Disenfranchising young voters

By Alex Aronson of Portland, Oregon. Alex is the Youth Vote Director for the Bus Project.

Apparently the Supreme Court is so afraid of people tampering with democracy that they’re willing to forgo democracy altogether. Sounds fishy to me.

Just days before a hotly anticipated Indiana primary, the court voted 6-3 yesterday to uphold that state’s rigid Voter ID law requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls—the near nonexistent threat of voter fraud taking seeming precedence over undue burdens placed upon voters.

The ID law has a disproportionate impact on young people, low-income adults and members of minority groups, who move more frequently and are less likely to have state-issued IDs. To give you a sense of the degree of impact on young folks alone: in a recent Rock the Vote poll, 19% of American 18-29 year old people reported that they did not have government-issued IDs with their current address. “Hey, 1/5 of all young people: No Soup for You!”

But, despite these broad swaths of non-ID-possessing citizens, the court waived off the burden of acquiring an ID as “minimal” and “irrelevant.” (Just tell that to a single mother with two jobs and no car.) Meanwhile, the court defends Indiana’s interest in “deterring and detecting voter fraud” despite the simultaneous acknowledgment that "the record contains no evidence that the fraud…has actually occurred in Indiana…" Hmmmm.

Given the impacted groups’ historically leftward leanings, the political implications (motivations?) of the court’s decision are difficult to ignore. In upholding the Indiana law, the court effectively rubber-stamped the Right’s very favorite campaign strategy: good old-fashioned voter suppression.

Here in Oregon, a similar, even stricter disenfranchisement law (let’s call it what it is) could be on the ballot this November. Ballot Initiative 112—one of two circulating anti-immigrant initiatives—would require all first time Oregon voters to provide proof of citizenship to register to vote. Do you know where your birth certificate is?

In a country with a long and ignominious history of targeted voter disenfranchisement, our constitutional right to vote has yet again been spit upon—this time by the highest court in the land.

Comments

  • iwmpb (unverified)
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    Just out of curiousity, how does one go through life without identification? The state issues id cards for those who don't drive, and it would seem to me imperative to have id. What happens when they ask to see your id when using a credit or debit card? Cash a check? Write a check? Buy beer?

    I'm not saying I necessarily agree with the law, but to me it seems like having valid identification is not overly burdensome and would be somewhat necessary to survive in society today.

  • Randy (unverified)
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    The district court, Seventh Circuit court, and a majority of the Supreme Court all feel that a photo ID requirement is constitutional. Seems reasonable to me too. I don't find anything in the Consitution that leads me to believe otherwise.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Great post Alex. IWMPB, The case that was brought before the court was a woman who's ID had expired when she went to vote but she also had a phone bill with her name and address on it. The didn't let her vote and the Court thought that was okay.

  • adam (unverified)
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    Thanks for posting this Alex. IP 112 would be disastrous at a time when we could easily be taking steps to make our voter registration system more secure and accessible with programs like Same Day voter registration.

  • HMLA267 (unverified)
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    Given the magnitude of the problem of illegal immigration, this seems pretty reasonable to have secure elections.

    Folks show ID every day to cash checks, rent movies, and other such mundane things. Showing proof of identification and/or citizenship to vote is not such an imposition.

  • Lani (unverified)
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    It seems a bit over the top. Although Indiana has a free state ID for low income and there's a discount for seniors or the disabled.

    What do they do for people adopted? They don't have the same name as their birth certificate.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    While I'm all for access for everyone to vote,

    I do wonder ....

    If you can't figure out how to get picture ID ....

    Should you be choosing my next President????

  • Randy (unverified)
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    Katy, you must be thinking of some other case. In this case nobody was ever denied anything. This was a facial challenge and there was no evidence that anyone had ever been denied a vote. A facial challenge of unconstitutionality without any evidence is a tough row to hoe for any plaintiff and they failed at all three levels in the court system. Game, set, match.

  • (Show?)

    It used to be commonly accepted wisdom in this country across the political spectrum that forcing ID on people was a key step toward authoritarian control by the government and consequently something to be assiduously avoided.

    The use of "papers" in WWII Germany to identify and control the activities and movement of its citizens and similar use during the Cold War by communist countries has slipped from our collective consciousness, I guess.

    I suppose the widespread use and relatively benign history of drivers' licenses has also contributed to our growing comfort with official ID requirements.

