In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court vacated a ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from this past Monday. On that day the Appeals Court ruled that Wisconsin’s Voter ID law was constitutional and could be implemented. As a response, the American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency request for the SCOTUS to block that ruling before the election coming up within a month. Surprisingly, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy sided with the four liberal leaning justices to vacate that ruling for the time being.
This ruling only stops the law until proceedings can work themselves out, but this does give a temporary reprieve from laws that I think are written for intent other than stated.
I make no apologies for being against the recent spate of Voter ID laws as they have been written, passed, and supported by the GOP. While the idea of presenting a valid ID for voting is a no-brainer, the way they’re going about trying to legislate it has little to do with ensuring fair elections and appear to make it harder for some people to vote, either by erecting numerous barriers to the ballot or by frustrating people to where they simply give up.
Google searches return numbers of stories where people, especially the elderly, have had difficulty in obtaining a valid ID to vote in states where they have previously voted for decades with no issues. I think it’s a slap in the face of those who have worked and/or supported this country their entire lives only to have a group of politicians basically give them the middle finger. Considering the cases of women, they’ve had to fight to obtain the right to vote, and if they’re a Black woman, they’ve had to fight twice.
The GAO released a report last month titled “Issues Related to State Voter Identification Laws”, and the results were not suprising to me at all. Amongst the things they found:
Based on GAO’s review of studies by academics and others and information from federal and state agencies, GAO identified various challenges in information available for estimating the incidence of in-person voter fraud that make it difficult to determine a complete picture of such fraud. First, the studies GAO reviewed identified few instances of in-person voter fraud, but contained limitations in, for example, the completeness of information sources used. Second, no single source or database captures the universe of allegations or cases of in-person voter fraud across federal, state, and local levels, in part because responsibility for addressing election fraud is shared among federal, state, and local authorities. Third, federal and state agencies vary in the extent they collect information on election fraud in general and in-person voter fraud in particular, making it difficult to estimate the incidence of in-person voter fraud.
These laws have all been enacted with the banner cry of “we have to stop voter fraud”, yet there is no definitive proof of any said voter fraud that would be stop by these ID laws. There is no voter data base where cases of fraud are logged or tracked. There is no sharing of data between local, state, or federal authorities to track cases of fraud or even suspected fraud. Even when there’s information on fraud to be gleaned, there is no set way the information is recorded or even what information is gathered.
Earlier, I stated that presenting a valid ID for voting is a no-brainer, and I honestly believe that. I’ve always presented a photo ID when I’ve voted. That said, I don’t think you can have a hodge podge of laws where you can use a gun permit to vote while your college ID is not valid. If we’re going to require a photo ID when casting a ballot, why do we not issue that photo ID when the voter completes a valid registration? Better yet, why don’t we have a national ID that could serve as a Voter ID while also proving citizenship and other issues that come up as hot button issues?
I guess I’ll have to finally sit down and write out my plan for voting, from the registration process to the actual casting of votes. I’ll have a bit of somewhat free time when my family expands by one within the next month. Maybe someone can inspire our legislators to quit trying to rig the game for them and rig it for us one time. Who knows, maybe getting people involved would actually benefit the party that does that. What a novel idea, doing something for the people and being rewarded thusly.
[EDIT] I wrote this last night before going to bed. As I was signing off the computer, I ran across another story where U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi issued a ruling that blocked Texas from enforcing their ID law. Of course, it will be appealed, but these laws would easily pass muster if they didn’t have a negative impact on certain groups. The right to vote, while not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution is indeed a protected right.