First they came for the Black voters, but I did nothing, because...
October 18, 2013 11:41 AM   Subscribe

The GOP's new target for voter disenfranchisement: women. As of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. Only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo ID of this nature, as many women have not updated their photo IDs with either their married names or their name after a divorce. This disenfranchises 34% of women voters, while 99% of men are home free. Similar laws now exist or are in the process of being passed in numerous other states.
posted by markkraft (302 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
They should just reenact coverture and give married men two votes. (GOP strategists, this is a joke; don't actually do this, you incredible nutjobs.)
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:45 AM on October 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


I thought they were one of the disenfranchisement targets last time, too. It was a very inclusive approach toward disenfranchisement.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:45 AM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


My proposed solution to this kind of nonsense would be to make it so that all laws requiring IDs for voting must also apply to gun purchases.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on October 18, 2013 [119 favorites]


oh fuck. Sex based discrimination in voting is much more likely to backfire than racial based discrimination, at least that is my guess.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:46 AM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I feel like this is turning into a Yakov Smirnoff joke.

"In home state politicians choose voters!"
posted by Alison at 11:48 AM on October 18, 2013 [114 favorites]


Lets hear it for a smaller government that doesn't get in the way of freedom.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:50 AM on October 18, 2013 [41 favorites]


(Counting fewer votes? Less government!)
posted by markkraft at 11:51 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Clearly this is ridiculous. Any sane system would just give Ted Cruz unilateral control over the United States government. As written in the Constitution.
posted by chasing at 11:51 AM on October 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Are we positive the country isn't secretly run by the same poeple who write the issue questions for the Nationstates game?
posted by Wretch729 at 11:51 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the DoJ should expand its case against Texas.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:52 AM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I thought they were one of the disenfranchisement targets last time, too. It was a very inclusive approach toward disenfranchisement.


Republican Pavement: Inclusive and Intrusive
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:52 AM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Artw: so you not only want to take away votes from non-whites and from women, but also to take away guns? I am not 100% sure that the people who are behind this law would not support that one enthusiastically.
posted by rustcrumb at 11:54 AM on October 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


So, "fun" fact: I was going to say something about how they should just repeal the 19th amendment, so I did a google search on that phrase to make sure I was getting the number wrong, and it led to a "joke" post on National Review Online on that same subject. From this year.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:55 AM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm kind of confused, and I am starting to suspect that the reports that 34% of Texan women of voting age are going to be disenfranchised is misleading.

According to the League of Women Voters:
The name on the ID should match the voter registration card. If names don’t match, a voter may be accepted if names are “substantially similar.” Addresses need not match.
It doesn't say anything about ID matching "up to date legal name." Can anyone source that claim?

On the second page of the survey summary I see: "survey results show that ten percent of voting-age citizens who have current photo ID do not have photo ID with both their current address and their current legal name."

This statistic is way lower than the 40% being reported elsewhere, which is from the front page of the document, and even then I haven't substantiated that your current ID needs to match either your current address or your legal name.
posted by muddgirl at 11:56 AM on October 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


I have been told, seriously, by a libertarian that women often vote against the interests of the United States/Constitution, so he could see where taking away the right to vote would make sense.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:57 AM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


"In home state politicians choose voters!"

They already do that, via gerrymandering into "safe seats."
posted by Gelatin at 11:57 AM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


And, of course, as the flyer points out "If names don't match, a voter may be accepted if they are 'substantially similar.' Because you don't want to disenfranchise the right type of person by mistake of course.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:58 AM on October 18, 2013 [42 favorites]


Jesus fucking christ.
posted by rtha at 11:59 AM on October 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


I have a hard time believing that 34% of women in Texas don't have a photo i.d. with their legal name on it. This almost feels like a grrrr-rage! story. I'd like a few more facts to back it up.
posted by kanewai at 12:01 PM on October 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


My proposed solution to this kind of nonsense would be to make it so that all laws requiring IDs for voting must also apply to gun purchases.

Hey now, owning guns is written right into the constitution, which doesn't say nothing about no women voting (until the 19th Amendment, which we all know isn't a Real American Amendment).
posted by Panjandrum at 12:01 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


According to the league of women voters:
The name on the ID should match the voter registration card. If names don’t match, a voter may be accepted if names are “substantially similar.” Addresses need not match.
It doesn't say anything about ID matching "up to date legal name." Can anyone source that claim?


That's an interesting question. If the ID needs to match the voting registration card, what happens if you do the "right thing" and update your ID, only to realize too late that your voter registration card is still in your maiden name?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:02 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Muddgirl-- in one of the click-through articles, there's this: "Election officials are encouraging voters to update their voter registrations to reflect the names on their IDs." I think it's the match-up between the voter registration and the ID that is causing the issues, since most people don't commonly update their voter registration outside of official IDs.

I get upset at Voter ID laws in general; making it even more difficult for lower-income people with recent name changes (new license fees, time to go to the DMV, extra original marriage licenses) is just the icing on the cake.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:02 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always found it weird that you can vote in many US states without showing an ID. This is standard in such liberal countries as Canada, the Netherlands and Germany.
posted by tecg at 12:02 PM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


It might backfire, but probably not. At this point, I can't imagine that any woman who would vote Republican before now particularly cares about how women as a group are treated.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:03 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is standard in such liberal countries as Canada, the Netherlands and Germany.

It is also standard to have national ID cards and more easily accessible locations for obtaining official photos IDs in said countries.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:03 PM on October 18, 2013 [46 favorites]


How long do driver's licenses last in Texas, anyone know? If they're anything like Arizona licenses (which last decades), I can see a lot of women not bothering to go to the DMV just for a name change.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:04 PM on October 18, 2013


I was surprised to see this show up on a Republican female family member's Facebook feed this morning. Then she said that they are only disenfranchising the 34% of women who are too lazy to manage their paperwork. I guess the "compassionate conservatism" that George W ran on his first term has taken a back seat to election politics.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:05 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have a hard time believing that 34% of women in Texas don't have a photo i.d. with their legal name on it. This almost feels like a grrrr-rage! story. I'd like a few more facts to back it up.

11% of all adult Americans don't even have a photo ID, period.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:05 PM on October 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


Well at least they are still accepting concealed handgun licenses as voter ID.
posted by chevyvan at 12:06 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


i'm not sure how long texas licenses last - i googled it and got "six years" but my own personal driver's license expiration date is ten years after the date i got it renewed
posted by titus n. owl at 12:06 PM on October 18, 2013


too lazy to manage their paperwork

I wonder if they're still too lazy when even the fastest trip to the DMV is un-possible given the two jobs and children...
posted by Slackermagee at 12:06 PM on October 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


If you look at the actual survey summary, they're talking about something more complicated that any of the reporting. The survey is talking about proof of citizenship, not just identification.

what happens if you do the right thing and update your ID only to realize too late that your voting registration card is still in your maiden name

When you get a new driver's license, it prompts you to update your voter registration as well. For the other types of ID it may be more difficult.

11% of all adult Americans don't even have a photo ID, period.

Exactly. Republicans are trying to disenfranchise poor voters. I don't think they're trying to target specifically women voters.
posted by muddgirl at 12:07 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Part of my last job involved maintaining a statewide database of professionals in a certain field. It would have taken maybe an hour a month of my time if it weren't for tracking down all the constant name changes of the marrying and divorcing women. It was a freaking nightmare. I've had professional women break down on the phone when I was trying to confirm their contact information because the ink on the divorce papers was still wet. I've had women with one name in my database, another on their company's website (not updated recently, so not reliable), and a receptionist who says "Who?" when I call.

Believe me, I hate sexism as much as the next person, and I support everybody's right to call themselves whatever they like, but if you're going to change your name for any reason, keep on top of every last place it needs to be changed, and make an exhaustive, obsessive checklist before you actually do it

But, really, ladies (and modern, open-minded gentlemen), if you want Auntie Monster's advice, do any and all official name-changing you're going to do before you get your undergraduate degree and then just stick with that as your legal name, even if it's not perfect and doesn't reflect the true love of your life. Really. It will make your life so much simpler. Call yourself Mary Smith Jones at church and in the neighborhood if you like, and nobody's going to care. But keep all your legal documents in the name of Mary Smith. Pick a last name for the kids and they'll deal with it.

This is a shitty, shitty thing the GOP is trying to do, and we should work to stop them from doing it, because it's wrong and we shouldn't have to deal with it. But in the meantime, let's keep casualties to a minimum.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:07 PM on October 18, 2013 [38 favorites]


I have a hard time believing that 34% of women in Texas don't have a photo i.d. with their legal name on it. This almost feels like a grrrr-rage! story. I'd like a few more facts to back it up.


FTFA: "It sounds like such a small thing, but according to the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship."

The link for that study is here: http://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/d/download_file_39242.pdf

From that survey:

"Many of those who possess ready documentation of their citizenship do not have
documentation that reflects their current name. For example, survey results show that
only 48% of voting-age women with ready access to their U.S. birth certificates have a
birth certificate with current legal name
6
– and only 66% of voting-age women with
ready access to any proof of citizenship have a document with current legal name.
7

Using 2000 census citizen voting-age population data, this means that as many as 32
million voting-age women may have available only proof of citizenship documents that
do not reflect their current name."

So, there are some facts that back it up.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:07 PM on October 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


and a concealed handgun license is issued by the state and has a photo so, yes that's a state-issued photo ID and i'm not sure why it's weird or problematic for it to count. i mean they really honestly don't give you those for free at the walmart counter or anything
posted by titus n. owl at 12:08 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


How long do driver's licenses last in Texas, anyone know?
About six years. I just got one in August that is good until my birthday in 2020.
posted by aneel at 12:10 PM on October 18, 2013


I hate the voter registration card in Texas because it's just a postcard and it shows up in the mail at weird times of the year. So the question is - where do you store it for seven months before the election? They are easy to lose, many more disappear than do plastic, state-issued IDs. I've voted in Texas where my address on my driver license didn't match my address on my voter registration card and they gave me a very hard time about it. BTW, gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is the one pushing for more voter ID laws to be implemented.
posted by mattbucher at 12:11 PM on October 18, 2013


In the recently-completed election here in Nova Scotia, you could vote if, on the day of the election, you showed up to the polling station for your area with 1) a telephone bill containing your name and address, and 2) a signed credit card in your name. Or you could bring in the cancelled cheque you used to pay your last utility bill (containing your name, address, and signature).

Scratch that. The bare minimum you needed to do was to sign a declaration that said you were eligible to vote, even without any identification.

It should be noted that, even at that low standard, less than 60% of eligible voters cast ballots. We disenfranchise ourselves, apparently.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:11 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


My problem with that survey is that you don't need your birth certificate to match your driver's license! So when they say that 48% of women have their maiden name or other prior name on their birth certificate... we are talking about a relatively minor hurdle (instead of just carrying around their social security card when they need a new driver's license, they also need an original copy of their marriage license or other name change document, or they need to update their social security card before doing their driver's license) A burden already exists to get an ID in Texas. Getting married doesn't really add another major burden to getting a photo ID, which is what secondary reports are trying to claim.
posted by muddgirl at 12:11 PM on October 18, 2013


and a concealed handgun license is issued by the state and has a photo so, yes that's a state-issued photo ID and i'm not sure why it's weird or problematic for it to count. i mean they really honestly don't give you those for free at the walmart counter or anything

State University IDs are also issued by the State and have a photo. They are not accepted. Don't kid yourself. This is about allowing certain people to vote and preventing the young, the poor, and now women from participating.
posted by chevyvan at 12:12 PM on October 18, 2013 [29 favorites]


Anything less than same-day registration is too much burden in the way of voting. North Dakota doesn't even require registration.
posted by jonp72 at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have been told, seriously, by a libertarian that women often vote against the interests of the United States/Constitution, so he could see where taking away the right to vote would make sense.

I bet he gets alllll the ladies.
posted by emjaybee at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The 48% that you are talking about has nothing to do with the changes in the proposed law. If you keep reading, you will see that "only 66% of voting-age women with
ready access to any proof of citizenship have a document with current legal name."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


(don't get me wrong re: my comment about CHLs being used. i think it's problematic that the state requires photo ID in the first place, because it's effective disenfranchisement of minorities and poor people, as understood in this thread - it's just that once there's a photo ID requirement in place, saying that the CHL counts is not ADDITIONALLY PROBLEMATIC in my opinoin, because the CHL is, in fact, a government-issued photo ID. it just has the same problems as the entire rest of the system: inherent bias and disenfranchisement of vulnerable populations)
posted by titus n. owl at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2013


Well at least they are still accepting concealed handgun licenses as voter ID.

This always gets brought out, but honestly, there's more stringent requirements to obtain those most places than there is to obtain a state ID card.
posted by corb at 12:15 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sooo...maybe it's time to up our game as well, no? How about having the Republican party classified as a 'terrorist organization' and throwing all their leaders in Guantanamo bay? Srsly, at this point, what's the difference between the two? Srsly, they just held the entire country hostage for two weeks.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:16 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


GhostintheMachine - Minnesota has a vouch system, where you can have another registered voter in your precinct vouch that you live there (they have to sign something, I believe). It's great for those of us who have the utilities in a roommate's name.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:16 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


jetlagaddict: "I have been told, seriously, by a libertarian that women often vote against the interests of the United States/Constitution, so he could see where taking away the right to vote would make sense."

I just don't get so called "Libertarians" who are not even close to libertarians. Like - I don't particularly like capital-L libertarians, but, in theory, yes, they would get that the right to vote for women is a legal right as a human being (citizen, what the fuck ever).

This tripe is the kind of shit that Libertarianism turned into via the decision of assholes to ally with the Republican party (see Bleeding Heart Libertarians' harsh words for people like Lew Rockwell, for example). Essentially it became a political tactic that gained them plenty of power, while, in the end, keeping their privilege.

BHL blog and (sometimes, but only sometimes...) people like Tyler Cowen do seem to have a little more empathy than usual Republican-Libertarian that the past 20-30 years have shat all over this country.

Like - Tyler Cowen believes the best type of "welfare" system is a cash system. Basically respecting the autonomy of the poor and underprivileged/underserved. It's an authentically libertarian stance. However, if you asked most so called "Libertarians", they'll gripe about paying taxes for leachers, and then, if they *must* be taxed, insist on all the strings, to make sure nobody's cheating them (also, hey, why not blame those who are already having a hard time, while keeping your status in the hierarcy, eh?).

So, it doesn't surprise me that this asshole calls himself a Libertarian, while at the same time thinking women shouldn't vote (just like the asshole guy a few years ago believed we should return to Property Owners only being allowed to vote).

Fuck them and their fake "liberty" and "freedom". Asshole, greedy selfish pricks, the lot of them. Goddamned Freedummies.
posted by symbioid at 12:17 PM on October 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


That's cool, dinty. Seems some places actually want a participatory democracy. Lowering barriers is an improvement to a free society.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:19 PM on October 18, 2013


"A burden already exists to get an ID in Texas. Getting married doesn't really add another major burden to getting a photo ID"

Yes, but many women do not rush out and get a new photo ID after a marriage or divorce, even though they may change their names.

To me, the idea of whether this effects 34% of women or only a mere 3.4% is somewhat irrelevant, so long as it effects women far more disproportionately than men, in a way that could easily sway results, especially when you have party monitors at the polling places, aggressively insisting that rules be followed aggressively.
posted by markkraft at 12:20 PM on October 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


I work with NPI numbers for physicians, doctors, PAs, nurse practitioners, etc. Part of my job requires verifying that the information registered with the DEA matches the info registered for the NPI.

If I can extrapolate my bit of anecdotal experience to this, then the 34% number does not seem out of line. And this is college educated, $100k+, employed, professional people that can't seem to get their "paperwork" in order.

What's worse... it's not just women. The number of people who graduated college as James and end up with a drivers license that says Skip, and DEA paperwork that says J Edward...

I can't imagine how this will affect those people who would struggle to get out of work, or worse, need to scrape the necessary funds to get a ride to that side of town and pay for a "new" license just so they can then pay for the right to vote.

I simply can't imagine...
posted by Blue_Villain at 12:21 PM on October 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


The hypothesis here is that Republicans are deliberately trying to disenfranchise a demographic in which they have a seven percent lead?
posted by roystgnr at 12:21 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe we should also have a law that says if a man's facial hair doesn't match that of his photo ID, he needs to submit additional proof of identity before his vote will be counted.
posted by Asparagus at 12:21 PM on October 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


Man. This makes me want to punch people. Particular, identifiable people.
posted by Mister_A at 12:21 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


roystgnr: "The hypothesis here is that Republicans are deliberately trying to disenfranchise a demographic in which they have a seven percent lead?"

It's not just about married women, dude. And it's not a presidential election.
posted by Mister_A at 12:23 PM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


@MisantropicPainforest because you don't have much faith in black people to fight for their voting rights?
posted by Napierzaza at 12:27 PM on October 18, 2013


The hypothesis here is that Republicans are deliberately trying to disenfranchise a demographic in which they have a seven percent lead?

Texas is different - stopping women from voting for a Democrat (Wendy Davis) would be a huge victory for Republicans. The race is shaping up to be closer than Republicans had anticipated.
posted by mattbucher at 12:27 PM on October 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


The hypothesis here is that Republicans are deliberately trying to disenfranchise a demographic in which they have a seven percent lead?

Given that they had a 21 percent lead among married men (in that single election), vastly fewer of whom ever run into the problem of having two IDs with different names, forgive me for thinking this isn't an unintentional misstep on their part.

Oh, and get back to us with numbers on divorced women, who are even more likely to run into those problems.
posted by Etrigan at 12:27 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The sign of a dying party.

This is even worse than the generic ID issue. I predict it is overturned.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:28 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, but many women do not rush out and get a new photo ID after a marriage or divorce, even though they may change their names.