    It's entirely possible that the comfort we feel today is only made possible by the paranoia of the past, however.

    As humans we have a tendency to think that the way things have been in our lifetime constitutes the normal state of things. As contemporary Americans that makes us feel that the natural human condition is for the majority of people to be relatively free and prosperous. Our general lack of interest in both history and the news reinforces that.

    It's possible that's a misapprehension on our part.

  • Kev (unverified)
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    "...they did not have government-issued IDs with their current addresses." Nice and carefully worded. Could it be because they are living at college, but still vote in their home state? That stat doesn't say much about the issue at hand.

    The author of the lead opinion is Justice Stevens, one of only two Justices who totally rejected Bush's effort to stop the Florida recount. The implied charge that this was a politically motivated opinion is unfair.

    No need to twist the facts or make unfounded accusations; that only undermines your credibility.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Randy, I was referring to this:

    "Lawyers who challenged the case cited the experience of one would-be Indiana voter, Valerie Williams, who was turned away from the polling place in November 2006 by officials who told her that a telephone bill, a Social Security letter with her address and an expired driver’s license were no longer sufficient.

    “Of course, I threw a fit,” she said in a January interview with The New York Times, recalling how she cast a provisional ballot which was never counted. Ms. Williams, in her early 60’s, is black — and is a Republican." from NY Times.

  • (Show?)

    "Given the magnitude of the problem of illegal immigration, this seems pretty reasonable to have secure elections."

    What does that have to do with anything? Undocumented people don't vote.

    IDs are a Republican solution in search of a problem. The state makes NO compelling case as to requiring any additional identification process beyond the current.

    That said, people who wish to be civically engaged need to be aware of the requirement, and people who work to get them enagaged need to stress getting an ID where you vote as part of the toolkit.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    Honestly, you can’t cash a check to buy a beer without picture ID but you think it is an undue burden when helping to keep elections clean? This ruling had broad support from both ideological wings of the court as a common sense way to eliminate potential voter fraud.

    Let’s hope this ruling prods Oregon’s legislature to tighten up our loose voting requirements where a utility bill is currently enough to get you a ballot.

  • Alex Aronson (unverified)
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    The court brushed off the constitutional problem by declaring that the burden of acquiring an ID was minimal, thus equal.

    Is it some kind of coincidence then, that the types of people who tend not to have IDs are the same people who are underserved in nearly every other aspect of society?

    Or maybe those people just lazy, and we should write them off.

    On a related note: the Bus Project's Building Votes crew just hit its primary goal of registering 7,000 young folks. A photo-ID law would have prevented us from doing any of that.

  • AR31 (unverified)
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    These are ridiculous comparisons people are making. Not everyone in the 18-29 range lacks a savings account and spends their money on beer. (And nobody asks for ID when using a credit/debit card, seriously) It's not a matter of young people not knowing HOW, they may just not need one.

    If you fail to understand my generation so completely, should you really be choosing my next President? (It's gonna affect me a whole lot more)

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    The voter ID law is an exterme solution in search of a problem.

    I have never seen any evidence that there was are catual cases of people voting when they shouldn't. There's a lot of hysteria on the right about millions of illegal immigrants impersonating registered voters. But I've never heard of a case where it's happened.

    The goal should be getting all the citizens to vote. This just raises a barrier.

    And what about all the elderly people who no longer drive and have let their drivers licenses expire?

  • Alex Aronson (unverified)
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    And Kev: You're right that many young people are college students, who may or may not vote in their home states. But having an out of state ID shouldn't disqualify anyone from voting in their state of residence. It doesn't here in Oregon.

    As someone who registers young people and college students to vote on a near-daily basis, I can tell you there are plenty of students who pay attention, want to vote in Oregon, and--this will surely ASTOUND you--have no Oregon ID.

    Perhaps my accusations of political motivation were too pointed, at least as they pertain to Justice Stevens, whom I generally admire. But the political intent behind the law itself in my mind is unquestionable. This is play book right wing strategy.

    27 minutes til the registration deadline. I'm gonna scram.

  • Douglas K. (unverified)
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    In Oregon, state ID cards (not for driving) cost $29 and may be renewed for $25. Not a huge burden for most of us, but it might be a problem for someone living hand to mouth.

    If a state requires someone to pay the state for ID before allowing them to vote, isn't that a poll tax in violation of the 24th Amendment?

