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Wisconsin, Texas Voter ID Laws Blocked; It’s Democracy, Not Judicial Activism

South Dakota Codified Law 12-18-6.1 requires South Dakotans to present a photo identification in order to vote. Those of us who find the photo-ID requirement odious have the option under SDCL 12-18-6.2 of signing an affadavit swearing we are who we are.

A Wisconsin judge shares my odium. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess has declared that state's new voter-ID law unconstitutional. The U.S. Department of Justice just wagged a negatory finger at a similar Texas law, holding that phot ID requirements unfairly impact minority populations.

Wisconsin Disenfranchiser-in-Chief Scott Walker gripes about judicial activism. Judge Niess pre-empts the judicial activism argument in his ruling:

Because the Wisconsin Constitution is the people's bulwark against government overreach, courts must reject every opportunity to contort its language into implicitly providing what it explicitly does not: license to enact laws that, for any citizen, cancel or substantially burden a constitutionally guaranteed sacred right, such as the right to vote.

Otherwise we stray into judicial activism at its most insidious. Our constitution is a line in the sand drawn by the sovereign authority in this state - the people of Wisconsin - that the Legislature, governor, and the courts may not cross, particularly under the all-too-convenient guise of strained construction and attenuated inference [Judge Richard Niess, ruling, quoted in Patrick Marley, "Judge Rules Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Unconstitutional," Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 2012.03.12].

We should view with suspicion any government that tries to turn more people away at the polls.


  1. Steve Sibson 2012.03.13

    It's a Republic, not a mob-rule anti-minority rights democracy.

  2. Aaron Heidelberger 2012.03.13

    Holding that photo ID requirement also unfairly impact minority's who want to drive a car. We need to end mandatory photo ID for driving a vehicle because it unfairly impacts minority's.

  3. Chris S. 2012.03.13

    @Aaron-- #SarcasmFAIL.

    A driver's license is a privilege.
    Voting is a constitutional right.

  4. Steve Sibson 2012.03.13

    "Voting is a constitutional right."

    Not if you are under 18. And if you are under zero, you have no right to life. The constitution has been taken down. No sarcasm.

  5. Aaron Heidelberger 2012.03.13

    Oh.....where does it say that? Is that in the bill of rights? Apparently unions require an ID for votes.

  6. Bill Fleming 2012.03.13

    Aaron, 17th Amendment for one.

  7. Steve Sibson 2012.03.13

    I do understand that having a photo will make it more difficult for dead people to vote. But I did not know that dead people were a minority.

  8. Aaron Heidelberger 2012.03.13

    Presenting a photo ID does not unfairly discriminate against anybody.

  9. Bill Fleming 2012.03.13

    Depends on the specifics of the ID required. If it is a hassle to get one, it discriminates, typically against poor people and the elderly. There is no reason whatsoever to be making laws that disenfranchise voters. None.

  10. Nick Nemec 2012.03.13

    Doesn't requiring a photo ID in effect constitute a poll tax? Aren't poll taxes prohibited by the 24th Amendment? I would love to see the arguments on this aspect of the voter ID arguments discussed by people smarter than I am.

  11. Bill Fleming 2012.03.13

    Nick, ARE there people smarter than you are? If so, I don't know any. ;^)

  12. Nick Nemec 2012.03.13

    Sadly Bill I do.

  13. Steve Sibson 2012.03.13

    South Dakota law does not require and ID, you can sign an affidavit. So how many dead men voting will allow the Dems to take control of Pierre?

  14. Steve Sibson 2012.03.13

    "There is no reason whatsoever to be making laws that disenfranchise voters. None."

    And if a person votes more than once and cancels my vote, then I am disenfranchised.

  15. Bill Fleming 2012.03.13

    Sibby, please document the number of times that has happened in SD. In the US. How many people are you willing to disenfranchise to satisfy your hysterical paranoia?

  16. Troy Jones 2012.03.13


    Confidence in the integrity of elections is critical for a democracy. What is disenfranchising about showing an ID or signing an affidavitt?

  17. Steve Sibson 2012.03.13

    Bill, How many times has a person been not allowed to vote in South Dakota because they don't have a photo ID or did not sign an affidavit?

  18. Jana 2012.03.13

    Troy, Speaking of integrity of elections...what was the last high profile convictions in South Dakota on voter fraud? Where are those people now? Isn't one in the legislature? Weren't there some Augie kids in that little voter fraud scheme as well?

    Troy, you ask "what is disenfranchising about showing an ID?"

    Funny that as well read as you are, you don't know the answer to your own question.

