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Monday, February 06, 2006

Code words meant to divide over Voter I.D.

Those danged "liberal Democrats" are at it again. They're teaming up with the "black lawmakers" to kill that beautiful piece of common-sense legislation called Voter I.D.
Coast home loans on agenda - The Clarion-Ledger:
On the Senate side, Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, said a number of potentially controversial bills are likely headed to the floor.

Burton, elections chairman, said he plans to bring out a voter ID bill that faces stiff opposition from black lawmakers and liberal Democrats.
First off, let's be clear: Linking "blacks" and "liberals" together is a Republican ploy in the South, and the C-L walked right into it by putting it in their words and not the senator who said it.

Second, it should be understood that Voter I.D. is not a black-white issue. Yes, most African-Americans – especially older ones – have a real problem with this kind of legislation based on history, and rightfully so. But that is only one small fraction of the argument.

Voter I.D. is in fact a poll tax because it will require some people who have no picture I.D. (and there are plenty of people like this) to go and purchase a picture I.D. This is the exact reason that a Georgia law found trouble.

Who doesn't have I.D.? Older Mississippians who do not drive. Poorer Mississippians who do not drive. And an entire population of people who have lost their driver's license for whatever reason – and this group includes rich and poor, black and white, Democrats and Republicans.

The truth is that requiring a photo I.D. is a deterrent to voters. It's that simple. And that lazy argument that goes something like, "If you have to have I.D. to open a checking account or rent a movie, then it shouldn't be a big deal to have an I.D. to vote," is just preposterous.

It should be pointed out that Republicans think as much of your right to vote as they do your privilege to rent a bad movie from Blockbuster. That's the level of importance they are relating to what has been granted persons by our Constitution.

In the end, it all comes down to voter fraud. Republicans and wayward Democrats will hang their hat on the mass voter fraud going on in Mississippi. OK. I'll buy that. If someone can prove mass voter fraud, then I'll change my tune.

Fact: Proof of mass voter fraud in Mississippi does not exist.

It's kind of like arresting someone for a crime you think was committed but can't really prove it. Nonetheless, since we can convince enough people the crime was committed then it's OK to go ahead and lock someone up for it.

I challenge Republicans like Sen. Burton to put aside partisan politics and focus on better solutions to some perceived yet unproven problem. The federal Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) will do the most good in Mississippi. HAVA requires a statewide voter database to be maintained by the Secretary of State's office. This database will link to each county, so when a voter registers in a new county, it will automatically remove them from the old county voter roll. It will also have the ability to link to a database of death certificates so that when someone dies they are removed from the voter rolls.

HAVA will help. Voter I.D. will only divide.


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