    Seems to me that if a state requires voters present an approved state identification, they would need to provide the appropriate ID free to charge, regardless of ability to pay.

  • (Show?)

    Great post, Alex.

    This is all the more compelling of a reason to elect a Senate candidate like Merkley who has a realistic chance of defeating Gordon Smith. We need as many D's as possible in the Senate because nobody gets onto the Supremes without first getting by the Senate.

    If it's Obama or Clinton, they'll need a cooperative majority.

    If it's McCain, as unlikely as that eventuality appears to be, we'll need a working majority who can refuse to confirm a conservative nominee.

    Those suggesting that a quirky, unusual Senate candidate can unseat Smith are asking us to take a leap of faith which defies what we know - i.e., with someone the total opposite of what we know has worked for Smith over and over and over can somehow take him down.

    It seems clear to me that the continuing to expand base of endorsing entities (Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, Basic Rights Oregon, SEIU, AFSCME, every single Dem in the state legislature, etc) in Merkley's corner don't believe that quirky and unusual can win. And some of them (SEIU in particular) have a very strong track record of endorsing eventual winners.

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    I guess it's hard for those who aren't at the lower income levels, hasn't moved around a lot lately, etc. to understand not having a current DL/ID that has your voting address on it.

    My husband has this problem right now. We moved a year ago, and he got a DMV sticker. But it has worn down and is illegible. But the DMV won't send a new sticker - they want you to come in and get a new card. But his card doesn't expire for 4 more years.

    When my youngest sister moved, her sticker never arrived. She contacted the DMV, and they said she'd have to come in and get a new card - they wouldn't mail out another sticker. Between college and work, she had no free time when the DMV was open. Not only that, she could barely afford her bus ticket to get to school and work - how was she going to afford a new card that still had several more years' life on it?

    While in college, I knew several people who would vote in Houston during the spring and fall, but since our classes got out early, they voted the primary and summer elections in their home state. Do they have to play DL/ID tag every year so they can vote?

    What about those people who are extremely transient, homeless, etc.?

    It's easy for those who aren't in situations like that to point fingers and say "oh well, they must be lazy." But we're talking about one of the most basic rights we have in this country - voting.

  • (Show?)

    Please, let's not turn this into another discussion on the U.S. Senate race. I know that Kari has asked this many times on topics that are unrelated to the race. We have enough posts about that race, let's please stick with the topic at hand.

  • waitasec (unverified)
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    Nope, Kevin, actually at least 2 state legislators are vocal supporters of Steve - Senators Ginny Burdick and Bill Morrisette. http://novickforsenate.com/standing_strong_steve

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Even though I think the law is unfair and unnecessary, I don't think it's unconstitutional. I think the best remedy is to repeal the law because it's a bad law. But not every bad law is unconstitutional.

  • (Show?)

    It would be totally unlike me to do so, but thanks to Kevin, TJ, et al, I am now seriously considering voting for Neville in the Senate primary.

    No doubt it's a character flaw on my part but it appears that there may be limits to the level of disgust I'm capable of overcoming.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    It's clear as the nose on your face that Republicans have been complaining about a problem that is infinitesimal - voting by non-citizens, in order to increase ID requirements that will reduce the number of poor citizens who vote [usually Democratic, by the way].

    Documentation of such illegal voting is as common as documentation of family farms being lost to the estate tax - zip, nada, nil.

    The SCOTUS ruled against poll taxes many years ago. Now they are reversing course with reasoning that some legal observers believe could have been used to approve poll taxes.

    Republican party - 1 democracy - 0

  • Kitty C (unverified)
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    I guess none of you remember Nixon v Kennedy and the sudden appearance of enough democratic votes to swing the election to Kennedy. Of course there is organized voter fraud. You who rail against voter ID are transparent in your intentions.

  • (Show?)

    There is minuscule-to-zero evidence of voter fraud in ANY state.

    These laws are all about depressing Democratic turnout by targeting those groups of people least likely to have access to their birth certificates or other proofs of citizenship.

    Yesterday was a very sad day for democracy. Except for CGW of course.

  • (Show?)

    You who rail against voter ID are transparent in your intentions.

    That's right - our intentions are to allow every eligible citizen of the U.S. the right to vote without any sort of poll tax.

  • (Show?)