    Tell you what Troy, leave your car in the garage for a day and go out and secure your birth certificate, your wife's marriage license and for the sake of argument...a divorce decree (glad you are happily married, but you get the idea)...all in different states. Sounds like that should be pretty easy. Keep track of your time and transportation expense.

    AURORA, Ohio – A Portage County World War II veteran was turned away from a polling place this morning because his driver’s license had expired in January and his new Veterans Affairs ID did not include his home address.

  19. Bill Fleming 2012.03.13

    Honestly, I don't have any complaints about South Dakota's voting system, even though I was not allowed to vote last election even though I showed my ID. The mistake was at the polling place. There was no voter fraud.

    Someone had just spaced out and crossed my name off instead of the name above (or below) mine. I never did find out which... only that (supposedly) my vote did finally count. I have absolutely no way of confirming this other than to take the county auditors word for it.

    Honestly, if I wanted to waste the energy, I'd be far more concerned with the "ruling party" in SD gaming the system than I am Democrats committing voter fraud.

    Just take a look at the composition of our state government. Obviously, if we Dems been committing voter fraud, we're not very damn good at it.

    This is typical of the GOP, though, to whine about non-existant problems. LOL.

  20. Stace Nelson 2012.03.13

    Heard a lot of heart warming stories of voter turn out for Al Franken. Folks that hadn't voted for years showed up voting for him. You know, dead people, people in prison, etc.

  21. Jana 2012.03.13

    Bill...Honestly, if I wanted to waste the energy, I’d be far more concerned with the “ruling party” in SD gaming the system than I am Democrats committing voter fraud.

    Doesn't our Secretary of State have a PAC that is dedicated to betting his own and other peoples money to elect Republicans?

    Oh yeah and who was that guy in Indiana that was convicted of voter fraud...seems to me he was part of the ruling party gaming the system. Oh yeah...this guy:

  22. Jana 2012.03.13

    Stace, I heard that the Republicans have moved their voting date to Wednesday for the upcoming election. (Sorry that isn't very original, but it's worked in the past)

    Stace, you bring up a good point and a lot of those individuals were tried and convicted.

  23. Bill Fleming 2012.03.13

    Numbers, Stace... hard data, please.

  24. Linda 2012.03.13

    Yes, voting is a right for legal citizens over a certain age. It is also a privilege not afforded many countries in this world. I see no problem with a person presenting proof that he/she is indeed the person he/she claim to be. It seems to me that those arguing against voter ID do not care whether their vote is negated or not at the polls. Well, I do. I want every legal and alive person in this nation to vote, and requiring an ID does not prevent anyone from doing so. A voter ID is needed to write a check, to board a plane, to buy liquor, all things much less important in the scheme of things than preserving the integrity of the vote. It is NOT that hard to do, but it sure does make a good political ploy in an election year by pretending that the Dems are the good guys and the GOP are the bad guys. Protecting the integrity of the vote is basic to maintaining our nation and its freedoms, and even the Dems should see that. And please don't give me the argument that I am racist etc; I am not. I don't care what color or ethnicity a voter is; I just care that he is a legal, alive citizen who is honestly casting his own legal vote.

  25. LK 2012.03.13

    After reading this thread, I have the feeling I have awakened in a parallel universe where I am a lonely libertarian fighting big government advocates. (You know the universe I'm talking about; it's the one where Star Trek's Spock had a goatee in "Mirror, Mirror.")

    I’m all for making sure the protection in all the amendments are protected, but I’m pretty sure that I will have a better chance to limit government intrusion in my life at the ballot box than I will by carrying a concealed weapon.

    I am literally gobsmacked that he same people who claim that requiring a motorcyclist to wear a helmet will lead to black helicopters swooping in and killing citizens in the streets advocate a voter ID. The fact that the same people who tell me that a requirement to buy health insurance will lead to death panels that will put dear Aunt Susie down just like we had to put Fluffy, the family cat, down last year tell me that voter IDs pose no risk to citizen participation astounds me.

    If helmet laws are bad, and if gun laws are bad, and if health insurance laws are bad, then voter ID laws are bad for the same reason: unwarranted government intrusion into citizens’ lives.

    Maybe I’m too old, but am I the only one who shudders at the words “Ihre Papiere, bitte”

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.13

    "Confidence in the integrity of elections..." I am genuinely curious: what has changed since the pioneer days when we all just rode our horses to town and voted without any photo IDs? Did we have less confidence in elections 100 or 200 years ago?

