked.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:24 PM on July 26, 2011 [81 favorites]


The Raw Replay link sort of messily states:

"The DMV also told her that voters would be charged $28 if they didn’t check a special box to indicate the ID was for voting, effectively making the fee a poll tax.

This is a confusing way to put this, and I'm not entirely sure it's correct. The DMV supervisor in the video explains that if a person walks in and asks for a voter ID card, whether it is a new issuance or a renewal, it is free. But if someone comes in and says they lost their ID and are looking for a replacement or a duplicate, the DMV has to charge for it.

I'm not sure if that helps make things any clearer.
posted by phaedon at 12:25 PM on July 26, 2011


The lawmakers expressed concern that millions of people without a government-issued ID, like older people, students, low-income voters and minorities, may be blocked from voting.

Given that there are more licensed drivers in the U.S. (about 200 million) than there are registered voters (about 146 million), it seems unlikely that "millions" of people are going to denied the right to vote.

Not that this isn't a crap law, but hyperbole doesn't help.
posted by madajb at 12:26 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


there may come a time where they BEG people to vote instead of what they will be doing
posted by pyramid termite at 12:26 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


madajb : fwiw that quote came from the second link where 16 Democratic Senators (including one from Wisconsin) expressed their concern by saying , "The lawmakers expressed concern that millions of people without a government-issued ID, like older people, students, low-income voters and minorities, may be blocked from voting."
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:29 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used to wonder how many years it would take to undo the damage done to this country over the past decade. Now I'm wondering how many generations.
posted by Pants McCracky at 12:30 PM on July 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


From a less frothing source:

"The recently enacted state budget requires that DMV driver license and ID card services be offered in all 72 counties at least 20 hours a week. Currently, only 30 counties have offices that meet that 20-hour requirement."
and

"Under Wisconsin's law, voters will have to present a driver's license, state ID, passport, military ID, naturalization papers or tribal ID in order to vote. College students could vote with an ID from their school as long as it has their signature and an expiration date that falls within two years of the card's issuance."
posted by Ideefixe at 12:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The new Wisconsin laws are expected to potentially disenfranchise millions of voters across the state.

Wisconsin's voting age population is just over 4.3 million, so I don't think that's in any way accurate. Not that this isn't a monstrous and transparent attempt at disenfranchisement.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:33 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


How about tagging this post and similar posts (regarding "This is concerted Republican effort to disenfranchise voters that would tend to vote Democratic. It's happening in a lot of states. Georgia. South Carolina. Florida. Ohio. North Carolina. Iowa. New Hampshire. Missouri.") with an AgainstUs tag.

This makes these related posts easier to find and aggregate.
posted by cashman at 12:33 PM on July 26, 2011


Does this douchebag not realize he's being recalled? Or does he just want to spread the shit as far and as wide as he can before he gets the boot?

Scott Walker's poll numbers are in the high 40s and he retains the support of the Waukesha/Fox Valley/Green bay areas.

He's not going anywhere.

Current recall elections against the republicans are anything but guaranteed. Make no mistake, the seats are in contest and the Free American Freedom fund of Freedom for Patriot Freedom groups are spending a shit ton of cash to secure them. The dems only real hope is high turnout and republican apathy.

Walker and the repubs are otherwise still quite popular. They may yet still win.

I've said before that Wisconsin is like Alabama, but with snow.

Hell, they even bring knives to a balloon fight.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:34 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


madajb: “Given that there are more licensed drivers in the U.S. (about 200 million) than there are registered voters (about 146 million), it seems unlikely that "millions" of people are going to denied the right to vote.”

What justifies the assumption that these groups overlap? Not disputing your claim necessarily, just wondering. When we get into the hundreds of millions, it seems as though there's a lot more outliers than we would on a smaller scale, and it seems likely that those outliers constitute "millions."
posted by koeselitz at 12:34 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually the first link should have read "photo ID." It made me wonder if you could previously vote in Wisconsin without any kind of ID at all.

I am a little bemused by this because the only place I've ever voted is Florida and we've had to show a photo ID for as long as I can recall. The far worse thing here is the near criminalization of people out registering new voters. So much so that the League of Women Voters will no longer register voters in this state.

What really needs to happen is that voter registration rules and election rules need to be standardized across all 50 states once and for all. In national elections the standards should be the same across the nation.

That said, I guess Florida's voter laws are considered pretty draconian. More than once I've been stuck behind an angry recent arrival who wanted to register and vote on the same day, or change his party affiliation upon showing up at a primary election and being told he couldn't.

In any case, I think the hodgepodge of 50 states with 50 sets of rules is kind of silly.
posted by lordrunningclam at 12:34 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Given what's happening down there, it's a little terrifying to imagine any state modeling its election laws on Florida.
posted by Pants McCracky at 12:38 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scott Walker's poll numbers are in the high 40s

This recent poll says it has dropped to 37 points.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:39 PM on July 26, 2011


I've observed this before, but still haven't seen anyone else saying it, so I think I can claim it as professional futurism credit or something:

The mainly Southern states whose electoral processes are supervised by the Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act have recently been pushing back against that oversight, arguing that the Act is obsolete as a tool for protecting southern blacks against racial bias in voting laws, and is mostly just a bureaucratic annoyance in this more enlightened age.

However, states in which Republicans have control of the government have shown a persistent pattern of actions designed to prevent socioeconomically disadvantaged citizens from exercising the franchise. This is precisely the situation the Act was meant to combat, but built around class bias and partisan political strategy rather than racial bias.

I predict that the next wave of Voting Rights Act actions will not be to protect the voting rights of blacks in the South but to protect the voting rights of poor people, regardless of their race, in states governed by Republicans anywhere in the United States.
posted by Naberius at 12:41 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


More than once I've been stuck behind an angry recent arrival who wanted to register and vote on the same day, or change his party affiliation upon showing up at a primary election and being told he couldn't.

I know North Carolina, Maine and Ohio are trying to repeal their laws that allow voters to register and vote on the same day.

Why? Give me one good, legitimate reason why this practice is a danger to democracy.

As for whether the source is frothing or not. Who cares? What are the facts? If we allow tone to be the barometer of truth, then it's easy to take our shit away while we stand there and watch.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:42 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]



A newer Poll

posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:44 PM on July 26, 2011


Given that there are more licensed drivers in the U.S. (about 200 million) than there are registered voters (about 146 million), it seems unlikely that "millions" of people are going to denied the right to vote.

Why guess? According to research from UW-Milwaukee, almost 300,000 Wisconsin residents age 35 and up lack a valid drivers' license. Only about half of voting-age black Wisconsinites have a valid license, as against 83% of whites. Voting-age residents in (Democratic-leaning) Milwaukee County are substantially less likely to have a driver's license, even after controlling for race.

Gov. Walker's margin of victory in 2010 was about 125,000.

(Caveat: the methodology Pawasarat is using isn't totally clear to me.)
posted by escabeche at 12:45 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]



TPMs Polltracker

Point is, Walker has been remarkably resilient. I don't suspect that a recall against him will succeed, unfortunately.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:47 PM on July 26, 2011


I am a little bemused by this because the only place I've ever voted is Florida and we've had to show a photo ID for as long as I can recall.

Lordrunningclam, in Florida, you need a photo ID, but it does not need to be one obtained from the DMV.

Identification types accepted: Florida driver's license; Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; United States passport; debit or credit card; military identification; student identification; retirement center identification; neighborhood association identification; and public assistance identification. (Section 101.043, F.S.) If the picture identification does not contain a signature, you will be asked to provide an additional identification with your signature.
posted by czytm at 12:47 PM on July 26, 2011


As a really, REALLY apathetic person when it comes to the impact an average person can have in the face of big business, politics, and so on:

This is probably the most influential thing I've heard or seen out of the many, many screwed up behaviors here in the US recently. I'll be voting, for the first time in my life, with the sole hope of getting rid of the trash that attempts to solidify their elected place of power by disenfranchising others.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I remember when you could raise your hand and swear an oath that you were who you said you were.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:50 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know North Carolina, Maine and Ohio are trying to repeal their laws that allow voters to register and vote on the same day.

Maine did change their law this year. (scroll down to Sec. 4.)
posted by JanetLand at 12:51 PM on July 26, 2011


Water ✔
Guns ✔
ammo ✔
Food ✔
off grid ✔

Ok, I'm ready...
posted by tomswift at 12:51 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Benny Andajetz wrote: I remember when you could raise your hand and swear an oath that you were who you said you were

You could still do that here as of the last election. Tell the nice lady (or gentlemen) your name and address, sign the book, get the ballot, and vote! I tend to use my voter ID card (non-photo, non-signature bearing) because it prevents difficulties in communication, but it's absolutely not required, aside from the first time you vote. (and even then, only if you registered by mail)
posted by wierdo at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2011


@tomswift: I'm jealous... one day I'll be there too. If we last that long that is...
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt : According to this post, the polling form that you reference, "We Ask America" , is a subsidiary of the right-wing Illinois Manufactur­ers Associatio­n and has a distinct Republican bias in its polls. Further web searches appear to bear this out so their higher numbers for Walker, much different from the University of Wisconsin survey that I posted, consistent with their bias.

It all comes down to who you trust, a largish State University or the Illinois Manufactur­ers Associatio­n.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:00 PM on July 26, 2011


Point is, Walker has been remarkably resilient. I don't suspect that a recall against him will succeed, unfortunately.

As long as they can get the signature, it'll go to election. and given the close result last time I'd bet (again as long as they get the signatures) he will lose. Perhaps to Feingold
posted by edgeways at 1:02 PM on July 26, 2011


I wrote this awhile back, when the debate was fresh. It's also on my tumblr (sorry no direct link to the post, at work) if you want to pass it on:
Why am I opposed to the new Voter ID bill in Wisconsin? Here’s one reason: it shouldn’t have to cost you money to exercise your constitutional rights. In the case of a poor person, it can be a significant amount of money just to get a state ID.

Let’s walk through this. Here are my assumptions: a person working for minimum wage who lives on the north side of Milwaukee* and was born in Milwaukee County.

The fee for a state ID card (not a driver’s license) is $28. But to get that, you have to have a birth certificate. To get that, you have to go to the register of deeds office in the Courthouse or mail your request. The fee is $20. Many people in poor neighborhoods don’t have checking accounts, so you have to get a money order. I don’t know how much that costs at one of the check cashing places so prevalent in poor neighborhoods, but it’s $1.10 at the post office. It takes 2-3 weeks to get it. You also need to show the DMV proof of identity. We’ll just assume you have a Social Security Card. If you lost yours, well, I don’t know what you do, because they require proof of identity like a state-issued identification card or a passport, which of course you don’t have. At least the card is free, but from personal experience, you’ll have a long wait in the Social Security office.

Which brings me to another point: time. The DMV is only open during the weekdays. If you work a minimum wage job, you’re unlikely to have paid time off. So it will cost you $7.25/hr to go to the DMV. First you have to get there. You don’t have a driver’s license, so it costs you $2.25 by bus. From 35th & North, the bus takes 30 minutes to get to the Downtown DMV. I’ve never been in and out of the DMV in under an hour, and the downtown branch tends to be busy, so let’s allow one hour at the DMV and one hour to and from. Then, of course, you have to get to work, so let’s allow another half an hour for that. That’s a bare minimum of 2.5 hours to get your ID card, or $18.13 in lost wages.

Let’s add it up!

ID card fee $28**
Birth certificate $20
Money order $1.10
Postage for birth certificate request 44c
Minimum wage $7.25/hr * 2.5 hrs = $18.13
Bus fare $2.25 each way * 2 = $5.50
Total: $73.17
That’s a lot of money if you’re poor. Didn’t we outlaw poll taxes because they disenfranchised poor voters? Yep, they were abolished in the 24th amendment to the Constitution.

*The poorest section of the city
** I didn't realize the the Voter IDs were free, but the point still stands (see the video in the original post)

posted by desjardins at 1:02 PM on July 26, 2011 [39 favorites]



Yeah, and ultimately, the only poll that matters is the election day one.

That said.... support for walker among my FB friends has never been stronger.

Traitorous Defeatocrats and Libtards are seeking to destroy America and only American Freedom Patriot Scott Walker is sticking it to them and forcing them back to Gay Liberalsocialiststan.

What I'm saying is I've had to block lots of people who - well, I used to think pretty highly of.

The man is objectively bad for this state - I say this having campaigned for Perot and been a real Limbaugh loving dittohead in the day.

I don't hold out much hope for the future of this state.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:08 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


sorry no direct link to the post, at work

Direct link to the post
posted by cashman at 1:08 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Further notes from a Wisconsinite:

The reason the kid needed a bank statement is because he probably has no other proof of residency. He's probably living at home, no job, no bills in his name. When I got my license, I brought in my utility bill. I could have brought my lease or my paycheck stub. Bank statements are not de rigeur here - the kid just had no other alternatives.

Also, Mom wasn't getting it FOR the kid - at times, you can clearly hear or see the kid next to her in the video. I don't think this video is the greatest example. A homeless person would have had trouble voting prior to this.

Up to now I have never shown an ID to vote. The process: I walk up to a table, I tell them my name, I have to spell my name several times loudly so the senior citizen can hear it, they look it up in a book, check me off and hand me a ballot.

My husband DID have to show an ID to REGISTER to vote (in 2010). I registered so long ago that I can't remember if I needed to show one or not. I definitely needed proof of residency (aforementioned utility bill).
posted by desjardins at 1:10 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gay Liberalsocialiststan

If any of your FB friends can supply me with a reliable map to Gay Liberalsocialistan, I am so out of here.
posted by Frowner at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2011 [30 favorites]


"Cheeseheads" is not supposed to be about what's between the ears, Scott Walker.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 1:12 PM on July 26, 2011


Old n'Busted, that's cream puffs between his ears. It's almost State Fair time, y'all!
posted by desjardins at 1:13 PM on July 26, 2011


Requiring voter ID puts a disproportionate burden on elderly, low income and disabled voters who may not be able to wait in long DMV lines.

Your DMVs are crap anyway, organized poorly and staffed mainly by people who are stupid or don't care. Get a passport; it's cheap and you can do it at the post office. Opening a bank account is trivial, if you don't have a job then you can just open a savings account of some sort. If you're homeless you're probably not registered to vote anyway because you don't have an address to register with. Explore mail reception options at the home of a relative or a shelter; if you are reading this in a library someone will be able to help you find what options are available in your area.

I personally think that showing ID to vote should just be the norm. It's the case in a lot of other countries, and you need ID to buy booze or get behind the wheel or for an awful lot of other things, so it's quite reasonable to need ID to vote. I'm not a US citizen and therefore not entitled to vote. It would actually be a serious crime for me to do so. but if I wanted to break the law, it would be trivially easy because there are no ID checks. That's just ridiculous.

If people spent half as much effort on helping people register to vote as they do complaining about voter ID, then everyone would be registered. Voter ID is perfectly reasonable. What's not reasonable is the DMV being run like it's still the 1970s, with having to take a number and wait hours to be served. That's the problem. We Euros cannot understand what sort of masochistic impulse causes you to put up with this antiquated nonsense.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:14 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


A picture of things to come?

A union activist, protesting in Wisconsin, today filed a complaint against a Walker staffer who approached her with a knife while she was protesting, knifed a prop balloon that she was using and then proceeded to push her into a door. “We’re treating this as a crime scene,” Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:14 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


omg mc hammer is going to be at the state fair, wtf wisconsin.
posted by desjardins at 1:14 PM on July 26, 2011


Get a passport; it's cheap

It's $135.

On the other hand, I've had nothing but pleasant experiences at the DMV (I get that my experience is atypical, though).
posted by Vibrissa at 1:17 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


If any of your FB friends can supply me with a reliable map to Gay Liberalsocialistan, I am so out of here.


I know, right.

Wisconsin - come for the shitty weather and the bad roads - stay because the crappy jobs won't afford you enough income to leave.

Also, Governer should be Governor in the FPP
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:19 PM on July 26, 2011


It's happening in a lot of states.

Next door in Minnesota, we have a very long-standing (many decades?) tradition of allowing voters to register at the polls. It's never been a problem. You can show up with various forms of proof-of-residency (electric bill, for example), or you can have another registered voter vouch for you on election day.

As the Republicans have shifted further to the far right over the last several years, they've decided that they hate this arrangement with a white-hot passion. They've made many, many attempts to abolish it, none of which have succeeded so far, because they haven't had complete control of both the legislature and the governor's office. This year, they even tried to make it a condition to ending the state budget shutdown--one of the reasons those talks broke down in the last days and hours.
posted by gimonca at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Get a passport; it's cheap and you can do it at the post office.

A passport is $140 and requires government ID. If you had ID, you wouldn't need a passport.

Opening a bank account is trivial, if you don't have a job then you can just open a savings account of some sort.

If you don't have any money, how are you going to open a savings account? Most of them have minimums. And you can't open one without an ID!
posted by desjardins at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2011 [26 favorites]


In the four states and the District of Columbia where I've lived as a registered voter, I've never had to show ID - photo or otherwise - at any of them in order to vote. This is as it should be, unless and until someone can show actual proof of widespread voting fraud perpetrated by people pretending to be someone else in order to vote in some other district.

I'm aware that voting fraud is committed. It always seems to be the kind that keeps people from voting, however, and that's an entirely different animal.
posted by rtha at 1:21 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


you need ID to buy booze or get behind the wheel or for an awful lot of other things

Drinking is a privilege. Driving is a privilege. Voting is a RIGHT.
posted by desjardins at 1:21 PM on July 26, 2011 [45 favorites]


Don't you need ID to open a bank account, anyway? It's been years since I've done it, but even then "in the post-9/11 world you can't be too careful!" and they required a decent amount of hoop-jumping. Hard to imagine that's gotten any easier.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:21 PM on July 26, 2011


Get a passport; it's cheap

It's $135.


Don't forget the cost of tracking down a certified copy of your birth certificate. If I write to the Cook County clerk asking for a copy of my birth certificate, I need $15 and, ready for it, a photocopy of my photo ID!
posted by hoyland at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


feloniousmonk, when I got married and changed my name I had to show my birth certificate, marriage license, and new driver's license just to keep my bank account.
posted by desjardins at 1:23 PM on July 26, 2011


Your DMVs are crap anyway, organized poorly and staffed mainly by people who are stupid or don't care. Get a passport; it's cheap and you can do it at the post office.

If you think DMVs are crap and staffed by stupid people (not always true), you've never been to a US post office, have you?
posted by desjardins at 1:23 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Get a passport; it's cheap
It's $135.


That is cheap.

Why am I opposed to the new Voter ID bill in Wisconsin? Here’s one reason: it shouldn’t have to cost you money to exercise your constitutional rights. In the case of a poor person, it can be a significant amount of money just to get a state ID.

That's complete BS. Get a friend to drive you to the DMV instead of taking the bus. You should have a birth certificate or ID anyway as a practical matter, and if you can't be bothered to keep such things safe or invest in a copy of the most basic documentary evidence that you exist then you're a fool. Fuck this glorification of helplessness and functional illiteracy; if the cost of getting documentation is such a big issue then work to create a fee waiver for poor people.

This idea that people shouldn't have to get ID because there is some overhead involved is complete bullshit. All you're doing is ensuring that poor people stay poor. You should be working to get them ID, not telling them that they shouldn't have to get it. It's a practical necessity, and you should be helping people with it instead of feeding them a BS political agenda to make them feel like victims.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:27 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drinking is a privilege. Driving is a privilege. Voting is a RIGHT.