    From the AP story:

    Advocacy groups, including the Brennan Center, say they know of no voter fraud case ever being prosecuted against someone who impersonated another voter at the polls. Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Todd Rokita acknowledged there were no prosecutions in his state for impersonating voters, but said the measure was necessary to protect election integrity. . . . Across the country, as many as 20 million people lack such identification, most of them minorities and the elderly who don't have drivers' licenses or passports and are unable to afford the cost of obtaining documentation to apply for such identification, advocacy groups say. In Indiana, more than 20 percent of black voters do not have access to a valid photo ID, according to an October 2007 study by the University of Washington.
  • Garrett (unverified)
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    in order to increase ID requirements that will reduce the number of poor citizens who vote

    I thought the poor and uneducated voted Republican against their best interests or have things changed since GWB was voted President once and won a court battle the other time.

    I can't believe this law was upheld in the SCOTUS but I suppose I can see why. Seems like it may backfire on the Repubs too though.

  • (Show?)

    Jenni,

    It's inherently related. How do you think the majority on this voter ID case got on the bench?

  • (Show?)

    In Indiana, more than 20 percent of black voters do not have access to a valid photo ID, according to an October 2007 study by the University of Washington.

    The key statistic, I suspect.

  • (Show?)

    "It would be totally unlike me to do so, but thanks to Kevin, TJ, et al, I am now seriously considering voting for Neville in the Senate primary."

    It's probably better you don't vote at all, if that's how you decide.

    Kevin, it was 6-3 with liberals on the majority. Are you saying vote Merkley so we can replace Paul Stevens??

  • (Show?)

    The justices issued three different opinions. The main one authored by Stevens rejected the appeal on grounds that no damage had actually been shown, while apparently (according to NPR's report) also suggesting that some "substantial" problem being caused by the law would have to be shown -- i.e. a single person wouldn't do it. I think this is what Randy meant above about "facial" cases being tough. But this opinion (by Stevens and two others) could in principle be reversed by them on a showing of sufficient harm.

    Three justices led by Scalia (of course) plus I think Roberts and Alito found the Indiana law simply unproblematic. And three justices opposed it outright. I don't think we've seen the end of this issue.

    The kind of electoral fraud engaged in by the Daley machine in Cook County in Illinois and by machine Republicans downstate in Illinois in 1960, or that got Lyndon Johnson his first congressional election in 1948 would not be affected by this law. It was committed on a mass basis by officials, not by individuals misrepresenting themselves as someone else. The accusations of tampering with electronic voting machines are of a similar nature.

    So, on the other side of the coin, are systematic efforts at vote suppression and denial of the right to vote. The scale of that problem is clearly much larger than the risk of individual level identity misrpresentation, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. This Indiana law and others like it are legal embodiments of the same effort.

    Those who are supporting the law in these comments are saying, in effect, "it is so important to reduce the feeling of risk that someone who might not have a right to vote is managing to do so that denying hundreds or thousands of people who do have that right the ability to exercise their right to vote is justified." That frame of mind is undemocratic. It also is corrupt.

    Denying people who have the right to vote the ability to exercise that right is a gross form of electoral corruption.

  • (Show?)

    Actually, the "in effect" pseudo-quote I wrote above is the best case of what supporters of this can be saying. The actual passage of these laws reflects a much deeper cynicism, in which those passing them know there isn't a real problem but don't care, and vote deny fellow citizens their rights for partisan advantage.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Actually, in a way it wasn't 6-3 so much as 3-3-3, with the first 2 groups of 3 agreeing enough to make it the majority, but not writing one majority opinion.

    Imagine you lived in the Gulf Coast during Katrina, or in certain parts of NW Oregon during recent storms. Imagine you were lucky to get away from the storm with the clothes on your back. If you didn't have your wallet with you, what would you do for ID?

    Same with someone who doesn't drive, doesn't have student ID of any kind, and the government non-driver ID expires frequently (there was some discussion of low income people having to appear in person at the county seat once a year).

    I think this is a bad decision---Democrats need to take back control of the Indiana legislature and change the law.

  • (Show?)

    Almost any topic we bring up can be related to Congress. That doesn't mean we have to make every posting a "my candidate's better than yours" posting.

    I mean, we may very well have this issue on the ballot this November. Who is our next Senator won't have a lot to do with us fighting right now to ensure this type of thing doesn't pass. The next Senator may be able to help make changes to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it'll take years for the issue to be taken to court and make it to the U.S. Supreme Court (I should know since I started fighting a case when I was a freshman in high school and it was 8 years later when it finally was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court). How many voters will be disenfranchised in the meantime? How many young people and poor people will just see it as one more reason they shouldn't vote?