  27. D.E. Bishop 2012.03.13

    Rep. Nelson, you are wrong about the MN election. Well, you are right about the stories. Those totally unsubstantiated stories sprang forth like daffodils in the spring after Franken beat the Repub in a very close election. In fact, the MN legislature, controlled by Repubs, has placed a voter ID law on the ballot this fall. This is spite of decades of election statistics that show voter impersonation in MN is minute.

    The biggest voter issue that ought to be on any state's menu is how to Increase Voter Turnout, rather than suppression.

    As for why voter ID will suppress votes, read this part of Jana's comment again:

    "Tell you what Troy, leave your car in the garage for a day and go out and secure your birth certificate, your wife’s marriage license and for the sake of argument…a divorce decree..."

    Not only ought you do this without your car. Do it from Buffalo Gap or Cherry Creek, without your computer and with a crippled 80 year old body that has never missed voting.

    That's why it suppresses voting. The Repubs (ALEC, Koch Bros) darn well know that. That is exactly why they are doing this. As US demographics change, the electorate leans more and more Dem. Voter suppression through a bogus ID law is what ALEC has decided is the most effective way to gain/maintain political control.

    Voter ID has never been about making elections more fair. It's about Exactly the Opposite.

  28. Joseph Nelson 2012.03.13

    "“Confidence in the integrity of elections…” I am genuinely curious: what has changed since the pioneer days when we all just rode our horses to town and voted without any photo IDs? Did we have less confidence in elections 100 or 200 years ago?"

    Back then, when you went to vote (at least in South Dakota), the people at the polls probably knew who you were, and that you were living in South Dakota. Back then, you could not reasonably travel very far to commit voter fraud (for example, now from Spearfish, you could likely vote in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska all in the same day). I think it is a constitutional right to vote, and it should not be limited in any way...but the burden of proof of citizenship should fall on the citizen. To put that burden on the State invites all sorts of fun government intrusion. Get 20 bucks, go buy a SD ID card. (brings up the question of why it is $20, and maybe they should be cheaper for the invalids and homebodies, and all the other people that the opposition will likely roll out to say this is unfair and unconstitutional. Heck, make it free! (yet it still costs money to get my birth cert, what is up with that!)

  29. Owen Reitzel 2012.03.13

    I'm sorry if this was said before but I think the Republicons are creating a solution to no problem.
    Is there votger fraud taking place all over the country?
    Don't think so. They why? Voter surpression is why. and minorities are hit hardest because they normally vote for democrats

  30. Tim Higgins 2012.03.13

    Prior to the Senate race between John Thune and Tim Johnson, the Democratic Party hired several individuals to go to the reservations and register voters. As it turns out the indivuals hired registered several people who had died. This was uncovered and the registration for the dead individuals were denied, but if they had succeded I can certainly see the benefits of a photo ID requirement.

  31. Jana 2012.03.13

    Tim, those dead people who were registered...did they vote?

    A friend of mine in college gave in to the Young Republicans in the commons and registered to Inspector Gadget...

    I have it on good authority that Inspector Gadget never voted.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.13

    Jana's on top of it: the system works. Where's the example of fraud tipping an election? Where's the compelling evidence that the new social conditions to which Joseph refers (fast cars, less familiar neighbor ladies running the polls) have degraded the integrity of the election process? And is that current degradation than we had in olden days with all counting done by fallible human hands?

  33. Joseph Nelson 2012.03.13

    Hmm, easy fix. We use thumbprints. Give your thumbprint at the polls (and every hour the thumb prints are uploaded into a state database, so that if a person tries to vote again, they are flagged for duplicate voting) or on your absentee ballot (which is sent in advance, and therefore in the system so you can't go to the polls later nor can there be two absentee ballots with the same thumbprint.). :)

  34. Joseph Nelson 2012.03.13

    I forgot to mention that when you register to vote, you also give your thumbprint, that way they can match it up with the print when you vote (and this could also help with primaries and caucuses!)

  35. Joseph Nelson 2012.03.13

    And the thumbprint stains your finger for a couple days, as a sign of pride that you have done your duty as a citizen and an additional deterrent from duplicate voting!

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.13

    I'll wear that ink! (But won't some Santorum delegate start shouting something about the Mark of the Beast?)

  37. Linda 2012.03.13

    The thumbprint is an idea worthy of discussion. For anyone lucky enough to go to Disneyworld, they know that a fingerprint is used to verify the ID of the entrance card each time you enter a theme park. Works good there. Maybe would work for voter ID too. No one should complain about this targeting minorities, being racist, costing too much, etc; but I'm sure the left would still find a reason to oppose it.

