19 July 2012

New Study Finds Voter ID Laws Burdensome (electoral.vote.com)

ElectoralVote

Once again, the webmaster at electoralvote.com, a master of concision as well, has done a brief but OUTSTANDING write-up about the entire voter fraud meme thingy.

The bolded stuff is the reason for this thread.

Reproduced in its entirety with permission of the webmaster from electoralvote.com

"Ten states have recently passed laws requiring voters to present government-issued photo ID cards before they can vote. Ostensibly, these laws are to prevent voter fraud. However, a study by nonpartisan university researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU have shown that voter fraud is microscopic (e.g., 0.00004% of the votes in the 2004 Ohio election were fraudulent), the penalty for getting caught is so large (5 years in prison), and the effect of one vote so small that nobody risks it. The very occasional fraudulent vote is invariably from an ex-felon or green-card holder who mistakenly thought he had the right to vote. Nevertheless, states persist in passing voter ID laws. Why?

As a a new study released yesterday shows, the real effect of these laws is to disenfranchise low-income voters who are disproportionately minorities and Democrats. The legislators who pass voter ID laws and the governors who sign them (invariably Republicans) know this very well. By making poor people, who often don't have cars, go get (and pay for) birth certificates and voter ID cards, they are putting up a barrier and hoping many low-income voters won't bother. A very blatant example of the intent of these laws is the office in Sauk City, WI, where voters can get an ID card--but only on the fifth Wednesday of any month. In 2012, only February, May, and August have a fifth Wednesday. Examples like that make it abundantly clear that the real purpose of these laws if to discourage low-income voters from voting but do it under the radar in such a way that most voters don't know what is going on.

This issue often shows where the media have failed in their fundamental job of getting at the truth. In a typical story about Voter ID laws, a reporter will have a Republican politician saying that voter fraud is a huge issue and a Democratic politician saying that voter fraud is miniscule, without the reporter actually looking for and presenting the facts. This is somewhat like a science reporter treating as equals one person who thinks the moon is made of rocks and another who thinks it is made of green cheese."

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Indeed.

So, out of fairness, I plan to call the registrar's office in Sauk City, WI to find out exactly why only 3 days in the entire year, two of which have already passed, are allotted for citizens to get their photo IDs in order to vote.

Some history on Sauk City: it is in Sauk County, not far (25 KM) from northwest suburban Madison.

Sauk County is a small blue county. Sauk County accounted for 1.03% of the statewide presidential vote in 2008 and 1.01% of the same in 2004: it gave Obama a massive landslide in 2008, a +23.04% margin over John McCain. It also went for Kerry in 2004, but by a much smaller margin (+4.25% over Bush).

Look for yourself:

CountyDEMGOPINDTotalDEM %GOP %IND %MarginMar %County% of State PVGrowth rate













Sauk18617115624473062660,79%37,75%1,46%705523,04%Sauk1,03%0,69%
200415708144152943041751,64%47,39%0,97%12934,25%20041,01%
Diff:2909-28531532099,15%-9,64%0,49%576218,79%Diff:0,01%

Here the entire county-by-county statistical workup on WI, 2008 over 2004: EXCEL DOCUMENT

So, one one here can say that I or anyone would rail on Sauk City because it is somehow a Republican stronghold. Apparently, it is not. Nonetheless, no matter how small a town or county is, having only 3 days IN THE ENTIRE YEAR for people to get their state-MANDATED ID in order to get to vote is really, really restrictive. I intend to get to the bottom of this the fair way.

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Update: I already called. The woman on the phone was just as nice as can be and she explained to me the following:

The restrictive dates for getting an ID do not come from the city, but from the state DOT (Department of Transportation), which is SEVERELY underfunded and must cut-back on hours. So, the smaller hamlets really take a hit over this. She also told me that the citizens of Sauk City can go just 5 miles to Reedsburg to get your DL and or WI photo ID on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Monday of every month. She also told me that their little town does a good job of all sides of the political spectrum working together to make sure that people get registered and get the appropriate ID. In fact, they have put the voter registration form ONLINE with exact instructions about ID and such, very, very well explained.

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However, none of this changes the statistical fact that voter fraud is decisively smaller than the Right wants to trumpet and in many cases, the extremely restrictive laws will indeed hit the poor the most.

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