It’s still nearly sixteen months until the midterm elections, but the usual list of suspects is already hot on the trail of any states which may be attempting to safeguard the integrity of elections with new voter ID laws and related measures. This chore has taken on greatly increased significance because President Trump has made eliminating voter fraud a priority, so obviously Democrats and most of the mainstream media (though I repeat myself) have to #RESIST the idea as much as possible.
Jane C. Timm at NBC News is out with a “Special Report” on the subject which gets the aforementioned effort off to an early start. She begins her tale in Missouri, one of many states working on new legislation in this area. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has been traveling around promoting the law, but NBC decides to focus on one disgruntled person (presumably a Democrat) who asks the loaded question of how many cases of voter fraud there have been in the state. When Ashcroft identifies a case where a couple was caught listing a false address on their registration, the questioner declares it to be “the red herring” of voter fraud.
We’re then treated to some of the same sorry statistics which are marched out every time this subject comes up.
With turnout in the United States already low — 55.7 percent of voting-age Americans cast ballots in 2016 — critics say voter ID legislation disproportionately affects minorities, low-income Americans and younger voters. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University has estimated that as many as 11 percent of Americans — 21 million of them voting age by 2000 Census data — were without photo IDs, while 4.5 million more have IDs that may not reflect their current names or addresses.
Some studies have found that ID laws depress turnout: One study that controlled for outside effects found that they depressed turnout among both Republicans and Democrats but hurt Democratic and minority turnout the most, while other analysis has noted that turnout can be influenced by everything from the weather to that year’s batch of candidates, indicating that the effect of voter ID requirements is hard to measure.
Opponents say the real intention is not to guarantee the integrity of elections but to disenfranchise certain groups, those that often vote Democratic.
There’s two points we should always keep in mind while these arguments are endlessly airing on cable news. The first has to do with the “red herring” mentioned above. Asking how many confirmed cases of voter fraud have been discovered and successfully prosecuted is a completely pointless question because that number is always depressingly low. The fact is, you need to be worried about all of the cases that are not being caught because nobody is looking for them. I explained this at length in 2012 and don’t feel the need to rehash the entire reason again here.
But the second issue is definitely worth a quick look and it has to do with these repeated claims that voter ID laws disproportionately affect minorities. It becomes tiresome to see these arguments being made in articles and on cable news discussion panels with virtually nobody challenging the claim. With that in mind I would invite anyone carrying this ragged old banner to come and explain a couple of things to me.
First, how is a law which applies equally to all citizens regardless of any demographic profile of any sort somehow “unfair” to one particular group? If you find a state passing a law which says that you need to complete steps X,Y and Z to register unless you are white (or male, or Christian, or straight or whatever you like), in which case you can skip some steps, then I will immediately join you out in the streets marching in protest. The laws are applied equally to all.
The only other claim which seems to contain any details is that some demographic groups are less likely to have a photo ID than others. (Generally minorities.) But all of the voter ID laws I’ve seen which pass muster make it possible for people to obtain a free ID if they can’t afford one of the usual ones. Please explain to me why one particular demographic group has a harder time getting a free ID than another. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
These arguments have long since sunk to the level of tiresome nonsense. It’s yet another case where we see liberals fighting against something which would hopefully reduce crime. How anyone with a pro-crime platform can continue to attract as many voters as they seem to do remains a mystery for the ages.