Smartasses of the world unite!!

Generally a smartass and believer in the Twainism that Against the assualt of laughter, nothing can stand. Mission: mock bigotry, narcisism, and ignorance. This is a collection of thoughts on baseball, politics, economics, and occasional other things.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Why do Republicans hate liberty?!?!?

Richard Posner (Credit: Reuters/John Gress)

I don't get it. I have many friends that are Republicans, and to a person they all cite a dedication to individual liberty as one of the reasons they identify as such.

So, why do Republicans want to use the power of government to restrict voting rights through implementing Voter ID laws. They cite voter fraud as justification, but on such weak evidence? I mean, to place any restriction voting rights you'd expect people - with such a dedication to keeping the power of government from limiting free exercise of all individual liberty - to only do so with proof positive that it was needed. They haven't. They haven't because they can't. It hardly ever happens. As conservatives love to say, "If it ain't broke. Don't fix it."

"I believe there are thousands of illegal votes that cancel out legitimate ones." a GOP friend tells me. Well, believing in something, and proving something is real are entirely different things. Or, to paraphrase my father the sailor; "Believe in one hand, and shit in the other. See which one fills up first." I really don't give a shit what you believe. What can you prove, because that's what matters?

Let's see there's the recent James O'Keefe wannabe conservative muckraker video in which, while disguised as a liberal activist, he conversationally gets other voting activists to admit if they did such and such (with early ballots, or absentee ballots which I'm not sure how Voter ID prevents that anyway) they could stuff the ballot box with fraudulent votes. They never do, but for some reason this is "proof" that voter fraud is rampant.

There's the video of the Arizona man dropping off early ballots that he has collected - which is legal in AZ (not that I think we should bring this practice to WI) - as a Republican poll watcher says "What are you doing?" If he's a poll watcher, he knows damn well what the guy is doing. Again, these are signed ballots in sealed envelopes that need to be inspected by poll workers before they're counted. Another conservative friend - OK brother's friend - says "How do you know those are all legitimate votes Dave?!" To which I reply, "You need to prove they're illegitimate. That's how the law works dumbass."

But go ahead, insist that Voter ID is not a solution in search of a problems. Tell us that fraud is rampant while GOP Atty Generals DON'T prosecute any cases while calling for the law. Tell us how you need an ID to do dozens of other things like buy beer (to show age), or cigarettes (again, age), or a bank account (not the law, a bank policy), or cash a check (another business policy, not state law); none of which are Constitutional rights. Insist it's not voter suppression. People are just too lazy to get the IDs, (or pay the poll tax, or take the literacy tests, or not have ovaries, or not be black, or whatever else conservatives have done in the past to try to hold back demographic shifts). Please, insist all these things are really the reason. It's just so precious.

One of your own, Judge Posner, says it's bullshit. When the guy who upheld Indiana's Voter ID law says it's a pile of poo, it's a pile of poo.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Voter ID was bullshit, is bullshit, and will remain bullshit as proposed.


image - Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel files
Voter ID is bullshit. Know how you can tell it's bullshit? One of the first things it's supporters say - after of course you show them that voter fraud is exceedingly rare - is that you need an ID to cash a check, or buy beer. Bullshit. Voting is a right, buying beer is not. Cashing a check is a business transaction. I've actually heard people say they can only prosecute voter fraud with the new law. This is stupid. It's already illegal to voter as someone else. It's also quite basic to compare a signature on a registration form to the signature on the voter rolls one signs on election day. We know GOP Asshats have plenty of volunteers to look at signatures.

You see, in America we have rights, and there can only be a law restricting your rights if the government proves there is a need for the greater good (like it's against the law to yell "fire" in a movie theater as the notable free speech exception). There would have to be demonstrated threat to others' rights to fair elections to restrict voting access. You would need to PROVE that actual, in person, voting as someone you're not, voter fraud happens a LOT. That's how it works. State Patrols can't start pulling people over at random to prevent speeding. You have to speed to get a ticket right? That's how liberty works.

Dr Lorraine Minnite of Rutgers University, as an expert testifying in a case about voter ID in Wisconsin had this to say;
  1. As part of a report she prepared for the trial, Minnite said, she found a total of 31 voter fraud prosecutions in Wisconsin since 2008. She said that amounts to one case for every 283,000 votes cast in the three federal elections during that time span. 1/283,000th = 0.0000035335689, or 0.00035335689% that's 3/10,000ths of a percent - (bold added by me, and yes you could round up to 4/10,000ths. It's still fucking miniscule)
  2. Ten of the case didn't really meet her definition, she said, because they involved improperly collected signatures or filing false voter registrations for others, or lying about a felony record to get a job as a voter registration worker.
  3. Of the 21 remaining cases, 12 were felons who voted, three were double voters, four were people who voted in the wrong place and one was a man who obtained and voted an absentee ballot for his dead wife -- a case Minnite conceded may have been prevented if the dead woman wasn't already registered and would have to show photo ID to get the ballot.
So it's not a case of people voting who shouldn't, or voting over and over and over. Only one, ONE, that could conceivable been prevented by a photo ID requirement. That's 1 of the original 31, or 1/31st of the 1/283,000th. Wanna see the math? It's 0.00000011398609, or 0.000011398609%, or 1/100,000th of a percent. "Well (I've heard) What about undetected fraud?" To even move an election 1% there would need to be 100,000 times the fraud that's undetected.That's why the voter fraud argument is total bullshit.

Another thing they like to say is that Voter ID is used in nations in Europe, or India. And it's true other countries have voter ID laws.
  1. “In Switzerland, every registered voter is sent a registration card prior to an election, and if the voter brings her registration card to the polling place, no additional identification is needed.”
  2. “Canada permits any voter who lacks one of the allowed forms of photo identification to present two of forty-five other forms of identification or documentation that have the voter’s name and address on at least one. Acceptable documents include leases, student transcripts, and utility bills.”
  3. Sweden’s policy is a bit more vague, requiring that a “voter who is not known to the voting clerks [produce] an identity document or in another way verify her or his identity.”
  4. “India allows the use of fifteen different types of identification, ranging from property documents to arms licenses to income tax identity cards. Included, too, are forms of identification most likely to be possessed by the poor.... For instance, voters can present ration cards issued to the poor to allow them to buy food staples and kerosene oil at subsidized prices.”
As you can see, it's exceedingly easy to get voter ID in these countries that require it. You can see Switzerland actually sends you the card. No need to take a vacation day to make a trip to wait in line at the DMV. Requirements as to what constitutes acceptable ID are also much more relaxed than the Wisconsin voter ID law just put on hold by the US Supreme Court, or the Texas law struck down by a federal court.

So it's not fraud. Voting is a right. Buying beer is not. Cashing a check, or opening a back account are not rights. While other countries use it, it's also not as restrictive as proposed here. Voter ID proponents continue to have flimsy arguments crumble to any scrutiny.

This begs the question; why does the GOP have such a hard-on for voter ID laws? I could say the GOP Asshats cynically have proposed these laws to restrict turnout of traditional Dem constituencies. I could say they know that low turnout elections typically favor GOP candidates. I could say they know their core demographic is shrinking as a percentage of the electorate. I could say more and more millennials are not identifying as Republicans, and the GOP knows this.

That would make the GOP a bunch of cynical assholes who seek to hold power because they know in the long run they're losing, but I'm not saying that (out loud)