Saturday, February 23, 2013

DNRonline : Photo ID Will Safeguard Voting...A Solution in Search of a Problem

DNRonline : Photo ID Will Safeguard Voting

I'm all for efficiency and making the election process work for everyone.  What destroys my confidence in the election process is the current fascination with voter fraud.  It's a problem that is so small that, though several cases of actual fraud that might involve false identification might be found, it certainly isn't a problem that demands the time and effort of our legislators.  They've got more important things to do.

It's not "free."  Spending taxpayer money solving a problem that doesn't exist and could be better spent on real, important problems is not fiscally responsible. We will all help pay for this. 

Those who would need the new photo ID represent a portion of the population that often doesn't have the means or the money to prove their identity with the required legal documents.  Again, it's not free.  For those lease able to afford it, its both hard and expensive to obtain these documents if they are not already in their possession.  The salient point here is that those citizens who are likely to need the increased level of documentation are folks that vote for Democrats.  It is the Republican legislators who are pushing this so hard.

The Carter/Baker recommendations have nothing to do with the current wave of voter repression activities going on nationwide.  Although the original working paper addressed the efficiency and effectiveness of the election process, most of those recommendations have already been put in place.  The Voter ID has been left off because of the expense and the discriminatory effect.

In addition, it comes on the heels of the recent attempt to change the way electoral college votes are apportioned, again pushed strongly by the Republican members of the state legislature. This attempt was thwarted when it soon became clear that a minority of voters would be able to win presidential elections. This partisan ploy is only one of the latest versions of a long sordid history of voter suppression tactics and election rigging foisted on the citizenry of Virginia throughout its history. 

It also comes on the heels of the current effort in the courts to negate the Voting Rights Act.  Apparently, Virginia has suffered its effects long enough and has fixed its historical problem of discrimination, at least to the satisfaction of Republican supporters of this effort.

If building confidence in the election process is one of the clear goals of this new legislation, it fails miserably. The continued efforts of the Republican Party to engineer elections in their favor is certainly not a confidence builder. I can’t help but point out that all of this rigging, pandering, and election tampering done at the legislative level shows a serious lack of concern about the underlying unpopular policies that make up the Republican platform.  The positions they’ve embraced don’t win.  In order to win elections, Republicans have historically resorted to a thumb on the scales, a trend that continues unabated.  If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em. 

If fairness is truly a concern, show us legislation that enables seniors, the poor, minorities, and students, who are also citizens of this Commonweath, to carry out their constitutional right to vote. Show some concern for the cost of unnecessary legislation.  Show us some real problem solving. Win the debate with the efficacy of your argument.  Be persuasive enough to convince Virginians that you truly care about fair, efficient and legal elections.  Quit chasing windmills.