Really? Where does it say drinking is a privilege? And what's wrong with demonstrating your eligibility to exercise a right? You're full of it.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:29 PM on July 26, 2011


Yeah, the most frustrating thing about the whole argument is that it's supposed to reduce fraud. Except that AG Van Hollen hasn't ever actually found sufficient election fraud to justify squat. And it sure seems like there was far more claims of election fraud in 2008 when the Democrats won than there were in 2010 when the Republicans won (aside from Waukesha county, and that's plain ol' incompetence), but that might just be my personal bias obscuring things.
posted by Kyol at 1:30 PM on July 26, 2011


if you can't be bothered to keep such things safe or invest in a copy of the most basic documentary evidence that you exist then you're a fool.

Fools get to vote.
posted by escabeche at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2011 [19 favorites]


omg mc hammer is going to be at the state fair, wtf wisconsin.

Sounds about right. B and C list music act are a staple at big state fairs. NY will have, free with paid admission, Three Dog Night, the Pointer Sisters, Larry Gatlin, KC and the Sunshine band, and some version of Starship that no longer includes any of the original band members. (It's probably a sign I am getting old that I'd rather see the free B/C-list acts than any of the expensive acts on the main, evening stage.)
posted by aught at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2011


If you think DMVs are crap and staffed by stupid people (not always true), you've never been to a US post office, have you?

I live around the corner from one. They're not the brightest people on earth, but somehow they manage to keep things moving so that I am never waiting in line longer than about 5 minutes...and that's a small post office. Maybe you should start doing the drivers license applications at the post office as well; the USPS needs some income, the state can close down all the badly-organized DMVs, and people can get their driving licenses quicker.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2011


k5.user: "Voter issues aside, I find the DMV closure interesting. I think a lot of folks who didn't care about state workers losing their rights is exactly because of the DMV.

DMV lines and indifferent DMV workers is a staple for stand-up comedians. No one likes going to the DMV because it is a PITA of bureaucratic red tape, unhelpful employees etc etc.
"

I've dealt with DMVs in New Jersey and Washington DC.

Apart from once making the mistake of showing up to the NJ DMV on a holiday weekend, I've never had a horrible experience.

Yes, the documentation requirements suck, but it seems like a reasonable price to pay for having a reasonably water-tight form of public identification. When I showed up to transfer all of my stuff over to DC, before even sitting down in the queue, the receptionist went through the documentation I brought with me to make sure that I had everything.

Suffice it to say, I didn't. However, she gave me a form to be signed by my landlord because I didn't have a utility bill or paycheck with my address on it, gave me a printout with directions to the social security office down the street that would be able to replace my long-missing ID card there (and told me what ID I'd need to bring to do that, as well as the fact that the SS office would be open for another 90 minutes), and gave me instructions for getting my car inspected in the meantime if I couldn't complete the other tasks in the same day. Sure enough, I did all of the things she said, returned to the DMV the next day, and was in and out with a new license, title, registration, plates, inspection decal, and parking permit within 20 minutes. Oh, and they also registered me to vote. (I think you can also get a library card there now too.)

Even the onerous ID requirements (such as the utility bill/paycheck thing) had an escape route, and the staff were friendly and helpful to explain to me how to circumnavigate them.

Also, thanks to the fact that everything can be done online, I won't have to go back there for several years to come.

If the DMV in Southwest Washington, DC can be that friendly and efficient (two words rarely associated with the DC government), there's absolutely no excuse for other states to be any worse other than deliberate mismanagement.
posted by schmod at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2011


Get a passport; it's cheap
It's $135.
That is cheap.


I can't afford to pay $135 to vote.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:33 PM on July 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


Get a passport; it's cheap
It's $135.
That is cheap.


That's a couple months' worth of food.
posted by Vibrissa at 1:34 PM on July 26, 2011 [16 favorites]


Really? Where does it say drinking is a privilege? And what's wrong with demonstrating your eligibility to exercise a right? You're full of it.

It is a privilege in the sense that it is not enumerated in the Constitution as a right. Don't be so obtuse.

And $135 is cheap? The hell it is. Even if it were, it's not legal to force people to spend money in order to vote. You, sir, are full of it.
posted by rtha at 1:37 PM on July 26, 2011 [29 favorites]


Get a passport; it's cheap
It's $135.
That is cheap.


No. No it is not. You clearly have no idea what poverty is actually like if you think $135 is a trivial sum.
posted by mmmbacon at 1:37 PM on July 26, 2011 [21 favorites]


Really? Where does it say drinking is a privilege? And what's wrong with demonstrating your eligibility to exercise a right? You're full of it.

If you want to get all technical about it, I shouldn't have to show ID to exercise any right I have as long as I'm not breaking the law.

Show my ID to travel inside the country? NOPE.

Show my ID to the police just because they want to see it? NOPE.

Vote? NOPE.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


and if you can't be bothered to keep such things safe or invest in a copy of the most basic documentary evidence that you exist then you're a fool

So what? Look. It's really simple. This is what people are talking about. Not being organized, being a fool, not having a fixed address, living day-to-day and not having the cash to get a $150 passport or $50 state ID -- in a working democracy, these things simply DO NOT disqualify you from voting. In the Republican view of the future, it looks like they do. Only people who are well-organized, well-employed, have their shit together in a politely and socially correct way, and have a couple hundred dollars padding in their long-standing checking account are worthy of voting.
posted by aught at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2011 [22 favorites]


chimaera: "That's just plain unconstitutional and wouldn't pass the laugh test even if it were put before the likes of Justice Scalia."

I wouldn't want to try testing that theory, personally...
posted by symbioid at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2011


smirkette: "I...I have no words. Or no good ones, at least. Disenfranchisement has got to be one of the greatest sins against America."

Better a thousand legit votes tossed out than one illegit one pass through... *rubshandsacceptscheckintheotherfromchoicepoint*
posted by symbioid at 1:40 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's complete BS. Get a friend to drive you to the DMV instead of taking the bus. You should have a birth certificate or ID anyway as a practical matter, and if you can't be bothered to keep such things safe or invest in a copy of the most basic documentary evidence that you exist then you're a fool.

Elderly. Disabled. Poor. Homeless. Obviously you have never been either at one time or another in my life I suppose I have been 3 out of 4. All those classes deserve as much right to vote as any rich young white man. All those classes have a great deal of difficulty in keeping or obtaining appropriate ID. Your attitude, imho, stinks of entitlement.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:40 PM on July 26, 2011 [21 favorites]


Well, I very carefully avoided saying Justice Thomas. Scalia, for all his zealotry and faults, I'm sure would laugh "not enough activity" on a bank account as a reason for declining to provide a citizen an ID out of the room. Thomas? Well, he's such an originalist he probably thinks that owning property should be required again.
posted by chimaera at 1:41 PM on July 26, 2011


Fools get to vote.

A convenient rallying cry when you need their votes. It would do a lot more good if those people were helped to participate more fully in society by getting proper ID.

Claims of voter fraud by illegal aliens, bus voters voting multiple times, ballot stuffing, etc., are 99% bullshit. So are the plaints about how group X Y and Z find it so hard to get ID that voting should be possible without any ID. I know illegal aliens who have been registered to vote and who have probably done so. Morally I don't have that big of a problem with it since they were paying taxes anyway, but I hope none of them did so with the expectation of becoming citizens later because voting without being a citizen = deportation and permanent exclusion from the US.

Voter ID is a Good Thing. Improving access to ID, social services, and voting is a Good Thing. Keeping people marginalized by telling them they don't need any of that stuff as long as they get to vote is a Bad Thing. The GOP scares people every election cycle with tales of illegal voters. The Democrats scare people every election cycle with tales of illegal disenfranchisement. Well guess what, it's kind of hard to disenfranchise someone if they have proof of residence and voting eligibility in their pocket.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:41 PM on July 26, 2011


If you are 'eligible' for a 'right' then it isn't a right. A right is something you are guaranteed forever (hence the bill of 'rights' looking more and more like a bill of privileges with occasionally updated qualifications). If you're 'eligible' for it, then it becomes a privilege.

In this case, a privilege of those who can shell out $28 for a drivers license when they don't know about the waiver or $130 for a passport.

As for the Oligarchy question: there isn't one set rubric for Oligarchy. You can have a democratic oligarchy, a tyrannical oligarchy, etc. etc. All that matters is that the government is for the rich, by the rich, with the consent of the rich (and those whom they consent to let vote in the 'democracy').
posted by Slackermagee at 1:42 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Keeping people marginalized by telling them they don't need any of that stuff as long as they get to vote is a Bad Thing.

Nobody said this.
posted by mmmbacon at 1:43 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Voter ID is a Good Thing.

And before you implement that Good Thing, I would insist that there is universal, fair, and free access to that Good Thing. As opposed to shoddy access for those who can afford to get it with improvements made with glacial slowness.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:43 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


anigbrowl, I can't remember where you're from (UK?) but I don't go into threads about other countries' political systems telling them they're doing it wrong. I assume that I don't have the requisite knowledge of all of the potential issues because I did not grow up there and do not participate in their political system. If you did grow up in the US, or were educated here, then accept my apologies, but I still disagree with you.

You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but I feel you're being obtuse and brash and showing some ignorance of how people actually live. $135 is still a lot of money to me, and both my husband and I work professional jobs and don't have kids. When I was single and uninsured I would have saved that money rather than voted. If you don't see the problem with people choosing to buy food instead of voting, then I'm not sure what to say to you.
posted by desjardins at 1:45 PM on July 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


I personally think that showing ID to vote should just be the norm. It's the case in a lot of other countries, and you need ID to buy booze or get behind the wheel or for an awful lot of other things, so it's quite reasonable to need ID to vote.

I understand you used to live in the UK, correct? The country where you don't need an ID to vote, only need an ID to buy booze if you look under 25, don't have to carry a driving license on your person while driving, and has no on-demand ID card?
posted by Jehan at 1:46 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you are 'eligible' for a 'right' then it isn't a right.

I have a right to vote for my city council, but not the city council two towns over. They've got a need to verify that the votes cast are legitimately cast.

I think this VoterID law is a step too far. I agree that enabling voting is key to a democracy, and that voting is already too hard to do for too many people and low turnout is partially a response to that. I also agree that this law is designed to be an impediment to Democratic candidates.

That being said, verifying that the votes are cast, and counted, correctly is in everyone's best interest. Proving that you are entitled to vote in a given election is part of that process.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fools get to vote.

A convenient rallying cry when you need their votes.


Nice GOP talking point you've reproduced for us. All citizens get to vote, fools or not. It's that simple.

It's also a GOP strategy to lump disenfranchised, unemployed, homeless, disabled, very elderly, and poor college age voters with "fools" as you have done by not quoting the whole comment you're supposedly rebutting. It's a dishonest strategy when the GOP does it too.
posted by aught at 1:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why guess? According to research from UW-Milwaukee, almost 300,000 Wisconsin residents age 35 and up lack a valid drivers' license. Only about half of voting-age black Wisconsinites have a valid license, as against 83% of whites. Voting-age residents in (Democratic-leaning) Milwaukee County are substantially less likely to have a driver's license, even after controlling for race.

All of which proves more or less nothing.
If you can find statistics that show how many registered voters don't have drivers licences or another form of government ID, then it'd be useful.
Given the abysmal vote participation rates in the country, "voting age" isn't a very useful metric.
posted by madajb at 1:48 PM on July 26, 2011


If you think DMVs are crap and staffed by stupid people (not always true), you've never been to a US post office, have you?

Hell, try dealing with the staff at a state prison. I think the DMV sends their employees there who are too surly or lazy even by DMV standards.

Actually, I've had pretty good experiences at the DMVs around here. The prisons, not so much (volunteer, not an inmate).
posted by marxchivist at 1:49 PM on July 26, 2011


it's kind of hard to disenfranchise someone if they have proof of residence and voting eligibility in their pocket.

Sure, of course, but making those items a requirement to vote isn't the way to go about getting to the point where everyone has that. Guarding against that requirement is what we're talking about here, not whether or not any given person oughta have those things.

Also, anigbrowl, if you're going to be contrary (no problem, go right ahead) it might help your case to not be a cussin' asshole about it.
posted by carsonb at 1:49 PM on July 26, 2011


If we've established that voter-fraud is close to numerically non-existent, then what are the arguments for needing a Voter-ID according to those who support the Voter-ID? (specifically anigbrowl, as you seem to be the only one supporting this)
posted by czytm at 1:50 PM on July 26, 2011


Drinking is a privilege. Driving is a privilege. Voting is a RIGHT.

All three of those things are rights.
The fact that two of them have been recast as privileges... well, that's a discussion for another thread.
posted by madajb at 1:51 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Improving access to ID, social services, and voting is a Good Thing.

I agree with you on this. Did you miss the part where this is exactly what Walker et al. are doing the opposite of?
posted by rtha at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Serious question here...

How do all of you get by without an ID?

I need to show it easily two or three times a week. Buying alcohol, buying a pack of sparklers, visiting just about any government building, using a credit card, using a check, cashing a check, traveling by any means other than walking, crossing a border (actually need a passport for that, now) even on foot, opening any sort of account from "bank" to "library", renting a house, buying a house...

I just can't see it as all that much of a burden to require a license or free state-issued "voter ID" card, something that you can't realistically conduct your day-to-day affairs without.


Another serious question, since you all seem to consider this a GOP plot to disenfranchise the poor...

Without requiring ID, how do you stop Richie McMoneybags from putting on the hobo getup and voting a straight Red ticket in every polling center in the state, with a fake name and claiming he lives under the nearest overpass? I'd personally consider that a more likely possibility than fraud involving the boogeyman of the poor single mother immigrant busting her butt to get to the polls after work and yet somehow having time to do so multiple times.
posted by pla at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2011


If you want to get all technical about it, I shouldn't have to show ID to exercise any right I have as long as I'm not breaking the law.
Show my ID to travel inside the country? NOPE.
Show my ID to the police just because they want to see it? NOPE.
Vote? NOPE.


I 100% agree, you shouldn't have to show ID for any of these things.
posted by meinvt at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2011


Holy fuck this is somehow shaping up to be one of the most depressing MeFi threads I've ever read. I'm ready to quit America now. Can I please have political asylum in Germany? I've got a strong claim to citizenship (since my mom and literally half my family are German). Just evacuate me by helicopter already please! I'm useful! I have many skills and a demonstrated ability to complete tasks under unreasonable deadline pressures. MeFiMail me for directions, Germany. Hurry!
posted by saulgoodman at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Drinking is a privilege. Driving is a privilege.

Combining them is a felony.
posted by snottydick at 1:54 PM on July 26, 2011


I'm....I'm starting to wonder if they really, actually do hate America.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:55 PM on July 26, 2011


I have to show my ID maybe once a month, if that.
posted by rtha at 1:55 PM on July 26, 2011


@snottydick: Nope, they just love money/power. By 'they' I mean 99% of all people with money or power.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:56 PM on July 26, 2011


I just can't see it as all that much of a burden to require a license or free state-issued "voter ID" card, something that you can't realistically conduct your day-to-day affairs without.

The last time I was asked to show ID was in a liquor store a month or so ago (I wasn't even buying alcohol!). I don't remember the time before that. Probably the last time I was on a plane, so March.
posted by hoyland at 1:56 PM on July 26, 2011


How do all of you get by without an ID?

I need to show it easily two or three times a week. Buying alcohol, buying a pack of sparklers, visiting just about any government building, using a credit card, using a check, cashing a check, traveling by any means other than walking, crossing a border (actually need a passport for that, now) even on foot, opening any sort of account from "bank" to "library", renting a house, buying a house...


I have not needed an ID to rent, nor to get a library card, nor did I need one to go to the county offices. The rest of those things are done with what you might call 'disposable income' which is not something I have a lot of at any given time. So I don't actually get to do any of that.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


pla: How do all of you get by without an ID?

I need to show it easily two or three times a week. Buying alcohol, buying a pack of sparklers, visiting just about any government building, using a credit card, using a check, cashing a check, traveling by any means other than walking, crossing a border (actually need a passport for that, now) even on foot, opening any sort of account from "bank" to "library", renting a house, buying a house...


You've never been homeless.
posted by carsonb at 1:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm....I'm starting to wonder if they really, actually do hate America.

No, just parts of it.... specifically any that doesn't look like them (for various values of "look like").
posted by chimaera at 1:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do all of you get by without an ID? I need to show it easily two or three times a week. Buying alcohol, buying a pack of sparklers, visiting just about any government building, using a credit card, using a check, cashing a check, traveling by any means other than walking,

I live in Wisconsin and I do everything you just said quite often, except buying sparklers. The only time I ever take out my drivers license is to get on a plane.

Without requiring ID, how do you stop Richie McMoneybags from putting on the hobo getup and voting a straight Red ticket in every polling center in the state, with a fake name and claiming he lives under the nearest overpass?

Richie McM has much simpler and more effective ways to drum up votes for his preferred candidates.
posted by escabeche at 1:57 PM on July 26, 2011


Without requiring ID, how do you stop Richie McMoneybags from putting on the hobo getup and voting a straight Red ticket in every polling center in the state, with a fake name and claiming he lives under the nearest overpass?

Because you have to be registered. You have to walk up to the election official, state your name and your address. If you say your name is "Bob Loblaw," they'll ask you for your address. If is not in their book, you don't get to vote. If you vote under my name (assuming you know my address), and I show up at the polls that day, there is going to be an investigation into who used my name.
posted by desjardins at 1:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


saulgoodman : Can I please have political asylum in Germany?

It is compulsory for all German citizens age 16 or older to possess either a "Personalausweis" (identity card) or a passport but not to carry one.
posted by pla at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2011


I'm trying to remember the last time I showed my ID. I'm 36, but I have some gray hair, so I don't get carded for alcohol. (Buying alcohol is a choice, btw. It's not some necessity that everyone has to have access to.) I don't write checks, I use my debit card. I don't get stopped for traffic violations very often.

I think the last time was when I was visiting a Naval Base, maybe 6 months ago. I am completely fine with military installations requiring photo ID.
posted by desjardins at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2011


escabeche: "Fools get to vote."

Actually, 44 states and many localities constitutionally prohibit the "insane" and "idiot persons" from voting. (Warning, .DOC link) Fools do not necessarily get a vote.

This is a curious fact, because the national constitution does not implicitly grant a right for citizens to vote -- that right needs to be granted by states. Although Supreme Court jurisprudence is fairly clear that citizens do have implicit voting rights, states are rarely held to that standard, and can more or less get away with murder when it comes to voting rights.

Many states (most notably, Alabama) have not updated their constitutions in light of the federal 1965 Voting Rights Act, which banned literacy tests and poll taxes as a means of disenfranchising African Americans. As an aside, Alabama did not remove the clause banning interracial marriage until 2000, because scare tactics were used to warn that taxes would go up under such a repeal. The clause mandating racially-segragated education remains in the document.

States have reams of laws and constitutional clauses on the books that have been invalidated by federal statutes. It's a mess.

Jurisprudence on the issue has also become increasingly muddled over the past decade, following the Bush v. Gore decision, which concluded that "The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States." In 2008, the court also affirmed similarly strict ID requirement laws in Indiana, Arizona, Georgia and Florida.

Many states and localities also establish significant barriers to prevent university students from voting locally, categorically outlawing it in some cases. Although these cases are usually in egregious violation of US or State constitutions, they rarely make it to court, and even then, it's unusual for challenges to succeed there. Such is the life of a disenfranchised population.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and subsequent jurisprudence does considerably expand the voting rights of the disabled, although no federal right has been established that guarantees the mentally infirm of the right to vote. (There's a very extensive discussion of that topic in the first link in this comment)
posted by schmod at 2:01 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


So? It's compulsory to have a birth certificate in the US. Am I supposed to think that's draconian, pla?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:02 PM on July 26, 2011


Thomas? Well, he's such an originalist he probably thinks that owning property should be required again.

