As most know the Supreme Court held up Indiana’s law on Voter ID. As expected the Duopoly Circus is both applauding and condemning the action. Certain conservative bloggers think this opens the whole voter ID debate again in Wisconsin, and some liberal bloggers have already conceded 2008 to the Republicans.
First, let me say voter ID laws are stupid. They are a solution without a problem. In Wisconsin there are three reasons for a vote challenge (read fraud), age, residency, citizenship. One may argue that ID validates citizenship but that is not entirely accurate. Legal permanent resident status, conditional resident status or temporary visitor status are all qualification for a Wisconsin ID. In addition, as liberals have pointed out what provoked the calls for Voter ID last time, was election fraud by felons in which a State ID would be no help.
Liberals should remember that the Motor Voter Bill was supposed to make it easier for “Democratic” contingencies to vote, but in fact Republican registrations increased. Here is my problem with liberal sensibilities on this issue. If it is true that getting an ID is an impediment to voting, it is also true not having one is an impediment to participation in civil society. One must offer up an ID for going into a bar, getting a job, getting a bank account, writing a check, getting groceries, going on vacation etc… Certainly the social costs of not having an ID far exceed the costs of having one.
It is important to remember a few things about this case. Ballot Access News has it right.
BAN – The conclusion reached by the Court as a whole is that the law may be unconstitutional as applied to a small number of voters who must incur cost in order to obtain the ID, but that since this case has no such voters as plaintiffs, it fails to reach that claim.
For example, if Wisconsin had the same law it very well would have been declared unconstitutional. Currently Wisconsin charges almost $30 for an ID, more for a drivers license. In Indiana the cost of an ID was free and it was argued not much different than a Voter ID card. In addition the costs (time) of getting an ID, was far less than getting a provisional ballot which even Wisconsin has.
This is all to say that the liberals are right, the cost of a Wiscionsin ID is an impediment, not only to voting but for an inclusive participation in modern society. It seems to me that in modern society, a “right to identification” without undue burden is as much of a right as the right to vote. What this means is with or without Voter ID, it should easier to get a state ID.
Liberals take the approach that increasing or leaving those impediments in place is acceptable as long as it does not impede voting. This just seems to go back to what I call the Democrat’s Slave Plantation Mentality. The voters, or at least Democratic perceived contingencies, are like slaves who are owned by the Democratic Party. Is not that why they have such angst for Ralph Nader. He is like Harriet Tubman, to the slave holders, who moved slaves to the “free states”.
If liberals and Democrats are truly concerned about this ruling they should get rid of the $30 fee that is currently being charged. Even if Wisconsin does not require a voter ID, for many voters it functions as a voter insurance card. It is their guarantee that their right to vote is unchallengeable. If you are challenged by a poll worker or even another voter and you show a Wisconsin ID, the challenge ends there and your vote proceeds.
If Democrats are truly concerned about an ID impeding the right to vote, I suggest they offer bills that get rid of both the birth certificate and State ID fees. Both of these fees average $50 and can be as much as $100. Certainly if their concerns are pure, these fees are an unnecessary burden.