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"Show Us Your Papers"

angry
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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Comments

infinite_hiatus
Aug. 12th, 2012 07:21 am (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
These papers you're asking our fellow citizens to present cost money to obtain. That makes these efforts little more than a poll tax. Many studies have shown that minority citizens have a higher % who do not possessive the required documents. The Republicans behind these poll taxes are not offering to provide the documents for free or reimburse citizens who have to obtain them.

And your mention of ACORN is both besides the point and incorrect.
eeepeeep
Aug. 12th, 2012 07:59 am (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Do you honestly believe that people would be okay with voter id laws even if they came with something requiring governments have offices in all major cities, open 24 hours a day capable of getting you the ID at no cost whatsoever?

An honest question, no snark or trolling intended.
grrm
Aug. 12th, 2012 04:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
I am opposed to national ID cards, no matter how easy it is obtain them.

That's a side issue to the voting rights question, of course. The hypothetical you propose would certainly address many aspects of the problem I discussed above... but it raises other issues.
Jason Kenney
Aug. 13th, 2012 05:43 am (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
I would rather have some sort of national ID system then requiring a driver's license in order to obtain employment, drink alchohol, obtain cigarettes....

A Driver's license should only be proof that you can drive.
A Social Security #: Should only be needed for collecting social security.

I don't approve of any national tracking system, or database per se. Just a card that proves you are who you say you are. Maybe link it to DNA or fingerprints, so obtaining it would just require going to a Government Office, Medical Facility or Police Station.
Jose Sarmento
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:13 am (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
"I am opposed to national ID cards, no matter how easy it is obtain them."

Really? Why so? What are the main issues you believe it would raise?
colwyndoggett
Aug. 13th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Hello George, i'm a new poster here.
I'm a liberal, and of course i agree with you about the need to remove every possible hindrance to voting, but i must admit that this mistrust towards the ID card puzzles me... Maybe i could give my 2 cents by pointing out how the card works in Italy.
In my country, still a free country, the Identity Card is something meant to help the citizen and not to control him. Almost everybody has one, because it's free and easy to get. Every town has an office that can provide you with your ID card in a few minutes and for free, no matter where you live (it happens that you are at the airport and realize that you forgot your ID. Well, in Rome you can immediately get a duplicate one without leaving the airport). The ID card is useful for many things, both when dealing with the state or with private entities, and helps preventing identity thefts.
On this card there's your picture, your full name, date and place of birth, and your address. No sensitive data whatsoever. You are NOT required to have it with you at any time, and it's entirely up to you wether to carry it or not in your daily life, because no law enforcer is entitled to ask for your ID card. If you are a suspect, though, you may want to have it in your wallet, because if you don't you may be taken to the police station until they check your identity.

So, from my point of view the italian ID card is just something good. It's a tool for the citizen, and it's useless for anyone who would want to spy on you. In this regard, the credit card is much much more disturbing.
Kevin Mills
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
I think so, if it were easy and free to obtain an I.D. or some sort of legal way of having voter identification then this wouldnt be quite as big of an issue,(still shady though) but my DMV takes an average of 5 hours and costs $25 for me to get a new license if I misplace mine, if that happens on voting day then I can not vote, I would be denied my right.
papamishka
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Many studies have shown that minority citizens have a higher % who do not possessive the required documents.

Can you clarify this, please? Do you mean that the minorities are somehow not allowed to obtain IDs in the US? Or do you mean that the minorities are less interested in political life of the country?
grrm
Aug. 12th, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
That's a complicated answer, since it varies with the minority under discussion.

Many of the elderly, for instance, no longer drive. They have expired driver's licenses, but those are not accepted as ID. Current DLs are required, and the elderly cannot pass the test.

Some minorities are suspicious of the police and government authorities, for a variety of reasons.

And there is always a CHARGE for these licences and cards, etc, which some of the poorest Americans either don't have the money for, or (if they do) cannot justify spending on a vote when the money could be used for necessities. It should NEVER cost to vote.
EMHeld
Aug. 12th, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Then simply rewrite the law to provide the cards for free and work in a way to "grandfather" older, registered voters. There's bound to be a way to this.

And really, the liberal anger directed at voter ID laws is wildly out of context. This is not Nazi Germany or the USSR. We don't live in Red China. There SHOULD be barriers to letting any random person off the street vote for the simple reason that they may not be of this country. I don't take a trip to Cancun and decide to vote in Mexico's elections. When backpacking thru Europe, is it okay for me to vote in any nation's election by dint of my presence?

The right to vote is sacred - to the citizens of that country. I would not strip it from anyone, save as punishment for certain criminals. But it is because that right is so important that it must be protected.

I find it ludicrous that these laws are slapped together with no provisions for the elderly or poor...but those who will truly be disenfranchised under the laws as written are not a majority. We can work around them.

When I vote, in a suburb of Chicago, they ask my for ID. They validate it against my registration signature. It is part of the process, proving who I am. Proving I possess that right to vote.