Clarence Thomas is such an originalist he probably thinks that owning Clarence Thomas should be required again.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


Somewhere on Flickr I have a scanned copy of my grandparents' poll tax receipt from 1955. There's a line for "color." I'll link it later, but if you know my real name (from G+) my user name on Flickr is firstnamelastname.
posted by desjardins at 2:05 PM on July 26, 2011


Actually I'm not sure that's my username. I think i used my maiden name. Never mind.
posted by desjardins at 2:05 PM on July 26, 2011


All of you people have this backwards. This is clearly an attempt to hamper the voting rights of the wealthy and give extra voting privileges to the poor and elderly.

Have you ever been to the DMV? You end up waiting hours. I'm an incredibly wealthy person and I'm too busy managing my multinational corporation to wait that long. Poor people, people out of work, old people - they all have that extra time. So they'll get to vote and I won't.

Write your congressman about this needless persecution of the rich!

And while you're at it, mention to them that I could really use a tax break.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:08 PM on July 26, 2011


So? It's compulsory to have a birth certificate in the US. Am I supposed to think that's draconian, pla?

This is a counterargument? Everyone's birth is recorded for the purpose of validating their existence to a bureaucracy and this somehow justifies personal ID cards?
posted by Slackermagee at 2:09 PM on July 26, 2011


By the way, taking a look at the Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana's Voter ID law (6-3, JP Stevens for the majority) two things are clear. The constitutionality of a voter ID law requires a) that the government convince the court that the purpose of the law is to prevent voter fraud; and b) that the ID be free, so that it doesn't impose a substantial burden on the voter. Stevens' opinion emphasizes that the burden is "not substantial," which seems to indicate that a sufficiently burdensome process, even without a fee, would push the law beyond constitutional limits:

"Because Indiana's cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters' right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. The severity of the somewhat heavier burden that may be placed on a limited number of persons--e.g., elderly persons born out-of-state, who may have difficulty obtaining a birth certificate--is mitigated by the fact that eligible voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they execute the required affidavit at the circuit court clerk's office. Even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners' right to the relief they seek."

The concurring opinion by Scalia, on the other hand, says:

"The Indiana law affects different voters differently, ante, at 14-16, but what petitioners view as the law's several light and heavy burdens are no more than the different impacts of the single burden that the law uniformly imposes on all voters. To vote in person in Indiana, everyone must have and present a photo identification that can be obtained for free. The State draws no classifications, let alone discriminatory ones, except to establish optional absentee and provisional balloting for certain poor, elderly, and institutionalized voters and for religious objectors. Nor are voters who already have photo identifications exempted from the burden, since those voters must maintain the accuracy of the information displayed on the identifications, renew them before they expire, and replace them if they are lost.

The Indiana photo-identification law is a generally applicable, nondiscriminatory voting regulation, and our precedents refute the view that individual impacts are relevant to determining the severity of the burden it imposes."

which, if I understand correctly, makes the claim that when assessing the "substantialness" of a burden one is not to think about whether its impact falls disproportionately on different groups. Scalia goes on to refer to absentee ballots as "an indulgence" offered by the state. Even he, however, concedes that for the law to be valid it must not be "intended to disadvantage a particular class."
posted by escabeche at 2:14 PM on July 26, 2011


I've said before that Wisconsin is like Alabama, but with snow.

That's hardly fair, you said yourself Walker's approval numbers are in the high 40s, I suspect if he were governor of Alabama they'd be much higher. Wisconsin has always been pretty well balanced politically. The LaFollettes (though at first Republican) dominated Wisconsin politics for many years and helped lead the charge against corporate power in the 20th century. In a more modern era a number of notable politicians of both the Democratic and Republican Party have emerged from Wisconsin. Wisconsin is nothing like Alabama, politically, culturally or historically.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:17 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So? It's compulsory to have a birth certificate in the US. Am I supposed to think that's draconian, pla?

This isn't true. Not having a birth certificate makes getting a passport hell, but there's an official policy in place for such situations. (Births don't get registered, records get lost or destroyed by first, etc.)
posted by hoyland at 2:20 PM on July 26, 2011


Er... by fire. "By first" could be a Buffy reference with a missing article.
posted by hoyland at 2:20 PM on July 26, 2011


Ah, hello from North Dakota! We haven't had voter registration in decades. We're one of the redder states, too. Plus -- IIRC -- they cannot deny someone from voting for incomplete identification; a person who cannot prove their valid ability to vote can sign an affidavit on-site at the polling station, and if it still turns out they're wrong, only then can their vote be thrown out. And, the amount of vote fraud is the same here as in the rest of the US...darn near none, in fact. I believe if you show up with a handful of bills (electric, phone, etc.) is enough for them to let you vote. Other states have complained that this only works in ND because of the small population -- but the state deliberately creates small voting districts, so it's not about the size of the state, but the interest in the state not disenfranchising voters.
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:20 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


saulgoodman So? It's compulsory to have a birth certificate in the US. Am I supposed to think that's draconian, pla?

I actually meant that as quite the opposite - Requiring someone to have some form of ID (though not necessarily carry it at all times) seems quite reasonable, IMO. I mentioned Germany specifically because you did, in a way that came off as wanting to go there to escape such absurd laws as voter ID - No Godwinning intended.

I would point out that I totally oppose a national ID card, and did my damnedest to get my state's congresscritters to revolt against RealID. But some form of ID, which you have the option of using to prove your identity at will... Especially one issued for free... I just can't see that as overly burdensome.

As for what situations should require you to choose to identify yourself or not play, I'd have to call participation in one of the defining rituals of our form of government pretty high on the list of kosher uses for an ID.
posted by pla at 2:23 PM on July 26, 2011


"you need ID to buy booze or get behind the wheel or for an awful lot of other things, so it's quite reasonable to need ID to vote."

I see this argument quite a bit and my response is always that buying booze, cashing checks and driving aren't constitutional rights, voting is. We should make as easy as possible for people to exercise their rights, not make it more difficult.
posted by MikeMc at 2:27 PM on July 26, 2011


anigbrowl: "Drinking is a privilege. Driving is a privilege. Voting is a RIGHT.

Really? Where does it say drinking is a privilege? And what's wrong with demonstrating your eligibility to exercise a right? You're full of it.
"

We've demonstrated it in WI for oh, I dunno how long, by merely providing an envelope. Now that's not "good enough"... However, the Republicans can't show that there's some huge electoral fraud going on. Oh sure, they'll claim there's all kinds of fraud going on, but we have a whole system designed to prosecute abuse. If they really had evidence they'd bring it before the courts. And if they did, and it was found to be fraud, I'd gladly support it. But as it stands, they magically wave their hand in fearmongering of "vote fraud" (magically it's always underserved populations who engage in the fraud and never ever ever honest hardworking Republican areas).

Anyways. Ugh. You obviously suffer from a lot of privilege if you think 135 dollars is cheap... Regardless... Again. POLL TAXES ARE ILLEGAL, and this is pretty much the same thing *if* they charge you for it.
posted by symbioid at 2:29 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


escabeche: "Fools get to vote."

Actually, 44 states and many localities constitutionally prohibit the "insane" and "idiot persons" from voting. (Warning, .DOC link) Fools do not necessarily get a vote.


Needs more legal definition.
You two are right, they may not vote in certain circumstances, but they can get elected.
posted by clavdivs at 2:29 PM on July 26, 2011


desjardins : $135 is still a lot of money to me, and both my husband and I work professional jobs and don't have kids.

All of this applies to me as well. Both my wife and I are professionals who make a fair wage and I still would blanch at the idea of having to pay $135 strictly for the purposes of identifying myself to vote.

But then, I've been really poor and I don't think I ever fully recovered from the frugal nature that instilled in me.
posted by quin at 2:29 PM on July 26, 2011


News from NC: the Republican controlled House failed to override the Governor's veto of a voter ID bill. (But they did override her veto of a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion bill).
posted by marxchivist at 2:30 PM on July 26, 2011


It's malfeasance like this that makes me so ill every time someone here (or anywhere) says that Democrats are no better than Republicans.
posted by jeffen at 2:36 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Get a passport; it's cheap
It's $135.
That is cheap.

That's a couple months' worth of food.


Do you think I was born yesterday? I know how much food costs. And as an illegal alien myself, I think I know a fuck of a lot more about scraping by on slave wages, or not getting my wages, and about not having any legal rights worth speaking of, than any of you do.

Anyone who is an American citizen has the right to vote, accept offers of work, and do a whole lot of other things that people without documents - and with no legal right to procure such documents - are simply not able to do. And instead of helping each other to get those documents and do such things, you wring your hands about the cruelty and injustice of having to get the trivially inexpensive documents that allow you to exercise the many rights and privileges you enjoy. In fact, all you're doing with these stupid anti-voter-ID campaigns is pushing your fellow Americans down into the same document-free limbo that most illegal aliens live with, and which limits their ability to participate fully in American society.

You should be fucking thrilled that it is so easy in the US to get an ID and have a financial life and a credit record and have people just glance at your driver's license or state ID and wavve you through without thinking about it. You should be working to make sure that every one of your fellow citizens can take full advantage of such convenience and is empowered by it. But no, instead of saying 'hey, you're entitled to get all this stuff, I will make a pledge to help 10 people get their id, register to vote, and even vote by mail or something if it's more convenient for them' you want to pretend that being able to get documents proving citizenship and residence is a terrible burden and it's so unfair that there's this tiny little inconvenience of maintaining a current legal identity. Instead you keep telling people they're so discriminated against and that they shouldn't need any legal identity at voting time, even though the lack of a legal identity is as big a handicap as illiteracy in any modern society. By telling people that they don't need it and shouldn't have to get it you and infantilizing them and keeping them poor and keeping them out on the margins of society instead of being fully involved in it.

You want to talk about discrimination? I'll tell you about discrimination. If I get picked up by an immigration agent I can be taken away to a detention center with no hearing, no right to a lawyer, and no phone call. I do not get a presumption of innocence. I do not get to make a habeas corpus filing until I have been held for longer than 6 months. I am not allowed to bring suit in federal court to enjoin deportation proceedings once they have started. I have no right of appeal in many proceedings. I am not allowed to file or participate in class actions about this, because class action lawsuits about these rules are specifically forbidden by statute. Many, perhaps most of the laws governing my situation are excluded from the scope of judicial review as well. I pay income and payroll taxes but have no access to social security. I am forbidden to apply for student loans. I am forbidden to apply for a social security number or driving license. I can go to prison for falsely doing so, which is why I never have. I am not allowed to get a job. I can't get a gun license, whether for hunting or for defense if I live in a dangerous area. If I am arrested, I can be detained for days even if I am not charged with any crimes, before being handed over to the custody of federal officers.

Then there's the practical inconveniences. I can't get a credit card, unless I put down a deposit for the amount of credit I want - in other words, pay to borrow money from myself. I can't get phone service unless I pay in advance. I can't rent an apartment or sign a lease if it requires a credit check. I can't drive because it's illegal to drive without a license and even if I was OK with doing that, I wouldn't be able to get insurance. Let's not even talk about health insurance, although you might be surprised to find that it's less expensive to pay out of pocket for a lot of things if you plan ahead - assuming that one doesn't get really sick or injured, of course. Every time I produce my ID, which is my passport, people get confused because it doesn't resemble a driving license and they need to have it explained to them. Some large companies illegally refuse to recognize a passport as a form of valid ID, so if I'm doing my grocery shopping at Safeway, for example, I can't buy a beer there. I could go on, and on, and on.

You who are American citizens have so many rights, and privileges, for the mere asking. Your officials - elected, appointed or employed - are required to comply with so many laws safeguarding those rights and privileges that you enjoy more individual freedoms than almost any nation on earth, with the possible exception of Switzerland. If they don't comply, you can go to court, and despite all their faults and all the budget cuts and all the unfavorable legal decisions, access to legal remedies in the US is still vastly easier than in most other places. And yet you lament the horrendous imposition of having to spend $20 plus bus fare and wait in line for a couple of hours in order to get a birth certificate so you can get a state ID or a driving license. So you say that nobody should have to pay it, as if the lack of such documents or the proof of legal identity that they provide is a bad thing. Let me tell you something - when I've been sitting at the DMV waiting for my partner's turn on their antiquated 'take a number' system, I still envy the people there despite all the tedium and inconvenience, because they are enjoying the exercise of their legal rights - rights which are wholly unavailable to me because of where and when I happened to be born.

Quit whining and help your fellow citizens to get their ID. This will do far, far more to improve their lives - economically, socially, psychologically - than the ability to vote without ID. If they can't get it because they don't have the few bucks, then put your hand in your damn pocket and give them the twenty bucks, a far more direct and efficient application of your money than any donation to some anti-voter-ID campaign or PAC.

Oh, and the person who was saying that drinking is a privilege because it's not enumerated in the Constitution? Well guess what, neither is marriage, and neither is direct election of the President. But that's OK, I'm getting kind of used to knowing the US Constitution better than most of the people who enjoy its full benefits.

/rant
posted by anigbrowl at 2:38 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


"How do all of you get by without an ID?

I need to show it easily two or three times a week. "


I've had to show my driver's license once in the last year and that was to vote in the recall primary (Go Pasch!) and that was because they were trying to work the kinks out of the new system before the law goes into effect. So, I have an ID but I almost never actually need it.
posted by MikeMc at 2:38 PM on July 26, 2011


But then, I've been really poor and I don't think I ever fully recovered from the frugal nature that instilled in me.

I haven't been really poor, but my parents have, and that frugality got passed down. I've currently been agonizing for a week on how to spend a $40 Amazon credit. I'm so reticent to buy anything "frivolous."

posted by desjardins at 2:40 PM on July 26, 2011


In other "Republicans steal elections" news: New court filing reveals how the 2004 Ohio presidential election was hacked
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:42 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Do you think I was born yesterday? I know how much food costs. And as an illegal alien myself, I think I know a fuck of a lot more about scraping by on slave wages, or not getting my wages, and about not having any legal rights worth speaking of, than any of you do."

That's all well and good but I am a citizen and I really don't appreciate politicians trying to throw up completely unnecessary roadblocks to make it more difficult for me and my fellow citizens to exercise our rights. This is nothing more than an attempt to suppress votes from Democrat leaning constituencies. We've been voting in Wisconsin for over 150 years with photo ID and it's been working just fine.
posted by MikeMc at 2:46 PM on July 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


without photo ID that is.
posted by MikeMc at 2:47 PM on July 26, 2011


anigbrowl - first you say we should work to make it easy to get the ID, and not complain that we have to have it. OK, fair 'nuf.

But you realize that you posted this in a thread where we're discussing the fact that the state legislature just made it HARDER to get that ID.

You grok that, right? This is why we're saying it isn't about minor inconveniences. It's also making it sound like you think we shouldn't be trying to make it easier to vote, when they are making it harder.

Why are we whining? Why can't we help our citizens to vote by having measures that make it easy to vote (i.e. mail-in voting for people who are disabled)... By your logic, we never should have fought that battle to make it easy for those who can't make it to the polls easily because we should just suck it up and drive them there or whatever.

*sigh*

And I see it's not privilege you're dealing with it's the "fuck you, I ain't got mine so why should you get yours" attitude that the Tea Party has. (note: I'm not calling you a Tea Party type person, especially considering your legal status, that would be awkward).

but this "I have to suffer, now others have to see what it's like to be me and suffer" is just a croc of shit and it's a lot of why we are where we are in the first place.
posted by symbioid at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


Nine Wisconsinites Who Are Screwing Up America
posted by homunculus at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


You want to talk about discrimination? I'll tell you about discrimination. If I get picked up by an immigration agent I can be taken away to a detention center with no hearing, no right to a lawyer, and no phone call. I do not get a presumption of innocence. I do not get to make a habeas corpus filing until I have been held for longer than 6 months.

So let me get this straight....
1. You are not an American citizen
2. You are in the country illegally

annnndddd.....
3. You have a direct line on what is best for the American voter.

That about right?
Hey buddy - before you rant to me me what my constitution says about what my voting rights should be ... maybe you should , you know, get your own affairs in order? You could start by getting a work visa. When you're actually a citizen how about we chat then?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:49 PM on July 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


You want to talk about discrimination? I'll tell you about discrimination. If I get picked up by an immigration agent I can be taken away to a detention center with no hearing, no right to a lawyer, and no phone call. I do not get a presumption of innocence. I do not get to make a habeas corpus filing until I have been held for longer than 6 months.

They do that to those of us who have citizenship, too.
posted by hoyland at 2:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Nice GOP talking point you've reproduced for us. All citizens get to vote, fools or not. It's that simple.

Really? So all those elementary-, middle-, and high schools kids are just not bothering to show up at the polls? Kids today, I ask you. Of course, we all know that you have to be 18 to vote, but hey, that's just a detail. And we could talk about which states forbid felons from voting, even after they've served their time - that's a serious injustice, in my view, because people who have already paid their penal debt to society are excluded from full participation in it and thus have less incentive to abide by a law that disenfranchises them. They're citizens too, but not so many people care about that.

Of course, such policies often originate within the GOP, which is why I don't care much for that party. But blowing smoke about people's right not to have any ID in order to vote doesn't endear me to the Democratic party, because people are better off with ID than without. A hell of a lot better off. And I am not going to apologize for being cynical about it, because year after year I've observed that complaints about voter ID from both sides of the aisle are a pre-election maneuver. The day after polling day, all those marginal voters with no documents are instantly forgotten about until the next campaign.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:56 PM on July 26, 2011


No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

anigbrowl:

Look at the 14th amendment above. Notice that is says that no person within US jurisdiction shall be denied the protection of the laws. Notice it doesn't say citizen, and that has to be on purpose, because the word citizen is used earlier in the sentence. The framers certainly meant that anybody on US soil gets the same protection.

That's why these picky conversations need to be had. Constant vigilance and all that.

Best of luck to you.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:57 PM on July 26, 2011


If you want to get all technical about it, I shouldn't have to show ID to exercise any right I have as long as I'm not breaking the law.
Vote? NOPE.

I 100% agree, you shouldn't have to show ID for any of these things.


So, under your system, what's to stop voter fraud? People from voting more than once, or voting in other people's districts? Ballot stuffing?
posted by adamdschneider at 2:58 PM on July 26, 2011


Oh, and the person who was saying that drinking is a privilege because it's not enumerated in the Constitution? Well guess what, neither is marriage, and neither is direct election of the President. But that's OK, I'm getting kind of used to knowing the US Constitution better than most of the people who enjoy its full benefits.

Uhh.... we don't elect the president directly. That's why it's not in the Constitution. The fact we don't elect the president directly is in the Constitution.
posted by hoyland at 2:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Water ✔
Guns ✔
ammo ✔
Food ✔
off grid ✔


on pluto✔
posted by pyramid termite at 3:00 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, under your system, what's to stop voter fraud? People from voting more than once, or voting in other people's districts? Ballot stuffing?

Voter registration.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:01 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


But you realize that you posted this in a thread where we're discussing the fact that the state legislature just made it HARDER to get that ID.

Yes, and it's still not that hard. For the last time (I promise) you will do more for people's lives tby helping to get the ID that they already have a right to than whining about the need to get ID. Anyone who doesn't have ID is already falling through the cracks. Given limited resources for activism, time spent on educating or assisting them with obtaining ID would more effectively safeguard their voting rights and improve their daily lives. We can argue until the cows come how how things should be, but none of that actually changes anything. Getting people the ID that they need anyway is a better political strategy, and a better kindness towards people who lack ID. I am not impressed by the handwringing of people who have never had to deal with the reality of having no legal identity in their own lives.