But they don't have to! That's why I'm getting confused. The polling place does not know your "legal name" - they only know your name on your voter registration card, and the name on your ID. If they match, you are golden. Updating your voter registration card, as far as I can remember, requires no documentation - that's why Republicans hate it in the first place.
posted by muddgirl at 12:28 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the married/unmarried Republican vote gap is largely a function of age. The average age of a married person is older than the average age of an unmarried person, and older voters tend to vote Republican.

Since this will most heavily affect recently married women -- a group heavily dominated by 20 and 30-somethings -- this will disenfranchise more Democratic voters than Republican voters.
posted by Asparagus at 12:29 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really, as stated above, the women who are going to be disenfranchised are the ones who DO have an ID in their legal name, but DON'T have a voter registration card in their legal name. Those aren't captured in this survey, because it was a national survey.
posted by muddgirl at 12:31 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Federally in Canada you actually have three options: government photo ID (a DL for most); two pieces of other ID; of a person with valid ID who can vouch for you. We don't have anything like a national ID card in widespread use.
posted by bonehead at 12:32 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is standard in such liberal countries as Canada, the Netherlands and Germany.

The US is in kind of a weird situation because of the century+ of active government sponsored voter suppression of a huge former slave population. Any attempts to mess around with the voting process are viewed with extreme, justified suspicion. We don't have a problem with vote fraud here that would necessitate the ID checks because we have other adequate safeguards in place.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:33 PM on October 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


We don't have a problem with vote fraud here that would necessitate the ID checks

Not yet, anyway.
posted by Melismata at 12:34 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Artw: so you not only want to take away votes from non-whites and from women, but also to take away guns? I am not 100% sure that the people who are behind this law would not support that one enthusiastically.

Republicans hate all humans, obviously, but they would never take away the right of a gun to be bought.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sssssh. We don't legislators in North Carolina hearing anything about this.
posted by marxchivist at 12:34 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


The link for that study is here: http://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/d/download_file_39242.pdf

From that survey:

"Many of those who possess ready documentation of their citizenship do not have
documentation that reflects their current name. For example, survey results show that
only 48% of voting-age women with ready access to their U.S. birth certificates have a
birth certificate with current legal name
6
– and only 66% of voting-age women with
ready access to any proof of citizenship have a document with current legal name.
7

Using 2000 census citizen voting-age population data, this means that as many as 32
million voting-age women may have available only proof of citizenship documents that
do not reflect their current name."

So, there are some facts that back it up.


But that study defines "proof of citizenship" documents as passports, birth certificates, and naturalization papers. I believe the Texas ID law would allow other forms of ID, such as drivers licenses. The summary of the survey at the URL above does not report on what percentage of women lack state-issued ID (other than birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers) with their current name.

Of course voter ID laws are bullshit, but I don't think the 34% number is relevant here.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:35 PM on October 18, 2013


The polling place does not know your "legal name" - they only know your name on your voter registration card, and the name on your ID. If they match, you are golden. Updating your voter registration card, as far as I can remember, requires no documentation

Now I'm confused. Are you saying a woman is likely to change her driver license and voter registration card at the same time or that she would get an updated DL before an updated VR? Or somehow keep the maiden name on both or change the voter reg card back to the maiden name? Seems like you aren't admitting that there is a lot of room for this to be a clusterfuck that will adversely affect women.
posted by mattbucher at 12:35 PM on October 18, 2013


I hate to disillusion you, Artw, but you do in fact need an ID card to buy guns, and it generally, with few exceptions, needs to match your name in the background check system.
posted by corb at 12:35 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be fair, some Republicans will find this reprehensible. For example, Ann Coulter. For her, disenfranchising 34% of women wouldn't go far enough.
posted by Flunkie at 12:37 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like this is turning into a Yakov Smirnoff joke.

"In home state politicians choose voters!"


in postmodern internet joke, smirnoff is actually brecht
posted by RogerB at 12:38 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm kind of confused, and I am starting to suspect that the reports that 34% of Texan women of voting age are going to be disenfranchised is misleading.

According to the League of Women Voters:
The name on the ID should match the voter registration card. If names don’t match, a voter may be accepted if names are “substantially similar.” Addresses need not match.
It doesn't say anything about ID matching "up to date legal name." Can anyone source that claim?

On the second page of the survey summary I see: "survey results show that ten percent of voting-age citizens who have current photo ID do not have photo ID with both their current address and their current legal name."

This statistic is way lower than the 40% being reported elsewhere, which is from the front page of the document, and even then I haven't substantiated that your current ID needs to match either your current address or your legal name.
posted by muddgirl at 2:56 PM on October 18 [4 favorites +] [!]


First, the name Sarah Jones is not substantially similar to the name Sarah Rabinowitz.

If my hypothetical Sarah hyphenated her name, she might count as having a substantially similar name. Maybe. There's probably some room for discretion there. If she didn't hyphenate, then she looks like two different Sarahs. And doubly so if someone leaves an h out of her name at some point, which has been known to happen and is probably a huge part of the substantially similar exclusion. Sara Rabinowitz and Sarah Rabinowicz are both transliterations of the same name if you're coming from a place that doesn't use our alphabet.

Second, I'm not a stats whiz, but if you take the men out of the "voting age citizens" that probably accounts for the greater percentage of women being disenfranchised. Because men are not likely to change their names for any reason, but women do so both when they marry and when they divorce. So women have two chances to need identification changes.
posted by bilabial at 12:38 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, muddgirl, upon rereading, I guess you are saying women should not get their photo IDs or voter reg cards changed to their married names around election time. Is that it? Sorry I'm slow.
posted by mattbucher at 12:40 PM on October 18, 2013


To be fair, some Republicans will find this reprehensible. For example, Ann Coulter. For her, disenfranchising 34% of women wouldn't go far enough.

I am shocked and disappointed to learn that Ann Coulter has a provocative and wrong opinion on the subject we are discussing.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:40 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hate to disillusion you, Artw, but you do in fact need an ID card to buy guns, and it generally, with few exceptions, needs to match your name in the background check system.

But does it have to match your gun registration card?
posted by Drinky Die at 12:41 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've figured out the Republican strategy for the next election. Bet everything on the Washington Generals. And then make sure no one else can play. (I think I saw this episode on the Harlem Globetrotters show one Saturday. Meadowlark and Curly managed to win anyhow.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:42 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Starting this shit already, 3 years in advance, huh.
posted by cashman at 12:45 PM on October 18, 2013


A quick google search suggests Texans are required to report a name change to the DPS within 30 days.

If you can't be bothered to follow the law and spend the less than $20 to get that done, well, I'm sorry, I can't get too upset about your lack of participation in democracy.
posted by madajb at 12:45 PM on October 18, 2013


First, the name Sarah Jones is not substantially similar to the name Sarah Rabinowitz

I understand that your ID may not match your voter registration card after you get married, especially if you get married very close to the election. Where I get confused is where people start to drag "up-to-date legal name" into this.
posted by muddgirl at 12:46 PM on October 18, 2013


ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME of course you aren't i weep for america
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 12:47 PM on October 18, 2013


Starting this shit already, 3 years in advance, huh.
no
in 2014 a woman named wendy davis will be running for election as texas governor
it's not 3 years early for the presidential election
it's right on time for the gubernatorial race
posted by titus n. owl at 12:48 PM on October 18, 2013 [28 favorites]


I was recently talking to my State Senator, Thom Goolsby, here in North Carolina about the efforts of the State Senate here to restrict voting rights.

Me: You want to require an ID to vote, knowing that will disproportionately affect Democrats. You want to eliminate same day voter registration, knowing that will disproportionately affect Democrats. You want to prohibit college students from voting where they go to school if there parents claim them as dependents, knowing that will disproportionately affect Democrats. It doesn't sound to me like you are as concerned about voter fraud as you are about reducing the amount of Democrats that vote.

Thom: First of all, I don't know where you are getting your information about these changes affecting Democrat voters more than Republican voters. These changes affect everyone. It is very easy to get an ID. Voter fraud is a huge problem. We have no way to know how common it is because there is not way to tell when it is happening. We are just trying to prevent people from committing voter fraud.

Me: Isn't the easiest way to commit voter fraud -- by far -- through absentee ballots? But you aren't proposing to do anything about absentee ballots because that would disproportionately affect Republicans, right? If you want me to take you seriously about voter fraud, shouldn't you be doing something about absentee ballots, too? There is no ID required at all for those. But this isn't about voter fraud. This is about suppressing votes of people who are more likely to vote for Democrats.

Thom: That's a good idea about absentee ballots. I am not aware of any fraud with those, but I'll look into it.

Pretty sure he will not be looking into that. These blatant efforts to suppress the vote are driving me crazy. A comparable move for a Democratic State Government would be to pass a law that says every polling place should have a designated number of registered voters assigned to it (2000) so that there will not be an inconsistency in the length of lines. Of course, the real reason behind this would be to make it difficult for Republican voters to vote. As rural areas vote more Republican, voters in those districts would have to travel considerable distances to vote because of the 2000 per polling place law. It would be a blatant effort to suppress the Republican vote. And it would be the exact equivalent of what the Republicans are doing.
posted by flarbuse at 12:49 PM on October 18, 2013 [32 favorites]


@MisantropicPainforest because you don't have much faith in black people to fight for their voting rights?

Excuse me? Try reading comments here with some attempt at being a good faith discussant.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:50 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"The hypothesis here is that Republicans are deliberately trying to disenfranchise a demographic in which they have a seven percent lead?"

Depends on the candidate. Bill Clinton was known for doing great with the soccer mom vote. In fact, it was Republican Alex Castellanos (at the time a senior media advisor to Bob Dole) who mentioned that Bill Clinton was successfully targeting a voting demographic whom Castellanos called the "soccer mom"... the first cited use of that phrase in politics.

... and of course, as has been pointed out, this matters *much* more when the candidate is a female, and many of the effected women are not married. For that matter, many have not been married for so long as to significantly effect their politics over their prior single status. (No kids yet.)
posted by markkraft at 12:53 PM on October 18, 2013


A quick google search suggests Texans are required to report a name change to the DPS within 30 days.

If you can't be bothered to follow the law and spend the less than $20 to get that done, well, I'm sorry, I can't get too upset about your lack of participation in democracy.


Oh, FFS, this bootstrappy nonsense is getting obscene. Voter ID laws area a "solution" to a problem that doesn't really exist (voter fraud is practically nonexistent) that is almost always implicitly and often explicitly an excuse for massive attempts at voter suppression by the GOP of tens of millions of voters. There are plenty of reasons why Republicans, especially those in the South, and particularly those in Texas, are not to be trusted when it comes to stuff like this. For example:

New Voter ID, Unavailable in Seventy Counties in State, Opens With Wealth of Issues Remaining
[P]er the Press's calculations, there are 70 counties within Texas that do not provide such offices. From Irion and Crockett Counties in Central Texas to La Salle and Duvall Counties in South Texas, TxDPS's website shows that nearly 30 percent of Texas counties do not provide the necessary offices at which residents will have to arrive if they want to pick up an EIC.

A raft of other uncertainties remain. Cesinger said she didn't know how many Texans would apply for the new cards or how many would need them. "There are no projections for either of those," she said.

She also said she was unsure as to how long it would take to receive the EIC following an application, or what kind of outreach programs, if any, her department would use to educate Texans as to the new regulations.

"As far as it coming in mail, I'm not sure exactly on what the timing is," she said. "We're certainly working with the Secretary of State's office to educate the public on this. ... Again, this is pretty fresh."
Or this:

Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact
In its unanimous 56-page ruling, the federal judges found that the fees and the cost of traveling for those voters lacking one of the five forms of ID disproportionately affected the poor and minorities. “Moreover, while a 200- to 250-mile trip to and from a D.P.S. office would be a heavy burden for any prospective voter, such a journey would be especially daunting for the working poor,” the decision read, referring to the dozens of counties in Texas that do not have a D.P.S. office.
[...]
Those lacking one of the five types of identification must obtain an election identification certificate, a government-issued card similar to a driver’s license. Prospective voters would need to travel to a state Department of Public Safety office to get an election ID card, and, although it is free, they would have to verify their identity to obtain one, in some cases paying $22 for a certified copy of their birth certificate.
This is modern-day poll taxes and literacy tests aimed at minorities, the already disenfranchised, and, yes, women.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:56 PM on October 18, 2013 [51 favorites]


I have been told, seriously, by a libertarian that women often vote against the interests of the United States/Constitution, so he could see where taking away the right to vote would make sense.

The Constitution of the United States has "interests" in addition to the nation state? Conversations with this person must be hilariously absurd.
posted by juiceCake at 1:00 PM on October 18, 2013


"If you can't be bothered to follow the law and spend the less than $20 to get that done, well..."

You don't have a lot of money to spare?!

See "poll tax"... which, incidentally, disenfranchised both black voters AND poor white voters very substantially in the South.
posted by markkraft at 1:02 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


No, he's really intelligent and very nice-- we just disagree on a lot. Like voting. (I may have phrased it differently, too-- it was more the overall concept.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:04 PM on October 18, 2013


ok hold on i'd like to share an Anecdote About Titus's Life, if that's alright. the purpose of this anecdote is to illustrate, for those who may not live in this state, what it can be like to try to get an ID in the specific texas county in which i live

i needed to update my address on my driver's license and the website the state provided for doing such things wasn't working for me, so i decided to just go do it in person. i'm unemployed but don't have my own vehicle, and there are no public transit services in my part of town (this city technically has a bus service, but it is three buses which travel three short routes connecting assisted-living facilities, a grocery store, and the hospitals downtown; there's no service at all in the northernmost half of the city), so i had to wait until one of my roommates had the day off so i could use their car to drive to the office downtown where i had originally gone to get my driver's license when i moved here.

that office told me they don't do updates, they only do the initial testing and photography. to update my information and get a new license, i would have to go to another office, several miles away on the western fringe of town where the industrial zoning is. i drove the borrowed car over there and was told that actually, THEY don't do it either; i would instead have to go to the county courthouse, where someone would be able to do it. (they actually tried to send me right back to the office i'd just left, but i was like, "they JUST TOLD ME to come here because they don't do it, so that doesn't sound right")

so, back to the downtown area to the courthouse, find a parking space, and go in, to be told that the person who does such things at the courthouse left at 3:00 and i would have to come back on monday. (or, in practice, two weeks later when my roommate had another weekday off so i could use the car again.)

i managed to get the website working over the weekend and once THAT worked it was really quick and easy to update my information but if that wasn't an option you can see how very simple it might be to get a suitable ID around here
posted by titus n. owl at 1:05 PM on October 18, 2013 [49 favorites]


flarbuse, as a NC resident, I feel your pain. I can't believe the cognitive dissonance* of someone being able to say "Voter fraud is a huge problem. We have no way to know how common it is because there is no way to tell when it is happening." So, let me get this straight... it's a huge problem. But you don't know how often it happens, because there is no way to tell when it is happening? But you know it's a huge problem? But not really how huge? It's just... huge... I think the translation might be "Black people and poor people voting is a huge problem."

I remember in first year philosophy courses at my university we dealt with this same kind of thinking, which went like this "There is no way to prove that there aren't invisible flying dragons in the sky, therefore [some sort of conclusion regarding invisible flying dragons]." Needless to say, such thinking is a fallacy.

* - Actually, I can, because it's not cognitive dissonance in Goolsby's case, it's just plain lying.
posted by Slothrop at 1:17 PM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm trying to find a link quoting the DoJ or court or whoever struck down, I think it was the redistricting that happened in the run up to 2012, where they say in their statement that there were offenses too numerous to list. Can't get google to help me out because of all the other times the DoJ has been in the new challenging Texas recently on voting rights stuff, can someone help me out?

God, living in Texas can be so depressing when I think about the politics.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:17 PM on October 18, 2013


My proposed solution to this kind of nonsense would be to make it so that all laws requiring IDs for voting must also apply to gun purchases.

So that only men can buy guns?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:22 PM on October 18, 2013


ok hold on i'd like to share an Anecdote About Titus's Life, if that's alright. the purpose of this anecdote is to illustrate, for those who may not live in this state, what it can be like to try to get an ID in the specific texas county in which i live

For a similar situation in another state, check out this comment from The White Hat on the "ease" of navigating the bureaucracy in PA.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:23 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Heh. Well, maybe this'll just encourage more married women to keep their own names rather than taking their husbands' names, since it doesn't require changing all your documentation. Won't the conservatives who view women as property just love THAT.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:24 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


the guns thing is a red herring that has nothing to do with this discussion but just for the record, as a person who has actually bought guns in the state of texas: you do need an ID if you're buying from a professional gun dealership, and they call and run a background check over the phone on you. the "gun show loophole" where you don't need to do this when you're buying from a private party is just that, when you're buying from a private party (and for the record every single gun owner i myself have spoken to about this in person, all of whom are professed republicans and some of whom have NRA stickers on their pickup trucks - they've all been in favor of closing that loophole anyway.) if you're going to bring up the gun thing then it's only applicable if you're voting with a private party rather than with the government
posted by titus n. owl at 1:26 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


We've got one of these abominations in PA, too, but its website currently says:
Whether and when the Voter ID law will be fully in effect for future elections is not certain and is currently the subject of litigation.
Not only does my wife not have her "married name" on her driver's license--we're not even 100% sure what her name is "supposed" to be.

[Voter ID laws are] almost always implicitly and often explicitly an excuse for massive attempts at voter suppression by the GOP of tens of millions of voters.

You know it. I know it. The scumbags formulating these laws know it. But it's not clear how much the judicial branch knows it, particularly after last year's Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act. I have a bad feeling that as long as the laws have a nice "nondiscriminatory" patina to them (which is why they keep referring to the imaginary boogie man of vote fraud), they just might stand up to scrutiny by the Roberts court.
posted by mondo dentro at 1:26 PM on October 18, 2013


This is standard in such liberal countries as Canada, the Netherlands and Germany.

