Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Voting ID

Republicans are back-in-power on the state level so that means a whole new round of bullshit voter ID eligibility laws. States with Republican governments across the nation are introducing drastic new measures to make sure that brown people and young people can't vote. This is entirely because these people vote Democratic, not because any of these states can dig up a single instance of voter fraud.  The crisis of "voter fraud" is an illusion.  It does not exist, in any capacity, in any state.  You couldn't dig up four cases across the nation.  But that doesn't mean Republicans aren't going to think up of all new crazy procedures to prevent people from voting. 

The most popular means of preventing people from voting is the use of a photographic ID. This is a particularly insidious means of introducing electoral reform to prevent "voter fraud" because it sounds so reasonable.  Why shouldn't you have photographic ID to vote? Well the problem is, many people don't have government issued photo ID, and these people are, by and large Democrats.  They are urban residents that do not drive.  They are college students who have not gotten new state IDs (primarily because they don't drive!).  If the photo ID requirement affected military personnel, the Republicans would carve out exceptions (which they have done).  Republicans don't give a shit about voter fraud (just like the deficit).  They care about preventing Democratic votes! This should be self-evident, but it isn't, again, because the proposed solution sounds so reasonable - photo ID. Why not require photo ID?

It is for this reason, that I differ from some of my liberal brethren when it comes to supporting or opposing a national photographic ID.  I am, literally, a card-carrying and dues-paying member of the ACLU.  But the ACLU hates the national ID card. I think in a perfect world, where we didn't already have Social Security numbers, and driver's licenses, and passports, a national ID card might sound like a scary program designed to track a country's citizens.  But the problem is, we do already have these things. If the government wants to track its citizens, it can track our cellphones.  For fucks sake, we tell the government where we are everyday on FourSquare and Facebook (see video below).  As far as I'm concerned, the cat is already out of the bag when it comes to preserving this degree of personal privacy. I like the national voter ID card because a) it will eliminate the need for registration (the whole registration process is absurd and unnecessary anyway - one person = one vote) and b) it strips the GOP of one of their most dangerous rhetorical weapons i.e. the argument that Republicans are interested in preserving the authenticity of the vote, not merely trying to prevent citizens from the vote.

Now, I'm not so naive as to believe that the GOP would end the "war on voting" if a national ID card was issued.  It's a party that doesn't take defeat lying down and it can get quite clever when it comes obfuscating their intentions (trickle down economics anyone?).  But I really think it would serve to undercut their "voter fraud" message.  And who knows, a national ID card might help alleviate red tape and paperwork in other government bureaucracies (the FAA, Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, etc.)

CIA's 'Facebook' Program Dramatically Cut Agency's Costs

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