The Left's Internal Battle Against Voter ID

In a soon to be released book, Professor Rick Hasen of Election Law Blog continues the left's war against voter ID. What makes his effort different is that Professor Hasen claims to be taking on both the right and the left. While Professor Hasen gets some credit for admitting that the Brennan Center and others on the far left are wildly exaggerating their claims regarding voter ID, his book is still extremely one-sided. The chapter available does not discuss any argument on the left, center, or right for voter ID. The vast majority of Independent and Democrat voters support voter ID. Moreover,(what should be important to scholars like Hasen), there are even liberal leaders in the voting field supporting voter ID.

Instead of addressing this issue, Hasen spends the released chapter attacking Republicans and conservatives in a prime example of attacking the messenger while ignoring the message. I often wonder if Hans von Spakovsky, one of Hasen and the left's primary targets, would be so frequently condemned if his name was Michael Jones instead of a name that sounds like the bad guy in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

Hasen misses the point.

It is extremely important that President Jimmy Carter and a commission including liberal experts on voting came out in support of Voter ID. One liberal member of the commission, Clinton-appointee Professor Robert Pastor, led a study by the Center for Democracy and Election Management that found evidence in favor of voter ID--evidence that is never mentioned by liberals.

Speaking of not being mentioned, it is more important news that the liberal state of Rhode Island passed voter ID. While the left either ignores Rhode Island (as Hasen does in his book) or tries to distinguish it, the fact remains that Democrats passed a voter ID law modeled on the law passed by Republicans in Indiana, as the Rhode Island law’s chief sponsor admits. Independent Governor Lincoln Chaffee signed the bill, after he spoke with “representatives of our state’s minority communities, and I found their concerns about voter fraud and their support for this bill particularly compelling.”

Why did Democrat politicians and minorities in Rhode Island want Voter ID? Simple: to stop vote fraud. Sponsor Senator Harold Metts stated: “I sponsored the Voter I.D. legislation in the Senate on behalf of Black and Latino constituents concerned about voter fraud. . . . For decades many of us have heard complaints about voter fraud. . . . I cannot accept the logic of those who dismiss this by saying that ‘there have been no formal complaints filed.’ The old system was not set up to readily weed out fraud; and it would be very hard to prove.”

Almost everyone in Rhode Island knows the state's long and unfortunate history of political corruption, which includes vote fraud.

What makes Rhode Island different from other states is that there is effectively no Republican Party in the state. Stopping vote fraud will not help the Republicans or Independents. It will hurt corrupt and/or machine Democrats and benefit clean or honest Democrats who are in power right now in Providence.

That is why liberals like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews all but laughed in the face of the Advancement Project director on his show, when she denied vote fraud existed in Philadelphia. But think of it this way. In Philadelphia, you don’t even get prosecuted for waiving a billiy club and threatening people, as the New Black Panthers did; do you really think anything is going to happen with  buses of people illegally voting for others multiple times as Matthews described? That is why ID is so important in a place like Pennsylvania and even in a place like Providence.

Unfortunately Professor Hasen accuses Hans von Spakosky and others of “racist undertones” for supporting voter ID. The irony of this statement is apparently lost on Hasen. The left has to cry racism on vote fraud because the public from all parts of the ideological spectrum support voter ID as a reasonable measure to help prevent vote fraud. The race card is not being played by people like von Spakovsky or Senator Metts, but by people like Al Sharpton who in a recent speech “compared the issue [of voter ID] to Jim Crow laws of the past, telling the crowded auditorium that ‘Your water fountain is voter ID.’”

I hope Professor Hasen will agree with us that comments like those of Reverend Sharpton are terrible lies that have no place in the voter ID debate. I also hope Professor Hasen will read and rely on studies and reports by bipartisan commissions and liberals in support of voter ID, instead of relying on reports by groups such as the Brennan Center that he admits exaggerate their statistics. I have some hope for the former. Unfortunately, considering his attacks on conservatives and the ignoring of liberal messengers in favor of voter ID, there is little hope for the latter. I guess, to Professor Hasen, Jimmy Carter’s support of voter ID has “racial undertones” like that of his fellow Georgian, Hans von Spakovsky.


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