The View From The Cheap Seats
Voter ID Laws: A Cure in Search of an Illness.
It’s September 2012 and the Presidential Election is two months away. In the last few years many states have passed voter ID laws in an effort to deal with the problem of voter fraud. The only problem seems to be that there is very little voter fraud for them to deal with. Instead, many citizens will be denied access to the polls in November.
Across the nation, many states have passed Voter Id Laws: Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. There is little uniformity to these laws, making it difficult to know whether you have the ID you need to vote.
How Much Voter Fraud is there? Well, according to News21, a nonpartisan investigative news project, following an extensive public-records search it is “virtually non-existent”. Since the year 2000 there have been more than 600 million votes cast just in presidential elections. In those votes there were 2068 alleged voter fraud cases. These voter ID laws are specifically designed to combat "in person" voter fraud, In-Person voter fraud which is when someone impersonates another person in order to vote on Election Day. There were 10 cases of in-person voter fraud.
So what does that mean in terms of real numbers? These are some things that are more likely to occur to me than running into a genuine case of in person Voter Fraud. I am twice as likely to be struck by lightning, 4 & ½ times more likely to become an astronaut, Over 5000 times as likely to win an Academy Award. I’m only 682 times more likely to date a super model. That’s the one I’m holding out for.
I just have to wonder, what if we spent the money we are using to legislate against an illness that doesn’t exist and donated that money to the American Cancer Institute? That's an illness that could use a cure!
PS. Below are some links to some documents handed out at a recent congressional forum on voting rights here in Houston. Take a look.
Statement of J. Gerald Hertbert, Executive Director of Litigation of the Campaign Legal Center
Testimony of Nena Parales, Vice President of Litigation - MALDEF
Testimony of The Honorable Charles A Gonzalez, Member of Congress for the Texas 20th Congressional District