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"Show Us Your Papers"

I am way too busy these days for long political rants.

But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I've become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their Teabagger allies control key seats of power.

It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds... that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable.

It would really be nice if there were still some Republicans of conscience out there who would stand up and loudly denounce these efforts, a few men of honor and integrity for whom "win the election" does not "win the election at any cost." There were once many Republicans I admired, even I disagreed with them: men like Everett Dirksen, Clifford Case, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton... yes, even Barry Goldwater, conservative as he is. I do not believe for a moment that Goldwater would have approved of this, any more than Robert A. Heinlein would have. They were conservatives, but they were not bigots, nor racists, nor corrupt. The Vote Suppressors have far more in common with Lester Maddox, George Wallace, John Stennis, and their ilk than they do with their distinguished GOP forebears.

The people behind these efforts at disenfranchising large groups of voters (the young, the old, the black, the brown) are not Republicans, since clearly they have scant regard for our republic or its values. They are oligarchs and racists clad in the skins of dead elephants.

And don't tell me they are libertarians either. No true libertarians would ever support a culture where citizens must "show their papers" to vote or travel. That's a hallmark of a police state, not a free country.

TUESDAY ADDENDUM: Okay, this has been running several days now, has been featured on HUFFINGTON POST and ABC news, referenced on Stephanie Miller, and no doubt countless other people. We have had four hundred messages, and I think everyone has had their say, and everything that needs to be said has been said. Generally eight or ten times. There are plenty of links and references in the comment threads for those who would like to know more about these voter suppression efforts. If you don't want to dig through the links, start with the Brennan Center for Justice and get the facts.

There's no sense in letting this spin on in circles forever. I am locking comments. Back to Westeros and worldcon and similar subjects, boys and girls.

Thanks for listening.



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Aug. 13th, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
After this, I'm done. I promise. Ha!
No one is asking if voter fraud is possible. It most certainly is.
No one is denying that it has happened before. The only disagreement is if it's a major problem or not.
If it is possible, every American should get behind finding a way to make it harder to steal votes. That is just common sense. Every stolen vote denies the rights of another citizen. That should tick us off.
Neither side should have the opportunity to steal votes. Everyone benefits by eliminating the possibility.
If showing an ID is perceived as suppression, what can be done? Should we ignore the possibility? Both sides have claimed the other is guilty of voter fraud before. The topic will certainly come up again.
I wear steal toe boots while working. Chances are very slim that something will smash my toes but it is possible.
So, how can we fix it? Perhaps Libs should come up with a better way. Regardless of party, I will stand behind any good idea. As both constantly dream up horrible ideas. This should be a bipartisan effort to protect everyone not an election year attempt to slander the other side. As with everything, this had become one more tool to further polarize the country. Citizens at war with each other make for a weak country.
So who's creating this polarization? Who stands to benefit from our division?
I could easy demonize liberals but that would make it look as if I'm a con. I could do the same to cons but I refuse to be lumped in to either party. I know gun owning liberals and I know openly gay conservatives. Point being that the majority of America cannot be labeled all of nothing. We need to remember that this is our country. We have the power.
Aug. 13th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
im ok if you give free IDs to poor people
Give a free state ID of some sort to poor people who don't drive. Let them get it at the local library, DMV, and a few other places that are likely to be in their neighborhoods.

As far as getting birth certificates to prove citizenship... this should be free for poor people. It would cost a next to nothing.
I think many of these laws provide free IDs. My understanding is that the Texas law does provide free IDs. I am not sure about the others.

It is a good idea to provide free IDs to poor people in general. Whenever I take a new job, I have to fill out a W-4 and the employer wants to photocopy my drivers license. So there is need for poor people to have IDs. I believe you have to show ID to buy Sudafed in a lot of states now. (this is because it can be used to make an illegal drug so they try to restrict it). I have also had to show IDs at doctors offices.

If I decide to move to Mexico or some other Central or South American country(might do that when I retire due to cost of living difference), I can't expect to walk into a local government building, announce my presence and expect to be allowed to vote. If I chose to take on Mexican citizenship for whatever reason, I would have to follow their immigration process.

I do find it rather disturbing that liberals don't come back and go 'why don't we just give poor people IDs, They have a need for them beyond voting anyway'. I doubt it would cost much of anything. It makes me wonder what the true motive is. Do you just want to complain and see discrimination in every corner? Or do you think that people who are not yet citizens should be allowed to vote?
Neil Fox
Aug. 14th, 2012 03:05 am (UTC)
Re: im ok if you give free IDs to poor people
This is one of the most constructive posts on this blog.
Alex Krislov
Aug. 13th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
Three cheers, George!
Good to see you holding forth on this!
Aug. 13th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
the vote
I agree with you totally...on all levels...it is so nakedly appalling...thank you
Aug. 13th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
Papers Please...
Thank you George for taking a stand. I think when people stay silent at things like this, it lends tacit support. It is good that people like yourself, people who have a better chance at being listened to, speak out about such abuses of our democratic process. It's a free country, so far, and we don't need to start down slippery slopes towards accepting totalitarian methods in our nation.
Marc Cram
Aug. 13th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
Do it the Aussie way
The United States should adopt Australia's policy that every citizen must vote. If you don't vote, you get a fine. This would end almost all of the negative advertisement trying to suppress voters and all these silly laws would go away.
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Do it the Aussie way
Then we would not be a free country. Voting is a right, not a privilege or a requirement. Why should people be forced to vote for people that they do not want to vote for?
Aug. 13th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
More Support
Here is a study by a non-partisan organization further proving that voter ID laws a solution in search of a problem. http://votingrights.news21.com/article/election-fraud/

Also it's a Catch 22 for many people without state issued ID. You need a birth certificate to get an ID, but you need an ID to order a birth certificate. And the cost for a copy of a birth certificate can be hefty and the same for a driver's license.
Graham Huff
Aug. 14th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
Re: More Support
What are we to do if they elect this guy by some dishonest fashion?

