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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

This one is for Mike.

He is a Houston reader who shot me an email after my recent column equating the GOP push for voter ID laws with voter suppression. I agreed with Attorney General Eric Holder who called that a modern-day poll tax. Mike did not.

“You have to have an ID to write a check,” he wrote, “use a credit card and most other things in life. Saying poor blacks cannot easily get IDs is ridiculous. .?.?. Comparing this to the poll tax? C’mon, be serious.”

Actually, I am. Not that I don’t get why Mike’s argument sounds reasonable to Mike — and to many others who made it. But let us consider it more closely.

First off, I’ve never made the claim Mike attributes to me, i.e., that poor blacks cannot get IDs. No, my point is that when you don’t have a checking account, a credit card or a car, it is less likely you will already have ID.

The name of the game, remember, is not voter prevention, but voter suppression, i.e., bringing down the numbers. In the last presidential election, only 63 percent of eligible voters voted — and that was the best showing in 48 years. Clearly, Americans are not overly enthusiastic about performing this civic duty as it is.

So, if you can add a layer of difficulty to it that requires some voters to catch a bus down to some office, fill out forms and wait in line to get a card for which they will otherwise have zero use, is it so hard to imagine that some won’t bother — and that there will be enough of them to make a difference in a close race?

Remember: demographic trends do not favor the Republican Party. As the Center for the Study of the American Electorate observed in a 2008 report, the GOP is either out of contention or seeing an erosion of support in New England, the mid-Atlantic, the West, the mountain states, the industrial Midwest, and even parts of the South. With its growing Latino population, even Texas may be lost to the party before too many years. “Within the next few decades,” says the report, “white Americans, the only demographic sub-group from which the GOP draws significant numbers of voters, will be in the minority.”

So, while the party posits these laws as a way of fighting voter fraud — a nearly nonexistent problem — it takes little imagination to divine a more sinister intent. Sometimes, you don’t need imagination at all.

  • bcarreiro

    lets get serious, our votes dont count, literally. What next drawing blood and fingerprinting?

    • The votes do count, except Florida in 2000. The people do not elect the President.

  • William Deutschlander


  • 13observer

    If these folks are so lazy as to not take the time to get an I.D. to vote, It’s no wonder they don’t try to learn English, work hard to find a job, get an education…and get their asses out of poverty. The mystery is now solved! They want more government welfare without having to lift a finger. Come on guys…who are you sh*tting?

    • They are not necessarily “lazy”. They may not have a car for transportation (and why should they in a big city), and therefore not need a driver’s license. You want to force them (especially the elderly who may never have driven a day in their life) to purchase an ID, and purchase a birth certificate, and purchase a copy of their marriage, and/or divorce papers, lug it all down to the DMV . Then they can wait in line after filling out the forms, and pay another fee. All this to vote, which is their long established right as a citizen. They, or members of their families, have probably served in wars, some making the ultimate sacrifice. Studies (yeah, actual data) have shown minimal voter fraud….but making even one legitimate citizen unable to vote is too high a price . And your venomous statements are biased and unfounded. Stop blaming all your personal problems on others and assume the blame for yourself.

  • jarheadgene

    Can anyone SAY….JIM CROW. JIM CROW. JIM CROW. I made my objections loud and clear at my last polling, during the primaries. Lots of the officials frowned at me, but as some know me, they smiled and nodded their heads in silent approval. I am also writing my congressman, for what that’s worth.

  • Maybe more people would be motivated to vote if our Government wasn’t so corrupt . More advertisement where voting places are might help . How about a Government program to pick people up and bring them to polling places , the same way drinkers are driven home on New Years ? Also, no more Electoral College, might help. People need to vote and elect the President !

    • bcarreiro

      you should be able to vote online if you have an email address … that would be secure voting “literally speaking” and what about the handicap who cant make it to the polls.

  • 13observer

    Yes, lets do the biometric card but not just for voting…but for employment, banking and EVERYTHING complete with fingerprints, retinal scan and a DNA sample…if you are caught in the country illegally, you are jailed and DEPORTED no exceptions. Yes, sign me up because I have nothing to hide.

    • Jim

      Ah, an example of how “they” manipulate the masses: you’ve described the National Identification card “they” desperately want to jam down our throats.

      You are on the slippery-slope; this reminder is your safety-rope.

  • tokoloshi27

    No one seems to have discussed the validity of an election where foreigners are (seemingly) encouraged to break the law and vote themselves benefits that citizens are not entitled to.

    The argument that the republicans (read also conservative or bread-and-circus fearing Americans) are a losing party. Go on with your divide & conquer hogwash! Parties have died before; haven’t seen a Whig lately have you? Sometimes they deserve to, other times their issues evaporate. When, however citizens rights are diminished by foreign lawbreakers, then “suppression” is a legitimate and appropriate tool.

    • sigrid28

      We NOW have “an election where foreigners are . . . encouraged to break the law and vote themselves benefits that citizens are not entitled to” thanks to the Citizen’s United rulings and the defeat yesterday of a bill requiring campaign contributors and Super PAC donors to be identified. The consequences of concealing the identity these contributors and donors, who may be foreign or may represent foreign interests (i.e., U.S. companies that operate overseas), makes it impossible to recognize the goodies this shadow voting block will collect when “their” (as bought and paid for) candidate(s) take office.

      • Jim

        It’s interesting you mention Citizen’s United. obama is raising money offshore, but you’ll accept that?

        You want 1A protection for the media (corporations) but for no other entity?

        You want corporations to pay taxes, but not have a voice?

        You want unions to have carte blanche to buy elections, while the unrepresented citizen pays for union demands?

        The argument is not intellectually honest.

        • sigrid28

          Let’s apply a little logic, instead of resorting to baseless accusations (which is what makes many Republicans sound so stupid). If each of the entities you and tokoloshi27 list would be identified as donors or Super PAC contributors (as I suggest), then there would be less opportunity for foreign interests to influence U.S. elections. This identification would have the added advantage of shedding light on any quid pro quo on behalf of donors and contributors once a candidate is elected.

    • Ed

      Actuaklly government issued id’s make a better solution.

  • “So, while the party posits these laws as a way of fighting voter fraud — a nearly nonexistent problem…”

    Are you freaking kidding or are you blind? Voter fraud in our elections is rife with people who are ineligible to vote. This has been going on for years! It needs to be stopped or the US citizens will lose, as if we haven’t lost too much already.

    Time to purge the voter roles of illegals here in America from all over the world voting in our races.

    • Ed

      “And the truth shall set you free.” Obvioiusly fromyouer statemnents you have evidence of voter fraud in your possesion. It is your duty as an American to present that evidence to the authorities!

  • bcarreiro

    Are the independents in office posing as undercover republicans to secure the vote?

  • Ed

    And an excellent idea.