Town Crier: Stop-the-vote efforts give GOP black eye
by Mickey McGuire
Jun 01, 2012 | 3741 views | 36 36 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The history of voting in the United States over the past two centuries has been one of gradually expanding suffrage. Until now.

In 2011, more than 30 states considered various types of legislation that would make it harder for citizens to vote. Why is this happening?

The Republicans were extraordinarily successful in the 2010 election, capturing the House of Representatives and 675 new state legislative seats. The political control of nearly two dozen states has provided the opportunity for Republicans to lock in a nearly permanent advantage by changing the rules of the game.

But dark clouds linger on the horizon. The party is not generating much appeal among an expanding electorate made up largely of blacks, Latinos and young people. Unaddressed, this problem represents a demographic time bomb.

The Republicans could respond in two ways. They could moderate some of their policy stances, or they could pass state election laws with their newly acquired state majorities that would serve to disenfranchise a proportion of low-income people, minorities, students and, in some cases, the elderly.

The effort to suppress the registration and vote of groups that trend Democratic is much more systematic and organized than most people realize.

Since the 1970s, the American Legislative Exchange Council has provided model business-sponsored legislation to conservative state lawmakers. The most famous model legislation was the “Stand Your Ground” rule adopted in many states but made famous recently in Florida.

ALEC has feverishly distributed model legislation designed to repress Democratic voters. Some states have passed laws to put greater restrictions on voter registration drives. Such efforts usually register more Democrats than Republicans.

My mother, a lifelong Republican, was a member of the League of Women Voters. That organization has announced that it will no longer attempt to register voters in Florida because of new restrictive rules.

Several states have had a tradition of extended voting periods to make it easier for blue-collar workers to vote. Similarly, the use of absentee ballots has enabled many voters to participate when their work might have kept them from going to a physical polling place.

Many states are reducing hours and adding requirements to the use of absentee ballots. Such changes will discourage more Democrats than Republicans.

In most states, prisoners cannot vote. In many states, however, ex-felons can petition at some point to have their rights restored. Florida was one such state, until recently. That provision was repealed by a Republican majority. The primary effect will be to eliminate the vote of thousands of black and Latino males in a state that had its presidential election in 2000 decided by less than 400 votes.

Over the past couple of years, Republicans have made ever-more outraged complaints about voter fraud. This is the rationale for all sorts of vote-suppression legislation, particularly the requirement to show a photo ID at the polls. The number of state photo ID laws quadrupled in 2011 alone.

But are the fraud stories true?

Studies of electoral fraud claims by researchers have come up largely empty-handed.

The Brennan Center at the New York University Law School has traced dozens of allegations. Their conclusion is: “On closer examination, many of the claims of voter fraud amount to a great deal of smoke, without much fire. The allegations simply do not pan out.”

Requiring a photo ID to vote sounds like a small requirement to most people. But around 11 percent of Americans (21 million people) don’t have a current driver’s license or passport. They are mostly urban dwellers, minorities, the elderly. Among voters older than 65, 18 percent do not have a current photo ID. The proportion is even higher among blacks and Latinos, who tend to vote Democratic.

Republican legislatures are also trying to depress the student vote by not accepting a student picture ID as identification. Wisconsin won’t even accept an out-of-state driver’s license.

The Brennan Center says, “Photo ID laws are effective only at preventing individuals from impersonating other voters at the polls — an occurrence more rare than getting struck by lightning.”

What true conservative or libertarian would approve of the government constraining a liberty for so little legitimate purpose?

If blacks, Latinos and students ever come to realize how the Republican Party is trying to disenfranchise them, the reputation of the GOP could be damaged for decades.

• Mickey McGuire, a retired high school social studies teacher, is among a select group of local residents with columns in the Tracy Press.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
June 04, 2012
When you do not require proof of identity when voting, you destroy the legitimacy of the election process. We do not hesitate to show ID when cashing a check, charging a purchase, getting on a plane, buying a prescription, going to the doctor, driving a car, or buying a beer, but it disenfranchises Americans to show ID to vote. Personally, I would be proud to show my ID knowing that no one else gets my vote and really count.
June 03, 2012
Also, I apologize for the ad hominem against McGuire. That wasn't necessary or called for.
June 03, 2012
to conclude my prior post, take a look at this article on just one of these consequences, that are starting to be felt with regard to police and fire, this from a story about San Jose titled "As Costs Soar, Taxpayers Target Pensions of Cops and Firefighters"
June 03, 2012
Ornely Gumfudgeon already posted an excellent rebuttal to Mr. McGuire's one-sided and short-sighted screed, so I'll pass. I will echo what another poster already said about the quality of education our kids may have received from such a source. Public education perhaps at its finest.

