I Am Sure We Will Be Seeing These Civil Rights Suits Any Day Now

I try not to get into the voting rules arguments between Republicans and Democrats because at their heart, most of these are totally political.  However, I am fascinated by the claim by Democrats that producing an ID to vote discriminates against blacks, presumably because obtaining such ID puts an undue asymmetric burden on African-Americans vs. whites.

This seems like a crock to me -- I am not sure why obtaining an ID is harder for blacks than whites, though I will observe that the highest profile black man in the country had trouble producing his birth certificate so maybe there is some racial thing here I don't understand.

But if we take the claim at face value, why aren't the TSA and airports being sued by the NAACP?  After all, there is an ID entry requirement and if that is discriminatory for voting, isn't it also discriminatory for flying.  Why isn't the DMV, or the highway department being sued of its ID requirement?  Ditto the federal government, which required ID to enter a federal building.

Update: James Taranto has similar thoughts.  He thought of several I missed, including requirements to show ID (part of the I-9 form) in order to get a job.


  1. caseyboy:

    If you had to present a picture ID the polling volunteer might observe that you look nothing like the picture on the ID. Then you would not be able to cast multiple votes. Voter suppression of persons wanting to make multiple votes in an election is doubly discriminatory don't you think?

  2. sch:

    Picture ID seems to be code for something I haven't seen expressed yet. The real area of voter fraud is in absentee
    ballots and unpurged voter rolls. Some counties in my state have 10-30% more voters on the rolls than have
    been resident in the county for several census cycles (including minors). Makes it real easy to get a few thousand
    votes for your side by way of absentee ballots. And then there was Acorn, whose effect on the last election has
    not been evaluated, though the few comments I have seen suggest it was small. "Your name is Mickey Mouse??"

  3. bradley13:

    When my mother died last year, I made a point of cancelling her voter registration. The people I talked to happily took care of it - but obviously considered this an unusual event.

    How many dead people vote? Which party do they favor? Which party objects to requiring an ID-check for voting? Why do I think the answers to these questions are closely related?

  4. Bob Smith:

    I don't know why the Democrats even bother when they just manufacture votes instead. Look at what happened in the elections of Christine Gregoire in Washington and Al Franken in Minnesota.

  5. Matthew Brown:

    I suspect that neither side is right here. Republicans seem to think that voting fraud is a major problem, while all the research I've seen suggests that it is so low as to be lost in the statistical noise; meanwhile, Democrats seem convinced that an ID requirement is going to have a major impact on their voting numbers, which also seems unlikely by all the sensible research I've seen.

    I think in both cases people are convinced that it "must be true" that this is important because the other guys consider it important; I've seen Democrats argue that voter ID requirements must be discriminatory, because why would Republicans be pushing them so hard? Meanwhile, though I don't follow Republican sources much, I bet you there are people there arguing that if voter fraud was actually rare, why do the Democrats oppose measures to limit it so strongly?

    Seems more likely to me that this is a self-generating cycle.

    That said, some of the ID bills are more far-reaching than ID, and some of the measures seem unnecessary.

  6. Bob Smith:

    "Democrats seem convinced that an ID requirement is going to have a major impact on their voting numbers"

    Which is pretty much proof Democrats are heavily into vote fraud (as if the elections I mentioned weren't good enough proof). If you weren't benefiting from a bunch of fraudulent votes, why would you care about measures to verify who is voting? After all, don't your voters have bank accounts, drive cars, work jobs, fly in aircraft, and do dozens of other things that imply they already have an ID? The only significant population of people who aren't doing those things are illegal aliens, and they shouldn't even have IDs much less vote like they are allowed to do in sanctuary cities like San Francisco.

  7. Scott:

    I agree more with Republicans on this issue, but there's a straightforward counterargument to this post. An ID requirement would only be discriminatory against the poor who can't afford to pay the fees to get the ID. Since blacks are disproportionately poor, they will be disproportionately affected by policies that affect the poor.

    Why doesn't this matter for airlines or the DMV? The answer is cost. If you can't afford the $50-100 cost of getting a new photo ID, you definitely can't afford the hundreds of dollars for a plane ticket. You also probably can't afford car insurance, or to pay for gas. As for entering a federal building, I don't think that's very high on the to-do list for most poor people, and it's a lot sexier to focus on voting instead.

  8. Bob Smith:

    Where is a photo ID $50-100? Remember we're talking photo ID, not driver's license. Every state offers a non-driving photo ID. They're cheap, more like $10. As for federal buildings, I'd bet they are very high on the list for poor people, unless they don't want to apply for federal benefits. Some states even offer them for free, precisely to stomp on the absurd argument that the poor can't afford photo IDs.

  9. Jerry:

    Actually, the Democrats are outraged by this bald attempt at depriving the differential living (dead) of their vote. Mexico celebrates their Day of the Dead. Here we call it an election.

  10. Mark:

    Well the I-9 form must explain the higher Black unemployment level!

    Blacks don't have ID's so they can not get jobs.

    Glad that got cleared up for me!

  11. Mark:

    @Matthew Brown.

    There was a congressional race between Loretta Sanchez and B-1 Bob Dornan, which was thrown because of illegals, and foreigners voting illegally. It was a close race.

    We also have stories in CA of people applying to vote in different counties in different names at known locations communally, and they will take a "bus" to the voting locations in the Bay Area counties to vote multiply times.
    I couldn't tell you if it is just statistical noise, and I suspect you don't know either.

    I don't know how it is in other states but in CA the threshold is so low, people have registered their pets. There is absolutely no check other than that the card was signed. Poll workers can't ask ID and can not deny that you are not named Sparky Goldfish.

  12. Sol:

    And... call me crazy, but if you believe the problem is that some poor voters cannot afford $50 for an ID, wouldn't the appropriate step be to see that they can get free IDs somehow, rather than blocking requiring an ID to vote? I mean, even if you made the insanely high assumption that 10% of the population can't afford an ID, they could pay for their IDs by trivially raising the cost of the IDs by $6 for everyone else...

  13. JIMC5499:

    The County that I live in just lost a lawsuit over it's wanting to purge the Voter registry. The lawsuit was filed by the County's Democratic Party.

  14. GoneWithTheWind:

    You must have an ID to rent a video, collect welfare, use the health care system, drive a car, buy cigarettes or booze (assuming you are young), and many other things. Why is it OK to require a ID for those things and not require an ID to vote? The answer is so easy and we all know it is true. Almost every election in this country in almost every district suffers from voter fraud. Every close election is stolen by voter fraud. Most distracts where absentee ballots are used have voter fraud with absentee ballots. But this fraud benefits some and they don't want to stop it.

  15. SChaser:

    Democrats are inherently racist. They believe that blanks are too dumb to get the ID's.

  16. Smock Puppet:

    >>>> Update: James Taranto has similar thoughts. He thought of several I missed, including requirements to show ID (part of the I-9 form) in order to get a job.

    Now, Ah have to askyu... ah HAVE to Ask YOU, suh!!....

    Is it not true that the black man is more likely to be unemployed today than the white man?

    Clearly, this is just an obvious case of One More Form of the kind of discrimination... DISCRIMINATION!!! ... of the type that keeps the black man under the thumb of th' white massuhs!!


  17. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    > I suspect that neither side is right here. Republicans seem to think that voting fraud is a major problem, while all the research I’ve seen suggests that it is so low as to be lost in the statistical noise;

    Yassss, Matthew, it meant nothing whatsoever in Florida in 2000, nor could it have meant anything in Ohio in 2004... Just "statistical noise".

    Those 105,000 *registered* voters in Indianapolis (actually the County in Indiana), while the population census estimate for the same county was less than 100,000 adults of voting age, last election (2008)?

    ...Just noise.

    There's a term for your condition: "Cranio Rectal Insertion Syndrome".

    You might want to have that checked before you have any kids, as I hear it's hereditary... but there ARE treatments:
    I hear that a good yank, followed by regular and steady impacts with a two-by-four does wonders.
    You'll probably need to keep getting regular treatments, though, since there IS, at this time, no permanent cure.