Who or what was to blame for Hillary Clinton losing the election? Well, obviously not Hillary herself. We can rule that one out right off the bat. So it was Comey, right? Or was it the Russians? Loretta Lynch? Fake news? Just in case all of those fall through, some of Team Clinton’s supporters are preparing a backup plan. It was “suppression” of the vote because of new Voter ID laws, particularly in places like Wisconsin. (LA Times)
[Delia Anderson] had cast her ballot at the same polling place for years, never with a glitch. This year, however, a volunteer driving her to the polls mentioned that she would be asked to show a state-approved photo ID.
“Don’t these poll people already know who I am?” replied Anderson, who is 77, black and uses a wheelchair, as she frantically sifted through her purse for anything to prove her identity.
It was a lost cause. She had planned to vote for Hillary Clinton. Instead, for the first time in 56 years, she did not cast a ballot.
“Lord, have mercy,” she said. “What happened to voting?”
Lord have mercy indeed. The linked article goes on from the wrenching story of Delia Anderson to explain parts of Wisconsin’s new voter ID law. They then attempt to draw a line from there to the fact that voter turnout was down in Milwaukee by 41,000 compared to 2012. This was especially true in the black vote. This apparently makes the case that Hillary might have carried Wisconsin if it weren’t for those pesky voter ID laws, right?
Sure, unless you bother to check with… reality. The number of things wrong with this argument is staggering, starting with the idea that this phenomenon was somehow linked to the new law. The fact is that black voter turnout was down across the nation, not just in places with specific voting laws. Of course, if her defenders had to admit that they would then have to face the idea that Clinton simply wasn’t as well liked or popular as Barack Obama and people didn’t bother showing up to vote for her.
But let’s go back to the touching story of Delia, who was unable to find a suitable ID and, by her own admission, left without casting a ballot. Why would you do that? The LA Times is making it sound as if she was given the boot as soon as her lack of ID was discovered. But the fact is that she could have immediately cast a provisional ballot (as so many other people did) and come back with her ID at her convenience to verify it. That’s precisely what happened for many folks during the primary and all of their ballots were counted. (NPR)
Madison resident Audrey Thomas lost her photo ID — something that proved to be a problem at the polls on Tuesday.
Instead of walking out, Thomas filled out a provisional ballot — a form of ballot provided to registered voters who don’t have the proper ID. Thomas now has until 4 p.m. Friday to get a photo ID and bring it to a municipal clerk to have her vote count.
Three hundred and sixty-three provisional ballots were cast in this week’s primary. Government Accountability Board officials said typically anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of provisional voters present their photo ID to a municipal clerk by the deadline to have the vote counted.
But… but.. but… what if she couldn’t afford to go get an ID card? We hear this complaint often from voter ID opponents, but it’s similarly vacuous. Delia would have to be pretty impoverished not to be able to afford a free ID card. And yes, anyone in the state can get a free voter ID card in Wisconsin if they can’t afford a license or normal state ID. They can get you one even if you don’t have a birth certificate. There’s a phone number you can call, a web site to visit or a list of offices where you can drop by.
Anyone who didn’t cast a ballot that day didn’t care all that much about voting. These laws were publicized non-stop, and even if you didn’t know about it (ignorance of the law is no excuse, but…) you could cast a provisional ballot, go get your free ID and come back and finish the process. But hey… don’t let that stop you from dreaming up new things to blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss. I mean, it couldn’t have been her own fault.