Argument at the Supreme Court of Georgia regarding Voter ID law

Yesterday part 4,341 in the saga that is the Georgia Voter ID Law™ played out in the Supreme Court of Georgia. Unfortunately, the blind, deaf, and dumb democrat voter living in a cave in North Georgia who has no contact with the outside world except on Election Day when he ventures by mule to his polling place that he finds using a sextant operated by his dog Cletus was not able to attend to affirm how the law kept him from voting. So lawyer Emmet Bondurant, representing the Whining Democratic Party of Georgia, decided to just rely yet again on tired old cliches by saying that the law disproportionately hurt blacks.

Like I said, no arguments actually based in the law or fact.

And how many did Bondurant say were unable to vote because of the law? 100,000? 50,000? 10,000? Silly goose…try 1,000. Yes, this is about 1,000 people who left their house without a photo identification and came to a polling place and were not able to vote.

“Without using the N word, without using class, without using race, what better way is there of doing it?” he asked.

Thank you, Emmet, that’s very helpful. Now, if you ask Word Jumble, I’m sure he’d agree and then note that we’re all racist on the right. Because that is the easy way to make a deadline and fill some column space or a blog post. It’s also why he gets paid the small bucks, see?

So, let’s find out what is really going on.

The state’s attorney, Mark Cohen, said those 1,000 voters could have cast a provisional ballot and returned within 48 hours with an ID and their votes would have been counted. No one knows why they didn’t return, he said, perhaps because the outcome of the election was clear by that night.

Plus, the turnout among blacks set a record in 2008, meaning few were discouraged from voting, Cohen added.

Yes, that is curious. Maybe Emmet Bondurant, when he isn’t having drinks at the club, used his super secret time traveling / mind reading machine he keeps locked in his office to figure out why some people didn’t bother to cast a provisional ballot. I mean, really. He’s been hired by the Most Brilliant Woman In the World, DPG Chairwoman Jane Vandiver Kidd! Surely between these two geniuses they could have conclusive, you know, proof, of someone being prevented from voting.

But, see, the DPG still can’t produce a single person who has been hurt by the law. Not one.

But Cohen said no one has been denied the right to vote because of the 2006 voter-ID law, noting that the federal case was thrown out largely because Democrats couldn’t find a witness who was blocked from voting.

“Not one Georgian has been located in all that time who could not vote due to this law,” he said.

Any registered voter can cast a ballot by mail without an ID, and the state issues free ID cards to anyone who asks, he said. If ballots could only be cast in person, the Democrats might have a point, he said.

Well said. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Georgia e-mails in to note their next brilliant strategy to argue the Georgia Voter ID Law is unconstitutional…it’s part of a “vast right wing conspiracy!” Who could have seen that one coming!

16 comments

  1. Lady Thinker says:

    I think the Georgia Voter ID Law is a good thing and it doesn’t keep anyone who wants to vote from doing so. People have to have an ID, either a driver’s license or a state ID card in all walks of life like cashing a check, getting phone, water, gas, and electrical services, getting a job, going to the hospital or doctor to check that the person presenting an insurance card is the same as the person on insurance, banking services, and so many other things that I cannot recall more at this moment. I have never heard anyone scream at producing a valid ID for these things, just for voting. What gives?

    • AubieTurtle says:

      Go volunteer in a nursing home and see if you still feel the same way. And I can promise you that you’re incorrect about checking ids for medical services. Many people in nursing homes have been using the same doctor for decades. The only id they have is a drivers license that expired long long ago.

      I’m not against requiring photo identification at the polling place but this could have been handled a lot better. They started off by saying anyone who doesn’t have a photo id isn’t really serious about being a citizen and doesn’t deserve to vote. Then they decided they’d give out free state ids to those who make it to a drivers license office… and then closed every single drivers license office in the largest city in Georgia. Voters were told to find a way out to the burbs (where there is limited to no transit) to get their id. Next came the bus that was going to go around to the people who can’t make it to a DDS office but it turned out to be so poorly planned that it would take something like a decade just to make it to every nursing home. Also apparently the bus itself was an old hunk of junk that wasn’t likely more than a few months from falling apart. Then came the “you do need id” “no you don’t need id” musical chairs of confusing mailers.

      It’s been a huge mess. If they had from day one said “We’re going to phase in over five years a requirement for a photo id. They’ll be free for anyone who doesn’t drive and we’ll work with community organizations to make sure that each every eligible voter is able to get a photo id over the next five years when the requirement goes into effect.” things would have been much easier for everyone. But instead here we are more than five years later with a big mess of lawsuits and still many otherwise eligible voters without photo ids.

      • Jeff Scott says:

        So we’re supposed to believe that these old and infirm people are capable of getting to the polls a few times a year but they’re not capable of getting to their county election office one time, ever, to get a valid ID so they can vote?