Sorry if that hurts your feelings, but you can't eat constitutional rights. If you have legal ID, however, it's a hell of a lot easier to get food stamps and jobs and things like that. Or so I'm told by the people who have that option.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:05 PM on July 26, 2011


anigbrowl: You should be working to make sure that every one of your fellow citizens can take full advantage of such convenience and is empowered by it.

I with you on this point. We should help people get ID. But the way our system is set up, it isn't as easy as it should be. If you lost your birth certificate, you need ID to get a replacement. But to get that ID, you need your birth certificate. You can use your bank account info as proof of residency but poor people deal in cash and even they wanted an account they have to show ID to open an account. It is this giant circular reference and the longer you go without ID, the harder it is to get it.

In the US, the right to vote is sacrosanct even though a lot of people don't bother with it. Clearly politically motivated attempts to restrict that right gets a strong reaction because it a clear attempt for the republicans to sway elections. There is no evidence of rampant multiple voting or people voting outside their districts. Illegal immigrants don't vote in elections. Fraud isn't the reason no matter how they try and spin it.

And anigbrowl, as Phil Collins said, it's no fun being an illegal alien. Totally sucks. Good friends of mine are here illegally. It should be easier for immigrants to get into the system (not to vote, but to have ID and be accountable). But that's not the issue here. The issue here is politicians looking for ways to make it possible to win elections by making it harder for people that would tend to vote for their opposition to vote.
posted by birdherder at 3:08 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Voter registration.

What does that mean without the ability to identify yourself?
posted by adamdschneider at 3:09 PM on July 26, 2011


adamdschneider: What does that mean without the ability to identify yourself?"

You do know that almost half of the 50 states don't require Voter ID, right? And they get along just fine without it?
posted by that's how you get ants at 3:13 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Getting Id in California, where you live, isn't all that difficult. It involves the DMV and getting a copy of your birth certificate and about 20 bucks or so lat time that I checked. When I became homeless and was living in a Veterans shelter - one of the first things the shelter personnel did was help obtain state ID for those who did not have it. They even helped them with getting a copy of the birth certificate. Sometimes it took up to a month but almost always this was possible to do. Of course , the issue here is that very few Americans in the disabled, or homeless categories have personal counselors that they can rely on to help them through the process. And of course the Wisconsin law also affects tens of thousands of college students who live i the state the vast majority of the year. They are also deprived of their state and federal voting rights.

Your problem is different and has nothing to do with obtaining ID or Wisconsin laws. You are in the country illegally so , yeah you are kinda screwed and that's the issue you have - not the availability of ID. Your situation has nothing at all do to with American voting rights or the history of such rights or the current Wisconsin crisis. Your issue has to do with immigration reform and other such things. Frankly you don't have a dog in this debate so it's confusing to me why you have the opinions that you do about it let alone insist on making them so vocally .
posted by Poet_Lariat at 3:15 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


anigbrowl: Look at the 14th amendment above. Notice that is says that no person within US jurisdiction shall be denied the protection of the laws. Notice it doesn't say citizen, and that has to be on purpose, because the word citizen is used earlier in the sentence. The framers certainly meant that anybody on US soil gets the same protection.

Benny Andajetz: that's nice. You have a big heart and good intentions. However, under US immigration law, detention and removal are treated as civil rather than criminal matters, and thus a lot of protections that yu enjoy are not available to people who are detained over immigration matters. This comes as a great surprise to many people, even practicisng criminal defense lawyers who are taking their first CLE class in immigration law because of Padilla v. Kentucky.

It's an entirely different legal regime. If you want to get up to speed quickly, I recommend Bender's Immigration Bulletin. I've thought of doing an FPP about some of these issues, but frankly I've never bothered because most people wouldn't believe it.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:16 PM on July 26, 2011


You have a big heart and good intentions. However, under US immigration law, detention and removal are treated as civil rather than criminal matters, and thus a lot of protections that yu enjoy are not available to people who are detained over immigration matters.

He wasn't talking about immigration... He was talking about why the Constitution might have problems with disenfranchising voters.
posted by hoyland at 3:18 PM on July 26, 2011


And what's wrong with demonstrating your eligibility to exercise a right?

If you have to demonstrate eligibility, it's not a right.
posted by jonp72 at 3:26 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The voting system, as it works in Iceland, is a part of the municipal government. When you move into a municipality and formally change your address, the city knows where you live. You can show up at the polling place assigned to your district, and you're golden. They have a flexible system, whereby you can opt to show ID - and this can be anything from a passport to your debit card - or come with someone who can vouch for your identity. In smaller communities, no ID is really needed at all (see also: numerous US states).

The point being, I would put a lot more stock in the contention that mandatory voter ID was to prevent fraud if it wasn't so obviously skewed against the poor.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:28 PM on July 26, 2011


You do know that almost half of the 50 states don't require Voter ID, right? And they get along just fine without it?

First of all, no, I did not know that, thank you for your condescension, although I live and vote in Illinois and this . That particular form of "you know x, right?" is a pernicious form and I wish it would disappear from MeFi.

Secondly, I didn't say anything about ID at the polls. I was, I can see now, misconstruing Benny Andajetz's position to be that to have the ability to vote one should not have to "identify" oneself, ever. So, I was confused as to how registration would fix this, if one didn't need to ID oneself to register.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:30 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Getting Id in California, where you live, isn't all that difficult. It involves the DMV and getting a copy of your birth certificate and about 20 bucks or so lat time that I checked. When I became homeless and was living in a Veterans shelter - one of the first things the shelter personnel did was help obtain state ID for those who did not have it.

Right, because they appreciate how massively important that is. Certainly, things are more difficult in Wisconsin if DMV offices are closed down, and I don't support the GOP's policy of trying to do so. But since the voter ID law is a fact, whether people like it or not, I suggest you take a tip from the people operating the homeless shelter and focus on helping people to get the ID that they require in order to vote.

Your issue has to do with immigration reform and other such things. Frankly you don't have a dog in this debate so it's confusing to me why you have the opinions that you do about it let alone insist on making them so vocally.

Actually I do have a dog in this debate, because I live here and pay taxes. I and ~11 million other people are very much affected by the political process in the US and in how the elections turn out and which party is in power with what size majority at both the state and federal levels, but since I'm not allowed to vote I have to do what I can to draw the attention of people who can vote to where their political leverage could be exercised more effectively. You know what makes me sad? I'm the only person I know apart from a few lawyer friends that religiously reads the entire voter pamphlet every election cycle. Maybe, just maybe, I could teach you a thing or two about your political system despite my exclusion from any participation in it.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:31 PM on July 26, 2011


If it were just a matter of IDs, I don't think it would be such a big deal. However, as with so many other things in life, you have to put this in context.

Prison-based gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin legislature is rushing through a redistricting plan so they can lock in the maps before the scheduled recall elections can change who has the power to draw district lines. In that rush, prison-based gerrymandering is poised to have an even greater impact on state, county and municipal districts than it did a decade ago.

The Census Bureau counts Wisconsin prisoners as if they were residents of the communities where they are incarcerated, even though they can’t vote and remain legal residents of the places they lived prior to incarceration. Crediting thousands of people to other communities has staggering implications for Wisconsin’s democracy, which uses the Census to apportion political power on the basis of equally-sized state and county legislative districts.


Now multiply this by however many states are prioritizing some form of voter restriction legislation or another while still mired in the Great Recession. This isn't just Scott Walker being a dick, or one state going off the rails.

The big prize for the Teabaggers is democracy itself. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard or seen some Republican (some in my own family) go on about the U.S. being a republic, not a democracy - sometimes as a preface to a rant about how things went to hell when the "blacks" were allowed to vote. Voting "reform" has been high on the list of Republican concerns for a long time, and the proto-fascist Teabaggers aim for even more fundamental changes than they're pushing for in the current debt clusterfuck.

The corporatists funding the Teabaggers are betting they can ride this tiger to a corporate feudalist America. However, there's a chance that Teabaggerism is much more dangerous than its backers are counting on.
posted by jhandey at 3:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Benny Andajetz: that's nice. You have a big heart and good intentions. However, under US immigration law, detention and removal are treated as civil rather than criminal matters, and thus a lot of protections that yu enjoy are not available to people who are detained over immigration matters.

I know that, but I'd submit the system is that way because we allowed end-run after end-run around the Constitution to allow that.

Also, for everyone's viewing pleasure, here's Rachel Maddow's take on what's going on in Florida.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not exactly the Maddow video I was looking for, as it takes place before the League of Women Voters threw in the towel, but it still frames the question pretty well.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:37 PM on July 26, 2011


It would do a lot more good if those people were helped to participate more fully in society by getting proper ID.

Yeah fuck them and their poor people problems.
posted by emjaybee at 3:38 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe, just maybe, I could teach you a thing or two about your political system despite my exclusion from any participation in it.

You know what you could do rather than lecturing us? The same thing my mother did, before and after becoming a US citizen: join the League of Women Voters.

I lived in California for four years as a student while being registered to vote in Illinois. I read the damn California voter guide. Didn't learn much from it, other than that propositions are a train wreck. You just have to live in California to figure that out though, you don't even have to read the voter guide. I don't remember there being a comparable guide in Illinois, nor Minnesota. (I do try to track down something from the League of Women Voters to work out which judicial candidates thing their decisions should be inspired by god, though.)
posted by hoyland at 3:45 PM on July 26, 2011


pla writes "How do all of you get by without an ID?

"I need to show it
easily two or three times a week. Buying alcohol, buying a pack of sparklers, visiting just about any government building, using a credit card, using a check, cashing a check, traveling by any means other than walking, crossing a border (actually need a passport for that, now) even on foot, opening any sort of account from 'bank' to 'library', renting a house, buying a house..."

I have ID, including a passport, but I rarely have to show it. Last time I produced a drivers licence was in order to file an eviction notice with the Residential Tenancy Board last month but previously I don't think I'd had it out of my wallet since the day I got it four years before that. I haven't had to present it to a cop in at least 10 years. I don't drink or smoke so don't need it for that. I don't use credit cards in person to person transactions very often. Don't have a chequing account. I guess I might have needed to present it when I first opened my bank account but that was 25+ years ago so I don't quite remember.

anyways few of those points apply to poor people. They don't travel internationally. They are likely not to travel long distances and when they do they'll walk or hitchhike. They don't have bank accounts and instead deal in cash for all their transactions. They cash cheques at check cashing places and use money orders when they have to send money. They don't buy houses. They rent places where cash on a weekly basis is more important that verifiable identification. If they use the library they are often restricted from borrowing because they can't prove residency. And I'm guessing they don't buy a lot of sparklers (you need ID for that?!?).

Do Americans really have to present ID to enter public spaces in government buildings?
posted by Mitheral at 3:51 PM on July 26, 2011


These days, I favor getting rid of all voter ID requirements, and go the purple finger route. Yes, that potentially means illegal aliens, underage voters, out-of-staters, and so on will be able to vote, if they care that much. But you know what? I don't care. If you care enough to be involved in the political process, that is good enough for me.
posted by fings at 3:57 PM on July 26, 2011


Get a passport; it's cheap
It's $135.
That is cheap.

That's a couple months' worth of food.

Do you think I was born yesterday?


To be fair, in Wisconsin Food Stamps only allocate $116.57 a month. There are 715,213 people in Wisconsin that live on a month of food for that much, which is less than a passport. But it only a couple months if you take couple literally and round up. But still, a month of food? For voting?

To be fair though, you do need ID to register for food stamps. Birth Certificates count though.

You who are American citizens have so many rights, and privileges, for the mere asking. Your officials - elected, appointed or employed - are required to comply with so many laws safeguarding those rights and privileges that you enjoy more individual freedoms than almost any nation on earth, with the possible exception of Switzerland.... And yet you lament the horrendous imposition of having to spend $20 plus bus fare and wait in line for a couple of hours in order to get a birth certificate so you can get a state ID or a driving license.

We're spoiled; we have this wierd thing where we consider ourselves entitled to these rights. Its crazy. Like Obama and the GOP agree - in this society, entitlement is a problem.
posted by Chipmazing at 3:58 PM on July 26, 2011


More about the Teabagger movement to restrict voting:

Eight states already had photo ID laws. Now more than 30 other states are joining the bandwagon of disenfranchisement, as Republicans outdo each other to propose bills with new voting barriers. The Wisconsin bill refuses to recognize college photo ID cards, even if they are issued by a state university, thus cutting off many students at the University of Wisconsin and other campuses. The Texas bill, so vital that Gov. Rick Perry declared it emergency legislation, would also reject student IDs, but would allow anyone with a handgun license to vote.

A Florida bill would curtail early voting periods, which have proved popular and brought in new voters, and would limit address changes at the polls. “I’m going to call this bill for what it is, good-old-fashioned voter suppression,” Ben Wilcox of the League of Women Voters told The Florida Times-Union.

Many of these bills were inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business-backed conservative group, which has circulated voter ID proposals in scores of state legislatures. The Supreme Court, unfortunately, has already upheld Indiana’s voter ID requirement, in a 2008 decision that helped unleash the stampede of new bills. Most of the bills have yet to pass, and many may not meet the various balancing tests required by the Supreme Court....


From USA Today:

One study in Minnesota, done after an extraordinarily close Senate race in 2008, found a grand total of seven suspicious votes, out of nearly 3 million cast. No charges were filed that year. Those seven cases were exceeded by the dozen or so elderly nuns in nearby Indiana who were turned away from the polls for lack of picture IDs.


Here's a few features of Ohio's voting restriction law:

• A provision of the bill requires that cities must have precincts with a minimum of 500 registered voters. This provision does not apply to rural areas.

• Pollworkers are prohibited from telling voters if they are in the wrong precinct.

• The bill includes a new definition of the term “corporations” in regards to political contributions. Brunner argues that the bill will weaken regulations requiring corporations to report donations in Ohio.

• The bill has several “gotcha” provisions that will allow Republicans to toss out provisional ballots that have minor problems. Provisional ballots are overwhelmingly cast in Ohio’s urban centers by poor and minority voters.

• The bill also contains measures aimed at eliminating Ohio’s minor parties.

posted by jhandey at 3:58 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do Americans really have to present ID to enter public spaces in government buildings?

Offhand, the visitor's center at the Federal Reserve in Chicago requires ID, as does the (Dirksen?) Federal Building, to get past the lobby. I'm honestly not sure why. God knows what mischief you could get up to in the Fed visitor's center, let alone how seeing you have a driver's license would prevent that. (The Federal Building might keep a record of who's there. I'm pretty sure you have to explain why you're there.)

In terms of travel, Greyhound and Amtrak both purport to check IDs. I don't think I've had ID checked on Greyhound, but I've only done one roundtrip. Megabus (which is far cheaper than either Greyhound or Amtrak, but has limited service) does not require a name on reservations, so they don't ID.
posted by hoyland at 3:59 PM on July 26, 2011


You don't need ID to go into any of the Smithsonian museums in the Mall area. I'm trying to think of other areas that might have public access, and other than the Capitol, I'm drawing a blank on anywhere I've been. You do not need ID to enter the Capitol but I believe you now do to enter the galleries.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:12 PM on July 26, 2011


Glad I was born in Canada...
posted by CheesesOfNazareth at 4:17 PM on July 26, 2011


You who are American citizens have so many rights, and privileges, for the mere asking.

They were not merely asked for and granted. We fought this little thing called a revolutionary war. Then there was a civil war. Over the centuries there have been many court cases, and many lives sacrificed for many of these rights, including the right to vote. If we do not defend them, they can and will (and have) be taken from us.
posted by rtha at 4:18 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


They are being taken from us.
posted by theredpen at 4:21 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Poet_Lariat: Hey buddy - before you rant to me me what my constitution says about what my voting rights should be ... maybe you should , you know, get your own affairs in order? You could start by getting a work visa. When you're actually a citizen how about we chat then?

How easily you move from championing rights to using their absence as a means of stifling debate. Whether I live in the US or not, am a citizen or not, am diplomatic or not, I don't need your permission to express my opinion here on Metafilter.


jhandey: The corporatists funding the Teabaggers are betting they can ride this tiger to a corporate feudalist America. However, there's a chance that Teabaggerism is much more dangerous than its backers are counting on.

I wholly agree, although for somewhat different reasons - a primary one being that the tea party is only an outer manifestation of the problem. Tea partiers are primarily focused on taxes and entitlements and dislike of unions, and while I think their economic views are dead wrong the dissatisfaction is a somewhat understandable reaction to some honest-to-goodness structural problems in the US economy and in the way the government is organized. Smaller government and deregulation is not the solution, but neither is rebuilding the union movement from behind the wall of public-sector job security. The existing zero-sum game being played out in places like the Wisconsin statehouse is symptomatic of political deficiencies on both sides of the aisle.

The reason I am particularly interested in this issue is that voter ID laws are only partially targeted at disenfranchisement of economic minorities - the majority of whom actually already have ID and are perfectly well able to vote. In places where such laws already exist, the incidence of disenfranchisement is as small as the incidence of voter fraud. However, the popularity of voter ID laws is a way to enforce and extend the reach of nativist policymaking, but specifically at a state rather than a federal level. If they really, really cared about potential voter fraud, people who support such policies would also buy into the Real ID act, that would create a single unified federal ID that would essentially work like a 21st century social security number. This would be enormously beneficial to most Americans in that it would provide so many economies of scale in everyday matters, as opposed to having 50 different bureaucratic systems for a population of 300 million people. But proponents of voter ID don't want that because it would establish the primacy of the federal government and they would like to establish the states' autonomy from the federal system in such matters. Same thing with SB1070 in Arizona and the various efforts at state-by-state crackdowns on immigration, all of which are predicated on the falsehood that the federal government won't enforce the law.

This is a strategic move in a conflict that dates back to the founding of the US, and in recent decades has been the focus of an organized, centralized, and well-funded campaign that has had a lot more money poured into it than the Tea Party ever has, or will. It is not a big corporatist plot, because businesses for the most part would lik more relaxed and less burdensome administrative controls that would let them hire who they like. From business's point of view, free movement of labor is just as desirable as free movement of capital, and open immigration would remove a lot of avoidable economic distortions, much as the abolition of slavery did in the 19th century. The state-by-state approach to the dismantlement of federal immigration policy is part of a larger, lesss transparent, and more insidious movement to fundamentally alter the political organization of the US.

Benny Andajetz: I know that, but I'd submit the system is that way because we allowed end-run after end-run around the Constitution to allow that.

Arguably true - but the fight over the 14th amendment and what it should mean isn't going to be resolved easily. The argument has been going on for well over a century, partly because of the Constitution's vagueness in regards to what 'an uniform rule of naturalization' means. In a nutshell, the tug-of-war is primarily to do with a pre-constitutional argument over whether Vattel or Blackstone should be the guiding lights of judicial decision-making in this area. Blackstone upholds the primacy of individual rights, Vattel upholds the federal government's ability to enforce its will upon the states. I am vastly oversimplifying, of course.

I apologize for being shirty earlier, but most people just have no idea how convoluted and complex immigration is in legal terms.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:22 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Egads, reading these comments is depressing.
posted by Annabelle74 at 4:24 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


However, the popularity of voter ID laws is a way to enforce and extend the reach of nativist policymaking, but specifically at a state rather than a federal level.

You seem to grok this, and so I find it puzzling that many of your other comments seem to boil down to "Needing to show ID at the polls is a good idea." You seem to have a handle on both the current and historical context of legislation requiring voter ID. So your point of view confuses me.

In places where such laws already exist, the incidence of disenfranchisement is as small as the incidence of voter fraud.