    That's why we need to keep this on the topic of what happened, and how it can affect Oregon right now. We have plenty of opportunities to bash each other over the head about Novick and Merkley. Let's stick to this topic, as it is an extremely important topic if we want to get young people and poor people voting and keep the elderly voting.

  • Rick Hickey (unverified)
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    Oregon Voters' Pamphlet, OR. Primary Election, May 20, 2008...Page 6..."If you do not provide valid identification, you will not be eligible to vote for Federal races". "You will, however, still be eligible to vote for state and local contests." And you think Bradbury is putting state in one pile and feds in another? Really? YES ILLEGALS CAN VOTE.

    Old people have a S.S.#, that's how they get Social Security checks and Medicare. Poor people have ID, thats how they get Food Stamps, Welfare, W.I.C., sec. 8 housing, etc. Young people have ID to rent a movie, get a job, sign up for College or buy smokes or use their Debit or Credit card OR should/could get ID too vote.

    You Democrats told me EVERYONE has to be a Citizen and PROVE it, to get Benefits. Now you say Americans don't have ID? Which is it?

    The U.S. Supremes get it, when will you?

    Get your valid #112 initiative sheet today @ www.respectforlawact.com

    I can show Voter Fraud but Kari won't let me.

    "TODAY WE MARCH, TOMORROW WE VOTE"-Ramon Ramirez PCUN, May day 2007.

  • South Sellwood (unverified)
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    I certainly disagree with Indiana's Voter ID Law as a piece of legislation but not the Court's decision to uphold it. Law didn't have to b a good idea, it just had to be constitutional. The argument citing the lack of evidence of fraud is largely irrelevant. States are not required to prove the incidence of an undesirable behavior before legislating to prevent it (otherwise legislation would always be reactive). I hope we can all agree that voter fraud is undesirable.

    This post also leaves out an important provision in the Indiana law and one required for all voter ID laws under HAVA. Any voter without proper photo ID can still cast a provisional ballot which will be counted if the voter completes the required affidavit at the count clerk's office with in ten days of the election.

  • (Show?)

    Hey Rick Hickey:

    Can you identify a single case of an illegal immigrant voting in Oregon? A single one.

    We're waiting....

  • Lou (unverified)
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    This is the best post I have read in a long while at this site. It is nice to read a post that is actually thought provoking and attempts to engage readers in political discourse. Minus the Pro-Merkley dribble that exists above on this comment page (and a little too often on the main posts I might add) this post gives me hope that there are actually some grounded intelligent liberals left in Oregon and that the elitist "I can type faster than you can" mudslingers that have pervaded this blog in recent weeks might go the way of the election cycle sooner rather than later.

    For the record, I feel the ruling is an injustice, but I also feel like Indiana should be granted the power to make this choice if its elected officials choose to do so.

  • Randy (unverified)
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    This was a loser case from the beginning, not sure why the Dems in Indiana even took it to the Supreme Court since now they've lost the battle and the war.

    It is interesting to read the oral argument of this case. This case probably could have been tossed for a lack of standing (there wasn't anyone who had actually been harmed) but it seems like maybe the Court wanted to get a ruling on the subject. If they had bounced it on standing then they would just have to deal with it again in the future.

    If you read the Scalia opinon you'll find that he makes a decent argument why a poll tax is constitutional. I doubt anyone is going to take the bait and implement one but he did open the door.

  • Rick Hickey (unverified)
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    Kari, Here is some stuff and thx for asking, This info, documented in more detail, has been given to the U.S. Attorney's office in Portland recently... 4.1.08

    1. The same Voter I.D. cards are issued to voter registration applicants, whether or NOT they have submitted HAVA required proof of I.D.

    2.ORS 247.002 iem 2. "Elector" means an individual qualified to vote under section 2, Article 11, Oregon Constitution.

    if you check that article, you'll see it indicates the person should be a US citizen, and that is why the question is asked on the voter registration application.

    1. The Centralized Voter Registration System, (CVRS) contracted out to compile, to Saber Consulting,has thousand of people listed with birthdates as loony as the year 353, 1800 and 11/11/1111. The S.O.S. says that birthdates were not required until recently. However, ORS .247.121 regarding required registration information, item (e) states "date and place of birth". It dates back to 1957

    2. There are countless folk who have given the same street address in more than one county, and have voted in all those counties for a number of elections.