Everyone in the Netherlands has ID on them at all times by law, while in Canada I can still vote with attestation of my identity if I'm not registered, much less if I lost my ID.
posted by Phalene at 1:26 PM on October 18, 2013


Texas Brags To Court That It Drew District Lines To ‘Increase The Republican Party’s Electoral Prospects’
It’s not exactly a big secret that Texas Republicans drew their state’s district lines in order to maximize the weight of Republican voters and minimize the voting strength of Democrats. Still, this isn’t normally something that a state’s top legal officer openly admits to in a brief filed with a federal court. Nevertheless, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) is so confident that the courts will let Texas Republicans get away with rigging elections that he openly brags about his fellow Republicans’ efforts to do so in an official court filing. According to a brief Abbott filed earlier this month, “[i]n 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats.”

The reason for this admission is that Texas is currently defending against a lawsuit seeking to bring its voting laws back under federal supervision in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision neutering the Voting Rights Act. A federal court recently found that Texas engaged in intentional race discrimination when it last drew its district lines, and a still-standing provision of the Voting Rights Act allows states that engage in such discrimination to be subject to federal supervision before they can enact new voting laws. Texas is now trying to defend against this attempt to bring them back under federal oversight by saying they weren’t engaged in racial gerrymandering at all — they were merely trying to rig elections so that Democrats would lose!

Texas is right, as far as it goes, that the purpose of the Voting Rights Act is to prevent race discrimination, not partisan gerrymandering. But that shouldn’t mean that the state is out of the woods. Partisan gerrymandering may not violate the VRA, but it violates the First Amendment, which prohibits laws that engage in viewpoint discrimination.
This is the man Wendy Davis is running against, BTW.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:29 PM on October 18, 2013 [20 favorites]


Anecdata-y, but my liberal wife kept her last name when we got married this spring while all our conservative friends getting married at the same time took the husband's name. Any chance this just backfires and disproportionately disenfranchises conservative women?
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:29 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Every day I am more and more grateful that I did not change my name when I got married. I mean, I'll answer to "Mrs. HusbandandKidLastName" socially, especially so as not to confuse kids who are trying to be polite. But all documents have the name I was given at birth. The only issue I worry about is traveling with my kids without my husband, but when I do that, I take copies of their birth certificates. But all documents related to my legal identity have the same name from the day I was born.

And I will encourage my children, especially my daughter, to not change their names upon marriage. Because this is bullshit.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 1:30 PM on October 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


I've been trying to come up with a more intelligent response to this latest voter ID nonsense than "this is bullshit," but really there's nothing else to say.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:34 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


You don't have a lot of money to spare?!

See "poll tax"... which, incidentally, disenfranchised both black voters AND poor white voters very substantially in the South.


$11? I suppose for a very small percentage of the supposed 34% of women affected by such a policy that would be a tremendous hardship.

And even if that minimal amount is out of reach, you can obtain an alternate form of identification free of charge.

Though, other posters have suggested the alternate form is difficult to obtain, which should definitely be fixed if a policy like this is implemented.
posted by madajb at 1:36 PM on October 18, 2013


We're searching our souls and wondering why
We got beat so badly our rivals are gloating.
It's obvious now where our campaign went wrong:
We should have prevented more people from voting.
- Calvin Trillin

posted by Golden Eternity at 1:37 PM on October 18, 2013


So in case anybody was wondering and to save you the work, despite it feeling like it, I'm now 99% sure this was NOT an early plot point discussed through flashbacks in The Handmaid's Tale. (I had so convinced myself that it might be that I had to do a quick scan to be sure.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:38 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know if they could Republicans would just make membership in the party a prerequisite to vote or run for office, à la the USSR Communist Party.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:40 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


...that would be a tremendous hardship.

You miss the point. It's amazing how even small inconveniences will reduce the number of people who will do something like voting. The Republicans know this and use your logic to excuse putting these small barriers up (in addition to voter caging and list purging). For example, ensuring long lines at the polling station will reduce turnout.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:44 PM on October 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


$11? I suppose for a very small percentage of the supposed 34% of women affected by such a policy that would be a tremendous hardship.

Really? How are you so sure of this very small percentage? And why is it important that it be allowed?

And even if that minimal amount is out of reach, you can obtain an alternate form of identification free of charge.

Nope. Reread the quote from the last link in my post above.

Though, other posters have suggested the alternate form is difficult to obtain, which should definitely be fixed if a policy like this is implemented.

It's not "suggested," it was admitted to the DOJ by Texas and backed up by their research. But just saying it should be fixed is ridiculous. Thanks to SCOTUS, they can do this without fear of retribution, because now only those who have already been affected--in other words, had their vote suppressed--can bring complaints, requiring thousands if not millions of dollars of legal expenses and years of dealing with the courts. Of course, by that time, the effect of voter suppression could very well have resulted in an extremely unsympathetic Department of Justice (as it was with the Bush Administration) or courts (like, say, the current SCOTUS) who will dismiss the very idea that your vote was suppressed for no good reason at all.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:46 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I kept my name when I got married because I love my name and its mine, not my husband's. (Ok it's my father's. I'm living in a patriarchy, so sue me.) I'm a feminist of old so I'd always said I wouldn't change it, and while my older relatives raised their eyebrows (right and left) I think it's becoming more common in the UK. I was wondering how common it is in the US.

As a complete outsider with no idea what I'm talking about, my first thought was "That's to stop all the women voting for Hilary in 2016." Is that totally wrong?
posted by billiebee at 1:46 PM on October 18, 2013


It's actually to stop all the women from voting for Wendy Davis (for governor) next year.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:49 PM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, this would be part of the blunderbuss approach. The Republicans are up against such demographic odds that disenfranchising pretty much anyone will ultimately be to their benefit.
posted by threeants at 1:51 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


$11? I suppose for a very small percentage of the supposed 34% of women affected by such a policy that would be a tremendous hardship.

And even if that minimal amount is out of reach, you can obtain an alternate form of identification free of charge.

Though, other posters have suggested the alternate form is difficult to obtain, which should definitely be fixed if a policy like this is implemented.


You can hand-waive all you want, but the bottom line is we shouldn't be making it harder to vote.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:54 PM on October 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


A quick google search suggests Texans are required to report a name change to the DPS within 30 days.

If you can't be bothered to follow the law and spend the less than $20 to get that done, well, I'm sorry, I can't get too upset about your lack of participation in democracy.


I moved to Texas from North Dakota this summer. North Dakota is the only state in the nation without voter registration, so I knew things would be a little different in Texas but I figured it would be somewhat similar to California, a state I have voted in before. Spoiler: it was not.

First, driver's license registration and car registration occur in two different places, have to be done in a very specific order, and require two separate trips because you get the paperwork in the mail. Oddly, you can sign up for voter registration at either stage.

So anyway, in Texas you have to update your car insurance first of everything, then fill out about four forms of paperwork that you must locate on the internet and then print and fill out, then go into the car registration office (only open M-F 8-5 and the relatively few places are located in somewhat out of the way areas), and wait in a long line. They will tell you how you filled out the paperwork wrong and then if you're lucky help you fix the errors rather than making you come back. Congratulations, that's step one done.

Step two is to receive the car paperwork in the mail, look up the multiple forms of driver's license paperwork on the internet again and print and fill these new forms out, then get together your utility bill, old driver license, birth certificate and Social Security card (or, if you'd like, your passport and Social Security card), and maybe another form of ID I'm forgetting plus the car registration paperwork, then go to a driver's license processing center and wait in a reallllllly long line to get to the desk where they check your paperwork to see if you qualify to get a number to wait in the second line, then you wait about an hour in the second line, then you show the lady at the desk all your paperwork and your money and she takes a photo and your fingerprint and offers to send you voter registration again and then congratulates you on making it through the process the first time because most people need to come back three or four times.

Total time: about one full day between the two visits and paperwork
Total cost: about $150, though to be fair the license itself is relatively cheap

Does this sound possible for anyone who has an hourly job, is relatively poor, has to watch children, has trouble with English (I'm skipping the story about the license lady who half heartedly spoke Spanish to a family and told a little girl she needed to speak English because this was America), has no access to the internet, etc etc etc?

That's people who need a new license, but as it happens, women who change their name must also go in person with a pile of documents so skip step one and just look at step two. The actual voter registration update isn't hard but again must match your ID so that's not really 'easy.'

My god, I can't blame women who don't update their license and voter info. It's an incredible, infuriating amount of work. By far the easiest solution is to keep the license and the registration the same by not changing either, aka be male and follow the prevailing marriage traditions in the US for men.
posted by librarylis at 1:54 PM on October 18, 2013 [31 favorites]


I find it particularly obscene that the favorite party of so-called libertarians is pushing a scheme wherein one has to have a government-issued ID to participate in the democracy.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:56 PM on October 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


Yeah, this would be part of the blunderbuss approach. The Republicans are up against such demographic odds that disenfranchising pretty much anyone will ultimately be to their benefit.

It is also a foundational strategy of the conspiracy that is the New Right, going back to Paul Weyrich's articulation of the "goo goo syndrome" [40s YT video]
posted by mondo dentro at 1:59 PM on October 18, 2013


Wow. A very important subtext here is the differences in how easy it is for a woman to change her name when she gets married vs when she suddenly finds herself no longer married.

All you need to change to a married name is the marriage certificate. You get congratulations and smiles. Happy times! Puppies and kittens and rainbows!

In order to change back, however, you need a court order. Which means if you are separated (and many states have a mandatory separation period before you can file for a divorce), or if your orders are not final, you are stuck with a name you no longer want.

Shockingly, the same rule applies if you are widowed. My personal experience as a widow trying to change back to her maiden name was roadblocks at every turn. The lady at the social security office flat out told me I couldn't and then shamed me for "dishonoring" my husband. The passport office turned my application for a name change down and I had to file an appeal. And I had all kinds of official paperwork showing evidence of my original name.

It was heart-rending. And I can only imagine how a divorced (or separated) woman feels being saddled with the name of her soon to be ex!

The whole process really opened my eyes to the inherent sexism in such basic things as one's name (your very identity, literally), and led to my awakening as a feminist. And these are exactly the types of women that will be disenfranchised due to the intersection of the "legal name" rules and the voter ID rules. (What do you bet one of the biggest sticklers for the legal name rules will be whatever hairdo is in charge of voter registration in TX?)

Ideally the legal name laws would be changed so that a woman could validly use either her maiden or a married name as she chooses. Until then, a PSA for brides to be: if you are considering changing your name, thar be inherent sexism, so please please tread carefully. And know that the full weight of societal expectations will be brought to bear to prevent you from changing back. (I know, total duh, but I didn't know and I really wish I had.)
posted by susiswimmer at 2:01 PM on October 18, 2013 [52 favorites]


"That's to stop all the women voting for Hilary in 2016." Is that totally wrong?

Mostly wrong, I think, because it's unlikely that without this law anywhere close to a majority of Texans would vote for Hillary, and because of the Electoral College it doesn't matter how many votes you get, because 100% of their electoral votes go to the candidate who gets the majority of the vote in Texas. (So getting 45% instead of 40% makes no difference)

Demographic trends mean that someday Texas might actually vote for a Democratic president, but I think its extremely unlikely in 2016.

Much more likely to be about state-level Democratic candidates, as others have said.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:02 PM on October 18, 2013


Anybody who thinks it's "easy" to get ID hasn't gotten one recently. Last year I renewed my drivers license. I had to show:

1. birth certificate or passport
2. social security card
3. 2 pieces of recent non-personal mail addressed to me at my current address.

I had a brief crisis because I thought I'd have to order a new SSN card but I managed to find it in the back of a drawer.
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:03 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Every day I am more and more grateful that I did not change my name when I got married. I mean, I'll answer to "Mrs. HusbandandKidLastName" socially, especially so as not to confuse kids who are trying to be polite."

Yeah, my mother went back to "NonMonster" after the divorce, but would respond to "Mrs. Monster" if somebody at our school got it wrong. It seriously wouldn't have been a real issue if she had never legally taken Monster at all.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:03 PM on October 18, 2013


You can hand-waive all you want, but the bottom line is we shouldn't be making it harder to vote.

I don't disagree.
If a citizen has responsibilities (registering to vote, obtaining proper ID, traveling to a polling station, etc.), then it is the obligation of the government to make executing those responsibilities as easy as possible.
posted by madajb at 2:13 PM on October 18, 2013


keep in mind that every county in texas is semi-autonomous or something and gets to make its own weird rules about where you go to do what when with whom. i don't know the actual legal wherefores but i know that the effect is that every county does its own damn thing

my comment upthread was about the process of changing an address (a thing you need absolutely zero proof for) in my current east texas county, and there are actually FOUR separate offices doing motor vehicle related things (i just didn't have to go to one of them, as it worked out).

changing my address in the north texas county where i lived for a few years involved going to one office, but it was in a different city, and another office was in a third town and apparently handled some other section of the paperwork

it's going to be different again in dallas, different again in houston, different again in loving county. there's no standards here

when i lived in new york all the motor vehicle and license related things were in one physical building and apparently handled by one single government group

there is no "dmv" in texas, unless there is one in a specific city or county, but then again there might not be, and you might have to go to a completely different county altogether depending on what you want done where - it's fucking ridiculous and if you're from out of state going "well why don't you just do the thing" it's because the government doesn't want you to do the thing and they make it as hard as they can, and you honestly don't know because you've never tried to do it here
posted by titus n. owl at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hate to disillusion you, Artw, but you do in fact need an ID card to buy guns,

Maybe we should have voting booth loopholes similar to gun show loopholes that let gun nuts buy their toys without a background check.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:20 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


You miss the point. It's amazing how even small inconveniences will reduce the number of people who will do something like voting.

No, I understand the point being made very well.
I just disagree that this would be an unreasonable burden for most of the people who may be effected.
posted by madajb at 2:21 PM on October 18, 2013


I just disagree that this would be an unreasonable burden for most of the people who may be effected.

Noted in case someone unfamiliar with the idea wants to know what "privilege" looks like, in action.
posted by maxwelton at 2:24 PM on October 18, 2013 [27 favorites]


I just disagree that this would be an unreasonable burden for most of the people who may be effected.

I realize you're a reasonable person, and from such a perspective, you're right. But think about this: these laws would not be proposed if the people proposing them didn't already know that they will be a burden and reduce turn out of likely Democratic voters. That's the whole point of them. Again, see the "goo goo syndrome" video I linked to above.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:29 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just disagree that this would be an unreasonable burden for most of the people who may be effected.

And what exactly is the problem being solved by putting on this not-unreasonable additional burden for folks to vote?
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:31 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


MW: I find it particularly obscene that the favorite party of so-called libertarians is pushing a scheme wherein one has to have a government-issued ID to participate in the democracy.

The GOP don't want small government, just small-minded government.
posted by Artful Codger at 2:33 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


these laws would not be proposed if the people proposing them didn't already know that they will be burden and reduce turn out.

Not only that, the people proposing them do so because they are an unreasonable burden for the voters they wish to supress, and a reasonable burden for the voters they don't want to supress. Furthermore, they use the "I just disagree that this would be an unreasonable burden for most of the people who may be effected" argument as cover to justify these laws.
posted by ogooglebar at 2:35 PM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


$11? I suppose for a very small percentage of the supposed 34% of women affected by such a policy that would be a tremendous hardship.

But it's not just about the fee (and the issue isn't how big the hardship is, it's that there's an unnecessary hardship imposed on those who want to vote), it's about the process of getting the ID. You can't just snap your fingers, pay the fee, and get an ID instantly; you need to research the process, obtain various required documents depending on your situation (subtask: research and deal with various procedures to obtain each required document), get yourself to a designated location, usually during limited weekday hours (in some cases, making an appointment first and showing up at that time), filling out forms and completing the process, pay the fee, get yourself home, and waiting for your ID to arrive in the mail. And you need to do this sufficiently far in advance of the election.

And this all assumes that everything goes smoothly: add in further delays when the clerk doesn't accept your paperwork, your kid has an accident during the multi-bus journey to the office and you have to go home, the bus doesn't show up so you're stranded at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere, you can't miss a day of work to go deal with government bureaucracy, you don't speak English, you have no internet access to research the requirements, you can't get a birth certificate without ID and you can't get ID without a birth certificate, etc...

Now I'm pleased to be in a position where I have photo ID, and if I didn't, it would be relatively straightforward for me to obtain. But please recognize that life just isn't that simple for a lot of people around you. jscalzi's classic Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is sums it up pretty well.
posted by zachlipton at 2:36 PM on October 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


I just disagree that this would be an unreasonable burden for most of the people who may be effected.

I'm a polling location worker by virtue of being a Justice of the Peace. There are a lot of confused people in the world and voting is already sort of tricky, trickier than it needs to be. In an ideal democracy we should have as few limitations as possible to maximize everyone's possible chance of being able to vote. We let felons vote in Vermont so we're unlikely to go this route but the DMVs are few (five, statewide) and far between and over icy mountain roads. This is not a simple thing.

While this might possibly not be an "unreasonable burden for most people", maybe, it will be a burden for some. It should not be a burden for anyone and it should specifically not place a discriminatory burden on certain types of people especially if those people have a history of disenfranchisement. It's shameful and embarrassing in a "folks don't know their history" way that anyone thinks this is appropriate.
posted by jessamyn at 2:38 PM on October 18, 2013 [47 favorites]


i don't think what i have described going through in this thread is reasonable. if you don't think these rules put an unreasonable burden in place then you pretty much think it was perfectly reasonable for me (and any other hypothetical person) to be sent to multiple offices all over different parts of town because the government workers themselves are unclear on what's involved in getting this shit taken care of - i mean, that's actually literally an irl example of what is involved and i really don't think it's reasonable at all
posted by titus n. owl at 2:45 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll be working the polling location in my Texas precinct on election day (in a non-partisan capacity), and the election law training I had to attend last week was...interesting. Apparently there are four different categories of ways in which names can be "similar" and still be accepted for regular voting. And if they don't have picture ID with them, the voter must vote provisional and then can "cure" their provisional vote by going to one of the county voter registrar offices and either showing their ID at that point or applying for exemptions.