    The right to vote carries a certain responsibility, maybe a little extra effort to get an ID, but there are many people in many countries around the world that would be glad to make that extra effort and take that responsibility, if only they were given that option. Many are now taking the entitlement philosophy and applying that to voting, they are entitled to vote without responsibility. Sorry, but I want to assure that everyone who votes does it honestly, and I don't think that should impose a burden on anyone who cares about an honest election.

  38. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.13

    Visiting Disneyworld is not a right, either. (Actually, Disney parks strike me as hell on earth.)

  39. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    Fingerprinting is the wrong meme for voting. It's supposed to be a secret ballot. These voter surpression efforts of late are an effect looking for a cause. No one here has yet provided any evidence that such draconian measures are even remotely necessary.

  40. Joseph Nelson 2012.03.14

    I disagree that this method would be either "cruel or severe", and is not remotely draconian. The fingerprinting would not occur in the booth, but outside at the desk (where you identify yourself now by photo ID or affidavit), and be just as secret of a ballot. I like this idea. I may use it as a platform for when I run for public office. :) Is there a problem? Well, there is a segment of society that perceives a problem, and they have delicious votes for me to consume! And one could always run the argument of it would be better to safely prevent fraud from happening, then to wait for widespread fraud to occur, and then implement a change...but I do not know if that would be fodder for a good argument or not, as there has already been documented cases of voter fraud in SD.

  41. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    Fingerprints taken outside the voting booth can be matched with those left on the ballot in a heartbeat. Terrible idea. Seriously. Run on that platform Joseph and you will be eaten alive. I will see to it personally. ;^)

  42. Nick Nemec 2012.03.14

    Flemming and Sibby are both right. Bill is spot on when he points out that no evidence has been presented that draconian measures are needed to insure the integrity of the elections. And Sibby is right when he reminds us that a SD voter without an ID can sign an affidavit attesting that they are who they say they are. This safety valve is an essential part of the SD law, and I fully expect it to be attacked at some point as a dangerous loophole.

    The bottom line, that has been ignored, in this entire conversation is that requiring an ID is a de facto poll tax and therefore a violation of the 24th Amendment. Would those IDs be issued at no cost to the voter? Even if they were, what documentation would be required for the ID to be issued? Would birth certificates be issued free of charge? Would copies of lost marriage licenses and divorce decrees be provided by all states free of charge? If not the costs of acquiring the necessary documentation are a poll tax by another name and unconstitutional as a violation of the 24th Amendment.

    Even if all the states were to provide all the documentation free of charge would they send a bureaucrat to the potential voter's home with all the required paperwork that needs to be filled out to acquire the necessary documentation needed to become an approved voter? If not the "run around" and the hoops the potential voter has to jump through, and the costs associated with them, constitute a poll tax, which, by the way, is prohibited by the 24th Amendment to the Constitution.

    Perhaps all those good people who continually wave the Constitution in our faces should take the time to read it.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.14

    Oh! I hadn't thought about fingerprints violating the secret ballot. I withdraw my support.

    The ink they used in the Iraq elections: did that include fingerprinting, or was that just to mark people who'd already voted?

  44. Nick Nemec 2012.03.14

    I have no objections with requiring voters to dip their finger in an ink bottle before receiving a ballot as a simple method to prevent a person from voting twice. I'm not sure how we would get an absentee voter's finger in the ink well.

    Elaborate finger print recognition systems are unnecessary, unlikely to be foolproof, and would be hideously expensive. In short, a solution in search of a problem.

  45. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    I think Nick is right about the poll tax. We should also be wary of Joseph's idea of treating everyone like a criminal before they commit a crime. That's how we end up with a police state. (Of course, there is always a chance that JN's remarks above are tongue in cheek. I'll allow that possibility and leave it at that unless he cares to press his arguments for totalitarianism further. LOL)

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.14

    Nick, I wholeheartedly agree. Protecting the integrity of the ballot is important, but we must not shove the cost of doing so onto the backs of the poor and other folks that certain partisans want to deter from voting. I'm all about the poll tax argument.

  47. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    ...what if a person doesn't want anyone to know that they voted?

    Whose business is it anyway?

    Should sinners have to dip their finger in ink so they can prove to the priest that they went to confession before they get communion?

    Do we still have such a thing as a sacred trust among us, whereby we are all resolved to work toward the common good?

    Because if that's gone, all the laws in the world won't fix it.

  48. Troy Jones 2012.03.14

    Here is the problem with all politics. Both sides should want the same thing.

