Filibustering to Facilitate Fraud

Filed in PoliticsTags: Democrats, Elections, Missouri, Republicans

Missouri Senate Democrats intend to filibuster a bill requiring government-issued photo IDs in order to vote. Their justification? Typical democrat non-sequitur:

Democrats say the Republican aim is to suppress turnout among the poor, elderly and disabled — many of whom lost their Medicaid coverage last year and would be more likely to vote Democratic this fall.

Someone make me smart; what does being poor, elderly, or disabled have to do with obtaining and presenting a government-issued photo ID when voting?

Now, the real constituency in danger with this bill is the deceased vote (the Democrats' strongest voting bloc in the Saint Louis area). Given the difficulty of providing photo IDs for dead people (and the additional provision in the bill, repealing the state law allowing people to appeal their removal from voter rolls - something intended to cull voter rolls of those who have already assumed room temperature), I can completely understand why state democrats would want to block passage of this bill.

The final nail in the coffin (so to speak) to the democrats' fraud-vote efforts is the bill's provision eliminating Missouri's early voting.

UPDATE:

For reference: Senate Bill SB1014 Summary:

Under current law, election authorities shall arrange registration cards in binders or authorize the creation of computer lists to document voter registration. This act requires election authorities to use the Missouri voter registration system to prepare a precinct register of legally registered voters for each precinct.

The act bars persons from compensating others for registering voters. Those who agree to or offer to submit a voter registration application for another person shall not knowingly destroy, deface, or conceal such an application and shall submit the application to the election authority within seven days of accepting the application. Those in violation of these provisions are guilty of a class four election offense.

Persons paid for soliciting more than ten voter registration applications, other than those paid by the government, must register with the secretary of state as a voter registration solicitor. A solicitor must be eighteen years old, registered to vote in Missouri, and register for every election cycle. Penalties for the failure to register are provided in the act.

The act allows anyone who believes a violation of the Help America Vote Act has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur may file a complaint with the elections division of the secretary of state's office. Complaint requirements are established.

The act amends personal identification requirements to be shown to gain voter eligibility at polling places. The identification must be issued by the United States or the state of Missouri, include the individual’s name and photograph, and must have not expired before the date of the most recent general election. Voters with physical or mental disabilities, handicaps or sincerely held religious beliefs who do not have sufficient identification are exempt from the requirement if they execute an affidavit stating such a sufficient reason. These individuals may cast a provisional ballot.

The act allows for issuing non-driver's licenses with photographic images to fulfill the identification requirement. The state of Missouri shall pay all the legally required fees for applicants for non-driver's licenses. Persons residing in convalescent, nursing, and boarding homes shall be issued a non-driver’s license through a mobile processing system operated by the department of revenue at no cost.

Procedures to be followed to establish a voter's eligibility to vote at a polling place are established. Provisional ballots are allowed in some circumstances. Prior to counting provisional ballots, the election authority must determine if the voter is registered and eligible to vote, and the vote was properly cast. Procedures for this determination are included in the act.

Under the act, state courts shall not have jurisdiction to extend polling hours.

Procedures for inspecting ballot cards are established.

The act makes the engaging in any act of violence, destruction of property having a value of five hundred dollars or more, or threatened act of violence with the intent of denying a person’s lawful right to participate in the election process, and knowingly providing false information about election procedures for the purpose of preventing someone from going to the polls, a class one election offense and a felony.

This act repeals provisions requiring election authorities to establish advance voting plans. This act also repeals current law allowing voters to appeal the removal of their name from voter registration records.

This act contains an emergency clause.

SB1014 Full Text

Regular reader Dwayne comments:

As far as why the requirement for a government issued ID (beyond, I assume a voter registration card) is discriminatory is because the population that you describe is much more likely than the general population not to have such a card already. You've most likely already got a driver's license. Odds are much greater that the poor, elderly, and disabled do not. So they would have to invest time and money for something of very limited value to their subsistence lives. Yes, they can get one. But if you're worrying about having enough food for the day, you're not going to "waste" any money and effort on getting a silly card.

As these arguments are fairly common for such legislation, I'll address them here, rather than in the comments.

I don't find the argument very persuasive that the poor, elderly, or disabled are especially disadvantaged or disinclined to have or get a government-issued photo ID in order to vote.

First, voting is both a privilege and a responsibility. Ensuring that voting is free of fraud and an accurate reflection of the will of the citizenry is of such paramount importance that some inconvenience toward that end on the part of the voters is acceptable.

Second, the requirement itself does not present an undue burden, since in order to vote, a person must have first made the effort to register and second made the effort to vote. Making an effort to obtain a government-issued photo ID falls in line with these activities. Presumably, if someone is able to do what is required to register to vote and to do what is required to cast a vote (namely, being able to travel to the required location), then that person is equally able to do what is required to obtain a government-issued photo ID (again, being able to travel to the required location).

Third, I believe that most/all states that have enacted similar photo-ID requirements have made provisions to allow for the impoverished to obtain an ID (in order not to violate the poll-tax laws). If the state were to charge $50 for an ID, I would agree with your argument. However, according to this Post-Dispatch article:

Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, replied that there's no intent to "suppress voter turnout." He said free photo IDs would be made available to those who need them, and he envisions teams of state workers sent out to help photograph voters who are home-bound or in nursing homes.

The bill also makes provisions for other potential forms of discrimination:

The bill also contains an exception for disabled voters, or those who object to a photo ID on religious grounds, if they sign an affidavit at the polls verifying their reason.