    3. There are countless folk sharing the same address, anything up to 100 + people.

    4. A voter in Marion County has given an address of a resident who has never heard of her, but gets her ballot/s in the Keizer Cikty Hall P.O. Box along with 3 other people. Despite the resident's complaint to Marion County Elections, the matter remains unaddressed.

    <hr/>

    Also...

    WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

    Posted: Thursday, 24 January 2008 9:27AM

    Undocumented Aliens May Be Registering To Vote

    GENEVA, Ill. (STNG) - It's a question many have asked: Is it possible for an illegal immigrant or a legal noncitizen to end up an illegally registered voter? It appears the answer is "yes." "It's a very difficult thing to handle," said Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham, who is in charge of elections and overseeing voter registration. "We never single out any group. There has to be a presumption that they are citizens unless it's proven otherwise. We, at this level, don't have much control over the issue." According to a mail-in form provided on the clerk's Web site, voter registraton applicants must answer "yes" or "no" to the question: "Are you a citizen of the United States?" Applicants also are given the option to submit a driver's license number or Social Security number, but doing so is not required, according to the form. Either a photo identification or another document -- such as a utility bill or paycheck -- can be submitted, the form states.

    <hr/>

    AND this...

    Hundreds of Illegals Have Registered to Vote in Bexar County

    Officials are confident new procedures will purge them from the rolls By Jim Forsyth Wednesday, May 16, 2007 Hundreds of illegal immigrants have registered to vote in Bexar County in recent years and dozens of them have actually cast ballots, canceling out the votes of U.S. citizens, 1200 WOAI news will report Thursday morning.

    Figures obtained by 1200 WOAI news shows 303 illegals successfully registered to vote, and at least 41 cast ballots in various elections.

    Bexar County Elections Administrator Jackie Callanan confirmed the figures, but she says a new form of voter registration card, which requires people to swear they are citizens when they register, should help cut the problem, because people who vote illegally can be charged with perjury. http://radio.woai.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=119078&article=2138213

    <hr/>

    An Illegal can also be charged with Perjury for signing an I-9, (authorization to work in the U.S.) that every Employer is required of every new employee to fill out and sign and to keep it in the employees file. So there is no fear of perjury

    AND I have more too.

    But Bradbury is not looking for this and you have to look to find. Hopefully the U.S. Attorney will follow through.

    We are also now going thru the State prison ICE hold list, over 1,100 now, and matching that with the voter registration list. Will take a while.

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    Sorry, Rick, you lose. Try again. One more time:

    Can you identify a single case of an illegal immigrant voting in Oregon? A single one.

    Give it another shot. No more BS about how it might be theoretically possible, or stories of database errors in the voterfile, or stories from other places, or stories about voter registration problems that aren't even about illegal immigrants.

    Just identify a single case of an actual illegal immigrant actually casting a ballot in Oregon. Let's make it worth your while. I'll donate $100 to the Marion County Republican Party if you can find even a single case.

    Good luck. Benjamin Franklin and I are waiting.

  • How Amusing (unverified)
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    Kevin's comment, which is not unusual in the lack of understanding one sees on this blog, demonstrates how some people just "don't get it"

    This is all the more compelling of a reason to elect a Senate candidate like Merkley who has a realistic chance of defeating Gordon Smith. We need as many D's as possible in the Senate because nobody gets onto the Supremes without first getting by the Senate.

    Merkley has hardly been a vocal advocate against Real ID in Oregon. Real ID in fact was intended by a Republican Congress to be a key piece of the entire surveilled society, including making photo-id (which was always envisioned to be a Real ID driver's license for most people.) Instead, Merkley in his trademark brand of cowardice and always looking out first for his personal career, bravely led his chamber towards the unprincipled "middle ground" on Real ID.

    Rather than speak out against Real ID in a principled fashion, he chose to work with Kulongoski (another DINO) who similarly started out advocating the legislature should comply with Real ID. Merkley's effort was for an impotent resolution essentially just asking Congress to work with the states to bring about compliance with Real ID. One can understand his lack of spine when one remembers his entire campaign strategy of presenting himself as the pick of those Congress people he would have had to stand up to if he opposed on principle Real ID. Merkley has long ago conditioned himself to be a non-leader to change that at this point in his career.