    Reasonable safeguards that protect the integrity of elections and the perception of integrity. Nothing can be worse for our social fabric is for the lower to think the election was stolen.

    A person denied voting is just as bad as a person casting two votes (it cancels a properly cast vote).

  49. Nick Nemec 2012.03.14

    Troy, please show cases where people have actually cast multiple votes. It doesn't happen very often. In this case the cure is worse than the problem.

  50. Nick Nemec 2012.03.14

    I'm reminded of something a respected former legislator and trial attorney, Linda Lea Viken, once told me, if the law is on your side argue the law, if the law isn't on your side argue emotions.

  51. Nick Nemec 2012.03.14

    Bill, I understand your concerns that an ink stained finger would constitute a violation of privacy. Sadly I would be willing to negotiate that bit of privacy away if it would get rid of these voter ID laws.

  52. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    In any case the solutions proposed don't solve the supposed problem. Persons with multiple IDs could still vote multiple times. It is those who are intimidated by the law who will refrain from voting, not the criminals.

  53. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    Well, Nick, maybe if it could be a nice color...

  54. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.14

    It seems the Republicans are avoiding discussion of specifics and appealing to vague anecdotes and abstractions on this issue the same way they are doing to justify HB 1234. Is this a common GOP disease?

  55. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    Troy is at least engaging. I believe his heart is probably in the right place (on the voter supression thing). It's the libertarian in him. Gotta live those "real" (old fashioned) Republicans. Party of Lincoln, right Troy? ;^)

  56. Troy Jones 2012.03.14


    This discussion bothers me (both sides). A improperly cast vote is as disenfranchising as a vote denied.

    But to answer your question: If there is no reliable system to insure the person casting a vote is who they say there is, how can I document (without person observation) an improper vote has been cast? If I know the system is so weak that I can cast two votes, I have no confidence the election was fair.

    The question can not be should there be voter ID procedures (we should all want an election people can have confidence in) but only that they don't have an excessive burden on the citizenry collectively and individually.

    Thus, since I hope we agree proving one's identity to vote is appropriate before voting, what is excessive about the following so I can help remove the "excessive" burden with procuring an ID:

    Producing the following:

    Social security card/US Passport/birth certificate, citizenship papers if not born here, and proof of residence to get a form of identification to be accepted at a polling place.

    If it is the cost of a driver's license, I will support the following:

    Any person who, for whatever reason, does not have a driver's license is able to go to the driver's license office and get a voter ID at no cost so long as they produce the same documentation.

    Furthermore, if the person is unable, based on reasonable hardship, to get to a driver's license office, I would allow the person to call the Secretary of State's office or county auditor expressing a desire to get a voter ID. The SOS or county auditor would then notify both the GOP and Dem headquarters of this person's need of a voter ID. The parties would together send a credentialed person (at least one of whom is a notary) to take a picture, notarize the documents came from the person, deliver them to the drivers license office for assessing legitimacy, procure the voter ID, and deliver it to the person.

  57. Joseph Nelson 2012.03.14

    Interesting Supreme Court decision upholding constitutionallity of photo ID requirements:
    Nice pull out from article "At trial, the plaintiffs were unable to produce any witnesses who claimed they were not able to meet the law's requirements. The defendants were likewise unable to present any evidence that the corruption purportedly motivating the law existed." Of course, the Supreme Court was not unanimous in the decision, however after a quick read of the Decision, I support the Court in this.

  58. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    "If I know the system is so weak that I can cast two votes, I have no confidence the election was fair."

    Ahem... umm... Troy. No sale.

    If I know the system is so weak that an insane idiot can buy and carry a handgun and blow a whole bunch of people away at a political rally...

    We don't legislate rights away.

    That's why they are called "rights."

  59. Michael Black 2012.03.14

    Voter fraud isn't going to come from people voting multiple times, but instead from hacking of electronic voting machines as we move away from paper ballots.

  60. Joseph Nelson 2012.03.14

    We don't legislate rights away, but we do supress them. Certainly my and your constitutional rights are limited when it comes to preservaton of the nation. When the needs of the State outweight he needs of the individual, the State usually wins (examples: Can't yell bomb at an airport, can no longer occupy events that are of national security, limited in how loud I am at rallies, due process can tke my right to vote and own fire cetera...)

  61. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    Yes, Joseph, and even so, it still happens. You can't take the chaos out of a system. We have to measure the severity of the solutions against their consequences. Sometimes the supposed cure is more fatal than the disease.