But I invite each and every one of you to step away from the Republican and Democrat food fight that Mr. McGuire is attempting to instigate. Instead, focus on what together both of these parties have wrought for us, the destination that we have arrived at, where the government HAS to shrink by over 50% to get expenditures equal to its cratered revenues, where Social Security and Medicare benefits cannot be paid for, where pensions of retired people cannot be paid for, just in time for the huge retiring baby boom generation where 10,000 per DAY are retiring.

Neither of these parties can save us from the consequence that is hitting us now and with a vengeance over the next two years, as money printing fails at last.

The voter ID issue is just another planned distraction to keep us from seeing the cliff rising before us.
June 04, 2012

Tale this test it is very interesting!

I came up with a menagerie of candidates close to matching percentages. Democratic, Green and republican...close. With my ideal theoretical candidate at 100%, the closest candidate to my thinking was at only 60% match. The rest were close behind.

It is important for people to realize that Republicans and Democrats are not all this country is made up of and our choices should not be limited to them. Get out there and find out about all the candidates. Vote for the one you think will do the best job. Don't strictly vote along party lines. Many people do so. I have done that in the past when I was not sure about the candidate or proposition. If you are going to vote - make it count and actually read about what you are voting for. Make an informed decision.

'Until people start doing that, until people realize the Dems and Repubs are both making decisions, not for us but for their own agendas, our country will continue to go down the tubes. We need new blood. Not politics as usual. It is really getting old.
June 03, 2012 Kettle.

"Democrats require Photo ID to enter Massachusetts Democratic Convention"

June 02, 2012
Knowin how Mick don't like my vernacular I'll drop the Ornley persona so he can read my though on this poorly constructed and one sided article.

The reader will note Mickey presents many factoids of information without substantiating them as facts but simply declaring them as factual.

As one who suffered a grade from him once, and knowing how a stickler he was on such things when grading student papers, I will award him a failing grade here.

Lack of space prevents me from commenting in depth so my comments will be limited by paragraphs of which there are 20 and the reader can refer to the article to determine what I am commenting about. It also is worth mentioning that Mickey taught students to seek clarification and thus attain knowledge, by asking questions.

#1 By who's standards

#2 Pertaining to "citizens", if the current rules of the game are flawed shouldn't they be changed?

#3 Would change? It sounds like you have already decided they have changed.

#4 What are your percentages and how were they calculated? Are they all citizens and legally qualified to vote?

#5 How?

#6 How so? Acorn did a magnificent job of getting dead and unqualified voters registered and voting
June 02, 2012
#6 cont. Why we have even hired county and state Democrat Party Whips to mentor our children as to the merits and great achievements the Democrat party, to the exclusion of all other political parties, has given to the US Citizenry.

#7 If I understand you correctly, you have proposed one should have absolutely no right to defend one's self when violently attacked. Question, has the Florida case been legally decided on in a legal court of law or just by you and the media? I was always taught that the courts decided such things under the Constitution of the United States. Are you proposing we do away with that tenet of the law?

#8 What are these restrictions and now are they an encumbrance to registering?

#9 Why? Was it because it takes more time and effort to assure registration is done correctly and is legal? Besides, what does your mother have to do with it? What does she have to say about it from the grave? Sorry for being so inhumanly blunt but the point is valid and needs to be made by someone with the courage to say it.

#10 Why? Because these voters won't take the effort to cast their votes? If they are all that trouble to cast are they really worth anything to those people? In my entire adult life I have never failed the opportunity to cast my vote. It's because I believe my vote to be valuable.

#11 The common rule of law in most states dictates that if you are convicted of a felony you loose your right to vote. It' a deterrent to crime and further criminal activity. Are you advocating that criminals have a right to decide on laws that have made them criminals? I'll hold off on your narrow 400 vote margin for the presidential election in 2000 in the state of Florida for now. Wait for it, it will come I assure you.

#12 These laws have quadrupled to eliminate voter fraud at the voter level. Since our laws already require legal identification be carried by adults in our society, photo IDs at the polls seems to be reasonable if not prudent.

#13 Yes, they are. Not all but enough to indicate a problem that can be easily rectified.