We're a pretty quiet suburban precinct, and with early voting getting more and more popular here we won't see a massive turnout with huge lines on the 4th, especially for a non-presidential election like this. Still, I'm already anticipating the headaches that will arise. The law is what it is right now, and the best thing I can think of is to make sure we have someone to greet the incoming voters and make sure they know what they'll need before they have to wait in line.
posted by Salieri at 2:48 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


But think about this: these laws would not be proposed if the people proposing them didn't already know that they will be a burden and reduce turn out of likely Democratic voters. That's the whole point of them

Sure, which is why I said that, if a law like this is to be enacted, there needs to be an equal amount of focus on helping people cope with the changes.
posted by madajb at 2:48 PM on October 18, 2013


and then it would no longer be a law like this
because this law exists to put hurdles in place

"this law that exists to put hurdles in place would be perfectly fine if they'd take the hurdles down"
posted by titus n. owl at 2:49 PM on October 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


I just disagree that this would be an unreasonable burden for most of the people who may be effected.

Hmmm. Let's assume that's true for a second. Do you know modern Americans very well? I'm going to share with you something from a friend of mine on Facebook the other day.

I just googled the menu of a restaurant even though I have a copy of the menu on my refrigerator, because I didn't want 6 steps to get it. I sure hope all my loved ones that have passed away saw me do that from the afterlife.

Voting rather than not voting should be the path of least resistance where possible. Every little easy to overcome barrier mean less people are voting because a few of them are just gonna say, "Screw it" at one point or another. Unless there is a real necessary reason for the barrier, it shouldn't be there even if small. Voting isn't something you earn through effort, it's the right at the heart of our entire system of government.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:50 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


No, I understand the point being made very well.
I just disagree that this would be an unreasonable burden for most of the people who may be effected.

I said that, if a law like this is to be enacted, there needs to be an equal amount of focus on helping people cope with the changes.


You've been shown empirical evidence and been provided personal experiences galore as to why this is an unreasonable burden and that there's little to no focus in helping people cope with the changes. Much of this has been determined to be willfully done by Texas specifically for voter suppression purposes for widescale voter fraud they have not proven exists.

If you understand the point, why do you keep on insisting on the contrary?
posted by zombieflanders at 2:55 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can they vote provisional if the id is incorrect?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:02 PM on October 18, 2013


how does provisional voting work? i mean how do they know which vote now counts as real because it belongs to this person who is identifying themselves after the fact, without it wrecking anonymity? honest question, i really don't understand how it works
posted by titus n. owl at 3:03 PM on October 18, 2013


Every 10,000 little easy to overcome barriers mean less people are voting because a few of them are just gonna say, "Screw it" at one point or another.

This is an excellent point.
posted by madajb at 3:06 PM on October 18, 2013


$11? I suppose for a very small percentage of the supposed 34% of women affected by such a policy that would be a tremendous hardship.

"It's one banana, Michael. What could it cost, $10?"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:08 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia explains a bit about provisional voting. Basically those votes get held in reserve and, usually, if there is a close enough race where it can't be called without those X numbers of ballots, then there is some official and (hopefully) fair way of going through them with more time and determining which of them are fair. It's a good news/bad news thing really.

In my teeny town this would happen when someone was, for some reason, not on the voter rolls. They would vote but the ballot would be held in some way (while the others were counted) until we (where I think we = the board of civil authority with power given to them by the state of Vermont) could verify whether they were supposed to be on the rolls or not.
posted by jessamyn at 3:08 PM on October 18, 2013


>> We don't have a problem with vote fraud here that would necessitate the ID checks
> Not yet, anyway.

What's that mean? People (more and more inclusively) have been voting in the U.S.A. for many years and fraud hasn't been been a big problem. If voter ID bills are rejected, will a cadre of fraudsters emerge from the woodwork to suddenly start rigging elections? What held them back before these laws were even considered?
posted by morganw at 3:09 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


how does provisional voting work? i mean how do they know which vote now counts as real because it belongs to this person who is identifying themselves after the fact, without it wrecking anonymity? honest question, i really don't understand how it works

As it's normally done, you sacrifice anonymity for it to work. Instead of putting your voted ballot in the box (or scanner) where it is anonymous with all the other ballots, it gets put in a special envelope (here's a random example from Iowa I found online) with your name, address, and other information on it. Depending on why you're voting provisionally, you're given instructions for what to do to make your vote count. Once the elections department verifies the situation (and they decide to count the provisional ballots, as the law in some states allow them to be disregarded unless the race is close), they find your envelope, take the ballot out, and hand it to somebody else to be counted. The process is usually open to some degree of public oversight to help ensure that nobody is looking at both the envelope and the ballot at the same time, thus revealing how you voted.

So you're giving up a certain degree of anonymity, but in exchange, you get to vote instead of being turned away. If the oversight process works, observers can see the clerks destroying the accepted envelopes and shuffling the provisional ballots before they are sent for counting, demonstrating anonymity.
posted by zachlipton at 3:18 PM on October 18, 2013


Start with 1000 people of all shapes and sizes and races and religions and genders and socioeconomic backgrounds, all of whom want to vote.

Now, require voter registration in advance. A few of those 1000 drop off, the ones that don't manage their time or priorities well, and since that's their trait they probably aren't the top earners. Oh, and those who are members of our society but don't have a permanent address.

Now, require a driver's license. A few of those 1000 drop off, because they don't have a license. See also require a person to vote in a polling location far, far away. If they don't have a license (or a car), they're probably younger, or poorer, or less autonomous (older, disabled) on average, and so probably aren't the top earners.

Now, require that the driver's license to match up with the voter registration. We lose a few more of those 1000, and since women are most likely to have undergone a name change, they're the ones that are most likely to drop off here.

So, let's say you only lost 5% of the intending voters with each step. That's 150 total, 50 for each step. In two steps, they're among the poorest. In one step, they're most likely to be very young/very old/disabled. In one step, they're most likely to be women.

If we assume that the poor, the very young, the very old, the disabled and the women are the most likely to vote democratic, then we've tipped the scales 15% in favor of the republicans. Instead of needing 51% of the vote, they now need 43% of the original 1000.

It really doesn't take much to tip the scales in a close race, and each impediment to voting that can impede your opponent's vote without harming yours is going to tip the scales a bit more, such that in aggregate the effect is significant.

obviously the numbers are being pulled out of my ass, and there are some assumptions here about where each party's votes are coming from, but the point is that small impediments add up in aggregate to a significant imbalance, if they are targeted correctly.
posted by davejay at 3:21 PM on October 18, 2013 [21 favorites]


as someone who has been a judge of election for years the one biggest improvement i've seen is the provisional ballot. it does a dandy job of dealing with a a usually irate voter.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 3:25 PM on October 18, 2013


Do some states seriously ask for a Driver's License?! Because I don't drive, so I have a state issued ID card instead (WA State in my case). The only difference is that, on the card, it says 'IDENTIFICATION CARD' instead of Driver's License in light green on the front.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:29 PM on October 18, 2013


thanks for the explanations of provisional voting!
have to say that it doesn't do much for my confidence here though -
pass a law with the intent of making it harder to vote for specific subgroups of people who are likely to vote democratic
and supply a provisional-voting thing that reduces the anonymity of the votes thus making it possible to confirm whether they were voting democratic
(and which may, depending on other laws, make it so that those votes literally don't get counted unless they "need to be")

like, i'm not saying that's what provisional voting is for or about in general, or that it's inherently a problem, but i honestly expect it to be a problem in this case because of the texas republicans
posted by titus n. owl at 3:31 PM on October 18, 2013


Setting aside the legitimate problems that many people have with getting or maintaining IDs, I don't want even the person who screws up and leaves her wallet at home to be disenfranchised. Voting is for everyone who's entitled to do it -- citizens of voting age (and, in states where this is applicable, who haven't been convicted of felonies). Adding in other requirements, whether it's "got up on the right side of the bed that morning," or "has ready access to transportation to the DMV at the appropriate time," is a load of bullshit.
posted by asperity at 3:37 PM on October 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


According to the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas (via CNN):
[S]uburban women have been trending away from the GOP in recent years. In late 2010, a University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found that 50% of suburban women identified as Republicans. Two years later, 43% called themselves Republicans. And in their most recent survey, in June of this year, the number had dropped to 38%. Over the same three-year span, the number of suburban women calling themselves Democrats jumped from 37% for 46%.
Ain't that something.
posted by argonauta at 3:38 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


argonauta, I would say that we have evidence at our fingertips that the GOP has been paying attention to those statistics.
posted by ogooglebar at 3:42 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Voter ID Laws are bullshit. With that said:

The Brennan Center's 66% figure quoted in the OP is not applicable in this case. Their survey counts as disfranchised respondents whose addresses on their gov't issued ID don't match up with their addresses where they are registered to vote. According to that LWV fact sheet, address irregularities are not grounds for having one's vote thrown out under this new TX law.
posted by willie11 at 3:43 PM on October 18, 2013


If an individual does not want to get one of the 7 acceptable forms of identification they can get for something called an Texas Election Identification Certificate free of charge.

Also, there is no Voter ID requirement to vote by mail in Texas.
posted by willie11 at 3:55 PM on October 18, 2013


For example, Ann Coulter. For her, disenfranchising 34% of women wouldn't go far enough.

And if anybody knows about voting fraud, it's Ann Coulter.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:58 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


yo willie11

did you read the link you just posted?

you can't get one of those if you already have an unexpired ID - if your id is inaccurate but not EXPIRED you probably have to go through the "getting your existent ID fixed" process so this doesn't even

and you have to go in person to get the thing
thus exposing you to the EXACT SAME PROBLEMS AS GETTING ANY OTHER ID wrt having to take time off and go in person and make sure you're at the right place and not getting sent across town three times because the people at the DPS office misinformed you
posted by titus n. owl at 4:00 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, there is no Voter ID requirement to vote by mail in Texas.

To be eligible to vote early by mail in Texas, you must:

be 65 years or older;
be disabled;
be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.
posted by titus n. owl at 4:01 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be eligible to vote early by mail in Texas, you must:

be 65 years or older;
be disabled;
be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.


Ugh, that's awful! In Arizona, I signed up on a webpage, once, with no particular qualifications, and they automatically send me mail-in ballots for every election that happens, from the President down to the localest of local bond issues -- stuff I never would have bothered going out to vote for in a million years even if I had heard about it, which I wouldn't have.

And Arizona is not exactly a bastion of liberal politics.
posted by rifflesby at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yup. One is ineligible for an Election ID in TX if she has one of the other 7 forms of acceptable ID. And because the requirements are pretty much the same, the only real reason to get one is that you cannot afford the cost of a traditional ID.
posted by willie11 at 4:11 PM on October 18, 2013


yeah so basically the election ID does nothing at all whatsoever to address the inherent issues of having to go get the ID to vote so what is the point
posted by titus n. owl at 4:14 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Texas' Attorney General defends his party's actions...

The redistricting decisions of which DOJ complains were motivated by partisan rather than racial considerations, and the plaintiffs and DOJ have zero evidence to prove the contrary . . . even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.

Oh, yeah. That's soooo much better.

Here, let me kick you where I suspect your happy sacks might be... not that I actually know that you have any.
posted by markkraft at 4:15 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


In "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy", Greg Palast points out that the chances that your provisional ballot are counted are small. He says in many places there is no funding authorized to count provisional ballots, so you're guaranteed they won't be counted, and also reports cases in other places where tens of thousands of provisional ballots were found, unopened, in the garbage.

There's next to no legal oversight at all on provisional ballot counting. If you fill out a provisional ballot and hope that it will be counted, you are basically relying on the good nature, honesty, and financial status of your most local branch of government.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


A little clarification as to the specific relevance of my earlier post, and to specifically respond to comments that maintaining appropriate ID is a "reasonable" request.

>Shockingly, the same rule applies if you are widowed. My personal experience as a widow trying to change back to her maiden name was roadblocks at every turn. The lady at the social security office flat out told me I couldn't and then shamed me for "dishonoring" my husband. The passport office turned my application for a name change down and I had to file an appeal. And I had all kinds of official paperwork showing evidence of my original name.

One of the pieces of paperwork I had was my brand spanking new state ID. My state of residence had let me change my name, which, btw, is all that federal law requires to have a fully effective name change. Then I started getting static. (I.e. the social security and passport offices did not follow federal law.) So I had done everything I was supposed to.

From what is described up thread about TX law, it seems highly likely that voter registration would give a woman in a similar position the same sort of static. This is in addition to all of the extremely on point comments up thread about the hurdles this puts up for the elderly, disabled, poor, etc. I fully recognize my privilege in having the time, ability, economic security, and knowledge (I am a lawyer) to get my situation straightened out, and my heart breaks for women who don't have that level of privilege trying to navigate a name change following the end of a marriage.
posted by susiswimmer at 4:20 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


titus n. owl: yeah so basically the election ID does nothing at all whatsoever to address the inherent issues of having to go get the ID to vote so what is the point

Well, it removes the financial issue - a quite real and constitutional issue as it can be considered a poll tax.
posted by willie11 at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2013


it removes the issue of paying dollars directly to the DPS but does not make getting an ID actually free nor that much more accessible in any kind of practical sense to the people being disenfranchised
posted by titus n. owl at 4:26 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


(it sure looks good on paper and provides something to point at and go "see you can get an ID for free therefore no hardship is imposed on anyone ever" tho)
posted by titus n. owl at 4:27 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


72% of DEMOCRATS and 65% of those who see themselves as VERY LIBERAL support Voter ID (McClatchy-Marist poll)

This issued is settled science my friends. The American people want voter ID.
posted by republican at 4:34 PM on October 18, 2013


Texas changed their provisional ballot counting procedures in 2004, so that they aren't counted by default.. The new system had its first big test during the primaries... that year in the Republican Party primary, 698 provisional ballots were cast; 170 were counted. In the Democratic Party primary, 1,212 provisional ballots were cast; 323 were counted.

Is the system failing you at the polls? Here... have a quarter of a vote!
posted by markkraft at 4:36 PM on October 18, 2013


Voter ID Laws are bullshit.

Not only are voter ID laws bullshit, but the whole premise they are based on — that voter fraud is any kind of real phenomenon that exists in the United States — is complete bullshit and people who keep peddling that bullshit are either lying or stupid, or both. And I don't say that lightly: The Bush administration tasked their DoJ to investigate voter fraud and they couldn't find any real evidence of a scourge of fraudulent votes:
A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to prosecute a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility. A much-hyped investigation in Wisconsin, meanwhile, led to the prosecution of only .0007 percent of the local electorate for alleged voter fraud. "Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere," joked Stephen Colbert. A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading advocate for voting rights at the New York University School of Law, quantified the problem in stark terms. "It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning," the report calculated, "than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls."
Statistical noise in voting is hundreds or thousands of times more likely to change the outcome of an election than voter fraud. That's how ridiculous this whole scam is.

And if there was ever a political institution that would have any reason to even make up evidence of fraud to keep the Bush administration around, it would be the Bush administration. Not only could they not find any evidence of fraud, the GOP couldn't even successfully make it up and ended up illegally firing Justice attorneys who wouldn't go along with their scam when they tried.

Voter fraud is a crock of shit peddled by Republican criminals to keep their party in power. There's little to argue here except how long these folks should sit in prison for actively breaking democracy by disenfranchising Americans. Instead, we teach the controversy by offering "compromises" that discuss taking away civil rights over the remotely abstract potential of fraud. It's infuriating. This bullshit rots away and destroys any hope of a civil society.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:43 PM on October 18, 2013 [22 favorites]


Is the system failing you at the polls? Here... have a quarter of a vote!

There are a lot of problems with provisional balloting. However one of the weird aspects to the whole system (again this is regionally dependent) is that people are doing math up front to determine when to count them or not. I don't know if it's the same in other places, but we all saw the presidential elections called before all the military and absentee ballots were counted. Sometimes provisional ballots aren't counted at all if whatever's written on them won't affect the outcome of an election.

I agree that the whole system is weird and I agree that this voter ID thing is a travesty. At the same time, there are reasons why provisional ballots may not be counted that are not in and of themselves evidence of something shitty going on other than laziness and/or mathematical calculations. I could not tell after reading that link what was going on in the situations they mention. I agree after reading that article that switching from Challenge Voting to Provisional Balloting seems like it was done with intent to disenfranchise. Also agree that voter fraud is something that barely ever happens anymore, for all the work we to do tr to prevent it.
posted by jessamyn at 4:49 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This issued is settled science my friends. The American people want voter ID.

Unless you ask them if their concerns are over voter suppression in the form of stuff like traveling 200 miles and/or paying for the privilege. If you've got polling showing they prefer that, or that they don't support free and easily accessible voter ID versus that, I'd be interested to see it.

Of course, according to those polls, the American people also want early voting, Sunday voting, and same-day registration. Most or all of those are restricted by laws put in place by Republicans alongside voter ID.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:02 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's worth mentioning that Russia Today (funded by the federal budget of Russia) and Press TV (funded by the government of Iran) *LOVE* to do stories on voter ID and vote supression. It's something they practically brag about, because it helps to justify their own governments.

So, when Republicans boast gleefully about voter ID laws, it just makes me wonder why they hate their fellow Americans so much that they'd want to fetch water for Russia and Iran?
posted by markkraft at 5:13 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having gone through the name-change and name-change back procedures in Texas in the 90s, I'm glad my paperwork is all in my birth name and that I didn't change my name when I married again. And I will be voting with great pleasure for Wendy Davis in 2014 despite the best efforts of her opponent to disfranchise me.
posted by immlass at 5:40 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Voter fraud is a crock of shit peddled by Republican criminals to keep their party in power.