  62. Troy Jones 2012.03.14


    Failing to legislate can have the same effect as denying rights. Protecting my vote against being canceled by a fraudulent vote has the same effect as a law that unfairly denies another's right to vote.

  63. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    Troy, do you have any problems with SD's current voting laws? As per above, I do not. I do have a discrimination problem with women having to jump through more hoops and pay more money to get a driver's license though, but that's a different issue.

  64. Troy Jones 2012.03.14


    I don't. My comments are more directed at the knee-jerk accusation any effort to insure voters are legitimate is an attempt to disenfranchise another. I'm for equal enfranchisement (protect both a person's right to vote by minimizing burdens and a person's right not to have their vote cancelled by an illigitimate vote).

  65. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    As I would have guessed, Troy. Thanks.

  66. Jana 2012.03.14

    Should college id's be an acceptable form of identification to vote? Apparently not according to the ALEC drafted proposals.

    I still don't see any data on how this is a problem...other than the fact that there are certain populations that traditionally vote Democratic that should be discouraged from voting.

    Troy, do you have some good examples of your vote being cancelled out by a fraudulent vote? That seems to be where your argument is coming from.

  67. Kevin O'Dea 2012.03.14

    Why do you think it's so hard to get a license in SD? That's aimed at keeping people from voting as well. If you can't find you birth certificate, marriage license(s), etc you can't get a license even if just need to renew. It's a scam to keep people from voting.

  68. Troy Jones 2012.03.14


    Two comments:

    1) How can I be sure there isn't election fraud (unless I observe and measure myself) without procedures to insure people not eligible to vote can't vote? Can I not rely on my government for protecting my vote isn't canceled by another person? My point is it is reasonable to be able to assume elections are fair, my vote is counted, and not cancelled by one ineligible to vote. It is all I ask.

    2) College ID's are not acceptable for boarding a plane. Why should they be acceptable to vote?

    Finally, quit with the paranoia that any effort to have fair elections is designed to disenfranchise. I am equally opposed to disenfranchisement of an eligible voter or cancelling of the vote of an eligible voter.

  69. Jana 2012.03.14

    Hey Troy, not paranoid on this one...there is a very real and concerted effort to keep people away from the polls. Especially those that won't vote for a certain party.

    So was the WWII vet paranoid about being denied his right to vote because he didn't have a drivers license, just a VA ID? Guess your vote will be safe from the likes of him and his ilk.

    Of course you won't have to worry about her vote either:

    Thank god people like you are looking out for yourself...sorry...I mean for democracy and America.

    My mother no longer drives and she has since moved so she no longer has an ID with her current unless she pays money and provides the needed documentation from 1938 she shouldn't be able to vote?

    Cannot I also rely on my government to make sure that all citizens have the right to vote that isn't made exclusionary or cost prohibitive?

    Your just putting lipstick on the pig that was Jim Crow laws and poll taxes to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

    I still have yet to see how there is a problem big enough for the creation of a bigger government.

    Maybe you can help me out on this one. Just seems funny that voter caging hasn't hit the radar in terms of voter justice with conservatives.

    Just as an aside, are you equating the right to fly with the right to vote in the United States?

  70. Nick Nemec 2012.03.14

    Troy, will the documentation be provided at no cost? If not the 24th Amendment's restrictions on poll taxes apply. ANY cost the voter must pay in order to vote is a de facto poll tax.

  71. Jana 2012.03.14

    Nick, you can give the ID away for free, but there are the costs and time associated with securing that ID.

    The free thing doesn't wash and to even think that we need to entertain expanding government control and exclusionary politics is absurd.

    Bottom line is that this wasn't an issue until the last Presidential election when US citizens that had not been previously engaged showed up in droves to vote for the 1st black President of these United States.

    And those same voters scare the hell out of those that embrace statism Republican dogma and their fear and paranoia that these same voters will continue to vote.

  72. Troy Jones 2012.03.14


    I get it. You see no reason for anyone or the government to have reasonable procedures and requirements that people who cast votes are in fact eligible.

    And providing proper documentation is an excessive burden as well as any cost (in time and effort) to demonstrate to their fellow citizens they are legitimate.

  73. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    You have to register to vote, Troy. Then at the polls the workers have to confirm you're a registered voter and are at the right polling place. Why isn't that enough? It used to be. What has changed? I think that's the big question. Why has it become so urgent to make the process more difficult than than it used to be? I remember your lecture on protecting people from violence in their domestic relationships, and there you were all about being conservative so as not to overtax resources unnecessarily. How is this different than that?

  74. Jana 2012.03.14

    No Troy, I get it...but what is wrong with the same laws that have been in effect for the last decade...oh that's right, it didn't matter in 2004.