I know I'm sounding crazy, but how far are these people willing to go, they already have no consciences? I'm sorry to bring this up as well, I know some great Christians, and these people aren't in that group.

In my mind, these people are religious zealots and the party is just another form of that delusional kind of thinking... when people think like this, they're no telling how far they may go.

Does that sound insane? LOL
Dante Circle
Aug. 13th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
As someone who strongly believe in mandatary voting, I totally agree with you. I find it difficult to accept that this democracy will allow the highest office in the land to be determined by less than 50% of it's eligible voting population.
Aug. 13th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
Show us your papers
Thank you for your thoughts. I wish more people who wield influence would speak out about the tragedy facing our republic.
Aug. 13th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
Spencer Newlin-Cushing
Aug. 13th, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
Thank You
For having the courage and words to stand up and share your mind. I'm with you GRRM.
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
Bless you George! Keep standing up for what is right, moral and good in this country!
Don Gray
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Totally Agree
As a fellow New Jersian(?) I totally agree!
Emily Elliott
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to say thanks for coming right out and saying what a lot of us are feeling. I know you'll take a lot of heat for saying it, but thanks.

I enjoy your work, and it is the product of a great mind. Your thoughts on voting and today's politics are valid points to think about.
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
So, I was raised pretty much a fiscal conservative, with the idea that government should not waste my money on frivolous things. And whenever someone says to me that we need to institute a bunch of new safeguards against voter fraud, it sets off my pocketbook. Because, you know, these particular safeguards against voter fraud cost MONEY. My money, so I have an opinion about how it is being spent.

You have an increased load on the DMV, you need to employ more people at registration offices to train election volunteers in spotting fake IDs, you need to expand your voting locations to deal with the fact that voting will take longer as people who've been voting for 60 years without ID show up and raise a fuss. You had to spend my money writing that law, and passing that law, updating the books and educating enforcement personnel on the appropriate changes and penalties for using fraudulent ID. You WILL be sued over this, as the 'poll tax' laws are fairly clear, and you'll have to defend against those suits in court.

None of that is cheap.

So, as someone who wants her money spent responsibly, I said, "Show me the fraud that's occurring. Show me the documented cases of election fraud that this legislation would prevent. Show me a changed election outcome, show me a shifted district, show me ANYTHING that says you're not spending my money to change absolutely nothing."

And no one can. I get a lot of hemming and hawing about ACORN with no real proof. I get a lot of vague handwaving, and a lot of thinly-disguised racism and xenophobia. But I do not get substantial evidence of voter fraud. There are a handful of documented cases.

I look at that handful of documented cases, and I think about how many *really good* fake IDs I took off 19-year-olds when I sold beer, and about how my boss told me that for every ID I confiscated, four more got by us but there was no way to tell. The forgeries were just that good. And, well, if we've got a dozen cases of election fraud using the existing system, and thousands of instances of the fraudulent use of Driver's Licenses, then why are you spending my money to switch from a working system to one with a documented history of skilled falsification of documents?
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thumbs up Mr. Martin for your post. You rock.
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you, George.
It needs to be said. Over and over, until we can turn it around.

Vox Libertas
aka Brons
aka JimB.
aka Jim Burrows, ancient letter hack.
Nic Mercy
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
Couldn't have said it better myself!
I wish more people of influence would talk as honestly and frankly as you have here.
Aug. 13th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Voter ID--a solution in search of a phantom problem.

John Nairn
Aug. 13th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
One Simple Response
A simple response is for voter turnout among young, elderly, and minorities to set record highs in every state with a new voter ID law. Perhaps that would change the thinking of those promoting such laws. If you live is such a state, please make it so.

Edited at 2012-08-14 12:17 am (UTC)
Rodney Kelley
Aug. 13th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
I must disagree with you, GRRM. A person needs ID to get a job, apply for college, buy prescriptions, cash checks, open accounts, buy alcohol, etc., etc. Why not for voting. To be honest, ever since I started voting in '88, I always presented my driver's license with my voter registration card. It just seems like the right thing to do.

PS-Just finished all five books. FANTASTIC!!! Keep up the good work!
Aug. 14th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Disagree
All of the things that you mentioned are privileges, not rights guaranteed by The Constitution.
Douglas Wunderlich
Aug. 14th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC)
Thank you
This false front about voter fraud needs this honest rebuttal. It is all about voter suppression of the vulnerable by the powerful.
Aug. 14th, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
Thanks for getting me out of my personal social bubble for a little while.
I know, intellectually, that a substantial fraction of the country has brains contaminated by Fox "News", but I don't ordinarily deal with them. Thanks for the exposure.
I know, intellectually, that less and less people "get it" about a free country, but I don't ordinarily deal with them. Thanks for the exposure.
Aug. 14th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
Show us your papers.
In democracy, citizens should not be denied their inalienable rights; in which, is being done by rolling back early voting and requiring a card that is equivalent to a poll tax. I think of a variation of Martin Niemöller words

First they disfranchised the felons,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a felon.

Then they disfranchised the non-English speakers,
and I didn't speak out because English is my native language.

Then they came for the poor and elderly,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't poor or elderly.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Aug. 14th, 2012 12:39 am (UTC)
Voter Suppression
I couldn't agree more with your well-state protest.

Those trying to trample the most fundamental right of any free citizen have no love for this country, no matter how much flag-waving they engage in.
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George R.R. Martin
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