Strong words. But it's not as if the Democrats are squeaky clean on the issue of election fraud either.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:21 PM on October 18, 2013


oh, did the democrats openly admit to gerrymandering specifically in order to effectively disenfranchise republicans, too? i missed that, must be the liberal media keepin the truth down or something
posted by titus n. owl at 6:25 PM on October 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


And I will be voting with great pleasure for Wendy Davis in 2014 despite the best efforts of her opponent to disfranchise me.

Go Wendy!


Poll: Grimes Edging McConnell in Kentucky

posted by Golden Eternity at 6:27 PM on October 18, 2013


How long do driver's licenses last in Texas, anyone know? If they're anything like Arizona licenses (which last decades), I can see a lot of women not bothering to go to the DMV just for a name change.

I'm late to the discussion... but you have to renew every 5 years.

My wife hasn't officially changed her name with the state of Texas... She has changed her name at her firm, mail, anything related to our lives together..etc. But officially, she uses her maiden name.. which rocks.

We love this state and hate the direction its going. We need to bring back the Ann Richards mentality, which might be possible after the Wendy Davis popularity lately.
posted by Benway at 6:31 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


you don't have to renew every five years. i'm pretty sure texas driver's licenses have like multiple different renewal times. sometimes it's six. my first license i got here said renew in three years. my current license says to renew in TEN years.
posted by titus n. owl at 6:48 PM on October 18, 2013


There's an actual answer, and it's possible to look it up.
Your Texas driver's license's expiration depends on your age when the expiring license was issued or renewed.

Driver's Age at License
Issue or Last RenewalValidity of License
under 18expires on next birthday
18-84license valid for 6 years

85 and olderlicense expires second birthday after application date
All weird spacing courtesy of the original website: http://www.dmv.com/tx/texas/drivers-license-renewal

Hmmm... No explanation for titus' 10-year renewal.
posted by BrashTech at 7:00 PM on October 18, 2013


they probably changed the rules about expiration dates at some point after i got my license. when the question was originally posed i tried checking the actual texas dps website and all i could find on there was that it expires on the expiration date printed on it but it's different for elderly people (of course given how incredibly helpful texas dps was in person i guess i shouldn't be surprised at the level of information i can locate on their website either)
posted by titus n. owl at 7:06 PM on October 18, 2013


update: current license with new address is actually due for renewal in three years; the one with the ten-year date was the old address one which this one replaced, and which was itself five or six years old
posted by titus n. owl at 7:10 PM on October 18, 2013


Jesus fucking christ.

Probably couldn't vote either, I bet his license has "H" for the middle initial.
posted by Foosnark at 7:15 PM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


He might not even have Christ on his license, depending on when it was issued and who issued it.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:30 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, what can we do about this?
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:02 PM on October 18, 2013


spinifex23: "Do some states seriously ask for a Driver's License?! Because I don't drive, so I have a state issued ID card instead (WA State in my case). The only difference is that, on the card, it says 'IDENTIFICATION CARD' instead of Driver's License in light green on the front."

No, some states ask for a state-issued piece of plastic which always includes both a driver license and identification card on the list.

Speaking of Washington state, it's good to know that apparently the vote-by-mail-for-everyone system used in the People's Democratic State of Washington is riddled with fraud and compromised by even the least-witty of miscreant.
posted by fireoyster at 8:04 PM on October 18, 2013


This issued is settled science my friends. The American people want voter ID.

I'm willing to bet almost any amount of money that this is very similar to the polling that says that xx(majority)% of people hate Obamacare, but when asked about the specific provisions separately (and without Obama's name attached to it), there's actually pretty broad support. In other words, this is an education issue. Most people support voter ID because they don't really know anything about it (as the link that zombieflanders posted points out) and hey, you have to show your id to buy beer, so why the hell not? Additionally, the GOP has been pretty successful at linking the phrase "voter ID" with the word "fraud", which puts that idea in people's heads, even though the evidence shows that voter fraud is so rare it is essentially a non-issue. Most people don't really look beyond the headlines, much less spend any time researching the issue at hand.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:57 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jesus fucking christ.

...or as my father used to say, Jesus Fucking H. Christ.
And that was the clean version...

I think it is safe to assume that you can not legally name your child that in Texas.
posted by y2karl at 11:58 PM on October 18, 2013


"So, what can we do about this?"

Vote them out!

(Oh, yeah... right.)
posted by markkraft at 12:28 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Poll: Grimes Edging McConnell in Kentucky"

This, of course, assumes that Yertle is actually going to get his party's nomination. He's not exactly Mr. Popular right now.
posted by markkraft at 12:50 AM on October 19, 2013


I personally suspect that McConnell will choose to stand dnwn, because I just don't see him winning as it stands. The Tea Party might be discredited at the national level, but it's arguably more popular amongst the GOP in Kentucky than before.

The interesting aspect about this, from my POV, is how it effects Rand Paul, largely because Rand Paul's campaign manager Jesse Benton is basically on loan to Mitch McConnell.

The important thing to note here is that Jesse is family. He married Ron Paul's granddaughter, and has helped to run the campaigns of both Ron Paul and Rand Paul. They operate as a team, so when McConnell got Benton to run his campaign, Benton only agreed to do so after talking to Ron Paul first... and McConnell specifically got him, because he would supposedly help protect McConnell from a challenge on the right.

Benton put it a different way, in a phone call that was subsequently leaked to the press...

"Between you and me, I’m sort of holding my nose for two years because what we’re doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand in ’16, so that’s my long vision”

So basically, there was a deal struck between Rand Paul and core leadership of the GOP, which would likely help Rand Paul in a run for the Presidency.

To me the question now is really how far Rand Paul was expected to go to bat for Mitch McConnell. Will he betray him, because Mitch is now a toxic candidate? If so, will that effect Paul's 2016 hopes?
posted by markkraft at 1:33 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Uh, pretty sure there are a lot of Hispanic men named Jesus. The last name might be harder to swing, I guess.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:04 AM on October 19, 2013


There's always Bill Maher's name for a mythical Tea Bag candidate: "The name's Gun. Jesus H. Gun!"
posted by mondo dentro at 5:44 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Uh, pretty sure there are a lot of Hispanic men named Jesus.

No kidding ? That's a new one for me! Really ? Wow! Never heard of that before!

The last name might be harder to swing, I guess.

Ya think ?

Also maybe first, last and middle initial ?
posted by y2karl at 6:25 AM on October 19, 2013


"The name's Gun. Jesus H. Gun!"

H as in haploid?
posted by TedW at 6:30 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a Canadian who has always had government-issued ID for my government-provided healthcare (just like everyone else), I don't particularly mind having to show ID to vote -- though note that the requirement to show ID and inability to add yourself on election day are both very recent. Also, voting laws for federal elections are federal, each province doesn't make its own laws (something I think is really, really weird in the US).

I kept my name when I got married because I love my name and its mine, not my husband's. (Ok it's my father's. I'm living in a patriarchy, so sue me.)

It's your father's name just as much as your husband has your father-in-law's name.

posted by jeather at 6:36 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


To say this will disenfranchise 34% of women is obviously bs. If that statistic was used for something else many of you who believe it would scoff. It is amazing how so many people of all political beliefs have their skeptical glands shut down when it comes to politics.

Anyway, that is not the point of my comment. The idea of saying that since there is so little evidence of voter fraud exist that proves that voter fraud doesn't happen on a wide scale doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Being successful at a crime doesn't equal proof it doesn't happen.

That being said, my thought on the idea of voter fraud is even if we accept the idea that is happening for argument sake, how much of it would have to happen in order to sway an election? The smaller the voter base the more it could sway an election, but the smaller base would likely increase the chance of getting caught.

It seems to me there are far more effective means of swaying elections than having a handful of people vote multiple times, voting for dead people, etc, etc.
posted by 2manyusernames at 7:00 AM on October 19, 2013


Just a reminder: After the Republicans convinced everyone that there was massive voter fraud in Florida, consisting allegedly of illegal Latino immigrants voting for Democrats, a huge investigation was undertaken. The results: One Austrian-Canadian (out of 11 million Floridians) who voted illegally for Republicans because he was pro-gun rights.

There is no massive voting fraud in the US. There is however a massive conspiracy to disenfranchise US citizens, and this Texas law is just another step in that.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:18 AM on October 19, 2013 [26 favorites]


To say this will disenfranchise 34% of women is obviously bs. If that statistic was used for something else many of you who believe it would scoff. It is amazing how so many people of all political beliefs have their skeptical glands shut down when it comes to politics.

By all means, provide evidence supporting your assertion as many others have done for voter disenfranchisement. "Nuh-UH" and other contrarianism isn't adding anything to the conversation.

Anyway, that is not the point of my comment. The idea of saying that since there is so little evidence of voter fraud exist that proves that voter fraud doesn't happen on a wide scale doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Being successful at a crime doesn't equal proof it doesn't happen.

This seems like a pretty specious argument to me, roughly the same tactic that people use against evolution, i.e. just because there are reams of evidence supporting it, we should assume the lack of evidence refuting it should be given equal weight. Voter fraud is more or less secondary to the fact that these laws have continually been held to be evidence of voter suppression on a scale far outweighing even the worst-case instances of voter fraud by several orders of magnitude. These laws are based in paranoid fantasy and can easily be countered with plentiful evidence of the harmful effects of that paranoia.

That being said, my thought on the idea of voter fraud is even if we accept the idea that is happening for argument sake, how much of it would have to happen in order to sway an election? The smaller the voter base the more it could sway an election, but the smaller base would likely increase the chance of getting caught.

Let me turn this back on you: even if we accept that voter fraud is happening, how much voter disenfranchisement are you happy with? Is it okay to make it extremely difficult for 10% of the population to vote to prevent a 0.000004% voter fraud rate, as the Brennan Center notes? Is it OK for voter restrictions to be put in place when nearly all of them have been repeatedly proven--and quite often admitted to by people who enact them--to discriminate based on age, race, gender/marital status, party affiliation, or income? Because both of those have been shown to be the case time and time again.

It seems to me there are far more effective means of swaying elections than having a handful of people vote multiple times, voting for dead people, etc, etc.

Yes, there are. In fact, the current most effective method of swaying elections is to--wait for it--disenfranchise voters through ridiculous laws limiting the ability and locations and timing of voter registration, followed closely by actual voter suppression via deliberately creating barriers to voting remotely or early. Y'know, what most of the thread has been discussing at quite some length.

And that doesn't even get into attempts to dissuade voters from voting in person by limiting polling center resources, or in the case of organizations like True The Vote, engage in some old-timey Jim Crowesque voter intimidation.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:39 AM on October 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


It apparently needs to be stated that people who oppose voter ID laws also oppose vote fraud. In fact, many of us might not oppose voter ID laws in principle, while opposing them in practice.

What makes this current spate of voter ID laws objectionable is that they are implemented in a way that is explicitly designed to:
  1. create a new condition for voting;
  2. make it nearly impossible to satisfy that condition; but
  3. design it to more heavily affect a specific demographic, namely, those with higher probability of voting for the opposition party.
If vote fraud were actually a problem, you'd expect to see these laws proposed more or less the same amount by both parties. They clearly are not. I haven't checked, but I'm highly sure that all voter ID laws have been proposed by Republicans (in the modern era), and they always penalize likely Democratic voters.
posted by mondo dentro at 8:24 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


To say this will disenfranchise 34% of women is obviously bs.

I don't think it will disfranchise 30% of Texas women, but I know legal issues with documents in correct names are an issue for many women. This is a hot issue in my social circle on FB right now in a group of white, well-educated, middle-class, professional voters: women who are educated and have the ability to get their documents changed. (One woman who posted about it went to court to get her name lined up on her travel documents for the TSA--not voting-related, but clearly someone who is on the ball about name issues.)

I doubt it's 34% that will be disfranchised, but I wouldn't be surprised if 1/3 of women have to make an extra effort, not all of whom can make that effort, to exercise their legal right to vote.
posted by immlass at 9:18 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Judge in Landmark Case Disavows Support for Voter ID
Proponents of voter identification laws, who tend to be Republican, say the measures are necessary to prevent fraud at the polls. Opponents, who tend to be Democrats, assert that the amount of fraud at polling places is tiny, and that the burdens of the laws are enough to suppress voting, especially among poor and minority Americans.

One of the landmark cases in which such requirements were affirmed, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, was decided at the Seventh Circuit in an opinion written by Judge Posner in 2007 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2008.

In a new book, “Reflections on Judging,” Judge Posner, a prolific author who also teaches at the University of Chicago Law School, said, “I plead guilty to having written the majority opinion” in the case. He noted that the Indiana law in the Crawford case is “a type of law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.”

Judge Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, extended his remarks in a video interview with The Huffington Post on Friday.

Asked whether the court had gotten its ruling wrong, Judge Posner responded: “Yes. Absolutely.” Back in 2007, he said, “there hadn’t been that much activity in the way of voter identification,” and “we weren’t really given strong indications that requiring additional voter identification would actually disenfranchise people entitled to vote.” The member of the three-judge panel who dissented from the majority decision, Terence T. Evans, “was right,” Judge Posner said.

The dissent by Judge Evans, who died in 2011, began, “Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic.”
posted by zombieflanders at 9:30 AM on October 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Regarding zombieflanders' link, the lawyer who argued the case isn't buying Posner's excuse that no one told him the law could be used to disenfranchise Democratic voters, pointing out that one of the dissenting judges said exactly that.
Really? The information provided was enough for the late Judge Terence Evans, dissenting from Judge Posner’s decision, to say quite accurately: “Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by folks believed to skew Democratic.”

There had never been a single known incident of in-person voter impersonation fraud in the history of Indiana and there have been precious few nationally – yet the Indiana law targeted only in-person voting. The law was passed immediately after Republicans took complete control of the legislature and governorship of the State of Indiana.
Every Republican legislator supported the law, while every Democratic legislator opposed it.
posted by Gelatin at 9:51 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


When one looks at the different segments of the women's vote it should be obvious that this measure will tend to disenfranchise Republican women at a greater rate than other segments. For example in exit polling of the 2012 election Mitt Romney won the votes of married women 53% to 46% but Obama won many more votes from single women 67% to 31%. Married women accounted for 31% of votes cast, while unmarried women accounted for just 23%. Had this legislation been enacted in 2012 and a substantial number of married women been unable to vote; then Obama would have had an even greater margin of victory.
posted by humanfont at 2:34 PM on October 19, 2013


it should be obvious that this measure will tend to disenfranchise Republican women at a greater rate than other segments

Well it isn't just dependent on if a woman is married or not. Of the top of my head, being recently married is what is more important (recent as in before having to renew ID cards), our divorced (if the divorcee took her ex's last name), both mediated by the fact that the difficulties disproportionately harm poorer women, or those living in areas with reduced services, all of which is discussed above.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:39 PM on October 19, 2013


My only tea-party facebook friend responded to this article:
"Whos fault is that? Update your damn name or dont vote. Sounds pretty simple"
after I tried to explain why it's unfair, his response:

"I still see no problem. You want to vote? Do what it takes. The real reason you take issue is you'll take any warm body you can find to stuff the ballot box."

Coming from the party of old white guys having to rely on gerrymandered districts just to keep the house already, that's ironic. There's a big difference between being against disenfranchisement and being desperate for warm bodies--but I wouldn't expect you to understand. It shouldn't take extra hoops, tests, money, etc, for anyone to vote. Again, we disagree....to tell you the truth, I don't even know where to begin to find common ground with these people. How do I argue with someone who maintains the sky is green?
posted by whatgorilla at 7:24 PM on October 19, 2013


This is terrible. What's also terrible is that the deplorable custom of women changing their name at marriage is still so prevalent in this day and age.
posted by moorooka at 8:34 PM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, a shared last name is part of family togetherness. (Awkward phrasing, but it's early in the morning.) I'll grant you that it's unfair that it's always the woman that's expected to change rather than flipping a coin, or making up a new name for both partners to change to, or something, but I think it's a bit strong to call the custom flat-out 'deplorable'.
posted by rifflesby at 6:08 AM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I am keeping my name for a lot of reasons, some of them silly, but I would not tell my friends that their name choices are deplorable or patriarchal. Many women have chosen to change their name while identifying as feminists, and who am I to say their reasons are wrong? I just wish society was better at dealing with both choices.

Mainly I'm still mad at voting ID laws on principle-- whether this one targets women, they are a solution to the problem of poorer or minority groups voting: not fraud.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:34 AM on October 20, 2013


moorooka: "the deplorable custom of women changing their name at marriage"

This is getting into issues of intersectionality. The question of changing one's name upon marriage, like the question of whether a woman stays home with her children or works outside the house, is one of the areas where the voices of white feminists have badly drowned out the voices of women of color.

Speaking very generally (and too simplistically), the historical expectation for white women was/is that a woman changes her name when she marries and takes on the identity of her husband's family, losing or leaving behind the one she grew up with. If that's the cultural expectation you grew up with, then not changing your name may be the liberating choice for you. Because of slavery and its legacy, black women were not allowed to legally marry, much less take on a shared family name. As a result, for black women the choice to change one's name upon marriage may be the choice that is strong and empowering.*

It isn't possible to consider things like this in a vacuum, and trying to do so winds up causing continuing harm.

* This is based on some of the things I've read by black women writers and is offered as an attempt to relay what they say about their own experience, not to speak for them.
posted by Lexica at 9:10 AM on October 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


What if we just forgo the IDs and just dip your finger in ink, so that you can wear it proudly on election day; that you had a voice, and in the few minutes that it took you took to vote, your voice and your choice was heard around the globe. This is true if you are a liberal hippie, a Tea Party Republican, a Libertarian, Socialist or even the mighty increasingly rare conventional Republican.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 8:52 PM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thom: First of all, I don't know where you are getting your information about these changes affecting Democrat voters more than Republican voters. These changes affect everyone. It is very easy to get an ID. Voter fraud is a huge problem. We have no way to know how common it is because there is not way to tell when it is happening. We are just trying to prevent people from committing voter fraud
Yet another opportunity to cite my favorite political saying: "In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread." (Anatole France)

There is a difference between a law that is *applied* equally and a law that *affects* equally. It seems like defenders of voter ID laws, when they say the laws are applied equally and therefore fair, are purposefully confusing the difference.

