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Posted at 03:53 PM ET, 07/10/2012

PostScript: Robinson and voter ID laws

Although we at PostScript are located in Washington, we are still interested in voting. We vote every chance we gets, even when it means leaving the safety of the PostScript bunker and having to leave our giant, vicious dog, Methode, outside. It’s especially important for us to vote as we are approximately one-third of the Republican population of Southwest D.C.

(We at PostScript are registered Republicans not because we are conservative, or libertarian, or fantastically wealthy, but because we wish to be among the power elite; small numbers confer greater individual per-vote power. In case a Republican ever runs for something that Southwest is able to vote for.)

Anyway, it shocked us to read today in Eugene Robinson’s column that a new law in Pennsylvania requiring voters to present ID at the polling place will likely disenfranchise a significant portion of the state’s population. In fact, the Republican leader in the state House of Representatives predicted the reliably blue state would go Republican in the next presidential election. That’s because most voters without ID are inner-city residents who don’t have/can’t afford cars and who also happen to lean heavily Democratic.

That’s the point: A significant number of potential voters do not have the right kind of ID, would have to obtain it in order to vote and plausibly wouldn’t learn about that until voting day.

Also, courts specifically upheld the rights of homeless people to vote.

Commenters were somewhat less shocked, perhaps, but equally verbose.

First, there was the argument that showing ID to vote is common sense.

Lots of things require ID, ThreeCents argues:

What if Medicare and Medicaid just let people register without proving they are eligible? What if social security just issued checks to everyone who said they were owed money? What if the DMV registered vehicles without checking people’s ID? What if the library just handed out books to whoever wanted them? What if the police just asked people’s names when they are pulled over for speeding? What if the TSA just asked airline passengers “are you a terrorist?” What if border control agents just asked “Are you a citizen?”

wdc1982 agreed:

Voter fraud or not it is nearly impossible to function in society without an ID. It is ridiculous to think that a class of people should be allowed to walk around without any ID on them. Cost is not an issue to obtain an ID, I don’t see the big deal.

So, everyone already has ID and/or, um, shouldn’t be allowed not to.

Mljr argues, as Robinson did, that all the added hassle of obtaining new or different ID is designed to produce fewer voters:

It also has to be a free ID, at a location easy to get to that has more reasonable hours than the DMV, etc., etc.
In principle, it makes sense that everyone shows ID to vote. In practice, it’s a way to keep down the number of poor and minorities that will probably vote Democratic.

Npsmith thinks that sort of argument is unfair to poor people and minorities:

You think poor people & minorities are incapable of obtaining a photo ID? Pretty 1% & racist, dude.

ScottinVA argues that obtaining ID is a way to prove one is worthy of voting:

Yes, Eugene is right, “The problem seems to be that too many of the wrong kind of voters are showing up at the polls.” That would be those who are too stupid or too wanted to go to the DMV and get an ID. If you are too lazy and ignorant (or want anonymity) to obtain proper ID, then you are too lazy and ignorant to cast an intelligent ballot.
The best ballot would be blank. The voter must legibly write the full name and office of the person for whom he wishes to vote. That would eliminate most of the useless voters.

GiveMeABreak77 seconds that emotion:

If you can’t take the most basic of preparatory steps prior to exercising your right to vote, I don’t think you have much to complain about.

Easthouse proposes eliminating the racial and economic disparity among those who don’t have the right ID and those who do:

If government-issued IDs were free, then there would be a valid argument for requiring IDs.
So, Republicans, which should it be? Free government IDs for all citizens who are eligible to vote, or taking back these ridiculous “voter ID” laws?

We at PostScript are frankly horrified by the wishes of commenters to enable only worthy people to vote. It hardly needs to be pointed out that states have enacted all kinds of requirements — literacy tests, poll taxes, one’s grandfather’s suffrage, etc. — all of which are now illegal but only because people fought back.

And all of which were designed to keep the same set of voters out, even while not specifically mentioning race or class.

As for common sense, a lot of things about this country aren’t common sense. It’s not common sense that people can burn the flag, demonstrate with “GOD HATES FAGS” signs at military funerals, or buy semi-automatic weapons for home use.

Why are we making it harder, more expensive, less convenient to vote? Is it — as the Republican leader in Pennsylvania said — to get Mitt Romney elected?

We at PostScript is clambering off our high horse now. It’s a big, utilitarian horse, unskilled in dressage. Its name is Windbag.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  03:53 PM ET, 07/10/2012

 
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