    And I still haven't seen your response for what it would take you to get the proper ID and documents. What do you think it would take for you to do that simple little task/burden to vote?

    Of course we could have seen how that worked in the 'land of denial' Southern primaries, but since it was a Republican primary there was no reason to ask for photo IDs...because... well you know...they were 99% white.

    Nice try Troy.

    But your last sentence had the word that is operative...burden...whether excessive or not...there should not be a burden on being a voting citizen. Lessen of course you think different.

    So tell me why you are in disagreement with the courts that are overturning these voter ID laws.

  75. Troy Jones 2012.03.14


    If we have new means to insure fair elections, we should use them. If we have new doubts about the veracity of elections, we address them.

    I just got my driver's license. I'm good to go.

    I think it reasonable for anyone coming to the booth to be able to prove they are eligible to vote. If that is excessive to you, I couldn't care less. My vote is as valuable as the person presenting themself to vote and I expect them to demonstrate eligibility. It is all I ask. And, your stance they have no obligation to prove they are eligible to vote shows how little you value my vote.

    I haven't said I disagree with any ruling. Read my posts. Or is that too much burden for you?

  76. Jana 2012.03.14

    Troy says..."If that is excessive to you, I couldn’t care less."

    You couldn't care less about other people's voting rights...I'm shocked!

    So what was wrong with voter eligibility back in 2004?

    So is your vote less valuable today than it was in 2004?

    I didn't think so...but maybe it is less of a majority since there are so many emerging groups that don't think the way you do....

    I'm glad you have your drivers license and can see how you think everyone should be like you.

    But answer the question I presented earlier on if getting a state ID could be a burden that doesn't currently exist to be a voting citizen.

    BTW, I've heard rumor of some white Irish Catholic snowbirds that cast votes in both South Dakota and Arizona...we should keep an eye on them! Oh but wait...they have photo IDs so it's OK!

    Oh that's right, this isn't about race or ethnicity...I keep forgetting.

  77. Steve Sibson 2012.03.14

    Why is this so hard to understand:

    1) My cousin died last year.
    2) He is still a registered voter.
    3) I walk in and claim to be him and vote.
    4) Later I go vote as myself.

  78. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    Correct. Having a photo ID doesn't necessarily solve the problem. It just makes it harder for people who have problems getting one (poor people, old people, etc, etc) to vote.

    It doesn't prevent anyone who intentionally wants to defraud the system from doing it at all. A guy could have 20 different IDs and vote in 20 different towns if he wanted to.

    (And such a guy would probably not be a poor person... I'm just sayin'.)

  79. Bill Fleming 2012.03.14

    Steve, exactly. It's not hard to understand. And having a photo ID won't necessarily fix it. There are other ways to vote your dead guy if you're really into that kind of thing. Hey... you suppose that's why those dang Republicans keep getting elected all the time? Like I said, if the Dems are doing that here in SD, they're really doing a pretty crummy job of it. ;^)

  80. larry kurtz 2012.03.14

    For you, Steve: "In a new sign of antigovernment extremism creeping into the political mainstream, the Tennessee House of Representatives will vote tomorrow on a resolution condemning Agenda 21, a non-binding United Nations plan for sustainable development."

  81. Steve Sibson 2012.03.14

    Larry, the UN is part of our government?

    And Bill, based on your logic, we should legalize murder...including the post-born.

  82. larry kurtz 2012.03.14

    Choose your meme and stick to it, Steve. Here's a comment from one of my favorite Blogmorites that's about as succinct as it gets.

  83. Troy Jones 2012.03.14


    I couldn't care less you find it excessive to prove you are you and eligible to vote.

    You don't have a right to go in and say you are my mom and cast her ballot.

    I have a right exactly equal to your right to vote and demand you have a right to vote before you vote.

    And finally, I will defend anyone's right to vote, including those I disagree with. And I will support nailing people who vote in two jurisdictions, including those I agree with.

    I will listen to any idea to minimize burdens for anyone to vote who is eligible and try to accommodate until it provides you the opportunity to vote because your ethics and sense of fair elections is clearly perverted at a level I don't know I have ever seen in print on this website that I think your protesting is an indication you have committed election fraud and are proud of it.

  84. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.14

    Troy, that's a pretty big leap... and all too convenient, allowing you to dismiss anyone arguing passionately against your position as an electoral felon. I'm not fond of the measures that the Legislature floated this year to annul the concealed weapons permitting process, but I'm not prepared to accuse the advocates of those bills of felonious firearm activity. They simply take the position that their Second Amendment right to bear arms should not be complicated by fees and bureaucracy.