        I’m calling BS.

        I might give a bit of credibility to the arguments of those against the ID law if they could produce one single person who has been denied the ability to vote because of the law. Until you can show a real problem, there is no problem.

        • analogkid says:

          I might give a bit of credibility to the arguments of those against the ID law if they could produce one single person who has been denied the ability to vote because of the law. Until you can show a real problem, there is no problem.

          Likewise, those against the Voter ID law have asked for proof of any voter fraud as a result of the previous system and were provided none (that I am aware of, anyway). The burden of proof is squarely on the proponents of the law (i.e., those who claimed a change to the law was necessary), not the other way around. As you eloquently stated, until you can show a problem, there is no problem.

          • Dodge County, GA; 1992 County Commissioner election (sole commissioner) and Sheriff.

            This was the largest federal voter fraud trial in the history of the United States. Yes, larger than anything Cook County Illinois actually took to court. HUNDREDS of people were paid to vote; with some of them voting in MULTIPLE PRECINCTS. How do we know this is true? They were granted immunity to testify and/or sign sworn affadavits.

            It is not possible to be registered in multiple precincts in the same county at the same time (No, not even in Dodge County), so people voted under false names. They were able to do so because NO VOTER ID was required.

            If you don’t believe me, you can look it up in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal – and that fish wrapper that was called George magazine. You can also check The Dodge County News.

            So why do people say there is no evidence that requiring voter ID would prevent some illegal voting? Because they refuse to make the leap from voting multiple times in the same election to voting under multiple names. There is no other way.

            And, when people vote multiple times that has the same effect as disenfranchising every other voter. It also has a chilling effect on honest voters, making it less likely they go to the polls. All my adult life, I have heard, “Well, it doesn’t matter if I vote or not. Old so-and-so is going to buy the election anyway.”

            To make your life easier, you can begin here: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-11th-circuit/1374910.html You will please note that in its jurisdictional claims, the US government cited “the multiple voting statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1973i(e)”

            Also: http://www.nytimes.com/1997/03/23/us/georgia-gets-tough-on-a-county-tradition-vote-buying.html?pagewanted=all

            • analogkid says:

              Ken,

              I read the links, and I’m still unconvinced that the Voter ID law addresses the issues in that case. Here’s why: The two major offenses were (1) vote buying, and (2) absentee voter fraud.

              As for (1), vote buying has (presumably) always been illegal, so requiring those voters to have IDs would prevent them from voting only if they weren’t eligible to vote. From what was provided, it doesn’t appear that the voters that accepted bribes were ineligible to vote, just that they were willing to participate in fraud. Voter ID doesn’t solve that problem.

              With respect to (2), the voter ID law actually made absentee voting easier, not more difficult. It’s my understanding that an ID is not required to submit an absentee ballot, so how does the law address that aspect of the case?

              As for the other issues, like deceased voters, that’s more easily solved by having up-to-date voter rolls than by requiring ID of people to vote in person. For example, if I was able to acquire the ID of a deceased person who looked somewhat like me, my vote would be counted under the current law, as long as the name of the deceased had not been removed from the rolls. Easier than that, however, would be to request an absentee ballot in the name of the deceased, for which I would not have to show ID to cast the fraudulent ballot, again as long as the name had not been removed the rolls.

              • analogkid,

                First, absentee ballots are another kettle of fish, but I’ll address that at the end.

                Second, you overlook the citation by the US Dept of Justice regarding the multiple voting statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1973i(e) cited to maintain jurisdiction over the case. The US had control of the case in the beginning because of the US House election on the ballot.

                Third, if you honestly think people will accept money to sell their vote and then balk at collecting more money for claiming to be someone else, then you are wrong.

                And if you read the links, then you know that there were exactly two (2) known cases of the dead rising up to vote. Which brings us to:

                Fourth, if the dead people were not named Lazarus, then some other person walked into the polling place and claimed to be those other people in order to vote. Voter ID would have prevented that. And no, there was no mention in the news story of those being absentee ballots.

                As to absentee ballots, absentee ballots must be requested in writing. The absentee ballots are then mailed to the address on the individual’s voter registration by the county registrar’s office. Once those ballots arrive through the US mail, there are no further controls.

                Finally, while I’m sure this would not change your mind, I live in Dodge County and I have a lot of anecdotal evidence that people have voted in multiple precincts down here under different names.

                As a Republican, I don’t get solicited for my vote. All of these interesting voter shenanigans always happen in the Democrat primary. This includes our latest contribution to Georgia’s penal system: former Dodge County Sheriff Lawton Douglas, a Democrat, of course.

                My personal belief is that Democrats are opposed to the Voter ID law because they benefit tremendously from illegal votes being cast in this state.