#14 Largely? Did you use such an ambiguous word like largely? Yes, you did. But let's cut to the chase here. Admit it, clearly there was identifiable fraud wasn't there? Is small fraud acceptable when we have the means to prevent it? What about that narrow 400 vote margin you mentioned in paragraph 11 that I said I would address later? Question, what amount of fraud do you find acceptable when you graded student papers?

#15 This one is really laughable. All of the directors of the Brennan Center are Democrats supporting the party line you are articulating. And one of them is Susan Sacks Goldman, of newsworthy fame. What else would this say to back up your line of thinking?

#16 I find it odd that virtually all states require identification and even, in California, offer it at DMV offices and you tell me 18% of the good conscientious voters in the voter population base cannot take the time necessary to obtain it? And try making a substantial credit purchase anywhere without a valid photo ID. Is that too a problem for these 18%.

#17 And why not? Are not voting activities conducted at the state level? Besides, most of these students drive don't they? And since most states require their own drivers license 10 days after residing in the state, aside from military personnel who are exempt, and most state driver's licenses contain a photo ID, specifically why is it a problem to show that photo ID at the polling place?

#18 Actually approximately 3,135 people per year are struck by lightning. Incidentally this figure is very close to that of gun death per year. While I might agree that is not a substantial number, the people finding themselves in that fix would most certainly disagree with you. Also, going back to paragraph 11, how does that compare with your 400 vote margin?

#19 Perhaps the answer lays with the illegitimacy of those tabulating legal votes.

#20 Did you ever think that the same disenfranchisement could affect the Democrat Party when they come to realize how they have been duped by the Democrat Party?

This caveman mentality of "Ug, Democrat, good, Republican bad" is pretty stupid when you stop and really think about it.

Instead of voting for the party and the party line, vote for the person. If that person doesn't perform then vote someone else into that position. But then again that would require voters do something they apparently haven't done in quite awhile; use their brains to think with instead of listening to a couple of bozos telling them how they should vote.


Yall have fun now woncha?
June 01, 2012
So I consider myself fairly liberal. But not all liberal thoughts/ideas are right. Not all conservatives thoughts/ideas are right. Extremism from any side can be dangerous.

I believe that everyone should always need to carry proper identification and that identification should have to be shown when voting. There needs to be guidelines on what is acceptable identification. Maybe social security cards should have pictures on them also? But I guess that would not work as it is not safe to carry them on your person. Hmmm.
June 01, 2012
Let’s see here. Mickey based his opinion piece on the Brennan center. What is the Brennan center? The Brennan center is a liberal think tank named after William Joseph Brennan Jr, a justice of the Supreme court. During his term he was know for being a leader of the far left wing of the court.

Who is one of the main sources funding the Brennan center you ask? None other than the European liberal billionaire Gerorge Soros. Who is on the advisory board of this liberal think tank? That would be the liberal Alec Baldwin. Yes sir, a very fair and balanced think tank I’m sure!

Who seems to think (in my opinion) that voter fraud is ok? That would be Obama and his Justice (Justice really) Department.

The Obama Justice boys has ordered Florida’s elections division to stop efforts to purge the states voter roll of NON CITIZENS. How dare Florida stop NON CITIZENS from voting?

June 01, 2012
It absolutely defies logic to argue against verification of voters legal right to vote. Any voter who argues against it essentialy is saying: "it is OK with me if I am personally disenfranchised by an illegal vote which was cast in conflict with mine".

There is a simple reason why Republicans are in favor of voter ID, in favor of purging dead voters from the rolls (did you know that the number of voters removed from the rolls in Florida equalled 0.02% of the total number of registered voters in the state?) and the Democrats are against it. Both sides know that there is more illegal voting on the Democrat side.

If the situation were the opposite, the Democrats would favor voter ID laws and purging dead people from the voter rolls, and the Republicans would probably be opposed.
June 01, 2012
Thank God this leftist nut job is retired. I feel sorry for any school kid who had to sit in his class and listen to this nonsense. At least when he writes we have the luxury to stop reading after the first sentence.
June 01, 2012
Glad I didn't take Social Studies from this guy. He seems to have left all the FACTS out of his opinion piece and filled it with hot air. This is so full of conjecture and misinformation I don't even know where to begin. Most decent articles have some sort of way of verifying what they are saying, this guy is just shooting his mouth off with his biased opinion. I think this is the real problem in America, too many opinions and not enough facts. And why should we believe you Mr. McGuire? Because your opinion is better than mine? Please.

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