Tag: Voter registration

The Dubious Menace of Voter ID

Voter ID laws have been a point of heavy contention over the last few years. Republicans think that Democrats are only winning because of massive voter fraud and want strict ID laws. Democrats think ID laws are a conspiracy to disenfranchise poor people, minorities and students. It sure would be nice to have some data to constrain their imaginations.

Oh, look!

North Carolina is considering a strict new voter ID law, so North Carolina’s Secretary of State has conducted an analysis estimating how many voters have a state-issued photo ID. This isn’t necessarily new; states have done these sorts of analyses before. But North Carolina’s analysis overcomes many of the limitations that reduced the usefulness of previous assessments, like Pennsylvania’s. Other efforts required an exact match between voter registration and DMV databases; North Carolina expanded their matching criteria to allow for slight variations in names and data entry errors. North Carolina didn’t just look at how many registered voters didn’t have voter ID, they also looked at how many voters from the 2012 general election didn’t have voter ID. That’s very important, since it’s easy to imagine that voters without a car, or the elderly and the young would be especially likely to stay home on Election Day. And since North Carolina tracks voter registration by race and party, we have a pretty clear idea of how they would have voted.

The long and short is this. About 300,000 eligible voters don’t have ID. And about 138,000 people who voted in North Carolina in 2012 didn’t have ID. Of the voters without ID about half were non-white (compared to 30% generally) and 58% were Democrat (compared to 43%). So the impact was stronger on traditionally Democratic voters. However, even if all the people who didn’t have ID were denied the ability to vote — and in actual voter ID situation, that number would have been far less than 138,000 — the impact would have been minimal:

As a result, Obama’s share of the vote in North Carolina might have dropped from 48.3 to 48 percent, expanding Romney’s margin of victory from 92,000 to about 120,000 votes. 25,000 to 30,000 votes could flip a very close election, but nothing more. In 2012, no state was so close.

That’s Nate Cohn at the New Republic, by the way, who opposes voter ID laws and thinks they are a conspiracy to disenfranchise Democrats and steal elections. But even he is forced to acknowledge that impact would be minimal even in a state that has a large minority population and lots of students. Moreover, no voter ID law was being enforced. If it were, the number of ID-less voters would have been lower as the state and the parties made pushes to get IDs for eligible voters.

The wild claims of stolen elections were always a bit ridiculous. If massive vote fraud were occurring, we would expect participation rates to be much higher in inner cities instead of much lower. But so were the hysterical claims that elections were being stolen by Republicans. The simple fact is that 95% of the population has some form of acceptable identification.

Now I oppose the idea of 138,000 people being denied the right to vote if they are entitled to it. I think any voter ID laws needs to come with provisions to make it easy for legitimate voters to obtain ID and exercise their rights. But this study indicates we can back away from the abyss and move the debate and the law to more reasonable terms. In my opinion, those reasonable terms are requiring ID while making it easy for voting citizens to get them (including provisional ballots for those who forget or lose their ID). It may not swing many elections. But it will diffuse an issues that has dragged on for far too long.

I bet you they all voted too!

And you know who these people voted for.

Red-faced state officials admitted last night they are trying to find as many as 19,000 missing welfare recipients — after the controversial taxpayer-funded voter registration pitches the state mailed to their addresses last summer were sent back marked “Return to sender, address unknown.”

The Department of Transitional Assistance contacted 477,000 welfare recipients who were on their books from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012, after settling a voter-rights lawsuit brought by Democratic-leaning activist groups that demanded an aggressive voter information effort by the state. That $274,000 push by DTA resulted in 31,000 new voter registrations — but revealed an alarming number of welfare recipients whose residency in Massachusetts can’t be confirmed.

“DTA is in the process of contacting those clients for which a forwarding address was prov­ided to verify their addresses, as a change of address might impact their eligibility,” a statement from the agency said. DTA critics expressed astonishment at the agency’s faulty address records — which were only uncovered by accident — saying it’s further evidence that the electronic benefits system sorely needs reform.

Yah, sure the problem is their addresses. Heh. I wonder how good their healthcare records are. Masshole tax payers must be loving this stuff.

Voter Fraud? What Voter Fraud

This is why we need voter ID:

Patrick Moran, the son of Virginia Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and the field director for his father’s reelection bid, resigned abruptly Wednesday after a video linked him to voter fraud.

The video — released earlier in the day by Project Veritas, a conservative organization headed by the Republican activist James O’Keefe — revealed that the younger Moran had weighed options for helping an undercover operative cast votes on behalf of 100 people who allegedly weren’t planning to vote.

“There will be a lot of voter protection, so, if they just have, you know, the utility bill or bank statement — bank statement would obviously be tough … but faking a utility bill would be easy enough,” Moran says, apparently referring to options for getting around Virginia’s voter ID laws.

Isn’t it amazing how when we pass these voter ID laws, this “non-existent” voter fraud problem suddenly becomes very real?

I’ve criticized O’Keefe before, but there’s nothing to say about this. Moran Jr. isn’t being quoted out of context. He’s openly conspiring to commit fraud. And it was so obvious that his own father shitcanned him in about ten seconds. What he was conspiring to do, if I understand correctly, was a felony.

The Left will, of course, ignore this while touting election fraud stories involving Republicans. But here’s the key difference: Republicans are not opposing any and all efforts to tighten down on voter and voter registration fraud. The Republicans who are misbehaving are being caught by laws Republicans support. No one is saying that Colin Small or anyone else should be left off the hook. If any GOP operatives are committing fraud, Republicans should and will be the first to call for their scalps.

But is there comparable integrity from the Left? Are they calling for prosecution? **crickets**

In the end, I suspect that this will be resolved by both sides agreeing to a national ID card, a prospect I am opposed to. But for now, just passing laws that require an ID is a good step.