Reform the laws, but don't throw them out. I don't trust every political org out there NOT to abuse the voting booth (choose citizens who are on the rolls, but never vote, and have randoms go claim to be them in various precincts. Like I said, from Chicago). I like the safety net that, once we work out a way to get the ID in the proper hands, is FAR from a "big deal."

Stop with the left-wing hyperbole that this is undermining the fabric of democracy. You have to register to vote anyway; this is just an affirmation.

If we were truly democratic, you wouldn't even have to register. Just show up, grab a ballot and vote - like in online polls. No distortions there....
grrm
Aug. 12th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
You DO realize that people can't simply turn up at the polling place at vote, like your mythical backpacker, right?

You have to REGISTER to vote. The registrars, who represent both parties, sit there with huge books of all the registered voters and their addresses. You need to turn up, give your name, and your correct address. If you can't, you don't vote. If they don't find you in the book, you don't vote.

And when people die, their names are stricken from said books. Yes, sometimes mistakes are made... but that's rare.

There are also poll watchers, who can challenge any voter they feel is suspicious.

It is not as if there are not already plenty of protections.

The system works. Has worked for elections beyond count, all through my lifetime. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.
EMHeld
Aug. 12th, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Of course it works, and yes, as I said, you have to be registered. For a long stretch of primary and general elections, my family fielded said registrars. A relatively clean and efficient process.

But I'm talking about the exceptions, not the rule.

After providing a way for everyone to have such an ID (and there really isn't a downside, as it can be used to verify any number of other things), this argument loses its thunder.

The problem brought up is that this will disenfranchise minorities and/or the poor (with some of the elderly thrown in for good measure). Voters from all three demographic segments are counted in each party. Yes, some more than others.

But if we can provide them a FREE way to obtain a state ID card, what is the harm? That the evil dictatorial/Stalinist government will have their names on the roles? Our president is a DEMOCRAT. Congress is divided. Even the Supreme Court isn't as clear cut as it could be. We are hardly falling into an authoritarian, police-state trap.
Craig L. Ching
Aug. 14th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Voter fraud *isn't a problem*. So why do we need to spend money (FREE id cards aren't really free, go figure) to solve a problem that isn't? God, this country has become so dumb!
brightstrangely
Aug. 14th, 2012 06:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
i find your comment laughable. just 20 years ago, american citizens would have been aghast to discover the government could listen to any of their communications at any time. and today we accept warrantless wiretaps and technology like carnivore as "the cost of freedom." it's a heck of a lot easier to justify oppression in the name of security than it is to bother with our rights. our president is up for election this year, so next year he could be a republican, not that i believe party matters much in this. i'm not a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, but i do believe that governments are usually opportunistic. when a solution is cheaper and easier, who cares about a little unfairness? it's mission creep, not evil. and when you're the person who is actually disenfranchised, it's suddenly a lot harder to address the problem.
mkantonelli
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Please, speak for yourself when you state that "we accept warrantless wiretaps and technology like carnivore as "the cost of freedom."".

Not all Americans accept this and many of us are working through organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as our local political representatives, to limit and roll back these measures.

Mind you, the EFF is far more effective these days...

Mary
Kevin Mills
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
but these voter I.d. laws are already in effect, and I.d.s are not currently free, or easy to obtain. it is also following a clear pattern of voter disenfranchisement. In Florida, they are erasing the rolls of current legal voters, the Voter I.D. laws in Pennsylvania were admitted to be only for the purpose of the republican candidate to win the state. In Ohio, in 2004 before early voting was available, polls in the poorest precincts were run down, and people had to wait in line for hours, many had to return to work, or were turned away at poll closing time after waiting in line. George Bush won that state by a margin more narrow than the people that didn't have time to vote. This year they are trying to roll back early voting in Ohio, which would bring these long lines back.

It is a calculated game plan by republican strategists, it is not about safety, or crime prevention, it is about stealing the election.
embers_log
Aug. 12th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
I don't want to 'pile on' to kmanning's comment, but there is NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE of anyone registered by ACORN voting fraudulently (only instances of registration forms filled out wrongly or foolishly, and those are rare and always caught).

The Republicans are pretending to try to fix a problem that doesn't exist, they are making it impossible for people who have voted legally for decades to continue to vote.

Voter ID requirements becomes a poll tax for the poor, elderly, and/or students.
fanoffun
Aug. 12th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
I was raised dirt poor but still found a way to get a DL and Social security card.
infinite_hiatus
Aug. 12th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Good for you. It's still a poll tax if it requires someone to spend money in order to vote. Whether or not they can afford it is not the issue. (And nobody should have to "find a way" to vote.)
fanoffun
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
Well than hand out free ID's. Perhaps a birth certificate or SSC. Problem solved.
akiko
Aug. 13th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
Because there's no cost at all to the state governments to give people free IDs.
devotdsatellite
Aug. 14th, 2012 03:11 am (UTC)
as an adopted kid, i legally cannot access my original birth certificate as it is sealed. just another hurdle in obtaining id. just saying.
Kevin Mills
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
or we could just let em vote. nobody is committing voter fraud.

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George R.R. Martin
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