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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

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.

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George R.R. Martin
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