Do you have cites for this? (Not snarky, since you can't hear the tone of voice in my head. Genuinely curious.)

I wouldn't be surprised if more voters are disenfranchised by caging and the like.
posted by rtha at 4:32 PM on July 26, 2011


However, the popularity of voter ID laws is a way to enforce and extend the reach of nativist policymaking, but specifically at a state rather than a federal level.

Absolutely, undeniably true.

Kris Kobach, who wrote the changes to the Kansas' registration laws, is the same guy who wrote Arizona's "papers please" bill (which was declared unconstitutional). Before that he was a muckety-muck with F.A.I.R. (Federation for American Immigration Reform), a right wing group of putzes.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:41 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not American, nor do I live in America, so my interest here is purely academic.

There seems to be two sets of objections:

1. Closing DMVs in Democratic precincts to make it harder for Democrats to vote (clear douche-baggery, and almost no one is arguing otherwise).

2. Imposing a requirement to identify yourself before you are permitted to vote.

Voting in Australia is compulsory - failure to vote in a state or Federal election will earn a fine equivalent to a traffic offence. As a consequence, you have to identify yourself at the polls; there is a record made that you have voted (but not of the content of your vote, of course). Given that identification is an essential requirement for compulsory voting (otherwise how do you know who has failed to vote, and therefore who to fine?), and that the polls are very efficiently run, the ID requirement has never really seemed to be an issue here. In particular, there are many, many ways to identify yourself, including producing utilities bills...etc. Even if you don't have a driver's licence or passport, you would be unlikely to have any significant difficulties in producing sufficent ID.

What I don't understand is why so many of you seem to have an in principle objection to having to identify yourselves before voting. Is there something I am missing here?

I mean, I understand the problems with the costs of obtaining sufficent ID. But that issue aside, many, many US residents are non-citizens and not entitled to vote. How do you ensure that only citizens are voting, or prevent voter fraud, without requiring people to identify themselves?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:49 PM on July 26, 2011


Is it not telling enough that every modification being proposed makes it harder to vote or to register to vote? Not one change makes the process simpler or easier.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:58 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts wrote: What I don't understand is why so many of you seem to have an in principle objection to having to identify yourselves before voting. Is there something I am missing here?

I don't think anyone objects to being required to identify oneself before voting. The act of identifying oneself need not require a physical token, however. I can walk up and say "Hi, I'm wierdo and I live at 123 Any Street," and then have my identity known to the poll worker.
posted by wierdo at 5:02 PM on July 26, 2011


The act of identifying oneself need not require a physical token, however. I can walk up and say "Hi, I'm wierdo and I live at 123 Any Street," and then have my identity known to the poll worker.

Yes, but unless there's confirmation of that assertion, there is no way to stop me from claiming to be wierdo, who lives at 123 Any Street. Any identification process that does not require proof of ID, would be completely ineffective at preventing fraud. So why the (apparent) general objection to providing that proof?

Put another way: if the necessary ID was free and easily obtained, would there still be an objection to having to provide proof of ID at the polls? Because it seems like there would be.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:11 PM on July 26, 2011


We're spoiled; we have this wierd thing where we consider ourselves entitled to these rights. Its crazy. Like Obama and the GOP agree - in this society, entitlement is a problem.

You are entitled to those rights, but you (collectively, as in the whole population) do't like paying for them. I don't mean in the sense of buying things you are entitled to by law, but in dealing with the cost of administering your entitlements. Birth certificates don't print and verify and archive themselves, they cost money and that means paying taxes. People on the right don't like paying taxes, people on the left are OK with it in general.

On the other hand, over in Europe you still have to pay for things like copies of a birth certificate. We pay higher taxes over there and have certain benefits as a result - like better educational outcomes and healthcare systems - but the laws of economics still apply and many marginal costs are still passed on to the citizenry at the point of use. This $140 cost of the US passport is a newish thing; up to this year I think it was somewhere around $80. It doesn't seem like any big thing to me because I've always had to pay a lot more money for my EU passport than Americans do for their US passports. In general, taxes go to pay the fixed costs of things and individuals pay the marginal cost at the point of service, with the two (large) exceptions noted above. We don't like our rights any less than Americans do, nor are they on any less sound of a constitutional basis - indeed, many countries have more modern and legally manageable constitutions than the US does. We have more efficient and more effective access to social services and so forth than is often the case in the US. But things like birth certificates we still have to pay for, having ID and proof of residence in order to vote we still have to do. That's just part and parcel of exercising your rights: you have a right to get a copy of your birth certificate, but not to have it provided for free when someone has to put in work to make the copy for you.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:23 PM on July 26, 2011


Oops. I meant to add that we're talking "free as in free speech, not as in free beer."
posted by anigbrowl at 5:23 PM on July 26, 2011


Put another way: if the necessary ID was free and easily obtained, would there still be an objection to having to provide proof of ID at the polls? Because it seems like there would be.

I'm someone who sort of bristles at being asked to provide ID in any situation other than crossing a border. I don't want some random (albeit probably well-meaning) person who's been drafted in as an election judge scrutinising my ID and deciding whether it looks sufficiently real, whether I look sufficiently like my ID or whatever. It's annoying if I'm trying to buy a beer, but, fine decide my ID's fake and not sell me beer. Not so cool if you decide my ID's fake and don't let me vote. (Yes, I've had people refuse to believe my ID is real.) Right now, if you register on election day in Minnesota (you need some sort of proof of address to do this, but it can be someone swearing to your address and identity if they live in the precinct), you get a provisional ballot and they theoretically check afterwards that your vote should count. How are you going to check that the person who showed up with an ID saying they're person X and was turned away really wasn't person X? You can only check that there's a person X eligible to vote, which is as good as you do now.
posted by hoyland at 5:29 PM on July 26, 2011


What I don't understand is why so many of you seem to have an in principle objection to having to identify yourselves before voting. Is there something I am missing here?

We have a long and shameful history of keeping eligible people from voting on really bullshit grounds. Anything with a whiff if a poll tax should be examined very closely. It doesn't matter if the intent of a voter ID law is pure as the driven snow - and I've yet to see one - if its effect is that it keeps certain protected groups from voting.

I've yet to see a convincing, evidence-backed anything that shows that there is widespread voter fraud that has been reduced or prevented by requiring voters to show government-issued photo ID at the polls.
posted by rtha at 5:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


It would do a lot more good if those people were helped to participate more fully in society by getting proper ID.

The last organization that tried to do that was slandered out of existence by a guy dressed like a pimp.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:37 PM on July 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


But things like birth certificates we still have to pay for, having ID and proof of residence in order to vote we still have to do.

You don't need ID to vote in Britain. You don't need to bring your poll card, either. Nor to register to vote, as far as I can tell. They need a specimen signature. (Seemingly, they do check your signature when you sign the voter roll when you vote. You have to sign the register in Minnesota (the only place I've voted in person), but I don't think they check it against anything.)

In Britain, a British passport is £77.50, which is, with the exchange rate, almost exactly what a US passport costs. (I don't know about cost relative to cost of living. I think it's more expensive.) It's when you live overseas that you get hit with the $200+ passport fees. (Brought in to pay for ID cards that got scrapped, I think.)
posted by hoyland at 5:38 PM on July 26, 2011


Quick note: I haven't had a valid passport in three years because of a paperwork fuckup. I'm a white male bastion of privelege with excellent credit, more than enough money, more bank accounts than I can count, a mortgage and a job I've held for more than five years. And I still can't get my passport straightened out. I can easily understand how not everybody can get the ID they need in a timely fashion, even if they're not being actively thwarted by disenfranchisement -- particularly if their ID expired recently and/or they have gone through a name change.

Meanwhile, where I live I can walk less than a block to vote, I never have to wait in line, and I can take work off to vote by simply saying "Hey, I'll be in late, I have to vote." I have friends who can't take work off to vote, so they have to cram it into their morning or evening, and they have to take buses to get there -- so they go at night, so they won't be late for work because of the lines in their area, and if they get off work late or the lines are long or the bus is late, they don't get to vote.

It is surprisingly easy to help people vote, and it is surprisingly easy to hinder people's attempts to vote, and when you see such things happening in regions that are predominantly in opposition for/against the party in power, you have to be pretty darn disingenuous to say there's nothing wrong.
posted by davejay at 5:46 PM on July 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


What hoyland said wrt passport fees.

As a UK/US couple that've spent time on both sides: our domestic passport costs have always seemed roughly comparable. (It's once you have to go through your embassy to get a passport from overseas that it gets spendy.)

Oh, and UK drivers usually do carry their drivers license with them when they're driving -- no, you don't have to, but it's a lot more convenient to have it available on the spot than to have to schlep to the police station to produce it after the fact.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:51 PM on July 26, 2011


The birth certificate thing can be difficult if you were bron overseas. I had some REAL nervous times about whether I would be granted a passport because I had no official birth certificate. When a US embassy is over run, I can tell you from personal experience that all birth records proving citizenship are burned/phosphor. I had a California ID but that was during some lax times. My parents, one a natural born citizen and the other with green card got freaked out seeing a woman separated from her child at INS and decided not to ask about me and my papers. I think they suffer forms of PTSD from various war time experiences.

Anyway, it is not always simply about getting a birth certificate. Also, I only need to show ID when I travel and occassionally at the liquor store.
posted by jadepearl at 6:02 PM on July 26, 2011


There's not much in this thread's main argument that I didn't see in two prior posts about voter ID laws in Georgia, so I don't really want to bother with that.

If the Justice Department bailed after being asked to intervene in Georgia, a state supposedly still subject to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, then I'm not holding my breath for a different outcome in Wisconsin. I would appreciate it if those of you still there would try nonetheless, though: I dunno, contact your local representatives, work your way as far up the chain to the federal government as you can, maybe get in touch with Democratic Party representatives and point out their obvious stake in this?

(*sigh*) I've been in Georgia for almost half my life now, but I turned 18 in Milwaukee, and got dragged into the same family tradition my older brothers and sisters did: my mom would make each of us register to vote, drive us to the polls on election day, drop us off and leave us there. We'd have to walk home from the nearest polling place, (Clinton) Rose Park. (Later on: "Where's your sticker?")

The polling place was a senior center, and what I remember most about voting there (it was 1994, so I was there for mid-term elections, nothing too monumental) was the wildly disproportionate reaction my arrival got from the seniors staffing the place-- dear God, they did everything but pinch my cheeks and coo! They were all old enough to remember a time when voting rights were by no means assured for any non-favored groups, technically legal or no.

It's kind of disappointing to think that the struggles they faced in their lifetimes have not yet been put to rest for good. (It's also not so hot that so many people in this thread seem to be making a beeline for the "poor people are ignorant of their history/too stupid to vote" cliche. Please examine your preconceptions.)

Er, let's not just roll over and give up, though! Hell, I heard somewhere that someone is making a second attempt at challenging Georgia's law. I'll have to try to get more involved myself. Eternal vigilance something something...
posted by tyro urge at 6:31 PM on July 26, 2011


I had no idea that this kind of thing still happened until I moved from Florida to New Jersey at age 25. In New Jersey, voting was this serene, dignified affair. You'd show up at your local elementary school, and the little old lady volunteers would find your name in a voter ID book, check you off, and send you into a peaceful, quiet booth where you could contemplate your choices behind the privacy of a curtain.

In Florida, I saw long lines at the city hall that spilled onto the streets filled with people who had no idea what was going on. I was in a college town, and I saw dozens of students--who had, in hand, local voter ID cards--get turned away because their driver's licenses were from out of state. I saw one polling official siphoning people off into a line to take absentee ballets without telling anyone. When I finally got to vote, it was on paper, on a table with a flimsy piece of cardboard that was supposed to give me the illusion of privacy, but of course, didn't, because the room was packed with other citizens chatting to one another, talking on their cellphones. It didn't feel like democracy. It felt like chaos.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:36 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Erk. To Florida from New Jersey, rather.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:37 PM on July 26, 2011


For what it's worth, the Georgia law includes a provision which requires the state to provide a service that will drive to your home, free of charge, to provide you a voter ID at your convenience. Those skeptical of the project of voter identification in general should be watching the legal battles over Georgia in particular, as it somewhat undercuts the Equal Protection argument against such laws.

Of course, there's still no real reason for federal courts to defer to state legislatures in this area, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them struck down as soon as a good case is mounted. In the second part, there's still the privileges and immunities clause, though shmod's comment above, quoting Bush v. Gore that "The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States" makes that kinda shaky.
posted by Room 101 at 7:00 PM on July 26, 2011


I wouldn't be surprised to see them struck down as soon as a good case is mounted.

Why? Indiana's voter ID law was upheld 6-3 by the US Supreme Court, and I'm pretty sure in Indiana they don't drive to your house to give you photo ID.
posted by escabeche at 7:34 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


His thoughts were red thoughts wrote: Any identification process that does not require proof of ID, would be completely ineffective at preventing fraud.

First, you have to know that wierdo lives at 123 Any Street. Then they make you sign the book, so when I'm in later to vote it will become apparent that shenanigans are afoot.
posted by wierdo at 7:44 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


First, you have to know that wierdo lives at 123 Any Street. Then they make you sign the book, so when I'm in later to vote it will become apparent that shenanigans are afoot.

The names and addresses of millions of people are available in telephone directories.

They have no basis for comparison for the signature (please correct me if I'm wrong), so the fraudulent vote still gets cast.

Re: you coming in later, that's all well and good, and you will get to vote if you can proof that you are you (which will require that you produce ID), but there's still a vote that was made fradulently - the the fraudlent ballot cannot be distinguished from other ballots, and they can't exactly just pick one at random and throw that away.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:34 PM on July 26, 2011


I predict that the next wave of Voting Rights Act actions will not be to protect the voting rights of blacks in the South but to protect the voting rights of poor people, regardless of their race, in states governed by Republicans anywhere in the United States.

And they'll lose by a landslide.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 8:41 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


See also this article in the Washington Post: The GOP's state-by-state crusade to disenfranchise voters.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


You seem to grok this, and so I find it puzzling that many of your other comments seem to boil down to "Needing to show ID at the polls is a good idea." You seem to have a handle on both the current and historical context of legislation requiring voter ID. So your point of view confuses me.

Yes, I think it actually is a good idea. First, because it encourages people to get ID for all the reasons I've mentioned above - making excuses for not having ID in this day and age is perverse and self-defeating. Anyone who's insisting on their right to not have any ID is just a contrarian idiot in desperate need of attention. Wise the fuck up already: the rest of the world is not psychic and has no way of knowing that you are who you say you are without any ID. Operating without ID wastes everyone else's valuable time (yours included) and fritters away good money that people paid in the form of taxes. Something like 15% of the US population is made up of noncitizens, legal and illegal, so there's a 1 in 6 chance that anyone registering to vote is not a citizen.

Second, fighting this issue is a terrible waste of time. Gett ing an ID is not that onerous, and it's vastly less discriminatory than the Jim Crows law in the south used to be. But every time people on the left kick and scream about voter ID, the GOP people laugh into their sleeves because Democratic opposition lets the GOP claim that Democrats want to stack the polls with loads of bogus voters. As a matter of fact, that is something that is historically associated with the Democratic party because it used to be a problem in certain places. We have problems in SF with missing ballot boxes or ballot-stuffing from tiem to time, just as the GOP is associated with the (rather worse) problems of voting machine and the potential for fraud there. Both sides accuse the other of ripping off elections every fucking election cycle. And you know why the GOP keeps banging Democrats with this? Because the Democratic party hands its ass on a plate to the GOP ever time it opposes voter ID laws, and then the GOP says the Democrats are out to stuff the ballot boxes with fake votes. Get with voter ID and this problem goes away because the GOP doesn't have that stick to beat the Democrats with any more. Get out in front of the issue and focus on improving access to ID instead of complaining about the fact that people need to have it.

Third, the reason the GOP make such a fuss about this is because it feeds into the naticist story (which about 40% of the GOP subscribes to) about how Democrats are eternally planning an amnesty and any move by the left towards immigration reform is just an evil plot to create millions upon millions of new Democratic voters at once. This is a real problem for the crazypants wing of the GOP because the demographics mean their base is constantly shrinking, so within a couple of decades it will not be possible for them to win national majorities any more. In order to prevent this happening, they have to freak out their supporters by pretending their doom is imminent. In fact, it takes 3-5 years to become a citizen after getting a green card (depending on whether someone got it by marriage or not), and a lot of people who have green cards never become citizens, presumably because they want the right to vote in their countries of origin or perhaps plan to retire there one day. (I actually think you should be required to either get citizenship or give up the green card after a certain length of time like 20 years or something, because why the hell would you want to live somewhere full time and not vote? But that's beside the point.) So the GOP insists on voter ID as the only way to make sure that large numbers of immigrants or illegal aliens are not voting, and whip up the spectre of a millions-strong 5th column being manipulated by the Democratic party. As long as the Democratic party keeps refusing to countenance the idea of voter ID, then this plays right into the GOP narrative and functions as yet another reason for the nativists to oppose any kind of comprehensive immigration reform. By opposing voter ID, Democrats are saying that they're OK with it being more difficult to buy a beer than to cast a vote. If the left would get out in front of voter ID, this issue wouldn't be available to the GOP either and it would be vastly easier to build a coalition in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

The Democrats are clinging to the voter ID issue out of guilt, because most of the Jim Crow laws down south were instituted by Dixiecrats, and because voter disenfranchisement has become a scarifying story to shepherd marginal voters to the polls on election day. What's needed instead of a 'no voter left behind' drive to make sure that everyone who can vote is registered and has official ID, with all the administrative conveniences (for both the individual and the state) that that entails. Do that, and the GOP will start complaining about 'papers please' and overly-large government databases and excessive bureaucracy like they did about the census. And everyone will laugh at them because then the Democrats will be able to use the ballot-stuffing argument against the GOP for a change.

In short, stop wasting vast amounts of political capital every single election cycle on convincing GOP voters that ID should not be necessary. It doesn't work and it looks ridiculous. Use that political capital to convince your own voters to get registered and get plugged in and make sure that everyone who can get ID has ID. Guys like Scott Walker in Wisconsin shutting down ten DMV offices? don't waste time complaining about voter disenfranchisement, which looks from the demographics like it's going to affect about 28 people in the whole damn state. Complain about the economic loss due to wasted time traveling to a different DMV office and the resultant loss of revenue and jobs and road safety. Focus on the loss of services that people already paid good tax money for, and the governor's inability to run the state effectively. The GOP wants the left to make it an argument about voter disenfranchisement because that's not actually a serious problem in Wisconsin and the Democrats end up looking stupid, ideological, and irrelevant. Focus on efficiency and competence and just work behind the scenes to make sure everyone has their damn ID, because they're going to need it anyway.

I cannot understand why Democrats have such a poor grasp of political strategy that they allow the GOP to lead them around by the nose like this time after time.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:04 PM on July 26, 2011


'It would do a lot more good if those people were helped to participate more fully in society by getting proper ID.' The last organization that tried to do that was slandered out of existence by a guy dressed like a pimp.

The guy wasn't trying to get ID, and the people who were working at Acorn were idiots for not calling 911 on him or throwing him out. You shouldn't be leaving this sort of stuff up to nonprofits in the first place if at all possible; move on already. If everyone in Minnesota had been issued with proper ID before Walker came along then it wouldn't be possible to threaten people with disenfranchisement in the first place, now would it?
posted by anigbrowl at 10:13 PM on July 26, 2011


It would do a lot more good if those people were helped to participate more fully in society by getting proper ID.

Yeah fuck them and their poor people problems.
posted by emjaybee at 3:38 PM on July 26 [2 favorites +] [!]