    Now, the interesting thing about the SCOTUS ruling is that it also all but delegitimizes Oregon's VBM system. I oppose the absurd extremes to which the SCOTUS ruling took a point purely for corrupt political purposes. Nonetheless, intellectual honesty demands that we admit that the underlying principle that we should have a system in which the person that marks the ballot can at least be known to be the person to whom the ballot was properly issued (e.g. handed to them in a polling place pursuant to an oath, without presentation of a picture ID, that the person was the person in the county maintained ballot roll) is sound.

    Our VBM system is inherently unsound in this regard. In fact the arguments of the proponents is that the inherent unsoundness of our system doesn't matter if it is more convenient for a certain lazy but privileged slice of the electorate --- the able-bodied who have address stability. In his own comment, Aronson notes 19% of American 18-29 year old people reported that they did not have government-issued IDs with their current address.. Since the motor-voter laws have made it easy for people to update their address at the same time they are updating the address on their driver's license, or identity card many states issue in lieu of driver's licenses to those not eligible for a driver's license, the point is clear.

  • (Show?)

    Now, the interesting thing about the SCOTUS ruling is that it also all but delegitimizes Oregon's VBM system.

    Of course it doesn't. The ruling doesn't require ID laws. It says that if a state feels the need to have one that there is sufficient theoretical justification to make them not unconstitutional.

    Nonetheless, intellectual honesty demands that we admit that the underlying principle that we should have a system in which the person that marks the ballot can at least be known to be the person to whom the ballot was properly issued (e.g. handed to them in a polling place pursuant to an oath, without presentation of a picture ID, that the person was the person in the county maintained ballot roll) is sound.

    Which is why we require signatures and check every single one of them before we count its accompanying ballot--that being the same method we used before VBM.

  • (Show?)

    There is actually on empirical data on either side of this issue. Indiana was unable to produce one example of a voter committing "in person voting impersonation."

    (This phrase is important to use, because people toss around the phrase "voter fraud" too cavalierly. This law is targeted at a very specific type of activity--impersonating someone at the polling place.)

    At the same time, the plaintiffs were unable to produce a single case of someone denied the right to vote because of this law (though I hear there is one individual who may have been identified).

    No one has good evidence on how many individuals lack picture IDS.

    (I'd have to ask Alex to clarify his statement: 19% of American 18-29 year old people reported that they did not have government-issued IDs with their current address.--note the clause "with their current address". Generally, the concern has been with citizens without any form of identification at all, no birth certificate and no drivers license, not citizens who have picture ID but need to update the address. These voters can easily cast a provisional ballot.)

    I trust the opinion of Chapin and Martinez (full disclosure, I am working with Pew this year): the Court made this decision in an empirical vacuum and should not have granted cert or should have kicked the case back to the District Court, asking for more evidence.

  • harry demarest (unverified)
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    The Centralized Voter Registration System, (CVRS) contracted out to compile, to Saber Consulting,has thousand of people listed with birthdates as loony as the year 353, 1800 and 11/11/1111. There are about 2000 voters in the system with bad dates of birth (mostly now listed as 0, 1900 and 1901, which were both the result of blank dates of birth on various old computers). Most of these are very old registrations, all before SOS Bradbury implemented the new system. Over 300 of the bad birthdates are from Jackson county because their old computer registration system was very bad. Typographic errors in data entry on the old systems translated into blank (zero) dates of birth on the new systems

    There are countless folk sharing the same address, anything up to 100 + people. I found several Job Training and Vocational Rehabilitation Sites and Several homeless shelters and homeless service centers in Portland. and 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd in Portland.. That's Reed college. Lots of people should be registering at these addresses. Alas, few of them vote, according to the Sec of State records.

    Next time, maybe you should do a little more investigating before imply voter fraud.

    More good news: Duplicate registrations, which allowed a handful of people to double-vote each year during the Keisling years, have been virtually eliminated under the Saber system and Bill Bradbury.

  • Carl (unverified)
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    Just curious: How many people really have no usuable identification at all? When you register to vote, you need identification, at least in the state of Oregon. So if you can't vote at the poll because you have no identification, how can you register?

    <h2>In addition, if people 18-29 do not have ID at the current address, they could always vote via absentee ballot. How are they being disenfranchised? In addition, doesn't the DMV require you to get a Oregon Driver license once you move here for a certain amount of time?</h2>
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