Voter ID…Much Ado About Virtually Nothing?

An editorial in the morning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel bemoans the issues posed by requiring that Wisconsin’s voters be able to identify themselves and prove they are qualified to cast ballots, and surmises that the best solution to this knotty issue would be “to slay this complicated beast.”

This editorial staff is quite liberal.  This newspaper, as are too many other newspapers in this country, is decidedly liberal in its presentation of ‘news’ for consumption by its readers.  The readership is diminishing and this newspaper is now part of the growing USA Today organization.  Maybe being liberal and losing readership are joined at the hip, but I digress.

The idea that anyone and everyone ought to be able to simply stroll into the polling place on election day, present no identification and vote for the candidates they desire is an invitation for the “complicated beast” cited above to consume democracy versus to protect democracy.

The ‘issue’ of voter identification in this age seems, to me at least, to be vastly over-exaggerated as an ‘issue’ when there are literally, at most, a handful of people for whom all these rules and regulations and educational programs are created.  The voter identification availability as it exists today is designed to be as simple as is possible.  The requirements of information to be presented is simplified in the extreme.  We are now concerned with the voting rights of long-term homeless people,  who may or may not have their wits about them, at the potential expense of all the rest of us.  That is essentially the remaining pool of people who are not able to cast a ballot.

The editorial writers admit that under the current system “voter fraud is almost non-existent”.    They apparently believe that by eliminating the failsafe mechanisms that have created the “almost” nonexistent status achieved today, we would assure perfection. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I have to believe the editorial writers are bright enough to see the fallacy behind their proposition unless they are not as bright as I have credited them with being.

If we did away with the requirements we currently have in place for voters to be verified as accredited voters, we would see an explosion in the number of votes cast.  The editorial writers would attribute that explosion to the elimination of barriers that had previously kept these folks away from the polls.  The reality, unfortunately, would be that these ‘extra’ votes were not suppressed in the earlier situation, but were not being cast due to the fact these voters could not prove they were qualified residents of the voting district and thus didn’t even try to vote knowing they’d be exposed as fraudulent voters and would be turned away from the polls.

Lack of proper identification for voters would lay open the entire system and the results of each election as being suspect…and rightfully so.  The simple truth is this:  there are less-than-scrupulous people who have very strong feelings about their politics.  They know they are right and everyone who disagrees with them is wrong.  Therefore, their logic goes, they are only doing what it is right by encouraging ballots to be cast by unqualified people so long as those ballots are cast for the person they, who know they are right, approve of, versus the other guy or gal.

This argument has devolved to the point that its perpetuation is ridiculous.  The idea of simply doing away with “this complicated beast” is non-sensical to the “n-th” degree.  That this would be proposed as the solution by a newspaper renders that news organization as highly suspect.  But then again, we conservatives have pretty much determined that long ago.

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