Wednesday, April 19, 2006

notes for First draft of a response to star editorial:

The April 19th editorial "Get Over It", celebrating GOP Judge Barker's ruling upholding Voter ID, is wrong, factually and morally.
Voter ID is not the law. A statute that conflicts with the constitutions is void, and never becomes law. Judge Barker's opinion has more weight than mine, but the final word will rest with the judges in Chicago and maybe Washington.
The editorial compares voting to cashing a check or using a credit card. The difference is those aren't basic civil rights. It's also factually wrong. I cash my checks at my local bank, drink at my local club, use a credit card at the gas pump, all without showing ID. I got in the habit when I spent a year in legal limbo after being told I couldn't renew my driver's license without a birth certificate and couldn't get a birth certificate from my home state without a driver's license.
In my east-side neighborhood, many people don't have checking accounts, credit cards, or fly on planes, but they still have a right to vote. That right was dearly earned by patriots like Francis Marion, who Marion County is named for, and should not be casually tossed away.
Most Hoosiers are not eligible for a free ID from BMV as the editorial claims, and don't qualify to use an absentee ballot.
I will not show an ID when I go to vote next week for barry campbell for school board. If the government wants to go through my pockets, they need a warrant.
I expect that my vote will not be counted, and I'm trying to find a lawyer.
In my district, the last council election was decided by three votes. I'm sure at least three people will be turned away for lack of ID, and thus we won't know who really won or lost - it will be a sham election.
Marion County has a long history of unconstitutional searches. In 1996, election authorities confiscated one of my campaign signs for the Republican primary. The court in Stewart v Taylor found that my rights were violated - and yet Marion County continues to steal campaign signs. My roommate Joell Palmer was thown on the hood of his car and told "You have no rights!" when he objected to a drug roadblock. The district court denied his claim, but the 7th circuit and Supreme Court upheld his rights. That might and should happen in the voting license case. Recently courts had to step in and stop Indy cops from doing a "stop and frisk" anytime they felt like it. As the case of Hiibel v Nevada showed, such a search is only authorized in situations where officer safety is at risk. Little old ladies going to vote present no such danger.
Each time I go to city hall, I am illegally searched by Securatex employees, who can't point to any written authority for their unreasonable conduct. I'm tired of it. Once upon a time, this paper had a motto, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty." Voter ID is step in the direction of the loss of our liberties. This paper should rethink its position. Constitutional or not, Voter ID corrupts the election process, and is a bad idea that erodes our democracy
- Robbin Stewart.

This post is a placeholder for a response to the Indy Star's editorial favoring voter ID. meanwhile, I'll bold the lies, er, misstatements, in the editorial.

This just in: Howard Dean and I agree on something for once.
Howard Dean: voter ID law unfair

(article copied here for academic fair use re an article i'm working on)

By Richard D. Walton
richard.walton indystar.com
Former presidential candidate and Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean today blasted an Indiana law requiring a photo ID to vote, saying it is part of a national GOP effort to disenfranchise the poor and elderly.

Dean said the national party will do what it can to assist Indiana Democrats in appealing a recent federal court ruling upholding the identification requirement.
In a telephone interview, he dismissed Republicans’ claim that the requirement is needed to prevent voter fraud.

“These laws have appeared all over the country and they’re always put in by Republicans. And the truth is, there’s no reason for a law like this. In the history of the state of Indiana, there’s not one single case of a voter being prosecuted for impersonating somebody else.

“There’s only one reason for this law, and it’s nothing to do with honesty in voting.”

There have been prosecutions for absentee ballot fraud in Indiana, including charges brought in connection with the 2003 mayoral primary election in East Chicago. The photo ID law, however, does not apply to absentee votes.

Republicans have said that even the perception of fraud undermines public trust in the electoral system. Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker said in her decision affirming the identification statute that Indiana Democrats failed to identify a single case of anyone who would be deterred from voting because of the new requirement.
See tomorrow's Indianapolis Star for more on this story.
Hardly a man is now alive, who remembers that famous day and year - april 18th of '75, and the midnight ride of paul revere.
just a bit of doggerel that came to me as i noticed the date.
April 19, 2006
today's editorial
It's the law now, so get over it
Our position: Federal judge recognizes that Indiana's voter ID law is not an undue burden on the public.
Federal judges normally don't employ phrases like "get over it'' in crafting their opinions. Yet, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker said as much last week in knocking down objections to Indiana's new voter ID law.
"Despite apocalyptic assertions of wholesale voter disenfranchisement, plaintiffs have produced not a single piece of evidence of any identifiable registered voter who would be prevented from voting,'' Barker wrote.
The judge also described a report written by an expert hired by the state Democratic Party as "utterly incredible and unreliable.''
The fact that Barker so readily saw through their arguments should have persuaded the plaintiffs -- the Indiana Democratic Party and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana -- to slink away quietly. Unfortunately, an appeal is planned.
Their case is based on the incredulous notion that in 2006 it's too taxing to expect an individual to produce a photo ID before casting a ballot. Never mind that folks are routinely asked to produce an ID to cash a check, use a credit card, pick up prescription drugs or complete any number of other common transactions. Never mind that state law also enables anyone to receive a free photo ID from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. And never mind that anyone who objects to or simply can't obtain an ID can always vote using an absentee ballot.As Barker noted, "It is a testament to the law's minimal burden and narrow crafting'' that the plaintiffs were unable to produce anyone who would be stopped from voting for lack of an ID.
Such facts, however, haven't kept alarmists from asserting -- without evidence -- that the measure is a Republican plot to exclude voters from the polls. Any fair-minded person should see through such nonsense, recognizing that the law is a commonsense requirement at a time when concern over voter fraud is high.
Judge Barker certainly did.

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