I'm proposing helping people in a direct fashion by getting them actual valid ID that they can use in real life, and you think that's the same as saying 'fuck them'. Go on, do tell me how procuring an ID for someone who's entitled to get one but doesn't have one makes them worse off. You can't.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:22 PM on July 26, 2011


His thoughts were red thoughts: "How do you ensure that only citizens are voting, or prevent voter fraud, without requiring people to identify themselves?"

That is a perfectly legitimate question, but seems to lack perspective. The form of voter fraud you're trying to address is exceptionally difficult to pull off. To make any difference, you'd have to have a sizable group of accomplices, cycling through several different precincts, armed with identifying information for many different registered voters.

If the officials get even a whiff of what you're doing, the whole system will go into paranoid lockdown mode and you'll have the authorities on your ass in no time. That means your accomplices have to be extremely trustworthy and competent, you still can't safely vote multiple times in the same location for fear of being recognized, and you have to somehow ensure that the people whose votes you're stealing aren't going to show up to vote themselves. The whole thing is one gigantic logistical clusterfuck, and the most it gets you is a small swing distributed across a few geographically-close districts.

That's why (as has been noted) there are vanishingly few examples of this type of fraud, and it's how we've managed to run elections for centuries without requiring ID.

Instead, it's much more straightforward to engage in intimidation and suppression, since those don't happen right under the noses of election officials (example: caging). For a more surgical operation, simply corrupt the vote counting mechanism in some way (see: Diebold). And if you want to go with the "legal" approach, simply lobby for legislation that disproportionately disenfranchises the voters who tend to vote against you (case in point).

There is extensive documentation of republicans engaging in the first and third cases in the last decade, and very convincing circumstantial evidence of the second. In my opinion, they have made electoral fraud into a science, up to and including the classic misdirection of pretending they are the ones concerned about fraud.

I personally hold the following truths to be self-evident: posted by Riki tiki at 10:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [42 favorites]


That is a perfectly legitimate question, but seems to lack perspective.

You're probably right - I haven't voted in the US, I'm not familiar with the way that voting there works.

But Australia also doesn't seem to have the problems with electoral fraud that the US does (due in part to compulsory voting, I think). I'm not a fan of the way that the Australian government does a lot of things, but regarding elections, it seems to tick all your boxes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:11 PM on July 26, 2011


His thoughts were red thoughts wrote: They have no basis for comparison for the signature (please correct me if I'm wrong), so the fraudulent vote still gets cast.

Consider yourself duly corrected. They have a signature exemplar from the initial registration. Just like it's been since 1907.
posted by wierdo at 11:40 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


His thoughts were red thoughts wrote: The names and addresses of millions of people are available in telephone directories.

And apparently I'm shit at complete thoughts, but many of those listed are not registered to vote. And the names listed are often not the names as recorded with the registrar. Pick some schlub who isn't registered and you get bounced. Get the name wrong, you get bounced. Get the address wrong (what, I didn't know there was an apartment number!), you get bounced. Get the party affiliation wrong, you get bounced.

Well, these days you get to vote a provisional ballot and haul your butt over to the registrar's office within a few days to prove you are who you say you are or your vote gets tossed.
posted by wierdo at 11:48 PM on July 26, 2011


wierdo : First, you have to know that wierdo lives at 123 Any Street. Then they make you sign the book, so when I'm in later to vote it will become apparent that shenanigans are afoot.

That point has come up a few times, including in response to my own first post to this thread, so time to respond I guess...

They will notice something as wrong IF the real wierdo comes in later - Or more accurately, IF the "real" wierdo actually exists outside your fake registration.

Without showing ID, it takes only the thinnest grasp of the process to undetectably scam the whole system, and

And someone already mentioned upthread, what if you don't have an address?
posted by pla at 3:45 AM on July 27, 2011


And someone already mentioned upthread, what if you don't have an address?

I imagine it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in the ones I'm familiar with, you fill out a provisional ballot, and/or you list the address of the shelter you stay in sometimes. If you're homeless, you're likely to have some form of ID, because you need it to access some shelters, get your welfare/disability/assistance check, your state's health-insurance-for-poor-people care, etc.

The thing is, "vote early and often!" really hasn't been a problem for decades, and I don't know that it was ever much of a problem beyond very local races (ward, city council, etc.) to begin with. I don't know why we focus on fixing something that doesn't seem to be broken when the actual, ongoing problem - people who are in fact eligible to vote are kept from voting - comes up every time there's a big election with a lot at stake.
posted by rtha at 6:32 AM on July 27, 2011


i live in WI, born here. i have a WI driver's license - they require updating every 8 years. currently my license has my old address on it. even with my full beard and lack of hairline, i sometimes have to show it to buy beer. i show it to buy a hunting license if i can't find my DNR ID# in my wallet. however, the store clerk doesn't care if the address is incorrect - they can see i'm from WI and that my birthday was >21 years ago. no prob. the poll workers are not going to cut me any slack - my id will have to be *perfect*, and that means going to the goddamned dmv...and now they're closing dmvs...and you'll wait 2 weeks for your id to come in the mail...unnecessary obstacles.

brennan center study on voter fraud
'Summary

* Fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.
* Many vivid anecdotes of purported voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud.
* Voter fraud is often conflated with other forms of election misconduct.
* Raising the unsubstantiated specter of mass voter fraud suits a particular policy agenda.
* Claims of voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action. '

nthing comments on voter registration - that's how any potential fraud is eliminated. and any potential fraud would be vastly insignificant compared to the shenanigans by the rethugs to fuck things up here in WI.
posted by g.i.r. at 7:08 AM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


How do you ensure that only citizens are voting, or prevent voter fraud, without requiring people to identify themselves?

I object to this question. Let me explain --

If this type of voter fraud is occurring, it is not occurring often, and is just about the least dangerous type of voter fraud one can think of. While, in principle, I object to the idea of Bob McBob voting at the polls twice, he's not much of a threat to a legitimate outcome. It would take a lot of Bob McBobs to influence the result, and this type of fraud, on that level, would most likely be discovered.

This question is a distraction, really. There are much more threatening types of voter fraud and, importantly, the same people who are pushing for voter ID laws generally are not concerned about them. I am talking about voter intimidation, electronic machines whose tallies are impossible to verify, playing tricks with districting, and things like this. These all have much more impact than Bob McBob the Convicted Felon voting for the Marijuana Candidate at every polling station, but they are not only ignored by the same people pushing for voter ID laws, they are often perpetrated by them.

These laws are clearly an attempt to stop undesirable--Democratic-leaning--people from voting.

You are asking this question from the point of view of someone who lives in a country that already has a coherent system in place for voter identification. You have reached the point where, even if the burdens of getting an ID are not distributed entirely fairly, they are probably much more fair than in the US.

We don't have such a system; it's not trivial for everyone to get an ID. Some people will have to take an entire day off work, and then bum a ride from a friend (who has also taken a day off work) to get to the DMV, which is on the outskirts of town. They then have to wait weeks for their ID, so they have to plan ahead--provided they know about the new ID laws in the first place. Voting laws here can be confusing, especially when there are people intentionally promoting misinformation about them.

This is all about requiring certain Democratic-leaning segments of the population to go through an extra hoop in order to vote. It has absolutely nothing to do about ensuring the legitimacy of the vote. Nothing at all.

In a different political climate, a different set of people could ask the same question neutrally and it would not be an attempt to disenfranchise legitimate voters. That's not the political climate nor the set of people that we have, unfortunately.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:11 AM on July 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm not fully caffeinated yet, so this is a half-formed idea.

Scenario 1: we don't require voter ID
best case: no voter fraud
worse case: some voter fraud that is really hard to pull off and unlikely to affect election results

Scenario 2: we do require voter ID
best case: everyone gets an ID, no voter fraud
worst case: people who can't or won't get an ID are disenfranchised - these are disproportionately likely to be poor or elderly

Do you see how Scenario 1 is vastly better than Scenario 2? Even if, as anigbrowl suggests, we did help people get an ID, there's no way we can reach everyone (we can't even feed everyone ffs), so some people will still be disenfranchised. This is a solution without a problem, and "fixing" the "problem" will necessarily lead to other problems. Those other problems are almost exclusively in Republicans' favor. Funny how that works.

There is some word for this type of modelling but again, not fully caffeinated.
posted by desjardins at 7:58 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just a point of clarification re: birth certificates. They do cost money in the US ($20 in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin) and you do not have to provide your ID. Bizarrely, according to the county website, you DO have to have a photo ID if you walk into their office and request one, but you DON'T have to have one if you submit the request by mail.

Since someone's going to say "people will commit voter fraud by getting someone else's birth certificate by mail," here's the (PDF) form you have to fill out - you have to know a lot about that person already, and it says clearly that it's a felony to make a false application.
posted by desjardins at 8:07 AM on July 27, 2011


(Upthread, there have been various comments about how "cheap" $20 is, or $135 (for a passport) is, and how most "poor" people can afford this. For comparison, here in Minnesota when medical assistance programs add a one dollar co-pay to people's medications they see a huge drop in medication use. If you are truly poor - and there are plenty of truly poor people, but they're not visible because they work nights, stay home, are homeless, live in relatives' basements, are disabled....live in poor neighborhoods where middle class people don't see them, take the bus while the middle class drive cars, etc etc.

Upthread there's also some blather about how "poor people" pay cash for apartments and walk or hitchhike or just don't travel. This isn't true either - "poor people" pay fees for cashiers' checks to pay the rent and get dinged with all kinds of fees - credit checks and all that crap apply to poor people just as much as rich people, it's just that they're a huge, exploitative clusterfuck when you work a shitty job and have very little in the bank. And in my experience, poor people ride the megabus for thirty hours to visit family when they could take a quick flight if they had a few hundred bucks to spare, which they don't.

If you're a working poor person, $20 is a lot of money. Hell, $20 isn't a mere bagatelle to me. And if I have an unforeseen $135 expense in a month, that's not very great either.)
posted by Frowner at 8:20 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


anigbrowl - you say that we should help people get IDs because it would benefit them. Well, owning land generally benefits people. In the long run it's often cheaper than renting. What say we restrict voting to landowners?
posted by desjardins at 8:27 AM on July 27, 2011


An estimated 158,245 Milwaukeeans lived in poverty last year. [...] Poverty also surged statewide from 10.4% to 12.4% in 2009. There were an estimated 570,583 people in poverty in the state in 2008 and 683,408 people in poverty in 2009. (I recognize that these numbers do include kids and others ineligible to vote.)
posted by desjardins at 8:31 AM on July 27, 2011


Frowner : For comparison, here in Minnesota when medical assistance programs add a one dollar co-pay to people's medications they see a huge drop in medication use.

A pharmacist friend of mine rants about that almost constantly.

"So do you have any question about your doctor's directions?"

"Nope, I don't plan to take it anyway, but hey, I get it free, so what the hey".

You want a good metric for abuse of the system? The difference you describe gives you the legit-vs-milking ratio, straight-up... Anyone can afford the token copay; no one will pay it for something they don't intend to use.


And ote that this conversation does not happen with opiates - The same people who will cry penury over the copay on legit drugs will offer to pay cash if MaineCare won't cover their oxys a few days early.
posted by pla at 9:30 AM on July 27, 2011


pla writes "You want a good metric for abuse of the system? The difference you describe gives you the legit-vs-milking ratio, straight-up... Anyone can afford the token copay; no one will pay it for something they don't intend to use."

Sorry I don't buy it; this reeks of bogus Cadillac welfare queen stories. There might be a handful of recreation prescription fillers out there but it's hard to imagine it being enough of a thing to significantly skew statistics.
posted by Mitheral at 10:03 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not fully caffeinated yet, so this is a half-formed idea.

Scenario 1: we don't require voter ID
best case: no voter fraud
worse case: some voter fraud that is really hard to pull off and unlikely to affect election results



WTF, i guess you missed that whole Florida election back in 2000.

Scenario 2: we do require voter ID
best case: everyone gets an ID, no voter fraud
worst case: people who can't or won't get an ID
are helped by concerned citizens/ groups intent on having folks vote who have a hard time these days.

why say these things about anigbrowl. (i won't repeat them) Seldom have i read better arguments then he has written here and backed them up.

and you bring to the table some fucked up notions of our basic voting rights and you need.... coffee.
posted by clavdivs at 10:14 AM on July 27, 2011


AND another thing. Anigs story is why I still believe in America and WHEN or if he become a citizen (at this point canada looks great) he would an excellent citizen IMO. and i just love when some clod trots out" oh, your not a citizen, that dog don't hunt" FUCK THAT. he wiped this fucking thread out, blew this fucked up thread out and few of your could even muster a counter-argument.

(citizenship fees and such are waived if one cannot afford them when one becomes a citizen, but I guess that is not evidence of a throughly corrupt sysytem)
posted by clavdivs at 10:21 AM on July 27, 2011


"could not muster."
posted by clavdivs at 10:24 AM on July 27, 2011


Better arguments for what? For fixing a problem that no one in this thread has been able to demonstrate exists?
posted by rtha at 10:26 AM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


missed this before from up-thread:

This is a counterargument? Everyone's birth is recorded for the purpose of validating their existence to a bureaucracy and this somehow justifies personal ID cards?

Uh, no. I'm not for requiring personal ID cards to vote at all. I was responding to someone trying to argue that having to have an official document of some kind issued in Germany (you know, like we have to have birth certificates and Social Security ID cards issued) is somehow as bad as being required to purchase and present a personal ID card at a polling place in order to be eligible to vote, though this is a de facto poll tax IMO.

posted by saulgoodman at 11:07 AM on July 27, 2011


In short, stop wasting vast amounts of political capital every single election cycle on convincing GOP voters that ID should not be necessary.

That would work out nicely for the people who have been wasting vast amounts of political capital every single election cycle on convincing everybody that ID should be necessary.
posted by davejay at 11:20 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


WTF, i guess you missed that whole Florida election back in 2000.

...which had nothing to do with Voter ID. From wikipedia:
Many of Florida's year 2000 election night problems stemmed from usability and ballot design factors with voting systems, including the potentially confusing "butterfly ballot". Many voters had difficulties with the paper-based punch card voting machines and were either unable to understand the required process for voting or unable to perform the process. This resulted in an unusual amount of overvote (voting for more candidates than is allowed) and undervotes (voting for fewer than the minimum candidates, including none at all). Many undervotes were potentially caused by either voter error or errors with the punch card paper ballots resulting in hanging, dimpled, or pregnant chad.
posted by desjardins at 11:45 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


why say these things about anigbrowl.

I disagree with him. If you feel I've made a personal attack, point it out.
posted by desjardins at 11:47 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Upthread, there have been various comments about how "cheap" $20 is, or $135 (for a passport) is, and how most "poor" people can afford this.

I still say it is cheap, and I still think I have a lot more first-hand experience of being poor than most of you do. I have lived on < $20 worth of food per week for months at a time, and gone years with income of under 410k and no access to welfare of any kind or use of charitable services. I still say those sums are cheap because things like ID or indeed a passport are occasional expenses that only need renewal occasionally (as opposed to being an ongoing expense), but more to the point, things like this are important.

You need an ID of some sort to get a job in the first place - it's required by the I-9 form every employee has to fill out upon hiring to prove that you are here and authorized to work. This form is the reason that I can't get a regular job in the US (although this is likely to change soon, depending on how long my paperwork gets processed). I have got around that issue by being self-employed, which incidentally means I pay both the employer and employee parts of the payroll tax. But do you think that I wouldn't get a US id the minute I was allowed to do so just because I've managed to function for years without one? Hell yes I would, for the same reason that once I'm able to do so I will take some driving lessons to make up for my rusty skills after so many years of not being allowed to drive. Any poor person who does not have a US ID is not going to be able to accept a job if offered.

Things like this are worth spending money on because having an ID is an economic necessity. I have sold books in a second hand bookstore to make rent or buy food. I had to show ID to make the sale. I could give example after example of situations where ID is necessary - getting married, opening a bank account and so on - and I absolutely refuse to glorify the idea that it's OK not to have one. If it means eating less for a week or spending time and effort on scraping together the extra few bucks, then that's what it takes. You can get by without it for short periods, but it's simply not sustainable as a long-term situation.

Elderly voters are in a different situation, because they may not leave home frequently or if they are in a nursing home or assisted-living facility of some kind, they may not leave home at all. Fortunately, Wisconsin allows any voter to vote by mail using an absentee ballot. Registering to vote requires ID, but the rules are loose:
A current and valid Wisconsin driver license.
A current and valid Wisconsin identification card.
Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit.
Any identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business and bearing a photo of the card holder, but not including a business card.
A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
A residential lease which is effective for a period that includes election day (NOT for first-time voters registering by mail).
A university, college or technical institute fee card (must include photo).
A university, college or technical institute identification card (must include photo).
A gas, electric or telephone service statement (utility bill) for the period commencing not earlier than 90 days before election day.
Bank statement.
Paycheck.
A check or other document issued by a unit of government.
Source.
Incidentally, the FAQ on the new voter ID law contradicts many of the assertions made here. Students can use their student ID to vote, for example, as long as they have a copy of their fee receipt dated 9 months or earlier (because of the minimum residency requirements for voting eligibility). Absentee balloting is still allowed and only the voter's signature on the absentee ballot envelope is required, even if the ballot is handed in at a polling place.

anigbrowl - you say that we should help people get IDs because it would benefit them. Well, owning land generally benefits people. In the long run it's often cheaper than renting. What say we restrict voting to landowners?

I guess you still haven't had that coffee, because the appropriate analogy here would be helping people to become landowners by helping them purchase or claim land. It's a bad comparison in any case because ID is a chattel while land is an actual asset, and the price of ID is a fraction of a normal income (even that of a poor person) while the price of land is usually a multiple of income (even for a well-off person).

I have not proposed restricting voting to the holders of ID in any case. I have observed that since it is already the law in Wisconsin, the limited resources available to political activists would be better spent on dealing with the law as it is rather than howling about the injustice of it all, because I seriously doubt that this is going to be the deciding issue for anyone at the polls, and to the extent that it is it's just as likely to attract support for Walker as for his opponents. Complaining about the inconvenience of not being able to renew your tags or do any of the other stuff you do at the DMV because 10 DMV branches are closed is a much better political strategy, because that's an inconvenience that applies to everyone whether they're registered and able to vote or not.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:50 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl : I am going to say it again. I find it curious , if not outright amazing, that someone who is a UK citizen and has not figured out how to even get a work visa in America (i.e. is here illegally) can know so much about how it is for the disadvantaged to live in America, the history and culture of how we have voted and what is best for Americans. In point of fact you know none of that. You merely are expressing your opinions without legitimate knowledge or experience as do so many others these days.

Regarding your assertion that you know what it means to be poor. Come back to me when you do NOT live in a nice flat in a nice area of one of the most expensive cities in America , do NOT have a job in the film industry , do NOT have your own computers and are using the SF Library to post. Come back to me when you have to wait for 2 hours to take a shower at Polk and Market every day. Come back at me when you have to sleep in your car. Come back at me when you don't have that car. Until then you know as much about being broke and poor as you do about what it means for Americans to vote; which is to say nothing at all.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:39 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


... speaking of personal attacks!

I don't think that was necessary, Poet_Lariat.

I make no assumptions about what anigbrowl has or hasn't been through. I don't know where he's from or why he's here or why he doesn't have legal status. I don't care. I do agree that it would be difficult for someone who has not grown up here to grok the subtleties of why a virtual poll tax would get under an American's skin. The reason there is such focus on this issue is because it represents just the latest method that rich people use to disenfranchise poor people. They've been doing this since this country was founded. You're not the right religion, the right gender, the right color, you don't own land, you're not as literate, you don't have money, and on and on and on. There's always a fucking excuse why the obstacle is needed - this time it's supposed fraud.