                • analogkid says:

                  Ken,

                  As I said below, I have mixed feelings on the law. I don’t think the concept is bad necessarily, I just think there’s a better way of going about the same thing, without potentially disenfranchising voters.

                  Rather than respond to everything you said above individually, I’ll reiterate the point that having accurate voter rolls would obviate any concerns about deceased voters or multiple precinct voters. Why not just create a statewide database (to the extent one doesn’t already exist) to check for names (or better yet, SSNs) that are exact matches in different precincts? Why not also check that database against death records, immigration records, etc.? That, in my mind, is much more failsafe method of doing the same thing.

                  For example, if one is currently still able to register in multiple precincts (and if so, shouldn’t we work on fixing that first?), then that person is able to show the same valid ID in each of those precincts. If you can show me where the law requires the poll workers to ensure that the address on the ID is within the precinct, I’ll withdraw this argument.

                  On the absentee ballot thing, I understand that the ballots are mailed to the voter’s registered address. However, if a person’s spouse were to die, what’s to stop the widow/widower from requesting an absentee ballot in the deceased’s name? If the name hasn’t been removed the rolls, anyone in the same household could do this.

                  • analogkid,

                    I like the idea of the statewide database. In small counties (I don’t know about larger counties) the registrar is appointed by the senior superior court judge. This was probably done to lessen the chances of hanky-panky. It does; however, result in people holding the position for decades, which means there may be some bad things going on with little or no oversight.

                    As for the absentee ballots, there are flaws, but I don’t know what else can be done to ensure that all votes are legally cast other than correct the voter registration rolls.

                    I think you missed my point. People don’t register in multiple precincts. Re-read what I wrote. I said it’s not possible, even down here. People vote in multiple precincts by pretending to be someone else. This happens if there is no Voter ID law. Maybe if you’re not around where it happens a lot, you just won’t get it.

                    • analogkid says:

                      Ken,

                      Thanks. I’ve enjoyed this discussion, btw. It’s nice to encounter reasonable people on occasion.

                      I didn’t miss your point on people pretending to be someone else, I just forgot to respond to it. The previous law required people to present evidence that they were who they said they were, but that proof could be provided using an ID or a utility bill (and probably something else I’ve forgotten). The Voter ID law did away with allowing utility bills as identification, but it wasn’t (or at least shouldn’t have been) simply a matter of someone rolling up and saying, “Hi I’m Joe Smith” and getting Joe Smith’s ballot. Were people providing fake utility bills or were the poll workers not bothering to check for any ID? I don’t know the answer to that, but I suspect the latter.

  2. analogkid says:

    I have mixed feelings on the Voter ID law. On the one hand, it is a sure fire way to check that a person is eligible to vote. I can appreciate that. On the other hand, I think about the people who are least likely to have a driver’s license: the elderly and the poor (i.e., those who often don’t drive cars and those who can’t afford to buy cars). The elderly are probably not disproportionately black, but the poor, in Georgia, very much are. While I understand that anyone can get a state issued ID for free, if you don’t need it for anything except to vote, you have to be a pretty motivated voter to do so, which the average citizen is not. Further, stating that a person can come back within 48 hours and show a state-issued photo ID presumes that a person either (a) already has a state-issued photo ID that they failed to bring to the polls, or (b) could get one within the 48 hour timeframe. (b) is highly unlikely, and (a) requires requires extra effort that, again, the average voter isn’t going to bother to do (except for some of us PPers, but we would know to bring our ID in the first place).

    • Dave Bearse says:

      The current litigation is a waste, but that wasn’t always the case. State IDs are NOW free, but the original GOP plan purposefully left a fee for the ID in place.

      The facts Aubie outlined clearly indicate the proponents of this legislation couldn’t care less about ballot access for the poor and/or old. Indeed it took whiny Democrat litigation to compel even those sorry efforts.

  3. View from Brookhaven says:

    I don’t believe the Voter ID law prevents or discourages many from voting.

    At the same time, I don’t believe we have widespread voter fraud as other would lead you to believe.

  4. gt7348b says:

    IMaybe someone can answer the question I have – is the challenge based on whether someone could be discouraged from voting or has been discouraged / prevented from voting? If the former, then the lack of evidence that it has happened isn’t the proof that it couldn’t happen.

    In the interest of full disclosure I think this case brought by an over reaction to a law passed by an over reaction to a non-existant problem. The lack of someone impacted by the law shows that the law was unnecessary in the first place.

    • Harry says:

      In the absence of a positive ID law, there is a possibility that abuse will happen, as happens in TX, IL, PA and other states. Having safeguards in place really does prevent abuse. It is said that in 2004 in Philadelphia there were more votes than registered voters.

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