    Hmmm... now there's an analogy much more interesting than drivers licenses. There are hints of that analogy above... who wants to take a swing?

  85. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.14

    And as for Jana's snowbirds voting in Arizona and South Dakota... uff da! To truly protect the integrity of our elections, we clearly need a national voter database, with a national voter ID card.

  86. Donald Pay 2012.03.14

    You might think that people who are so concerned about voter fraud that they pass unconstitutional voter ID laws would not engage in similar, if not worse, fraud themselves. Unfortunately, Wisconsin Republican legislators have been caught actually casting votes for other legislators. That's right---they lean over and press the voting buttons for colleagues that have left the chamber, casting votes in this fraudulent manner. Because Republicans don't really want this broadcast, they have banned cameras from the gallery, and arrest people who try to obtain the photographic evidence.

    We also have a John Doe investigation into the illegal activity in the 2010 Walker campaign. One indictment involves a Walker aide who stole money from veterans to use in Walker's illegal campaign operation. Already there have been convictions. The question here in Wisconsin is whether Walker will be indicted or recalled first.

    Voter ID is among the least worries for Republicans in Wisconsin. And whether this goes up to Reince Priebus we may soon find out.

    There have been about as many convictions of Walker aides as of voter fraud in Wisconsin.

  87. Jana 2012.03.14

    The rumor of the snowbirds is just that a rumor...same as the argument of voter fraud based on photo id's. It was meant to make a point.

    Troy, I'm shocked that you would accuse someone of being a voting felon. (not really)

    I am glad that you are willing to listen to "any idea to minimize burdens for anyone to vote who is eligible."

    What I don't understand is why the system we have now doesn't work and you feel the need to add another layer of government to our lives.

    So I guess my idea is that we keep the system the same and push harder to get more people to vote. What do you think, is it just a crazy dream to think that we could have 80% voter turnout? Or would that be a bad thing?

  88. Jana 2012.03.14

    Troy, here's a source of some of my angst about the recent wave of voter id bills that are popping up all over the place. From

    Paul Weyrich. The founder of the corporate lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heritage Foundation, Weyrich outlined the conservative electoral doctrine:

    “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

    So what would you think of a quote like that from the body that is writing the laws for the states?

  89. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.15

    Wow. That's not paranoia. That's a pretty straight alignment of stated electoral doctrine and policy efforts. Maybe the party labels really do mean something: "Republicans" really do believe that we are a Republic, which should be run by the few, while "Democrats" want us to be a Democracy, with as many people voting as possible.

    And Jana, your rumor perfectly illustrates the problem: Republicans are manufacturing fears of voter fraud to justify extreme, voter-discouraging policies.

  90. Troy Jones 2012.03.15

    CH, my "accusation" was to make a point. She asserts the goal of voter integrity is disenfranchisement, uses a Weyrich quote from 1980 out of context (he was talking about the need for targeted get out the efforts pursued by both sides), and my only request that my vote be protected from being overruled by ineligible voters is nefarious.

    If she finds it acceptable to question the motive of one desiring honest elections, why is it improper to question (rhetorically) her motives and "accuse" her of wanting to perform election fraud.

    Jana's MO is nearly always an attack on her opponents motives and integrity. She doesn't argue merits of her idea (only her righteousness) or particular negatives of the other side, she almost always places the obligation to prove on the other side, and asserts only those who agree with her as having good motives.

    BTW, I want every eligible voter to have every opportunity to vote. I want no undue burden placed upon anyone except for them to be able to demonstrate the are eligible to vote. I want more people to vote because they are informed and interested vs. getting a Robocall from one party or not.

    We used to get 70+% turnout in SD before "get-out-the-vote" efforts. I would love to have those numbers again.

  91. Jana 2012.03.15

    Here's some facts on who doesn't have a government issued ID:

    18% of all young people
    19% of Latino voters
    25% of African Americans
    20% of Asian Americans

  92. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.15

    From Joseph's link: "The U.N. Human Rights Council members include communist China and Cuba. In addition, several Arab nations are on the council that have only granted the right to vote to women in recent years, such as Kuwait in 2005 and Qatar in 2003. Women in the Republic of Moldova have had the right to vote for less than 20 years."

    I will grant the Fox News/Heritage Foundation point that having U.S. voting rights judged by China, Cuba, et al. is absurd. For the most part, we are still the beacon of democracy. We should be very careful to ensure we remain that beacon.

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