YES, life is easier with government-issued ID. I don't mean to suggest that people SHOULD NOT get ID. I do mean to suggest that not having it should not be an obstacle to voting. It's called the Voter ID law, not the "you can register with a utility bill and vote absentee law." Think about why that is. In the last election, there was a lot of confusion whether the law had taken effect yet and if you had to bring your ID to the polls. I keep on top of this stuff and even I was confused. The messaging is that no ID = no vote, and that's what people are going to remember, even if they can provide bills or paychecks to prove residency.
posted by desjardins at 12:50 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


That would work out nicely for the people who have been wasting vast amounts of political capital every single election cycle on convincing everybody that ID should be necessary.

Yes, but it's not up for debate in Wisconsin. They won the argument, the law was passed, voter ID is a fact from 2012 onwards until such time as the law is changed. So vote absentee or get a free voter ID. Complaining about disenfranchisement, especially using spurious arguments that are not founded in fact as some people have done above, is like sending a signal that you expect to lose the next election anyway.

On the one hand, surveys show that more people among the electorate believe voter fraud (as opposed to fraud by election officials) is very or somewhat common than people who believe it is unusual or almost never happens. The majority is wrong in this case, all the actual avidence is that voter fraud is extremely uncommon and that people are far more worried about it than is justified by the facts - though having said that, we might make the same observation about election fraud, which is talked about far more than it occurs. However, the good news is that strict voting ID requirements do not, in fact, seem to have any effect on turnout, and that fears of widespread disenfranchisement are not supported by the facts either.

I'm not calling for the imposition of voter ID everywhere, and if you feel that there's a possibility of it becoming law in your own state then by all means oppose it. but in states where it is already the law, and there's no immediate prospect of changing, then just deal with it and focus on making sure everyone who is eligible to vote is properly registered and aware of how to vote. Assertions that students in Wisconsin without a WI driving license will be unable to vote when in fact a student ID is acceptable are counter-productive, because they mislead people into thinking they can't vote and not bothering to try. Furthermore, the factual incorrectness of such assertions erodes the credibility of other claims from the same source, even legitimate ones.

Personally, I am much more concerned about the risks of electronic voting fraud/error, the lack of a paper trail for recount purposes, and voter registration purges than I am about either voter fraud or the specter of voting disenfranchisement. It seems to be that it's much more difficult to strike someone off the voter registration list if they have a current valid ID, and that widespread acceptance of voter ID may actually safeguard people's right to vote more effectively, although this is speculation on my part.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:54 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Consider yourself duly corrected. They have a signature exemplar from the initial registration. Just like it's been since 1907.

Isn't your signature a form of ID? It's unique to you, it identifies you, doesn't it?
posted by banshee at 1:37 PM on July 27, 2011


poet_lariat: Regarding your assertion that you know what it means to be poor. Come back to me when you do NOT live in a nice flat in a nice area of one of the most expensive cities in America , do NOT have a job in the film industry , do NOT have your own computers and are using the SF Library to post. Come back to me when you have to wait for 2 hours to take a shower at Polk and Market every day. Come back at me when you have to sleep in your car. Come back at me when you don't have that car. Until then you know as much about being broke and poor as you do about what it means for Americans to vote; which is to say nothing at all.

Aside from the numerous details you got wrong (I am not British, and I do not live in a flat, and I do not have a regular job), you seem to think that I a) live in luxury, which I don't; and that b) I have always lived the way that I live now. At present I enjoy a lifestyle that I think of as modest but comfortable; I share a home with several other people, own some nice things, and don't have to go hungry. Like most people, I save up for things I want, postpone purchases until prices fall or things go on sale, and otherwise go without.

What makes you think that I have always lived this way? I've never owned a car, I have in fact been homeless and had to live out of a bag that I carried around, and have had abundant experience of being broke, hungry, and poor in the USA, thank you very much. I've slept outside, in places like car parks, and have spent several years in flea-ridden residential accommodations, hostel dorms and the like. I don't qualify for food stamps, GA, or any other kind of welfare, and have never applied for them even though plenty of people have told me how; nor have I ever used a fake ID or dealt drugs, the other easy (and easily available) options for someone in my situation. I've done lots of casual labor for peanuts, and when there wasn't any casual labor available I've fed myself or made the nightly rent by toting empty bottles and cans to the recycling center. I'm married to someone who grew up in the Tenderloin, and I spent the first half of my time in San Francisco in the Mission back when there was a crack epidemic and people were getting shot in the street every other day. In fact, for anyone who's reading this in the library right now, I'll tell you the two best ways to get out of being homeless: make sure you always have enough money for laundry, and after finding shelter make it your priority to get a cellphone. It's a hell of a lot easier to get by when your clothes are clean, and it's a hell of a lot easier to get ahead of living hand-to-mouth once you have your own telephone number.

Poet_lariat, you can stick your ignorant assumptions right back wherever it was that you found them. I'll match my knowledge and experience of poverty up against yours any day of the week.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:44 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't your signature a form of ID? It's unique to you, it identifies you, doesn't it?

To an extent; why it's used on an the outside of an absentee ballot envelope. In combination with your address (which must be correct insofar as the ballot reached you there, if you vote by mail) it's enough to confirm your voter registration. So elderly people in Wisconsin are not reliant on having ID unless they specifically want to go to the polls rather than vote by mail.

But using a signature at a polling place is not a great form of ID. First, the register of electors then has to include a specimen copy of every signature, which is more expensive to print than a simple list - only a couple of cents or a fraction of a cent per person, but when you scale that up across the whole state it adds to a significant amount which has to be spent at every single election. If you use computers then you're already into the territory of 'why not just use a photograph instead, because a signature is also a graphic image.' Second, lots of people have generic-looking signatures that are just a meaningless scrawl, and a person's own signature can vary from use to use. It's fairly characteristic, but not perfectly so. If a hypothetical person were bent on committing voter fraud (say, by having a busload of people drive around from precinct to precinct), then getting a copy of the electoral register (with the specimen signatures) would be only be a minor additional hurdle. However, I don't think this is really a pressing problem; photo ID is just more convenient in general because it gives both textual and pictorial information, and requires little effort on the part of the person checking it. To me, that's actually a plus in districts where there are long lines to vote on polling day, because anything that speeds the process in a busy precinct improves the chance of everyone being able to cast their vote before the poll closes.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:57 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Poet_lariat, you can stick your ignorant assumptions right back wherever it was that you found them. I'll match my knowledge and experience of poverty up against yours any day of the week.

Respectfully, for as confrontational as Poet_Lariat may have been, was this really entirely necessary? Your point was pretty much made without having to cap it with a "COME AT ME BRO".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:23 PM on July 27, 2011


There is no real problem with vote fraud.
posted by bongo_x at 2:25 PM on July 27, 2011


But using a signature at a polling place is not a great form of ID.

So what? Why do you keep arguing - or seem to be arguing - that (photo?) ID is a great idea at the polls when no one has demonstrated - you even posted some links! - that the lack of it has created or sustained measurable voter fraud?

The polling place lines I have stood in do not seem to move more quickly or slowly based on whether or not photo ID is presented. What backs things up is people waiting for a booth, trying to decide while they're in the booth whether to vote yay or nay on a dozen initiatives, and waiting to put their ballot in the machine at the end.
posted by rtha at 2:39 PM on July 27, 2011


because anything that speeds the process in a busy precinct improves the chance of everyone being able to cast their vote before the poll closes.

The law in Wisconsin is that anyone who is in line when the polls close is allowed to vote (via provisional ballot, I think). It's obviously more convenient when the line moves faster, but a slow line will not prevent anyone from voting.
posted by desjardins at 3:45 PM on July 27, 2011


Respectfully, for as confrontational as Poet_Lariat may have been, was this really entirely necessary?

For me to express my feelings about being the target of a string of ill-informed insults which I found extremely offensive, yes it was. I haven't questioned or speculated about that poster's experience, motives, or standing to have an opinion.

So what? Why do you keep arguing - or seem to be arguing - that (photo?) ID is a great idea at the polls when no one has demonstrated - you even posted some links! - that the lack of it has created or sustained measurable voter fraud?

Perhaps my basic points have gotten lost amid the rather long messages and heightened emotion. My argument is this:

1. Having photo ID is a good idea in general.
2. Getting one is a hassle, but less so than not being able to get one.
3. Affirming that the poor or elderly etc., are better off without seems to me like the civic equivalent of being an anti-vaxxer. In seeking to affirm people's civil rights, it ends up normatizing their marginalization.

4. I don't think election fraud is a big issue...
5. ...although I don't think voter ID disenfranchises as many people as its opponents claim.
6. It has some minor practical benefits, for the same reason that standardization makes things simpler and faster in general.

7. Where voting ID is not required by law, by all means point out the potential downsides of any voter ID proposal.
8. Where voter ID is already required by law, overstating the problems discourages people from getting ID or from voting.
9. there are much better ways to spend your political capital than re-enacting your last defeat.

To expand on point 8 & 9, it's wrong to say that students won't be able to vote in WI if they don't have a driving license. But a lot of students might hear that claim and not even bother to try - a bad outcome. It's wrong to suggest that the elderly will have no way to vote without going to the DMV (if they can find one still operating) and waiting in line for hours. But likewise, many elderly people may hear or read such a claim and fail to register or vote - again, a bad outcome. Poor people and other vulnerable minorities may find the requirement to get ID or vote absentee between now and November 2012 onerous, if they don't have photo ID already. But the voter ID is free so there is no poll tax, and it might be that they actually already have a birth certificate. Even if they don't, and they have to spend $20 for a copy of a birth certificate or spend valuable time getting their paperwork squared away, they have 15 months to do it, the actual costs are really not that much, and the practical benefits of doing so substantially outweigh the costs.

I know and care about the history of American voter disenfranchisement. It's a serious issue. I could quote passages from the Congressional debates on the 14th amendment where reactionaries complain about the possibility of voting by 'negroes...gypsies...chinamen' and so on. I agree with you that the attempt to promulgate voter ID laws is often reflective of a longer-term agenda to disenfranchise people permanently, manipulate the voting system, and undermine the union. Where I disagree with you is about the value of building a campaign around this issue. It's just not going to be a vote-winner in Wisconsin, and probably not on a national level either. In terms of time spent/votes won, it's a terrible issue outside of the South. Even in the South I think it's a pretty weak issue because it never polls high on the list of voter concerns and it's a fundamentally negative and backwards-looking issue, and such issues rarely draw votes away from an opponent. Accusations of electoral shenanigans are trotted out with such regularity that there's a 'boy who cried wolf' effect - most people are skeptical and only the most committed partisans on each side lose a lot of sleep over it. So if you're going to raise it as a campaign issue, you need to have a massive amount of incontrovertible evidence on your side, and that's not the case here. More people should care about this, but the sad fact is that they don't - they're more worried about illegal aliens stealing their jobs and manipulating elections, even though these concerns are bogus.

Look, think of it like a battle. You have two armies and they're fighting for positional advantage. Some parts of the terrain are better than others, like hills, so you direct your forces to capture or hold the high ground whenever possible. Sometimes you lose a hill because the opponent has outmaneuvered you. Retaking that hill is going to be difficult or impossible in the short term, and it is happens to be close to the enemy's main position, then you could waste an awful lot of troops and materiel in the attempt. Are you going to focus the whole battle about recapturing a few bits of territory when you've already lost once and which are tactically expensive to recover, or are you going to focus on the big picture and press the advantages that you do have?

Now in Wisconsin, there's a recall election in November. Photo ID is not required at the polls this election, although it will be next year. Maybe Governor Walker can be recalled at the upcoming election, but barring some enormous upset the Democratic party is not going to regain control of the legislature between now and 2012. Legal challenges to the voter ID law do not look very promising either, for a variety of reasons. So I do not think that opposing the existing voter ID law is a productive political tactic right now, because it's likely to generate as much opposition as it does support. If you were a campaign manager, how many votes do you think you could shift away from Walker for each dollar or hour of a campaign volunteer's time you spend?

Productive activities would include disseminating accurate information on how to vote in WI so that everyone who wants to vote can do so, now and next year; and bashing Walker about the DMV closings because of the job losses and general non-electoral inconvenience that such closures entail, and which are as likely to negatively impact Republicans as Democrats, and thus weaken support for Walker. Don't rush up the hill into the enemy's strong point; lure your enemy into a space that you control. You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:02 PM on July 27, 2011


The law in Wisconsin is that anyone who is in line when the polls close is allowed to vote (via provisional ballot, I think). It's obviously more convenient when the line moves faster, but a slow line will not prevent anyone from voting.

Sure, but unfortunately convenience is a factor in whether or not to go the polls for many voters. Actually, I'm a huge fan of voting by mail for this reason. As a matter of fact, with Walker's recall election being the big, well defined issue coming up, it seems to me that one of the best strategies for his opponents is to encourage people to vote at the kitchen tables as much as possible.

Walker says government doesn't work - by bending over backwards to make the electoral and voting process smooth and convenient, his opponents can implicitly demonstrate that government does in fact work quite well. If I were running the campaign I'd take the approach of assuming Walker is going to lose, and have the likely-replacement candidates running around the state collecting people's suggestions on how to make government more responsive and efficient. Walker won't be ablet o show big savings from shutting down DMV offices and people tune out on accountancy anyway, but people love a good customer service experience. So make it about public service and convenience, and Walker will come to look more and more like a scorched earth ideologue.

BTW I keep referring to the election in November 2011 out of habit, when in fact no date has been established for his recall yet.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:29 PM on July 27, 2011


Affirming that the poor or elderly etc., are better off without [a photo ID]

Who has said this? Photo ID is good to have; it makes lots of things easier. I still believe it should not be required to vote.

Now in Wisconsin, there's a recall election in November. Photo ID is not required at the polls this election, although it will be next year.

There are recall/special elections coming up on August 9 and August 16.. You are right that ID is not required until next year, but people will be asked for it at the polls this year. (source)

Do you live here? Voter ID is not the main focus of WI activism. I am commenting a lot on it in this thread because ... that's what this thread is about. We have lots of other things to worry about here (concealed carry! fake job creation! misused transit funds!). Rest assured we are not spending all or most of our political capital on something that has already been voted into law. It's getting rather annoying that you're telling us not to do something that we're not doing.

no date has been established for his recall yet.

Correct; we can start circulating recall petitions in November, and if it is successful, the election would be held in April 2012.
posted by desjardins at 5:53 PM on July 27, 2011


"To me, that's actually a plus in districts where there are long lines to vote on polling day, because anything that speeds the process in a busy precinct improves the chance of everyone being able to cast their vote before the poll closes."

Nope.

I had my first taste of Voter ID in the recall primary. 8 booths at the polling place but only 1 in use because it took so long to verify each voter that the previous voter was leaving the building by the time you got your ballot. It went something like this:

Step 1: Verbally give your name & address to the person on the right, she starts looking through the voter rolls.

Step 2: Give ID to person on left. He verifies the said ID is of a valid type and not expired.

Step 3: Person on right finds your name in the book, waits for person on left to find it.

Step 4: Person on left finds your name in book and compares photo ID to info in the book.

Step 5a: Person on left presents book to me for signature.
Step 5b: I sign the book.
Step 5c: Person on left verifies my signature and returns my ID

Step 6: Person on right reads off ballot number, people left & right enter ballot number in book.

Step 7: I am given an initialed slip of paper with the ballot number on.

Step 8: Give slip of paper to third person in exchange for ballot.

Step 9: Vote

Keep in mind also that poll workers are volunteers and many, if not most, are elderly and not always the speediest (but are often quite chatty). And if if there is a shortage of volunteers? Oh, well, I hope you brought a camp stool or something. You're going to be waiting a while.

And what do the new procedures do? Nothing. Voter fraud is not and has not been an issue. There haven't been enough fraudulent votes discovered to swing a Slinger (small exburb) school board race much less a major election.

tl;dr version: Voter ID doesn't speed up the process, it slows it down. Way down.
posted by MikeMc at 6:38 PM on July 27, 2011


Actually, 44 states and many localities constitutionally prohibit the "insane" and "idiot persons" from voting. (Warning, .DOC link) Fools do not necessarily get a vote.

Not having a government-issued ID or a physical copy of one's birth certificate does not seem to be cited as significant criteria in the determination of "insane" and "idiot persons".
posted by desuetude at 6:42 PM on July 27, 2011


(Affirming that the poor or elderly etc., are better off without [a photo ID])

Who has said this? Photo ID is good to have; it makes lots of things easier.


That's the implicit suggestion every time there's an exaggerated description of how difficult it is to get. Anyone who doesn't have ID and was thinking that maybe they ought to straighten that out sometime is going to be discouraged by such claims. I'm saying that despite the fact that it is relatively expensive for a poor person to expend the time and $ required, it's also entirely feasible and well worth it.

I still believe it should not be required to vote.

That's fine, but it will be required for elections in 2012 and you are not going to have the numbers to repeal that law in the meantime, as far as I can see. I know it's not the main focus of WI activism; it's just that it's a perennial topic of left-wing political activism, and I'm sick and tired of seeing how much energy the left wastes on dead-end issues every election cycle.

I had my first taste of Voter ID in the recall primary. 8 booths at the polling place but only 1 in use because it took so long to verify each voter that the previous voter was leaving the building by the time you got your ballot.

This is meaningless without a control or a valid sample size. I can make tying my shoelaces sound like a long involved process if I describe every step in detail. Were you voting early in the morning or late in the day, after they'd had time to get into the swing of things? Why is the running of polling stations being left mostly to elderly volunteers if they're so slow? Why not describe the step-by-step procedure that was followed at the previous election for comparison? I mean, it's not news that people who are getting used to a new way of doing things tend to be a little slow at the outset, now is it?

If it makes you feel better to keep complaining about it, then by all means do that. I think you'd be better off off registering to vote by mail, encouraging everyone else to do so, and trying to get more young people into volunteering as poll workers in order to make things go faster so that people would want to vote, but clearly this is a terrible idea.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:22 PM on July 27, 2011


"Why is the running of polling stations being left mostly to elderly volunteers if they're so slow?'

Because that's how we do it here. Volunteers, almost all of them retired.

Why not describe the step-by-step procedure that was followed at the previous election for comparison?

Eliminate Step 2, half of step 4 and Steps 5a,b and c and combine Steps 1 and 3.

it makes you feel better to keep complaining about it, then by all means do that.

I will. Why? Because this is completely, totally, absolutely unnecessary. It is legislation aimed primarily at reducing voter turnout in the City of Milwaukee. There is no valid reason for this.
posted by MikeMc at 7:42 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


To expand on point 8 & 9, it's wrong to say that students won't be able to vote in WI if they don't have a driving license. But a lot of students might hear that claim and not even bother to try - a bad outcome.

It's complicated. My understanding is that the current version of the bill will allow college students (or at least UW students) to vote with their state-issued college ID, as you say. But this was not the case in the original version of the bill, which was changed after vehement protests from the colleges and Democrats. See e.g. this Isthmus article from May for a discussion of one intermediate version, in which student IDs would have been allowed but only if they included current addresses and birth dates, which UW IDs do not. The compromise was that the requirement of including addresses on the IDs could be waived if "your school provided the clerk with a list of students who live in school housing" (I think this refers to the county clerk). UW has agreed to this reporting requirement; I don't know about other colleges in the state. So when people say that Gov. Walker and the legislature tried to keep students from voting with their student IDs, they are right. When they say this about the version of the law that finally passed, they are wrong as pertains to UW, and I would hope they're wrong about all the colleges in the state; but their ability to use their student ID to vote is certainly not under their own control.