If instead they just admitted what they seem to think, that a fair law need only be applied equally, and need not be fair in its effects, then we'd get to the heart of the disagreement. They wouldn't be wrong so much as assholes. "The law, in its majestic equality," after all.
posted by cotterpin at 1:02 AM on October 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Voter fraud is a huge problem.

Sure it is. And the evidence is????
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:06 AM on October 21, 2013


Voter fraud is a huge problem.

Sure it is. And the evidence is????


Obama got elected. I'm not joking. That's pretty much how they think.

Come to think of it, that's how I thought when Dubya was elected... twice.
posted by mondo dentro at 9:40 AM on October 21, 2013


There is a difference between a law that is *applied* equally and a law that *affects* equally. It seems like defenders of voter ID laws, when they say the laws are applied equally and therefore fair, are purposefully confusing the difference.

...and if you think they'll actually be applied equally, I have a bridge to sell you. What's likely to happen is that when white voters want ID, whatever they happen to have will be good enough, but black or latino voters are going to face resistance. Sorry, this birth certificate isn't original enough. Sorry, I can't clearly make out the raised seal on this birth certificate. Sorry, this certificate of naturalization shows a different spelling of your name than your other ID does (because one includes accents and the other doesn't).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:53 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obama got elected. I'm not joking. That's pretty much how they think.

Forget about the nebulous "they," that's what a majority of the US Supreme Court--headed by the man personally designated by Ronald Reagan to dismantle the Voting Rights Act--said when they struck down a law as unconstitutional without ever mentioning what part of the Constitution it violated.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:55 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I voted early in the statewide election here in Texas today. There's only one ballot item here in Austin (we're in the process of shifting our mayoral election to November from May) and nine constitutional amendments (the Texas Constitution needs amending for a significant fraction of state business and nine isn't a lot), so turnout is miserable.

The name on my driver's license matches my birth certificate so I had no trouble voting. I'll be interested to hear what other Texas women, especially those with married names, have to say about their treatment while voting this year.
posted by immlass at 4:55 PM on October 22, 2013


I'll be interested to hear what other Texas women, especially those with married names, have to say about their treatment while voting this year.

How about a judge and an 84yo woman who'd been voting for six decades? (emphasis mine)
As she told local channel Kiii News, 117th District Court Judge Sandra Watts was flagged for possible voter fraud because her driver’s license lists her maiden name as her middle name, while her voter registration form has her real middle name. This was the first time she has ever had a problem voting in 49 years. “What I have used for voter registration and for identification for the last 52 years was not sufficient yesterday when I went to vote,” she said.

Watts worried that women who use maiden names or hyphenated names may be surprised at the polls. “I don’t think most women know that this is going to create a problem,” the judge said. “That their maiden name is on their driver’s license, which was mandated in 1964 when I got married, and this. And so why would I want to use a provisional ballot when I’ve been voting regular ballot for the last 49 years?”
[...]
Watts is hardly the only woman who has encountered problems. ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes interviewed 84-year-old Dorothy Card, who was denied a voter ID three times even though she has voted for more than 60 years and provided extensive proof of identity.

While Watts, as an experienced judge, is familiar with the intricacies of election law, the people most likely to be stopped at the polls will be less informed about their rights. Low-income voters, minorities, students and seniors disproportionately lack the required identification — a fact that prompted the Justice Department and several federal judges to block the law under now-defunct provisions in the Voting Rights Act. After public outcry, Texas officials said they would distribute a free voter ID to eligible recipients who applied for one. As of this week, however, just 41 people received free IDs, out of the 1.4 million Texas voters who lack the required documents.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:15 PM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Defund Voter ID!
If they can't fix the technical problems of voter ID, shouldn't it be defunded? Shouldn't the legislature shut down the government, if necessary, to make sure that happens? At the very least, shouldn't implementation be suspended and all mandates and penalties be delayed?

[...]

Where's the "tech surge" to fix this problem?

Why isn't anyone being fired for not being aware of it?

What didn't Governor Rick Perry know and when didn't he know it?
posted by tonycpsu at 5:03 PM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh, WOW. The Most Baldly Racist Daily Show Interview Ever.
posted by lalex at 10:48 AM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh man, please tell me Buncombe County is pronounced the way I suspect it is.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:38 PM on October 24, 2013


Oh, WOW. The Most Baldly Racist Daily Show Interview Ever.

Mandvi's look at the camera/half wink when he breaks out the "black friend" line is absolutely classic.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:02 PM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


"You know that we can hear you, right?" sent me into such a fit the first time I could barely breathe.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:42 PM on October 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why Is It Taking 5 Months (And Counting) To Renew My Drivers License In TX?
posted by jaguar at 3:45 PM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh hey, dude got fired.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:14 PM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


He was given the boot by a better liar:
Mitchell called the remarks "offensive, uniformed and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party."

"Let me make it very clear, Mr. Yelton's comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe Republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon," Mitchell said in a press release. "This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party."
Still, I suppose his being ousted is some kind of superficial pretension of progress.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:18 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Obama’s devious plot to destroy the Republican Party by increasing its vote share among Hispanics
There's a tension in the Republican Party's portrayal of Obama in which he's thought, on one hand, to be a naif who's in way over his head and, on the other, a grand chessmaster executing an intricate strategy to annihilate his political opposition.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:39 AM on October 25, 2013


The NC GOP is totally not racist, honest: "Today, [Governor] McCrory will honor the late Jesse Helms."
posted by zombieflanders at 11:53 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


And now Texas is trying to claim that even if your birth certificate matches your legal name, it shouldn't count.
posted by jaguar at 1:09 PM on October 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even Wendy Davis herself had to sign an affidavit today in early voting because her name on her ID did not match exactly what was on the voter rolls.

Davis, the Democratic state senator, was voting early in Fort Worth on Monday morning when poll workers made her sign an affidavit to verify her identity.

Why?

Her photo ID included her maiden name, Wendy Russell Davis. But voter registration records showed: Wendy Davis.


What the shit??
posted by mattbucher at 10:27 AM on October 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Show of hands for everyone who's really missing Molly Ivins these days.
posted by rtha at 11:44 AM on October 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Even Wendy Davis herself had to sign an affidavit today in early voting because her name on her ID did not match exactly what was on the voter rolls.

I'm as against the blatant attempt to disenfranchise people as anyone, but I don't think that having to sign a piece of paper saying that you're actually the person you claim to be is a particularly onerous barrier to exercising one's right to vote. Particularly during early voting, the whole point of which is to decrease the time investment for the individual voter.
posted by Etrigan at 11:48 AM on October 28, 2013


i'm a complete cynical bastard following my decade of experience with texas governmental bureaucracy and so i really doubt that the average person who wasn't a nationally famous gubernatorial candidate would be told "you can sign this affidavit" and get to vote right then, tbh
posted by titus n. owl at 11:51 AM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


OK... So other than intimidation and introduction of hassle what does it achieve? And does her vote go in the "count now" box or the "count whenever/if needed" box?
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


That dude from Buncombe County? Total low hanging fruit for the Daily Show.

All you have to do to be a precinct chair for a precinct in your county is show up, sometimes. He and his wife were the only ones to show up last time and vote himself in. He had been kicked out of a position before (can't remember why) but anyway, lots of people are on the executive committee because of past positions. Heck, my husband isn't involved at all at the moment and HE is still on an executive committee here locally. (And yes, Ralph knows the Buncombe county Republican.)

The state party really is VERY pissed off with this guy. He represents them about as well as I represent Metafilter. So, if I went on the Daily Show as a Mefite, and everyone thought I was the typical Mefite? Well, then you get the picture.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2013


So other than intimidation and introduction of hassle what does it achieve?

The legitimate (if grossly overstated) aim of making sure that people who cast ballots are eligible to vote. The hassle introduced is pretty minimal, and if it's anything like the similar system in my own state, it's no more "intimidating" than having to cross an elementary school parking lot to get to the voting place.
posted by Etrigan at 12:25 PM on October 28, 2013


Right, I get the stated goal, does it do anything towards the stated goal?
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on October 28, 2013


The state party really is VERY pissed off with this guy. He represents them about as well as I represent Metafilter. So, if I went on the Daily Show as a Mefite, and everyone thought I was the typical Mefite? Well, then you get the picture.

Maybe they're pissed off at him for blatantly stating that black people and college kids are lazy and therefore deserve to have their right to vote taken away in terms of "representation," but in pretty much every other way he represents the modern GOP position. The use of NC's voter laws (and similar ones like those in TX) as discriminatory violations of civil rights are well-documented and supported by reams of investigatory evidence. Even if they weren't, on several occasions the government officials responsible have flat-out declared them to be intended to prevent political opponents from voting.

If after that one still believes that these laws are entirely on the level, and are a valid approach to address widespread voter fraud, they're lying to either the world at large or themselves.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:55 PM on October 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


zombieflanders, in other words, the political ranks are filled with lots of weird and ridiculous people. I have news for you: that is true for both sides. I have lifted the rocks and peered underneath.

I can only tell you that the NC GOP is NOT a monolith. There are some I would be happy to share a meal with, there are those who I consider too liberal for my taste(although I would still eat with them) and there are some who are conservative in all the old bad ways. But to use the Buncombe County gentleman as typical is really not fair to the party. That is all I am saying.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2013


It provides a means for people to vote if they don't have the appropriate ID with them at the moment, while providing a means to prove that an ineligible person voted, if necessary. I personally believe that these are good aims for the system, and that an affidavit is a pretty good compromise to achieve them.

It's not like Davis wasn't allowed to vote, or even that she was so "intimidated" or "hassled" that it provided a barrier to her voting. Requiring perfect matches across separate IDs is a barrier; requiring the voter to sign an affidavit and then letting her vote isn't.
posted by Etrigan at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2013


But to use the Buncombe County gentleman as typical is really not fair to the party. That is all I am saying.

As long as the GOP and the NC GOP in this particular case support the current demonstrably discriminatory voter laws, it is completely fair to ascribe his basic reasoning for supporting them to the party.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:17 PM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


requiring the voter to sign an affidavit and then letting her vote isn't.

Not if you're a pillar of the community (like Davis), maybe but what if you barely speak English and have a special situation that you have trouble explaining? What if you've been hassled by this same precinct chair at this same polling place in the past because you are a well-known pro-choice activist? Or what if you're not willing to sign an affidavit because you're goddam name is printed correctly on the ID and the voter registration roll is wrong? What if... you're a white dude on metafilter (like me) and yeah, sure, it's not going to stop you but you can't possibly imagine all the scenarios in which it will, in fact, deter someone from voting.

This affidavit bullshit and voter ID bullshit is a needless barrier for anyone to vote! It only exists to deter people from having their vote counted--usually those who vote Democratic, because otherwise Rick Perry and David Dewhurst and Greg Abbott would do everything in their power to prevent it.
posted by mattbucher at 1:32 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also: I can only tell you that the NC GOP is NOT a monolith.

Their elected representation sure is. The voter restrictions passed with the support of every GOP member (and no Democrats) of both the House and the Senate. Sounds pretty monolithic to me.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:45 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The state party really is VERY pissed off with this guy. He represents them about as well as I represent Metafilter. So, if I went on the Daily Show as a Mefite, and everyone thought I was the typical Mefite? Well, then you get the picture.

Well, you are an intelligent person with good values and I think you would be a fine representative of the site. You might leave people with the wrong idea on our political ideology but you wouldn't come off as a hateful idiot like the dude in the interview did.

Not disagreeing with your point though, the Daily Show does often thrive on low hanging fruit like that. The convention interviews are similar, but still hilarious.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:49 PM on October 28, 2013


Interestingly, ETS is just as strict with naming, so probably this kind of issue will also affect immigrants from non-Western countries.
posted by jeather at 1:52 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other Texas/Fuck Yeah Wendy Davis news: Federal Judge Declares Texas Anti-Abortion Law Unconstitutional
posted by zombieflanders at 2:02 PM on October 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not if you're a pillar of the community (like Davis), maybe but what if you barely speak English and have a special situation that you have trouble explaining?

Then the state should make signs or brochures for poll workers in the same languages they make ballots (which is to say, all of them that anyone ever asks for, except Klingon).

What if you've been hassled by this same precinct chair at this same polling place in the past because you are a well-known pro-choice activist?

How is the affidavit making that person hassle you more?

Or what if you're not willing to sign an affidavit because you're goddam name is printed correctly on the ID and the voter registration roll is wrong?

You'd rather that people not get to vote because the roll is wrong? Because that's the alternative, not "Well, just let people vote anyway."

What if... you're a white dude on metafilter (like me) and yeah, sure, it's not going to stop you but you can't possibly imagine all the scenarios in which it will, in fact, deter someone from voting.

First off, you don't know me, "dude."
Second, do you agree that voters need to be qualified -- as in, citizens of the United States of America and residents (in various legally defined ways) of the precinct in which they are attempting to vote? Do you agree that some verification of that qualification should occur? Do you agree that the voter registration is one good way of doing that? Do you agree that some bureaucratic issues will inevitably arise? Do you think that the solution to those issues -- including the fact that voter ID doesn't have anything that matches it to the person presenting it -- should be that we allow the voter to sign a piece of paper and vote anyway, or should there be some other solution?

What's your other solution? What idea do you have that serves the twin purposes of allowing people to vote with a minimum of effort and ensuring that people vote legally? I will agree that the various forces of assholedom -- currently clustered primarily in the GOP -- have weighed the latter much more heavily than the former for nefarious purposes, but that doesn't mean that it should be ignored entirely.
posted by Etrigan at 5:49 PM on October 28, 2013


I grew up in North Carolina. Until this year, to vote in North Carolina, voters walked in and stated their names. The poll staffer looked up each name on the list and asked each voter to confirm that their address on the rolls was still correct. Then the voter went and voted. I have never heard a single report of voter fraud in North Carolina in my 37 years, and as far as I know, this has been the system in North Carolina far longer than that.

So what is the problem these laws are trying to solve? And why aren't you content with the system that has always been in place and always worked?
posted by hydropsyche at 5:56 PM on October 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Second, do you agree that voters need to be qualified -- as in, citizens of the United States of America and residents (in various legally defined ways) of the precinct in which they are attempting to vote?

I do agree! And this system has already been in place in every place I've lived as a voter - because I am a driver, for me this process has always happened in conjunction with DMV-related things, but every state ways for non-drivers to register to vote.

Can you agree that there has been no evidence presented that there is a problem that needs fixing?
posted by rtha at 6:06 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


hydropsyche, I have been a poll judge, and I am married to someone who has been on the Board of Elections...and I live in a county where there are a lot of people moving in and out. This means that the opportunity exists for someone to vote in the name of someone who maybe didn't close out their voter registration when they left, and I have heard reports of this happening.

Not to mention if you do early voting you can register the same day you vote with no time for them to verify you are telling the truth.

If I need an ID to sign up for Obamacare, I don't think it should be an issue to have an id to vote. When I lived in Florida a couple of decades ago I had to prove I was me. IDs are a fact of life in all kinds of situations, and I don't understand why the push isn't to assist people in getting IDs. After all, in this society, not to have an ID is a handicap for many reasons. If we spent our effort fixing THAT problem instead of tightening up security for voting-so that no one can steal MY vote by voting as me before I get to the polls, for example-I think we would all be better off.

Why not a push for "IDs for all of us"?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:53 PM on October 28, 2013


PS-the procedure, at least a few years ago when I worked-was to require each voter to state their address. I can tell you that procedure was not always followed correctly.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:55 PM on October 28, 2013


Second, do you agree that voters need to be qualified -- as in, citizens of the United States of America and residents (in various legally defined ways) of the precinct in which they are attempting to vote?

Sure

Do you agree that some verification of that qualification should occur?

No. Not unless there's evidence of more than completely trivial levels of fraud. Until then, we can just prosecute people we catch by happenstance, or because they admitted it somehow, or whatever, and throw them in prison for a few years as a deterrent.

For sure, a state should not be allowed to require ID to vote until it can demonstrate that it has provided the necessary ID to at least 99.99% of eligible citizens.

Do you agree that some bureaucratic issues will inevitably arise?

Sure, but they should assume the voter is eligible but warn them that they face prosecution if they turn out to be ineligible.

Do you think that the solution to those issues -- including the fact that voter ID doesn't have anything that matches it to the person presenting it -- should be that we allow the voter to sign a piece of paper and vote anyway, or should there be some other solution?

Yes, let them sign a piece of paper and vote. Then if it turns out they couldn't, throw them in prison.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:57 PM on October 28, 2013


I don't understand why the push isn't to assist people in getting IDs

Because getting people IDs doesn't reduce the number of black voters, which is the intent of these laws.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:03 PM on October 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


This means that the opportunity exists for someone to vote in the name of someone who maybe didn't close out their voter registration when they left, and I have heard reports of this happening.

Hearing about and actually happening are completely different animals:
In 2012, nearly 7 million ballots were cast in the general and two primary elections. Of those 6,947,317 ballots, the state Board of Elections said 121 alleged cases of voter fraud were referred to the appropriate district attorney's office.

That means of the nearly 7 million votes cast, voter fraud accounted for 0.00174 percent of the ballots.

Looking back at the 2010 election cycle -- which was not a presidential year -- 3.79 million ballots were cast and only 28 cases of voter fraud were turned over to the appropriate DA's office. So in 2010, voter fraud accounted for 0.000738 percent of ballots cast.

