Voter, ID Me This

I’m a big fan of evidence-based policy. So you can imagine how happy I am to see that a law is having its intended effect:

“As the general election nears — in which new or strengthened voter ID laws will be in place in Texas and 14 other states for the first time in a presidential election — recent academic research indicates that the requirements restrict turnout and disproportionately affect voting by minorities.” (NYTimes. “Stricter Rules for Voter IDs Reshape Races” May 1, 2016)

Fan-damn-tastic. That’s exactly what Voter ID laws are supposed to do.

“We’re asking people if they have a driver’s license,” he said. “We’re having those basic conversations about IDs at the front end, right at our first meeting with voters.”–Representative Pete Gallego (D-TX) (Same citation)

Even better! Tie up democratic candidates’ already continuous campaign cycle helping people with their ID and registration instead of hearing stories and talking policy and securing those actual votes. I love it! This is probably an unintended consequence of this policy, and unintended consequences are usually detriments. It warms my heart that this time, it’s right in line with the intentions. Not to mention that Rep. Gallego gets to do this in a congressional district the size of Mississippi! Woo Hoo!

Republicans say they push Voter ID laws to “combat election fraud,” and Democrats say these laws are meant to disenfranchise traditionally democratic voters, such as people of color, the poor, minorities, and those with disabilities. Who’s to say who is right?

Certainly not all those pesky data about the amount of “in-person voter fraud” there really is. You know, the kind of fraud these laws are designed to catch. (The disconnect between voter ID laws and voter fraud, Brennan Center for Justice: The Truth About Voter Fraud (report), The big lie behind voter ID laws )

Thank goodness the Supreme Court has been chipping away at the Voting Rights Act since 2013, allowing these voter ID laws to come into being in 33 states, disproportionately affecting the 13.65% of Americans without government-issues photo ID, who are disproportionately minorities. That is what these laws are supposed to do! Another unintended but beneficial consequence of voter ID laws is that they are keeping even voters with proper ID from the polls because they think they don’t have proper ID. Can you say BONUS?

The other thing I love is that registered voters with proper ID, those who vote in sexy elections like the ones for president and stuff, don’t bother to vote in off-year elections where so many of our lawmakers get into office, helping facilitate this particular little legislative nugget. It’s such a beautiful circle of life.

Extra awesome: you can use your handgun license to vote in Texas, but you can’t use your tribal or student ID. It would be really funny if democrats started going out, registering voters of color, and getting them handgun permits to use as ID on Election Day.  That might get the republicans’ attention. But they would never do that, would they, because democrats hate guns! HAHAHAHAHA!!!

I love policies that spend millions of dollars to target an issue that statistically doesn’t exist. That’s such efficient use of taxpayer resources. It also serves to further increase the public’s ignorance AND mistrust of government. Yet MORE wonderful pay-offs from Voter ID laws! They truly are the gift that keeps on giving.

What’s extra super great is that all the machinery in place to secure elections is in the hands of government, for which the people have abdicated responsibility. Again, part of that glorious circle of life! Voter turn-out is already low overall in the United States, allowing for the establishment of anti-voter policies that further disenfranchise voters through campaign finance, redistricting, and now, voter ID. Scrumptious.

“We’re finding typically that strict voter ID laws double or triple the gap in turnout between whites and nonwhites,” — (Zoltan L. Hajnal, political science professor at the University of California, San Diego. Same citation.)

That’s the stuff.