Monday, August 01, 2016

 I've been asked by the Grand Forks Herald to do a letter to the editor responding to Todd Rokita's column on voter ID. So in this space I'm going to scratch out a notes toward a draft of such a letter,
while I do my laundry here at an airbnb in Fargo. update, the paper plans to run it.

FARGO 8/1/16
A recent editorial in this paper by Indiana congressman Todd Rokita contains a few factual errors and speculative claims that I take issue with, as one of the former Indiana voters who has had his vote stolen by Rokita's unconstitutional voter ID statute.

In the old days, political machines would send goons to steal ballot boxes from neighborhoods suspected of supporting the wrong party. These days, this is streamlined. People unable or unwilling to show a voting license from the BMV risk having their ballots stolen and thrown away, or just being told they aren't allowed to vote. Thousands of provisional votes have gone uncounted. An unknown but large number of people have been turned away from the polls. Tens of thousands have been discouraged from even bothering to try to vote, since doing so is now pointless. He says that no one has been kept from voting by voter ID, but he knows that's not true.

Rokita knows this if he's read the briefs in the voter ID cases that have his name on them.
Voter ID makes it harder for the poor to vote, intentionally diluting the vote of Democrats. This month 4 courts, in Texas, North Carolina,and Wisconsin, have found that that kind of thing is illegal. I believe that eventually an Indiana court will agree.

 One of the better known examples is a group of elderly nuns who were sent away without being able to vote because they didn't have IDs. [link](http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24482848.html) My former roommate, Joell Palmer, won a case at the Supreme Court when he refused to allow himself to be searched at a drug roadblock. For the same reasons, he won't allow a search of his papers and effects without a warrant or probable cause at the polls, and he and I joined an amicus brief to the Supreme Court making this point.
[link to Privacy Project amicus brief.] (https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legal-work/fa3a4f2682405f5e42_jbm6bhn9i.pdf)

 Under Eisenhower, the GOP supported what became the 24th Amendment, because southern veterans were being discouraged from voting by poll taxes and phony paperwork obstacles.
The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on whether voter ID violates the 24th Amendment, although Justice Ginsberg thought so, in her dissent when the court declined to take the Texas case. (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14a393_08m1.pdf)

In North Dakota, voter ID, if it were fairly and properly run, has an anti-fraud function, because here you don't have voter registration, but in the other states voters have already proved their identity and citizenship when they register, and voter ID is just the kind of pointless red tape that we Republicans used to blame the liberals  for. When I ran for the Indiana legislature as a Republican in 2010, I was not able to vote for myself, because I won't show ID, since I know this is unconstitutional. In 2016, I was able to get video of myself being refused even a provisional ballot, and that's on youtube now. [link](https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNesRy31jXibfw1-cZ_w6ziFbyfxZkKrO)
Indiana doesn't even follow its own rules when it comes to handling voter ID.

  Rokita says the Supreme Court already decided the issue back in 2008. Actually, the court split 3 to 3 to 3, with the controlling opinion holding only that the plaintiffs didn't yet have enough evidence,and should come back later with some proof. Over the past ten years, that proof has come in in droves, and judges like Posner and now-retired Justice Stevens have come to accept that voter ID has failed to make elections any cleaner or more secure.

  But politicians like Todd Rokita, Greg Abbott, and Scott Walker are clinging to this failed experiment in Jim Crow skullduggery.  Doing so paints their party as bigoted and stuck in the past, turning off moderate reasonable voters. As a Republican, I know the party is better than that.
There are many ways that actual voter fraud can be fought and beat. Voter ID is not one of those.
I knew Todd Rokita back when he was a lawyer in the Indiana Secretary of State's office. He knows even more than I do about how elections work and what real world best practices could make elections more clean and safe. With great power comes great responsibility - Kimble v Marvel.
Let's pray for Todd and his party to be moved to use their power more responsibly, and replace voter ID with something that works, while respecting our right to vote.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?