The state Board of Elections acknowledges that far more cases of voter fraud are reported each voting cycle. But the majority of those cases are deemed unfounded and never referred to the DA's office.
Not to mention if you do early voting you can register the same day you vote with no time for them to verify you are telling the truth.

Completely false.

IDs are a fact of life in all kinds of situations, and I don't understand why the push isn't to assist people in getting IDs.

Because as has been noted many, many times throughout this thread, the point of these laws is entirely for disenfranchisement and suppression. This isn't a theory, this is verifiable fact, often through the admission of the people making the laws.

After all, in this society, not to have an ID is a handicap for many reasons.

Yes, which is why the people most likely to be affected are those already on the edge of disenfranchisement.

Why not a push for "IDs for all of us"?

Many would be all for it if it was free, easily accessible (or even better, sent to you by the state), and equally applied. To borrow from upthread, this is how it's done in Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany. But not in NC, TX, or most anywhere else in the US.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:18 PM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Then the state should make signs or brochures for poll workers in the same languages they make ballots (which is to say, all of them that anyone ever asks for, except Klingon).

I agree, but good lord, the people supporting these ID laws are the same people wanting to make the US English-only. These laws are NOT ACTUALLY INTENDED to prevent voter fraud. They are consciously intended to keep poor and other marginalized people from voting.
posted by jaguar at 7:50 PM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


This means that the opportunity exists for someone to vote in the name of someone who maybe didn't close out their voter registration when they left, and I have heard reports of this happening.

So have I. Have any of James O'Keefe's minions been jailed for doing that yet?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:42 AM on October 29, 2013


rtha and ROU_Xenophobe: I think we are in violent agreement on this particular aspect that I'm arguing about. As noted earlier, I agree that ID requirements that have the effect of keeping people from voting are wrong, which is why I can't get too het up about Wendy Davis having to sign a form and then getting to vote. I believe that there must be some level of verification of eligibility, and in the absence of government-issued ID that is free of monetary and opportunity cost (that is, "come to an office 20 miles away from your home between the hours of 12 and 2 on a Wednesday and be prepared to kill your whole afternoon, and we don't care that you have to work and take care of your kids" doesn't count), the affidavit solution strikes me as a minimal barrier.
posted by Etrigan at 6:26 AM on October 29, 2013


In principle, an affidavit such as that seems fair enough.

But on the other hand, I have boundless confidence that Texas or other states trying to reduce black/latino turnout could find ways to pervert it, though I haven't stopped to try to think of them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:58 AM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


which is why I can't get too het up about Wendy Davis having to sign a form and then getting to vote.

If a voter is registered, has ID, and their name is Wendy Davis on one form and Wendy Russell Davis on another form, they should be allowed to vote without signing an affidavit. Why add that barrier if the state/govt/bureaucracy is at fault? Add an affidavit if your address doesn't match up across three separate databases? Sign another affidavit if you're transsexual and have one gender listed in one database list and one in another? No. As illustrated above, the statistical chances of any of these voter-fraud cases swaying an election is minuscule. People just want to vote. I can get het up about these affidavits because they are mission-creep and because they do have the potential to disenfranchise and alienate potential voters. I get it that you don't believe that so I won't press the issue any further except to say that I disagree with your take.
posted by mattbucher at 7:38 AM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


If a voter is registered, has ID, and their name is Wendy Davis on one form and Wendy Russell Davis on another form, they should be allowed to vote without signing an affidavit. Why add that barrier if the state/govt/bureaucracy is at fault?

For one, it's not always the bureaucracy that's at fault. Sometimes people are just lazy and don't update their ID. When those people can still vote, the system is not broken.

Besides that, though, where do you draw the line? If her name is Wendy Russell on one form and Wendy Davis on another? Gwendolyn Davis on one and Wendy Davis on another? Gwendolyn Russell on one and Wendy Davis on another? There has to be a line somewhere if you have any requirement to prove that you're an eligible voter. And when the requirement to get around that is signing a piece of paper, I don't despair too much for democracy.

Add an affidavit if your address doesn't match up across three separate databases? Sign another affidavit if you're transsexual and have one gender listed in one database list and one in another? No.

Your slippery slope has evolved to three different slippery slopes. If someone suggested that separate affidavits should be added for every possibility, I would be against that. But one? No, I'm okay with that.
posted by Etrigan at 7:44 AM on October 29, 2013


There are a couple of distinct issues it would be helpful to keep straight if we sincerely want to have conversations about hypothetical "lazy voters", slippery slopes, and the like.

First, voter ID laws are being set forth exclusively by Republicans with the express purpose of stymying Democratic voters. This is not even controversial: a number of state GOP big-mouths have bragged to this effect, and straightforward ethnically-based demographics show that the ID laws will likely suppress Democratic voter turnout more than GOP turnout. Under those circumstances, many left-leaning citizens oppose the laws. That's it. No further explanation or justification needed.

Second, though, some people like to point out that there's nothing inherently wrong with having voter ID laws. After all, we need an ID for car insurance, health care, etc. I, and likely many others, agree with this as narrowly phrased. But, given the first issue--that these laws are designed to not be fairly applied--saying they're OK in principle is quite an empty statement.

Nevertheless, it raises an interesting political question: why don't the Democrats join into the vote fraud fun? Perhaps proposing equally onerous laws that would impact likely GOP voters? Or, more civic-mindedly, making sure that the laws hit everyone equally, particularly in regard to making sure everyone can get an ID? This, I do not know the answer to. The benefit to the Dems is that they wouldn't appear to be on the "wrong side" of the fraudulent but apparently potent "voter fraud" issue. But... is there an down side for them? Not sure.

The voter ID laws, which are applied very unfairly (e.g., easy ID access in GOP districts, difficult access in Dem districts), together with ridiculous gerrymandering, are the most egregious current actual examples of illegal and/or unethical manipulation of the voting system, and they currently happen to be predominantly perpetrated by the GOP. So, personally, I'd love to see the Dems get serious about vote fraud, since I think it is they, not the Republicans, who have in recent history been victimized by fraudulent activity (I'm also thinking here of deep scams perpetrated by GOP operatives with the aid of hacked tabulating machines during the Gore and Kerry losses--things which the Democrats never cared to investigate with any vigor). But then, I'm much more into fighting back than some.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:40 AM on October 29, 2013


First, voter ID laws are being set forth exclusively by Republicans with the express purpose of stymying Democratic voters.

New voter ID laws, yes. That does not mean that any voter registration and identification system is inherently anti-Democratic, or even anti-democratic. That is what I'm arguing against: the idea that Wendy Davis had to sign an affidavit and still got to vote is symptomatic of the attack on voting rights.
posted by Etrigan at 10:49 AM on October 29, 2013


Nevertheless, it raises an interesting political question: why don't the Democrats join into the vote fraud fun? Perhaps proposing equally onerous laws that would impact likely GOP voters? Or, more civic-mindedly, making sure that the laws hit everyone equally, particularly in regard to making sure everyone can get an ID? This, I do not know the answer to.

I can only speak for myself, but it's mostly because I don't care to buy into, or even appear to buy into, paranoia about a problem that doesn't really exist on a real-life, practical level (see stats in zombieflanders's post). So it might could happen somewhere, someday, at some point in some future timeline? OK, let's expend our already-stretched-too-thin time, money, and other resources on it THEN, and get the actually-important-needs-to-get-done-now shit done NOW, instead of debating philosophy about how many bogeymen can fraudulently vote for a Democrat on the head of a pin.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:20 AM on October 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


why don't the Democrats join into the vote fraud fun? Perhaps proposing equally onerous laws that would impact likely GOP voters?

Because they're not racist shitnozzles whose current raison d'etre is to strip voting rights (among others) from those they hate?

Or, more civic-mindedly, making sure that the laws hit everyone equally, particularly in regard to making sure everyone can get an ID? This, I do not know the answer to. The benefit to the Dems is that they wouldn't appear to be on the "wrong side" of the fraudulent but apparently potent "voter fraud" issue. But... is there an down side for them? Not sure.

Leveling the playing field for everyone is socialism, doubly so if the state pays for it, even though that is the only way to ensure equal application and equal access. Paying for it to ensure lazy Blah people and the non-bootstrappy Poors are forced away is totally cool though, because only those who make the effort deserve Constitutional rights, physical and political roadblocks notwithstanding.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:49 AM on October 29, 2013


This pointless back-and-forth where those that want to disproportionately suppress votes from Democratic voters give their paper-thin rationales for why, all of a sudden, it is vitally important to pass laws that mandate we make absolutely positively, no-doubt sure that each and every voter is really, really eligible in spite of the fact that voter misrepresentation is an infinitesimal problem and mostly due to error and those who keep pointing out that the real reason is voter suppression is no longer of any worth. The former consist of those with nefarious motivations and those gormless enough to believe the fake rationale, and neither is capable of admitting their true motivation. No one will be reasoned out of a position they entered into dishonestly and the true believers are not strong on logic in the first place. I'm sort of weary of the charade.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:07 PM on October 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know, there is a reason people joke about everyone in the graveyard voting.

I am not so sanguine about the lack of actual voter fraud. And I honestly don't care which side would be carrying it out. I am more interested in it not happening, period. That EVERYONE who wants an ID can have one, and that we know that our vote counts and that no one voted in Grandma's name while she is laying senile in a nursing home bed.


I am sorry that some people see it as a mechanism to stop some people voting, and that is a shame. But I really would like to see some Democrats acknowledge that it is not inherently a bad thing for someone to be confirmed to be who they are when they vote. Because as we all know and most of us admit, we need to prove that all over the place in normal daily life anyway. Let's put some effort into ID for all, because that will benefit them not just on election day but EVERY day.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:26 PM on October 29, 2013


Let's put some effort into ID for all, because that will benefit them not just on election day but EVERY day.

This is, or should be, an entirely separate issue. Republicans are not, in any way, approaching this issue as "Hey we're doing this because people having ID is good for other reasons." People joke about graveyard voting because they are misinformed about the actual level of voter fraud in this country as zombieflanders noted above. This is an incredibly expensive solution to a non-problem, somewhat similar to drug testing people on welfare in Florida. It's just a racially motivated attack on the poor and should not be tolerated.

The US has voting regulations primarily (as this post has shown) on a state by state basis. Even if we acknowledged that people carrying ID was for some reason a social positive in this country (something I do not, at all, agree with) such a push should come at the federal level.
posted by jessamyn at 5:37 PM on October 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know, there is a reason people joke about everyone in the graveyard voting.

Not unless we're talking 1870s NYC.

I am not so sanguine about the lack of actual voter fraud. And I honestly don't care which side would be carrying it out. I am more interested in it not happening, period.

Okay, but when all evidence has shown that the uses for voter suppression outweigh the uses for voter fraud by several factors of magnitude, this seems like some seriously misplaced concern.

That EVERYONE who wants an ID can have one, and that we know that our vote counts and that no one voted in Grandma's name while she is laying senile in a nursing home bed.

Again, only as long as the second is dependent on the first and not on removing the ability to vote for no good reason.

I am sorry that some people see it as a mechanism to stop some people voting, and that is a shame.

It's a shame that we believe what voter law proponents tell us?

But I really would like to see some Democrats acknowledge that it is not inherently a bad thing for someone to be confirmed to be who they are when they vote.

Seriously, WTF? Several people have done that here, but it's contingent upon equal access and application for all. If that's too much to ask, that's a serious problem.

Because as we all know and most of us admit, we need to prove that all over the place in normal daily life anyway. Let's put some effort into ID for all, because that will benefit them not just on election day but EVERY day.

The fight against voter rights for all is a hojillion times more immediate and pressing a concern right now, and is the roadblock for ID for all. Until that problem is solved, there's no real moving forward.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:40 PM on October 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


But I really would like to see some Democrats acknowledge that it is not inherently a bad thing for someone to be confirmed to be who they are when they vote.

I'd really like to see some Republicans offer evidence that the system that states have right now is allowing such effective amounts of voter fraud that risking the disenfranchisement of tens or hundreds or thousands of voters - but only certain kinds of voters - is worth it.
posted by rtha at 5:44 PM on October 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd really like to see some Republicans offer evidence that the system that states have right now is allowing such effective amounts of voter fraud...

The system we have now is certainly allowing voting fraud... by Republicans. Have we already forgotten about electronic voting machine companies? Owned by big-time GOP donors? With machines proven to be easily hackable? Associated with "statistical anomalies" in multiple elections?

It's been said before, but let's all remember: the modern American right displays a mastery of psychological projection. Like all skilled sociopaths and bullies, they put you on the defensive right away by accusing you of what they are planning in secret, because they know it makes it less likely that their crimes will come to light. So, if they accuse you of being a thief, you should check for your wallet. If they deride you for feeding at the government trough, you can be sure they already got rich selling shoddy services to the military. If they attack you for vote fraud, they've got their election cheating system in place and running. If they say you're a pervert... well, you get the idea.
posted by mondo dentro at 6:09 PM on October 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Greg Abbott is also going to have to sign an affidavit to vote.

Davis spokesman Bo Delp saw some irony in Abbott’s plan to use the Davis-sponsored provision: “If it weren’t for Wendy Davis’ leadership, Greg Abbott might have nearly disenfranchised himself.”
posted by mattbucher at 7:14 PM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can see that there are two different viewpoints on this topic. I would like to believe there is not voting fraud going on but I do not. Sorry.

I am willing to believe it occurs on both sides of the aisle. I cannot speak to others motives, only my own, but the fact that democrats really do not care if people have ID does not give me the warm fuzzies the way it does some of you. Because I fail to believe that there are that many people out there who do not have them, and I fail to believe that something cannot be done to accomodate people in that condition, precisely because you have to have an id to do practically anything else.

Sorry, I don't think Democrats are against this out of the warmness of their own hearts. If they were they would be protesting the states that already have to have an ID or at least a voter registration card.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:33 PM on October 29, 2013


Those are not items I have had to show at any place (I think - it's been a while fr some of them!) when I turned up at the polls. I have lived (as a voter) in MA, NH, ME, DC, and MD.

Show me the rampant fraud committed by individual voters in the last 30 years in any of those states (and district).
posted by rtha at 7:39 PM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and CA, of course, where I live now. I walk down to the local elementary school, tell them my name, they look it up in the precinct book, ask if that address is mine, I sign, I get my ballot.

One time, I did have to fill out a provisional ballot, because at some point that year I had unintentionally signed up to get an absentee ballot (I probably mistakenly checked a box on my license renewal or something). They had me recorded as an absentee voter, and therefore I could not vote the regular way at the polls, because I wasn't supposed to be at the polls.

To those of you so determined to stamp out all this massive voter fraud that must be happening, what are your feelings about voting-by-mail, which is a thing that seems to be increasingly popular?
posted by rtha at 7:43 PM on October 29, 2013


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "I can see that there are two different viewpoints on this topic. I would like to believe there is not voting fraud going on but I do not. Sorry. "

Every application of government resources toward a problem is a cost/benefit calculation.

Above, zombieflanders cites actual statistics on voter fraud. You don't say how much voter fraud you think is occurring, but, theoretically, if those numbers (somewhere between seven ten-thousandths and one one-thousandth of one percent) are accurate, how much money do you think should be spent to solve this problem?

When you answer, keep in mind that the various state and county election systems in this country have far greater vulnerabilities that would let someone steal an election far more easily and quietly than your hypothetical scheme, which would require thousands upon thousands of voters to vote illegally, subjecting themselves to felony charges, just to infinitesimally improve a candidate's chance of winning, and would fail if just a small percentage of your hypothetical fraudsters were discovered.

And, if you disagree with the numbers quoted above, please give us something more convincing your gut feelings on why you think this is a problem that requires an expensive application of finite government resources to solve.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:49 PM on October 29, 2013


You can believe in unicorns if you like but unless you can show proof of them basing legislation on their existance is ridiculous.
posted by Artw at 7:54 PM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can see that there are two different viewpoints on this topic. I would like to believe there is not voting fraud going on but I do not. Sorry.

Simple question: What evidence do you have that the voter fraud is so bad that it requires blatantly and freely-admitted discriminatory voter restrictions on not only unfairly applied ID rules and availability, but alternate and proven verifiable methods of voting as well? Because that's the "other" viewpoint that you're espousing here.

I am willing to believe it occurs on both sides of the aisle.

This isn't even remotely the issue, and "both sides do it" is the ultimate cop-out argument when faced with the much greater issue of widespread suppression of votes that occurs at the behest of GOP lawmakers. Hard evidence of this suppression and the stated desire to continue it has been presented to you again and again.

I cannot speak to others motives, only my own, but the fact that democrats really do not care if people have ID does not give me the warm fuzzies the way it does some of you. Because I fail to believe that there are that many people out there who do not have them, and I fail to believe that something cannot be done to accomodate people in that condition, precisely because you have to have an id to do practically anything else.

Again, the hard proof that none of the GOP voter laws are doing this has been laid in front of you multiple times. Choosing to ignore that is an unwillingness to talk about voting rights in good faith.

Sorry, I don't think Democrats are against this out of the warmness of their own hearts. If they were they would be protesting the states that already have to have an ID or at least a voter registration card.

For the hundreth time: the issue that Democrats are protesting is discriminatory voter suppression. Without preventing suppression, the protests you claim to be so upset Democrats are allegedly not talking about are meaningless.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:01 PM on October 29, 2013


I mean, you're basically talking about suspending a large part of the 1st Amendment and completely ignoring the 14th, 15th, 19th, and 26th based entirely on gut feelings and what appears to be willing ignorance of the stated intentions of voter suppression advocates on the public record. If you can't understand why that's problematic, then you may want to ask yourself why that is.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:22 PM on October 29, 2013


I am willing to believe it occurs on both sides of the aisle.