You are certainly right that students need to be correctly informed about what documentation they need to have on hand in order to vote. But you are crackers if you think the many, many Democratic volunteers in Madison and the other university towns won't be flooding the campuses with exactly that information.


Where I disagree with you is about the value of building a campaign around this issue.....Are you going to focus the whole battle about recapturing a few bits of territory when you've already lost once and which are tactically expensive to recover, or are you going to focus on the big picture and press the advantages that you do have?


The Republican Party has lots of advantages in Wisconsin: control of both houses of the legislature and the Governorship, and (unofficial) control of the Supreme Court. The Democratic Party has one advantage: Democratic voters in Wisconsin are really, really angry. From what I can see, the party's strategy is to keep them angry enough for long enough to successfully flip the State Senate next month, or even to remove Gov. Walker next year. That seems like a pretty sensible strategy. And keeping Walker's record in front of the voters, even if there's nothing they can do to reverse it now, is part of that strategy. If you think voter ID is not the very most important issue to put front and center before those voters, well, you're right -- which is why that's not what Democrats are doing. I picked a Dem challenger, Sandy Pasch, at random: the description of her TV campaign in the Journal-Sentinel makes it sound like she's hammering the GOP for taking money out of schools and people's pockets and handing it out to big corporations. Pretty standard kitchen-table stuff. As far as Google can tell me she has never mentioned voter ID in her campaign.

Productive activities would include disseminating accurate information on how to vote in WI so that everyone who wants to vote can do so, now and next year; and bashing Walker about the DMV closings because of the job losses and general non-electoral inconvenience that such closures entail


Again, if you think the state Dems are not doing everything they can to make sure city voters, elderly voters, and campus voters are able to cast their ballots easily and successfully, you are crackers. That's the meat and potatoes of organizing. Every single person with a clipboard walking around town knocking on doors is telling voters where their polling place is and what they need to do to make sure their vote counts. As for bashing Walker about the DMV closings, I think that's what this thread was going to do but then it got sidetracked somehow.
posted by escabeche at 7:55 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and one other thing: you ask what's the point of D's making the public case that voter ID is bad law, when it's already been enacted and isn't going to be repealed even if the Democrats take over the State Senate next month. One answer is that Republicans in the leglislature are interested (or at least were interested in January) in enshrining voter ID in the state constitution. That would require a statewide referendum. Democrats have an interest in making sure that such a referendum would lose.
posted by escabeche at 8:00 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eliminate Step 2, half of step 4 and Steps 5a,b and c and combine Steps 1 and 3.

So your problem is not really with the photo ID as such, it's with the fact that you have to sign the book after you've proved your identity, isn't it? Because Steps 1 and 3 have nothing to do with whether you show ID or not, and steps 5a and 5b involve you signing the book, which you would have had to do anyway even if you didn't have ID with you this time (in which case they'd have given you an information sheet). You're not exactly making your case to me here.

I will. Why? Because this is completely, totally, absolutely unnecessary. It is legislation aimed primarily at reducing voter turnout in the City of Milwaukee. There is no valid reason for this.

That's a great argument for repealing it after you win the next election and get control of the WI legislature again. It's an absolutely useless strategy for dealing with the reality of the election you are going to have to fight next year.

Escabeche's response makes perfect sense to me, although I am not sure that the Democrats' actual interest is at stake as much as they think. In other words, I have my doubts about whether it will actually suppress turnout as linked above; also I'm a lot more worried in about why so many black voters in downtown Milwaukee don't have driver's licenses, and why they don't have valid photo ID instead if the reasons for not having a driver's license are legitimate (unpaid tickets, DUI or whatever the individual cases might be if they had drivers licenses and lost them, or economic marginalization if they don't own cars and don't have any other state ID).

I know democrats in the WI Senate tried to enact a motor-voter law with SB640 last year; maybe it's just as well it didn't pass, because that would have actually have made the impact of Walker's DMV closures more severe.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:48 PM on July 27, 2011


"also I'm a lot more worried in about why so many black voters in downtown Milwaukee don't have driver's licenses,"

It usually comes down to not being able to get or reinstate a license because money is owed for unpaid tickets, fines etc...
posted by MikeMc at 8:59 PM on July 27, 2011


This is meaningless without a control or a valid sample size.

Jesus, dude, it's not as if you offered anything but anecdote when you claimed upthread that presenting ID makes the process faster.
posted by rtha at 9:40 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's obvious, like how using a credit or debit card if faster than pulling out your checkbook. Try not carrying any for a month or two and tell me I'm wrong. No cheating and memorizing your DL# or SSN, though.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:37 AM on July 28, 2011


MikeMc : It usually comes down to not being able to get or reinstate a license because money is owed for unpaid tickets, fines etc...

That, uh, doesn't really make your side sound all that deserving of sympathy, here...
posted by pla at 3:33 AM on July 28, 2011


It's obvious, like how using a credit or debit card if faster than pulling out your checkbook. Try not carrying any for a month or two and tell me I'm wrong.

No, it isn't obvious, and that's a damn cop-out, considering you demand evidence for something but think you don't have to provide any because it's "obvious."

If a state has mandatory voter ID at the polls, then all polling workers must know what forms of ID are acceptable. Is a school ID okay? Drivers license, sure - what about non-driver license? Expired passport? Library card?

With no ID required, I tell the person with the book my name. They look it up. I sign. I get my ballot. Then I wait for a booth. Here in California, with our constant alphabet soup of initiatives, the wait for the booth is always the longest part of the process.
posted by rtha at 6:14 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


"That, uh, doesn't really make your side sound all that deserving of sympathy, here..."

The thing is that D/L suspension can be used as a punitive measure to punish conduct not related to driving.
posted by MikeMc at 6:18 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Race relations in the city of Milwaukee are a complex subject and if you don't live here I can see why it would be difficult to understand why many blacks don't have IDs and why most don't vote.

tl;dr version - we're the most segregated metro area in the whole country and we have the 4th worst poverty rate. There is a lot of hopelessness and resignation and animosity going on here. And before anyone asks - there are definitely get out the vote campaigns from Democrats.
posted by desjardins at 7:43 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, it isn't obvious, and that's a damn cop-out, considering you demand evidence for something but think you don't have to provide any because it's "obvious."

Yes it is obvious. Somehow clerks in grocery stores can be trained to quickly read and verify ID in order to sell age-limited products, so there's no reason to think that when it comes to voting it should suddenly be much more complicated.

If a state has mandatory voter ID at the polls, then all polling workers must know what forms of ID are acceptable. Is a school ID okay? Drivers license, sure - what about non-driver license? Expired passport? Library card?

It's written on the state government website and it's been linked several times upthread. This isn't hard, and your objections just demonstrate wilfull ignorance. For the last time, the use of voter ID in Wisconsin is a fact at the next election, because the Republicans outdid the Democrats at the polls last year. You're stuck with it until after 2012 so complaining about it is a complete waste of time. All you do is discourage people from voting by exaggerating the difficulties.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:31 AM on July 28, 2011


Lowering barriers to acquiring ID that makes much of life so much easier is a good thing. We agree on this.

It's written on the state government website and it's been linked several times upthread. This isn't hard, and your objections just demonstrate wilfull ignorance.

No, it isn't. I was speaking from the point of view of a poll worker - someone who is a volunteer, who maybe does this once every two years. In the last election, I accidentally wrecked one of my ballots (there were six pages in total, double-sided, and I accidentally colored in the wrong arrow on one side of one sheet), and it took the poll workers 20 minutes and a phone call to figure out how to handle that. They'd had training. They had the big binder of rules right there. And it still took 20 minutes. If someone presents an ID that is allowed, but is unfamiliar to a poll worker, that voter may experience a delay or may be denied the ability to vote, or may have to fill out a provisional ballot and then show up at City Hall or wherever with their ID to confirm they are properly registered.

You act like requiring ID is a fool-proof system that can't possibly cause delays or problems. This is incorrect.
posted by rtha at 9:58 AM on July 28, 2011


OK, well I'm glad the we agree on something. Of course things could go wrong. But things could go wrong under any system. I got married alst year and changed my name to include my wife's, as in Mr Abel Baker-Charlie. As women have always known but I discovered first hand, changing your name is a huge hassle, and more than a year later I still get bills and letters addressed to my prior name from a few vendors who can't seem to get to grips with the concept. This is an example of something that's substantially simpler once you have ID, because you can just say 'look at this official document and accept it' instead of having to engage in a long explanation of why your name has changed.

Sure, the simpler thing would be to just sign the electoral register with your old name. Except that if there's a recount or the next time you register, that technically amounts to vote fraud or at least invalidates your ballot, because bureaucrats are apt to get hung up on mismatched details.

I agree that it is hard to train older people who are used to doing things a certain way, and that many people are bad at dealing with novel or complex situations and applying the rules to them even when they're sitting right there. But that's the whole reason we tend to standardize things in the first place - in the vast majority of cases, it actually makes things simpler. Imagine if we didn't have ID for driving licenses or alcohol purchases, and every time there was a traffic stop or a purchase question people were hauling out birth certificates or utility bills or random bits of documentation purporting to prove their identity and age, but without any consistency. Do you think that would make things more efficient, or less? A system doesn't have to be absolutely fool-proof, it just has to be fool-resistant. Photo ID does get one most of the way there, which is why its use is so widespread in other contexts.

Look on the bright side: at the next election, Republicans won't be able to use any of the scare stories about voters being bussed from precinct to precinct or people voting multiple times, which is one of their favorite tactics for GOTV or dismissing a loss in a close race. If they even attempt to call fraud, Democrats can just say 'but we have voter ID, fraud is not possible' and watch GOP heads explode.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:48 PM on July 28, 2011


yeah, you stupid democrats, you lost, shut up, there's no use complaining. it's all your fault that people won't go vote now. and besides if you want to change it you have to wait until you get voted into power, and that won't be harder because the republicans aren't disenfranchising people, nuh-uh, it's you who are complaining who make people not want to vote... it's all your fault, you stupid democrats. don't you get it in a functioning democracy, the losers just have to zip their lips and let the winners do whatever they want.
posted by symbioid at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look on the bright side: at the next election, Republicans won't be able to use any of the scare stories about voters being bussed from precinct to precinct or people voting multiple times, which is one of their favorite tactics for GOTV or dismissing a loss in a close race. If they even attempt to call fraud, Democrats can just say 'but we have voter ID, fraud is not possible' and watch GOP heads explode.

I'll give you $5 if this actually happens. Hell, I'll give you $20 if not one single republican in the General Election in WI next time around doesn't go down that path. Seriously.
posted by edgeways at 2:12 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


New Voter-ID Laws Target Women
posted by homunculus at 9:28 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's all your fault, you stupid democrats. don't you get it in a functioning democracy, the losers just have to zip their lips and let the winners do whatever they want.

That is so not what I've been saying.

Hell, I'll give you $20 if not one single republican in the General Election in WI next time around doesn't go down that path.

I'm not sure what you mean. If you are trying to say that Republicans will call election fraud anyway despite voter ID, then call their bluff when they try it. That would be campaign gold for the left. I hope the WI Republicans are that dumb.

New Voter-ID Laws Target Women

Having just changed my own name after getting married, and compared notes with my wife who's done the same, my experience is that the public officials were the easiest people to deal with because that's something they're actually very used to and manage all the time. What was not so easy was changing it on all my (private sector) bills and so on, because some people were all 'y u change ur name because u r a man'. On the official side, it was just a matter of prior photo ID + marriage certificate (or divorce degree) = new ID.

I continue to think that people not having any current ID is a major problem, and that voting is only one facet of that. It's easy to exaggerate the significance of this because the people in the political class have a vested interest in getting people's votes, so whether they're complaining about voter fraud or disenfranchisement they have a stake in the outcome. But people without ID are disadvantaged in so many ways that getting a valid ID is the best solution to their problems.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:55 AM on July 29, 2011


anigbrowl wrote: I'm not sure what you mean. If you are trying to say that Republicans will call election fraud anyway despite voter ID, then call their bluff when they try it. That would be campaign gold for the left. I hope the WI Republicans are that dumb.

Yeah, you have a real disconnect between what you'd like politics to be like and what politics actually is like. There is never any repercussion to the Republicans for making unfounded accusations of voting fraud. ID isn't going to change that a whit.
posted by wierdo at 12:19 PM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm a lot more worried in about why so many black voters in downtown Milwaukee don't have driver's licenses, and why they don't have valid photo ID instead if the reasons for not having a driver's license are legitimate (unpaid tickets, DUI or whatever the individual cases might be if they had drivers licenses and lost them, or economic marginalization if they don't own cars and don't have any other state ID).

You have to go to the DMV to get a photo ID. They check to make sure you don't have a driver's license already. Why would anyone with a suspended or revoked licence (or even just an expired licence) think that they could get a state ID without hassle from the agency that issues driver's licences? Look, our dude in the FPP got hassled even though he brought all of the required documentation and his mom to vouch for him.
posted by desuetude at 8:35 PM on July 29, 2011


What I was getting at is that truth and accuracy have very little bearing on election campaigns. The ACORN debacle was one long lie, but that didn't matter, neither will the fact that WI now has Voter ID laws. The phrase is: A lie will run around the world before truth gets it's boots on. Very few politicians are over concerned with THE TRUTH, as much as what will get people to vote for them, or at least not vote for the opposition.

And you know? Politicians are not a special breed. I feel most people will lie and manipulate for their benefit if they feel they can get away with it.
posted by edgeways at 10:34 AM on July 31, 2011


Koch-Backed Group Buys $150K in TV Time for Wisconsin Ad Blitz
posted by homunculus at 12:18 AM on August 1, 2011


Americans for Prosperity is sending absentee ballots to Democrats in at least two Wisconsin state Senate recall districts with instructions to return the paperwork after the election date.
posted by futz at 11:44 AM on August 1, 2011


That should be applications for absentee ballots.
posted by futz at 11:46 AM on August 1, 2011


Good Christ, what douchebags. But let's worry about voter fraud by improperly registered or ineligible voters, instead, since that's definitely a bigger problem.
posted by rtha at 11:56 AM on August 1, 2011


Suspicious Fire Destroys Offices of We Are Wisconsin PAC
posted by homunculus at 11:57 AM on August 1, 2011


Evangelicals and Abortion Foes Dive Into Wisconsin Recalls
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on August 1, 2011


There is never any repercussion to the Republicans for making unfounded accusations of voting fraud. ID isn't going to change that a whit.

OK, so what will the GOP response be when the voter ID counterargument is raised? Talk about giving up before the battle is even fought.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:16 PM on August 1, 2011


For even more context, the people who say they're trying to protect the integrity of the vote in Wisconsin with these new voter ID laws are planning to suppress voters through caging, a tactic that ...
... may be legal if the primary purpose is to identify those who are not properly registered to vote and prevent them from voting illegally, but not if the purpose is to disenfranchise legitimately registered voters on the basis of a technicality. (Wikipedia)
It is almost certainly illegal if they are targeting certain segments of the population, which it appears that they are.

The Republican party has a history of using caging to disenfranchise legitimate voters who are likely to vote Democratic.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:57 PM on August 2, 2011


Minor derail continued: Room 101, you're not thinking about the GLOW Bus, are you? The single, refurbished bus that was given the task of traveling from locale to locale (not "house to house") in the geographically largest state east of the Mississippi River to register about 200 voters a day? The bus that broke down almost immediately, and has been out of commission ever since?

I'm not being sarcastic here: I'm just confused. Do you mean something else?

anigbrowl: Even though I disagree with you, I think you've been fighting a valiant fight here, and it's made me focus on my own rationale more clearly. Try as I might, I can't align myself with your point of view because I feel like you're looking at this in the wrong way.

<soapbox>

In my opinion, the most best aspect of the United States government is the philosophy of pure paranoia that undergirds it. The Founding Fathers looked at all of history and summed it up: power is derived from the governed, but as governments grow corrupt they seek to claim that strength as their own. They purposefully made a system of government designed to rein in that greedy governmental impulse. We were specifically instructed to keep an eye out for the erosion of our inborn and natural rights at the hands of an ever-encroaching political structure, okay?

(Then they went home and mistreated their wives, their slaves, their native neighbors, and anyone else they felt like rolling right over, but that's another story. The idea has merit anyway, okay?)

</soapbox>

Okay, with that in mind, your overall argument, (and your #5 here in particular) is rooted in a false premise. You don't think that it will disenfranchise "as many people as its opponents claim"? Is there a nonzero number here that you would consider acceptable losses? If they don't feel the same way, are the rest of us allowed to tell them to go pound sand?

In the name of playing political football up through the next election cycle, it seems to me that you're casually ditching a constitutional prime directive here: what right does the government have to determine which citizens can and cannot vote, no matter how seemingly small the hurdle? People legitimize their government, not vice versa.

I'm trying to see your side of things, but so far I haven't, any more than if you tried to argue that guilty until proven innocent is almost as fair as the reverse. (Think of the money the country would save on appeals and court fees!) We're dealing with a law that flies in the face of the nation's legal precepts and is by definition Anti-American.

Citizens People have rights that no legislation can strip away. It doesn't have to be the sole focus of any activists-- I'm all for practicality-- but I feel like it's also very important to move the overton window away from the questionable road that voter suppression tactics invariably lead to.
posted by tyro urge at 9:13 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Facing Backlash For Disenfranchising Voters, Gov. Walker Reverses Course On Plan To Close Several DMV Offices
posted by homunculus at 1:18 PM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tea Party Leader: Wisconsin Liberal Protesters Are Modern-Day Storm Troopers
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on August 6, 2011


Tea Party Leader: Wisconsin Liberal Protesters Are Modern-Day Storm Troopers

These fuckers are like some cross between Orwell and the Onion.
posted by scody at 1:31 PM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Handicapping the Wisconsin Recall Elections
posted by homunculus at 1:20 PM on August 8, 2011


So what's the scandal on this (this is today, right?)
posted by cashman at 10:48 AM on August 9, 2011


You want a scandal? Liberalism has killed a billion people in the last century! Now that's a scandal!
posted by homunculus at 11:53 AM on August 9, 2011


Recall results at a glance (when they become available)
posted by desjardins at 12:22 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks desjardins - keep us posted if you hear anything big tonight! Rooting for you guys from Massachusetts!

The Isthmus is liveblogging the election.

I have a Wisconsin Twitter list which might be of interest - it's comprised of folks who gave helpful info during the protests.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:46 PM on August 9, 2011


I also have a Wisconsin Twitter list - I don't know how much overlap there is with madamjujujive's.
posted by desjardins at 2:15 PM on August 9, 2011


So far, Dems have taken 2 of the 6 Wisc. State Senate seats. Republicans have kept 3, and the one remaining contested seat is in suburban Milwaukee. That district, State Senate District 8, includes Waukesha county, which has been notorious for late and curious returns.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:58 PM on August 9, 2011


Wisconsin Recall Elections Final Results: Democrats fall short in their bid to reclaim the State Senate and throw a wrench in Scott Walker's political machine.
posted by homunculus at 1:18 AM on August 10, 2011


Sigh. It's a long, uphill fight to take on entrenched power and deep pockets. Well, I guess the big fish was, is and remains that smarmy arrogant creep, Walker. I hope these results will not take the wind out of the sails for that recall effort. The left will be discouraged and dispirited after such hard work. The right will be smug and energized, taking this as approbation of their bullying tactics everywhere. I expect they'll be doubling down on the crazy now.

Thanks, you hard-working Wisconsin dems and progressives - at least you are not going gentle into that good night.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:20 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


New post by Rhaomi in case anyone is only following this in their recent activity
posted by desjardins at 7:37 AM on August 10, 2011


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