Saturday, August 25, 2012

Deliberate Voter Obstruction By The GOP

Not one of these seniors has a picture I.D.
They are all registered voters.


"The Truth About Voter Fraud," New York University School of Law

Multiple studies have shown that unauthorized voters impersonate authorized voters less frequently than Americans are struck by lightning.

It is the custom of conservatives to make political hay by appealing to Perfectly Pure Principles. 

In this process of "purification," they make corresponding realities worse than they would otherwise be.

Consider The Perfectly Pure Principle that "just one person voting illegally is one too many."

As a result of uncompromising absolutism that refuses to tolerate a single exception, American conservatives would giddily disenfranchise hundreds of thousands -- perhaps millions of voters -- in their forlorn attempt to impose "perfection." (See "Voter I.D. Law Could Disenfranchise 11% Of The Population"... even though actual instances of voter fraud are less common than Americans being hit by lightning.

Against this backdrop, The Conservative Psyche cheers, invigorated by yet another blast of Righteousness.

Trappist monk, Father Thomas Merton cuts to the quick: "The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice.  The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization.  We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal.  Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good.  The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.”  Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander  -

"The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil."

There is is nothing wrong with personal aspiration for "the best."

The problem arises when"the best" is imposed as a norm.

And so, contemporary conservatives, refusing to tolerate anything other than Absolutely Righteous Perfection, become evil.


Voting As A 'Responsibility': How Hard Should It Be?

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August 25, 2012
Ana Gonzalez, 63, has gone her whole life without a driver's license or a state-issued ID. That wasn't really a problem, until now.
She was born in Puerto Rico but moved soon after with her adoptive parents for the continental U.S., where she grew up. Her husband drives, and her odd jobs over the years have required only a Social Security card, which she has. She's just never needed a birth certificate before.
Gonzalez lives in Pennsylvania and has been voting since she turned 18. As a registered voter, she didn't have to provide identification at the polls.

Pennsylvania ID Requirements

All IDs must contain a name, a photo, and anexpiration date that is current, unless noted otherwise. Acceptable IDs include:

Photo IDs issued by the U.S. Government or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including:
  • Pennsylvania driver's license or PennDOT photo ID card (valid for voting 12 months past expiration date)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. military ID (active duty and retired military IDs may designate an expiration date that is indefinite). Military dependents' IDs must contain a current expiration date.
Employee photo identification issued by Federal, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania County, or Pennsylvania Municipal government
Photo identification issued by an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning
Photo identification issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes
In the case of a voter who has a religious objection to being photographed, acceptable IDs include the following:
  • Pennsylvania valid without-photo driver's license
  • PennDOT valid without-photo identification card
— For more on how to obtain an ID, visit thePennsylvania Department of Transportation.

For voter identification requirements in your state, the National Conference of State Legislatures has aninteractive map.
"They never asked me for anything," she says. "All I had to do [was] give them my name, and then they would look it up in the book and I would sign my name. And that's it."
This spring, however, Pennsylvania passed a voter ID law. It's one of more than 30 states that have placed new restrictions on how people vote. Some — like Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania — are for the first time requiring voters to present certain types of photo ID at the polls. Other places, such as Ohio andFlorida, have made changes to early voting.
Many of the new rules are being challenged in court but could have a real impact on the November elections. They're popping up largely in states with the bulk of the electoral votes — the ones that can get a candidate elected.
The issue is split cleanly down partisan lines. Republicans say they are working to prevent voter fraud. Democrats say the rules target the elderly, the poor and minorities, who are less likely to have state issue IDs — and many of whom vote Democrat.
Critics of the laws also point to Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Turzai for proof of political motives. At the Republican State Committee in June, he said the new law would "allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."
Turzai declined NPR's request for an interview.
But Cleta Mitchell, president of the Republican National Lawyers Association, says these laws are not about politics, but about fairness and voter responsibility. Her organization is pushing voter ID lawsuits and legislation nationwide.
"I am not trying to keep anyone out of the polling place. ... We want to make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat," she tells NPR's Laura Sullivan. "I just don't know why that's controversial."
Much of the debate has stemmed from whether or not people are in fact cheating. One group, the journalism project News21, analyzed voter fraud cases over the past decade. They found just 10 cases nationwide of people showing up at the polls pretending to be someone else.
Conversely, Mitchell says it is an "infinitesimally small, isolated instance of someone who doesn't have a photo ID or can't get one."
She points to Tennessee, which passed a photo identification law last year and held primaries in March. In an article for U.S. News, she writes that of the 645,775 people who cast votes, 266 did not show IDs. Those people were allowed to vote provisionally, contingent upon them returning with their photo IDs, which 112 did. In the end, .023 percent of the primary voters did not return with ID.
"If people are choosing to exercise their right to vote, there's some responsibility that accompanies that," Mitchell says. "Do we not think that something as precious as the right to vote is worth going to a little bit of trouble to obtain?"
Not everyone buys that argument, though. Take Larry Norden, deputy director of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice.
"[Voting is] the one time we're all equal. And when we cast our vote, nobody should be interfering with that," he says.
Norden says the instances of voter fraud are rare: "A person is as likely to be struck by lightning as they are to commit impersonation fraud." If it does happen, though, he says it's a relatively easy crime to track.
"Nobody wants ineligible people voting, and there are lots of steps that we can take to prevent ineligible people from voting, even in the exceptionally rare cases that it happens," he says. "But what we shouldn't be doing is using as an excuse this boogey man of voter fraud to keep legitimate, eligible people from voting."
A survey from the Brennan Center [PDF] found that up to 11 percent of citizens do not have government-issued photo identification. For African-Americans of voting age, that percentage jumps to 25.
"Voting is both a responsibility and a right ... but government has a responsibility also to make voting accessible to all of its citizens," Norden says.
The state of Pennsylvania is issuing free voter identification cards to people without them, like Gonzalez. The press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State, Ron Ruman, says a community outreach campaign has been under way since the law passed in March to inform voters.
But Gonzalez says others in her community don't know they need one, and might not be able to provide the documents required to get one before the November election.
"The word hasn't really gotten out in the Spanish community ... as far as this. I believe there's a lot of Spanish people that are in the same situation as me," Gonzalez says.
The new requirement bothers her.
"I'm upset ... to see all sacrifices that so many people did, and it's almost like going back in time," she says. "And I truly believe this is all political."
Still, Gonzalez plans to vote in the November election.
"As long as I'm allowed to vote, I'll respect the law. But again, it's unfair because that type of pressure is not put on other people."

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