Yeah. I think this nails it. There is a lot of projection going on here on the part of some Republicans in the South. For reasons I truly don't understand, Republicans find it acceptable to do whatever they think they can get away with through gerrymandering, voter suppression and even destroying completed voter registration forms to deny voting rights to Americans they hate or disagree with or whatever, and they admit this proudly. I guess it is natural to them to assume their opponents would do something similar in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:25 PM on October 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I don't think Democrats are against this out of the warmness of their own hearts.

Of course not. It's strategic on both sides. Republican state governments are strategically trying to prevent eligible citizens from voting, because people without photo ID trend strongly Democratic. Democrats are trying to allow all eligible citizens to vote, because they benefit from higher turnout. Even if Democrats would be just as bad if the shoe were on the other foot, it isn't.

If they were they would be protesting the states that already have to have an ID or at least a voter registration card.

To be clear, the complaint isn't about requiring any form of identification at all at any point in the process. The complaint is about having to show any of a small number of government-issued photo IDs, typically excluding things like college or school ID, before being allowed to vote.

Democrats aren't protesting the states that already required government-issued photo ID because there weren't any. Really and truly. The number of states that required government-issued photo ID to vote before 2000 was exactly zero.

You have to remember, Alia, that there have been real life Republican leaders clearly stating their partisan goals. Mike Turzai, majority leader in the PA House, actually said live on TV that voter ID would allow Romney to win PA. Here, you can watch it yourself.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:07 PM on October 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Well, heck, I would be perfectly content myself to let them show a school id or something.

I know I had to show something in Florida, so it must have been a voter registration card. I haven't lived there since 1992.


A lot of rank and file regular people here in NC want some kind of ID at the polls. I have long since given up on anyone in an official capacity being anything except selfserving. I hate false dichotomies which in these days mean I hate politics because I can think of all kinds of sensible ideas that will never ever see the light of day because, mindsets.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:04 PM on October 30, 2013


A lot of rank and file regular people here in NC want some kind of ID at the polls.

But of you ask them if they wanted ID if it was set up to discriminate as it is in NC, they change their mind. And that's even without pointing out the astronomically low rates of voter fraud, as majorities or pluralities of those polled aren't aware of the actual incidence rates, just the scare tactics the GOP has been using. And yes, this breaks down roughly along political and racial lines, with Democrats and minorities opposing discriminatory laws and the GOP and whites supporting it.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:36 PM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think, for some, the rates of voter fraud are irrelevant - the fact that it is existing is the problem. You're right, the rates of in-person voter fraud are, as my husband calls it, "statistically irrelevant." But that only applies when you're talking about statistics and utilitarian philosophies. If you're talking about moral imperatives, then any amount of cheating becomes verboten and an evil to be eradicated. Talking about how "It's very small and not that bad" becomes an insult to people who think even the tiniest bit is a bridge too far.

(I will, as a previous-election-observer, note that the higher incidences of voter fraud is of people fucking with registered voters by telling them the wrong polling site or election day, and people staying registered somewhere they don't live because of the impact, but that's a sidnote)

Zombieflanders, I think that you're right that there may be a "disparate impact", as they say, but I'm not sure there's discriminatory intent. Also, while there are a lot of documented examples of Republicans saying that Voter ID will win the day and bring them galomphing in on a shiny white horse, a lot of that may also be because of the (sometimes-inaccurate) belief that there are thousands and thousands of not-real-voters and felons on the rolls that an ID would stop. (Since even though technically you shouldn't vote, there is not a robust system for removing people) Is there an ID law that you would support, though? That you would view as nondiscriminatory?
posted by corb at 12:43 PM on October 30, 2013


corb: " If you're talking about moral imperatives, then any amount of cheating becomes verboten and an evil to be eradicated. Talking about how "It's very small and not that bad" becomes an insult to people who think even the tiniest bit is a bridge too far."

Bollocks. If this were true, these people would be far more concerned about the much easier paths to stealing an election, like voter machine fraud, corrupt officials counting the votes, etc. But no, as it turns out, there's no momentum at all from conservatives to reform these far more exploitable attack vectors. This tells you all you need to know about their sincerity about election integrity.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:46 PM on October 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Caging Democracy: A 50-Year History of Partisan Challenges to Minority Voters (pdf)
posted by rtha at 1:05 PM on October 30, 2013


I think, for some, the rates of voter fraud are irrelevant - the fact that it is existing is the problem.

Especially when it's all wrapped up with the heavily stoked fear that it's mostly Those People who are committing the fraud, eh?

Point being: you can't take this sort of thing out of the cultural milieu in which it's being proposed and claim to be giving it a proper evaluation.

I think that you're right that there may be a "disparate impact", as they say, but I'm not sure there's discriminatory intent.

Um, yeah. R-i-i-i-i-i-ight.

Maybe you think you're defending the good honest folk of the GOP hinterlands, and maybe it's true that many of them don't have discriminatory intent--they're just being lied to by, and gladly buying into the lies of, a political leadership that you can goddamn rest assured has discriminatory intent. That's why they're floating the laws in the first place.
posted by mondo dentro at 1:15 PM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're right, the rates of in-person voter fraud are, as my husband calls it, "statistically irrelevant." But that only applies when you're talking about statistics and utilitarian philosophies. If you're talking about moral imperatives, then any amount of cheating becomes verboten and an evil to be eradicated. Talking about how "It's very small and not that bad" becomes an insult to people who think even the tiniest bit is a bridge too far.

You know what? As long as voter suppression millions or billions of times worse is going on, I don't give a fuck if anyone thinks that "even the tiniest bit [of voter fraud] is a bridge too far." It's a parallel to Benjamin Franklin's statement that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." If you're willing to block millions of voters because a single one committed fraud, then you're abrogating the very rights you claim to want to protect. This isn't a hypothetical, this is what is actually happening.

Zombieflanders, I think that you're right that there may be a "disparate impact", as they say, but I'm not sure there's discriminatory intent.

Seriously? After the evidence from the states themselves, the DOJ, and third parties, you still believe that? Because that requires a massive amount of fairy dust and hand-waving.

Also, while there are a lot of documented examples of Republicans saying that Voter ID will win the day and bring them galomphing in on a shiny white horse, a lot of that may also be because of the (sometimes-inaccurate) belief that there are thousands and thousands of not-real-voters and felons on the rolls that an ID would stop. (Since even though technically you shouldn't vote, there is not a robust system for removing people)

It's not sometimes-inaccurate, it's completely inaccurate. I've already provided the statistics above.

Is there an ID law that you would support, though? That you would view as nondiscriminatory?

Like jessamyn, I don't think that the positives of a mandatory, comprehensive IDs outweigh the negatives, but if I had to go with one, at the least it should:

1) require federal minimum standards,
2) be available at no cost; and
3) be equally accessible, preferably delivered to you

That's a start.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:19 PM on October 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Zombieflanders, I think that you're right that there may be a "disparate impact", as they say, but I'm not sure there's discriminatory intent.

Having gone through the last presidential election in PA, which had a very contentious fight over voting laws, I believe that there was a discriminatory intent. It was not only baldly stated by at least one official, but also visible in the lack of information distributed on the law, badly disseminated or at worse wrong information given out, and the continuing lack of locations for government IDs to be procured in many areas. My own polling place was giving out bad info, and this was in a relatively diverse suburban church basement.

I do not think PA is that different from other states in its ID infrastructure or information issues.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:26 PM on October 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Most (possibly all?) US states do require some form of proof of address to register to vote. I don't have a problem with that, because people generally have plenty of time to get this done, proof of address may consist of something as simple as a utility bill, and since 1993's Motor Voter Act, it can be done at the same time you get a driver's license in every state. And as long as you don't move, you register once and you're eligible to vote forever. (Well, except when states decide they're going to purge the rolls of registered voters they think might not live there anymore and the card you're meant to send in to let the county clerk know you're still there gets mixed up with the junk mail or never shows in the first place, so then you're out of luck. But other than that, you're good to go!)

Elections happen on a deadline, though. Many people don't have flexible work schedules that allow for time off on election day, and people may just have one chance to vote -- it's not like everyone can go home and fetch that ID or utility bill or whatever requirement the state's come up with and get back in time to wait in line to vote and get to work on time so their pay's not docked. The discriminatory impact and intent of these laws has been amply demonstrated, but even if there were no discriminatory component at all, these additional requirements are antithetical to having a government run by, y'know, the people.

Until recently, in every state I've lived and voted in, if you've already registered to vote, all you needed to do was sign off on the list of all your neighbors in the spot next to your name, with your signature from registration right there for poll workers to compare it to. That's it. It's enough of a barrier to show up at the polls on a weekday as it is that the last thing we need is to add more barriers. I don't care if it's disenfranchising people experiencing poverty and lack of access to transportation and required paperwork, or if it's just disenfranchising people having a case of the Mondays on election Tuesday.

It's wrong to tell already-registered voters that they need to prove they're eligible again.
posted by asperity at 2:07 PM on October 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


You know what? As long as voter suppression millions or billions of times worse is going on, I don't give a fuck if anyone thinks that "even the tiniest bit [of voter fraud] is a bridge too far." It's a parallel to Benjamin Franklin's statement that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." If you're willing to block millions of voters because a single one committed fraud, then you're abrogating the very rights you claim to want to protect.

Look, honestly, I generally fall on the liberty side of the Franklin quote, and while I am absolutely up in arms about vote fraud, I tend to mutter about people taking sacks full of ballots or fucking with people at polling stations or robo-calling with lies or Diebold or SUPREME COURT JUSTICES AHEM. So this is not a thing I, personally believe, this is more a thing I can understand. It's not me, but I can get there from here. And I could see where you could absolutely be Joe American and think this is really important - it harkens back to that American Civil Religion stuff, where it's not about the impact, but about the belief structure.

But I think assuming that everyone has racist reasons for wanting this stuff not only does people a disservice, it does yourself a disservice, because it means you're not looking at and addressing the actual things people are really thinking and feeling. (Especially when often if any discriminatory impact is found, it's 'against the poor, which happen to contain minorities' rather than 'against minorities, which happen to contain the poor'.) Are there people who don't want the poor to vote? I'm not going to lie to you - absolutely. There are a lot of people who are very upset that the poor, or people on welfare, vote. And this is hard to understand, but it doesn't have to be racist. A lot of it is fear-based around what is essentially the collapse of their way of life. And not to brandish my bona fides here too heavily, but I've seen what people do and are willing to do in "Defense of the American Way of Life", and I promise it gets much worse.

It's not sometimes-inaccurate, it's completely inaccurate. I've already provided the statistics above.

Well, the whole "thousands of people pretending to be someone else" was cited above, and that's the one I think is the most inaccurate. But the whole "Are they a felon or not" has some legitimacy, because shitty state bureaucracies are shitty state bureaucracies. I don't even think this is intentional! But especially because different states have different standards for the voting of felons, people can move into a state and have no idea they're not allowed to vote. Along with the "do they live here or not" issue, though that's usually only important for local elections and contentious large-scale ones.
posted by corb at 3:50 PM on October 30, 2013


I should note, as it may have been unclear, I am not a fan of how far we are frequently willing to go to defend "Our Way Of Life", but I served next to those guys and heard the exhortations every day, so I think I understand, at least a little bit, those who can.
posted by corb at 3:52 PM on October 30, 2013


Defending a beloved way of life can be a good goal. I'd like people to go about it the Captain America way rather than by attempting mass disenfranchisement.
posted by asperity at 4:03 PM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh god why would you make me get my nerd on, now I'm going to do nothing but squat in the Captain America thread and talk about how Captain America fought the government nobly to oppose mandatory superhero registration in Marvel Civil War. Thanks, asperity. Thank you very much.
posted by corb at 4:10 PM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


critics note that the weight of the proposed mandatory superhero ID law would fall disproportionately upon those superheroes who, unlike Tony Stark, do not have millions of dollars
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:13 PM on October 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


But I think assuming that everyone has racist reasons for wanting this stuff not only does people a disservice, it does yourself a disservice, because it means you're not looking at and addressing the actual things people are really thinking and feeling.

I don't think everyone has reasons for wanting this. I do think that all of the people actually enacting it have racist reasons for it, because that is more or less what they say and what all the evidence points to it. I do think that if you've been told that it has an enormously disproportionate effect on certain races/demographics and you continue to subscribe to it, the idea that there's no racial animus becomes very hard to believe.

Especially when often if any discriminatory impact is found, it's 'against the poor, which happen to contain minorities' rather than 'against minorities, which happen to contain the poor'.

It's been both so far, with the latter combined with people who say racially sketchy things. And when poor whites don't suffer the same effects as poor minorities, as shown in NC and TX, then that is an excuse that holds no water at all.

Are there people who don't want the poor to vote? I'm not going to lie to you - absolutely. There are a lot of people who are very upset that the poor, or people on welfare, vote.

And those upset people by and large attribute it to race. Just look at the last two presidential elections, and the large racial component of pushback. And of course the people running the show keep on pushing it and they keep on getting voted back into office. I'd believe that there's no racial component if this wasn't happening.

And this is hard to understand, but it doesn't have to be racist. A lot of it is fear-based around what is essentially the collapse of their way of life.

I'm going to call bullshit on this. I've yet to see where, as a group, those worried about their way of life being eroded don't espouse at least a little racism. The vast majority of rhetoric around these fears is aimed at minorities, and the blowback on demographically coded attacks is relatively minimal. As Greenberg points out in my link above:
They have an acute sense that they are white in a country that is becoming increasingly “minority,” and their party is getting whooped by a Democratic Party that uses big government programs that benefit mostly minorities, create dependency and a new electoral majority.
And not to brandish my bona fides here too heavily, but I've seen what people do and are willing to do in "Defense of the American Way of Life", and I promise it gets much worse.

This is a bit of a non sequitur, and I'm not sure how darkly hinting at Certain People Doing Certain Things based on who you know really adds to this conversation. That being said, the American Way of Life is largely defined as equal protection under the law. If they don't believe that people should be protected, they don't believe in the American way since it has largely existed since 1865 (or 1920, apparently). And that is entirely their problem.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:46 PM on October 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


corb: "But I think assuming that everyone has racist reasons for wanting this stuff not only does people a disservice, it does yourself a disservice"

I can understand why you'd want to shift the debate away from the empirical and into the realm of reading conservative legislators' minds to try to figure out whether they harbor racist attitudes, but what's in their hearts isn't relevant to the question of what their strategy is doing to our democratic process. It doesn't matter what they think when they're trying to steal elections, we just need to know that they're trying to do so.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:51 PM on October 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


And I could see where you could absolutely be Joe American and think this is really important - it harkens back to that American Civil Religion stuff, where it's not about the impact, but about the belief structure.

Frankly, I don't believe I need to respect the American civil religion, which I would happily abolish, considering the harm its believers, ignoring such petty things as facts, rain down upon those they consider unworthy of help. I don't care to see things from their perspective, and even if I did, tout comprendre n'est pas tout pardonner. The belief structure is founded on the sand of falsehood. To quote Lope de Vega:
Creer sospechas y negar verdades,
es lo que llaman en el mundo ausencia,
fuego en el alma, y en la vida infierno.
Good riddance to the stuff, if we're ever rid of it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:45 PM on October 30, 2013


Since even though technically you shouldn't vote, there is not a robust system for removing people

...except in real life, where the problem is far more the reverse; the electronic tools used to eject felons from the voter rolls also pick up just about anyone whose name/location/birthday is too similar.

Is there an ID law that you would support, though? That you would view as nondiscriminatory?

Sure, the simple two-step process of

(1) Make sure at least 99.99 percent of eligible citizens have valid ID, providing it as needed
(2) Then require it at the polls
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:14 PM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


If ineligible people voting were an earnest concern, then the real solution proposed would be to make sure everyone can register at the polls with computerized systems for verification and little to no waiting make disenfranchisement as miniscule a problem as ineligible voting. Not one of these bastards pushing voter ID has proposed anything like it, but they have pushed voter caging and list purging. This pretty much proves their true intent and I don't really listen anymore to their noxious whining about their "sincere" concern about voter fraud.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:31 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


If ineligible people voting were a real problem we would know it because we would be swamped with fraudulent Republican votes. They've done everything else they can get away with and a few things they couldn't. If it were so easy to vote fraudulently there would be zero Dems elected in the South.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:54 PM on October 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Texas' Strict Voter ID Law Catches Former Speaker Jim Wright

posted by mattbucher at 10:56 AM on November 3, 2013


Republicans Just Changed The Rules AFTER A Virginia Election To Change The Outcome
Already shaping up to be one of the closest races in state history, a last-minute rule change is stirring up the recount to decide who will become Virginia's next attorney general.

The Daily Press of Newport News, Va. reported Friday that Republican candidate Mark Obenshain had an unofficial lead of just under 1,300 votes over Democratic challenger Mark Herring. That tally did not include full provisional ballot totals, and as of Saturday, a fresh rule change was complicating matters.

According to a report by WTOP radio, the Virginia State Board Of Elections decided Friday to change rules relevant to Fairfax County, banning legal representatives from helping count votes, unless the associated voter was actually present. The board changing the rules is dominated by Republicans.

Fairfax County's Electoral Board said Saturday that the modification affects hundreds of voters, and WTOP added that both Secretary Brian Schoeneman and Board Chairman Seth Stark expressed disagreement with the ruling.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:56 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Virginia is for Cheaters
posted by Sys Rq at 7:43 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Zombieflanders, can you explain that one a bit more? I am not disagreeing, I just find it incomprehensible. They're banning legal representatives from helping with the vote count? So is this just a no-lawyer move while the vote count continues, or some weird vote count stoppage, or what?
posted by corb at 7:19 AM on November 13, 2013


It meant that a provisional ballot would not be counted unless the person who cast it showed up, effectively making them vote twice.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:39 AM on November 13, 2013


« Older Two weeks ago, 14 year-old Avonte Oquendo was last...  |  isoHunt shuts down, Vancouver ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments