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In Milwaukee Buzz Commentary

Begel says the Voter ID law is a solution in search of a problem.

Voter ID law is much ado about nothing


It has finally has become clear who the loneliest group of people are in the state.

Happy Republicans.

All of their friends in the party are so angry, so against everything, that if you are happy and a Republican, then you stand alone in the panorama of politics in Wisconsin.

I know a couple of Republicans who are happy. But they have almost nobody to talk to. Lonely.

I spend a significant amount of time with the right wing of the Republican Party. I listen to Rush and Hannity, I watch Fox, including the blather of "Fox and Friends." I listen to Belling and Sykes. I ignore Jeff Wagner because he never has an original thought.

The big mantra you hear, over and over is how they think government should stay out of our lives. What they mean, of course, is that government should stay out of their lives. For the rest of us, let government ride roughshod over all of us.

According to them it's okay, for example, for government to decide who ought to be able to marry who, especially if the happy couple happens to be the same sex.

And the big one now for them is this crazy Voter ID law which, in truth, is a
solution in search of a problem. The New York Times recently did a huge piece on the law and the obvious backers of it and the possible consequences.

If you listen to right wing radio you'd think there were busloads and trainloads and truckloads and semi-trailer loads of people from Chicago and Detroit coming to Milwaukee to cast a fake ballot for somebody who is not a Republican. Voter Fraud! Voter Fraud! Voter Fraud! The Election Could Be Rigged! The screaming is at a fever pitch.

The problem, of course, is that there isn't any voter fraud. Of, if there is, it doesn't happen enough to actually make a difference or even get noticed by voting officials.

The plain fact is that the Republicans, who are fanatically pushing this law, just want to stop certain people from voting. People who Republicans think are likely to vote for Democrats.

My friend, Justice Terrence Evans of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nailed it in his decision on a voter ID law case.

Evans wrote that the court should, "strike it down as an undue burden on
the fundamental right to vote. The percentage of eligible voters participating in elections has, for many years, been on a downward trajectory. With that being the case, one would think states should be looking for creative ways (like allowing people to vote at places they frequent and are familiar with, like shopping malls rather than basements of fire stations) to increase voter participation.

"Yet, the law we today does just the opposite. Constricting the franchise in a
democratic society, when efforts should be instead undertaken to expand it, is not the way to go. The fig leaf of respectability providing the motive behind this law is that it is necessary to prevent voter fraud – a person showing up at the polls pretending to be someone else. But where is the evidence of that kind of voter fraud in this record?

"Voting fraud is a crime ... and, at oral argument, the defenders of this law candidly acknowledged that no one ... had ever been charged with violating that law. Nationwide, a preliminary report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has found little evidence of the type of polling-place fraud that photo ID laws seek to stop. If that's the case, where is the justification for this law? Is it wise to use a sledgehammer to hit either a real or imaginary fly on a glass coffee table? I think not."

When one of the biggest initiatives of Republicans in this kind of junk legislation, it's no wonder they are all miserable. How can you possibly be happy when this is the kind of stuff you actually worry about?

Talkbacks

getAclue | Sept. 26, 2012 at 4:21 p.m. (report)

Dave, Dave, Dave, try renting a movie, buying a pack of smokes, or getting on an airplane without a photo id. Not going to happen. You say it doesn't happen enough to make a difference, even if voter fraud happens once--it's once too many. Give me a break---how do all these people apply for welfare benefits without a valid photo id?

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fetlarpo | Sept. 21, 2012 at 8:47 p.m. (report)

Great article, Dave thanks for sticking up for all of the comrades.

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devidia | Sept. 21, 2012 at 12:46 p.m. (report)

I agree, Dave. It is almost laughable how transparent these "laws" are. The GOP knows it can never win a fair fight so it has to bully and cheat, as usual. If they honestly believed that America is a conservative nation, they would instead be putting up voting booths in every WalMart and making it easier for people to vote. But they know that popular opinion supports things like healthcare reform, stricter gun control laws, and taxing the rich, otherwise known as liberal ideas. Voter ID "laws" are pretty much all they have left to try to tip the scales in their favor. Little wonder that Supreme courts across the land are striking these junk legislations down.

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AndrewJ | Sept. 21, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. (report)

"Of (sic), if there is, it doesn't happen enough to actually make a difference or even get noticed by voting officials." So, because in your opinion it doesn't happen enough to "make a difference", then we should just let it slide? That's an interesting take on running a society. Wonder how that would play out across the board... I mean, it looks like the increased patrols and police presence on the North Side hasn't done much for the violent crime stats, so let's just forget it. It'll work itself out. Right? C'mon. This is like not fixing a carbon monoxide leak in your house because it hasn't affected your breathing yet. Until it does. This is the part that's baffling to me... I've taken meaningless internet polls before, you know,voting on things like maybe what your favorite restaurant is, or something like that. You go in once, fill out your choices, and done. If you go in again, the site notifies you that you already voted with some canned message like "Check back next week for the results!" How does that happen? Simple... the site *ID's* you via a login or IP address. Seems fair to me. I'm guessing the reason is simple; they don't want a poll to get swayed by one, or a few, people continuously voting for one place over and over, thus not giving a true representation of what the community thinks. Funny how that works. What's not funny is that voting on my favorite restaurant is apparently more secure than how we choose our local, state, and national leaders.

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