voter ID law

Should a libertarian support voter ID laws?

Since 2003 a number of states have passed laws requiring some sort of ID to be shown when a person goes to vote.  Proponents of the laws present them as a way to stamp out voter fraud; opponents decry the laws as a way to prevent minorities or the poor from voting, as they are most likely to not have acceptable ID.  The battles have waged not only in legislatures but in courthouses as well.  Wisconsin’s law was just struck down by a judge and Texas’ law is being challenged by the DOJ.

For a libertarian, it seems like both sides of the argument have been a little disingenuous.  Voter fraud has yet to be shown to be anywhere near as widespread as Republicans would like us to think, though this could be because it has heretofore gone undetected.  And showing a form of basic ID, often provided at no cost to the voter, is a very low bar and one that is gladly accepted when doing numerous other activities - even buying alcohol or getting into a bar.

So we are left to sit outside and try to figure out which side to take.  On one hand, for those libertarians who believe in voting, the integrity of elections is very important.  We need to ensure that elections accurately represent the will of voters.  On the other hand, though, it is important that no one is prevented from voting for illegitimate reasons.  If the laws are an underhanded attempt to disenfranchise certain groups, as opponents say, they are problematic.

California State Assembly Promotes Vote Fraud

I thank God everyday I do not live in the State of California. Sure the climate is nice, but the quality of life is pure crap. From the smog of Los Angeles to the high cost of living to the nanny statism that seems to infect every aspect of government in that state, California is no place for most sane people. The politics on the state level are even worse than the dysfunctional, authoritarian politics that are common place locally. The question is not whether or not the state will eventually need a bailout from the Federal government, but when. It is the highest taxed state in the Union and probably the most incompetently governed. Instead of tackling the deep fiscal problems of the state, the California State Assembly has instead made it easier to commit vote fraud on Election Day.

Californians who forgot to register for next week’s election may have better luck next time if a bill passed by the Assembly becomes law.

AB1436 would allow people to register to vote at any time, including on Election Day.

Assemblyman Mike Feuer, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said he wrote the bill to address the state’s chronically low voter participation rate.

No one is taking away ability to vote

There’s a new progressive meme running around lately, and that’s that voter regulations that are floating around are somehow designed to prevent minorities from voting.  I’ve seen it a couple of places, and frankly I’m kind of sick of it.  I’m not a fan of undue burdens in anything, but the latest from the left is just idiotic.

A case in point is columnist E.J. Dionne.

These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments.

Again, think of what this would look like to a dispassionate observer. A party wins an election, as the GOP did in 2010. Then it changes the election laws in ways that benefit itself. In a democracy, the electorate is supposed to pick the politicians. With these laws, politicians are shaping their electorates.

[…]

The laws in question include requiring voter identification cards at the polls, limiting the time of early voting, ending same-day registration and making it difficult for groups to register new voters.

Now, I’m not a fan of making things more difficult for groups wishing to register new voters, but after ACORN’s fraud, I don’t blame states for trying to prevent those sort of shenanigans again.  As for the rest of that?  Where’s the alleged racism?

 


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