Two other key points from the article:

Hearne said he believes that a photo ID will "increase voter participation," because voters will face fewer questions at the polls since they could easily prove their identity.

He emphasized that Missouri will foot the bill for the free photo ID cards.

Note the unhinged rhetoric of the bill's opponents:

But Mary A. Ratliff, president of the Missouri NAACP, called the bill "just another attempt by Republicans to keep African-Americans and people of low and middle incomes off the rolls."

Photo IDs are racist? What?

A photo ID "erects another barrier to people with disabilities," said Michelle Bishop with the Missouri Disability Vote Project.

A barrier is only erected for dead people and non-people to get a photo ID.

"This bill seeks to solve a problem that doesn't exist," said state Democratic Party spokesman Jack Cardetti. "These are the same people who the Republicans threw off Medicaid. Now they're taking away their right to vote."

Ah, yes; those EEEEEEVIL Republicans! Took granny's food and medicine away, and now they're coming for her voting rights...

The Rev. Gil Ford, regional director for the NAACP, said he was amazed that Missouri legislators were seeking to make it tougher for residents to cast ballots "at the same time that they're trying to make it easier for our soldiers to vote in Iraq."

"In preacher terms," Ford said, "we call that hypocrisy."

Hypocrisy? To make it easier for US soldiers fighting abroad to defend your right to live, vote, and make asinine statements like this one? No, sir; what is hypocritical (and unconscionable) was for Al Gore to go to court to disenfranchise those same soldiers due to absentee ballot technicalities. What is hypocritical is for you to attempt to lend moral authority to your statement by appealing to "preacher terms" while speaking as nothing more than a spokesman and political hack for a racist and ideologically discriminatory organization.

Vote fraud in Missouri is well-known and rampant. See this excerpt from a floor statement made by Senator Kit Bond in 2002:

Now our friends on the other side made fun of the fact that we had dogs registered to vote in Missouri and in Maryland. Well, that sounds kind of crazy, but the system is so sloppy, the motor voter law has made it possible for people to register dogs. I will guarantee there are a lot more fraudulent votes than just the dogs.

Some have objected and said we have not shown widespread fraud in St. Louis. Oh, yes, we have. Wherever we have looked, we have found fraud. Wherever we have looked, we have found ineligible people voting, dead people voting, felons voting--in Virginia, Wisconsin, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, and Texas.

What we found that in Missouri they had judges ordering people to be registered to vote. They went before a judge, and he said: Why are you not registered? One said: I am a Democrat. Another one said: I want to vote for Gore. Another one said: I have been a felon and forgot to re-register. Thirteen hundred people were registered by judge order. The secretary of state went back and did an exhaustive search on those 1,300 and found 97 percent of them were not lawful votes.

In the mayoral primary in 2001, 3,000 postcard registrations were dumped on the election board on the last day. At that point, my colleagues in the other party in St. Louis, who were a lot more concerned about stealing a mayor's race than they were about stealing a Governor's race or President's race or a Senate race, raised cane.

When those postcard registrations were looked at, they were all found to have had the same handwriting--many of them had the same handwriting. They were on one or two blocks. Those have all been turned over to the prosecuting authorities. We have not gotten any convictions yet.

We also know that right before the general election in November of 2000, 30,000 postcard registrations were dumped on the St. Louis city election board. Nobody has gone back and reviewed them, but the guess is that at least 15,000 of them were fraudulent. Is it not a little bit beyond credibility that St. Louis, which had 200,000 registered voters, would on the last 2 days of registration register 30,000 people, equal to 15 percent?

That is one of the reasons St. Louis has almost as many registered voters as it has adults. It would be truly remarkable if each one of those registrations equaled a registration of somebody who was an adult human being entitled to vote in Missouri. I do not believe it. We have not had the resources to go back and check.

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2 Responses to “Filibustering to Facilitate Fraud”
  1. Dwayne says:

    Well, given that I know nothing of the politics of your state, I’ll have to be general.

    As far as why the requirement for a government issued ID (beyond, I assume a voter registration card) is discriminatory is because the population that you describe is much more likely than the general population not to have such a card already. You’ve most likely already got a driver’s license. Odds are much greater that the poor, elderly, and disabled do not. So they would have to invest time and money for something of very limited value to their subsistence lives. Yes, they can get one. But if you’re worrying about having enough food for the day, you’re not going to “waste” any money and effort on getting a silly card.

    Also, if I understand your post correctly, this new bill prevents people from appealing removal from the roles. I don’t see how that’s supposed to impact the supposed deceased vote, which you claim is so prevalent. Dead people don’t file too many appeals, so why prevent the living from doing so?

  2. cb says:

    Hi Dwayne!

    See the post update for responses to the first half of your comment…

    In answer the the second half: Missouri – especially Saint Louis – is notorious for vote fraud. The Saint Louis / East Saint Louis “machines” rival those of Chicago’s Daly machines of old. Dead people cast votes; live voters cast multiple votes; etc.

    I don’t understand the appeal thing, but I am *guessing* it has to do with another facilitator of vote fraud in Missouri: the provisional vote. (The provisional vote allows someone NOT on a voter roll to cast a vote, and then have the validity of that vote determined afterward.)

    I’ll look into the bill more, and likely write more about it – especially since this issue is likely to get much bigger as the bill moves toward becoming law.