Why do democrats hate voter ID laws so much?
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17-05-2012, 06:55 PM
RE: Why do democrats hate voter ID laws so much?
(17-05-2012 05:18 PM)kineo Wrote:  You've seen it a couple times, but I've never witnessed voter fraud that I know of. You're right, anecdotes are not evidence. I'm very skeptical that it is a significant enough issue that we need to keep legitimate voters out of the voting booths. Is there a non-biased study that has found in-person voter fraud to be a significant issue that could affect the overall outcome of a vote on a national or state level?
The whole reason it is a problem is that the crime is virtually untraceable. The person I witnessed lying about their address was so brazen because the odd chance that people would be at the poll who could call them out on it was so unlikely to happen, and they knew that there was nothing anybody could do about it. That is why there can be no study--you are asking for something that would be impossible to provide. Where is your study showing fraud never effects election outcomes? The left acts as if nobody has an incentive to cheat the system and is curiously incurious about whether fraud happens or not.

Imagine that the US Mint had a policy of allowing citizens to anonymously exchange their worn out paper currency by dropping off their old worn out bills into a collection box, and then in the privacy of a booth that dispenses new notes enter in how much money they should get back. Of course nobody would think this was a good idea. If we allowed such an exchange system, we would require the person exchanging their note to validate their bill and do a one for one trade. And moreover, we require citizens to provide identification if they drop a large sum of cash off at the bank so that the bills exchanged can be tracked and traced. Is a fair and accurate election worth so little that we don't care to protect the process from interested parties stealing their results? Why is it not possible to require a voter to prove they are who they say they are?
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18-05-2012, 11:54 AM
RE: Why do democrats hate voter ID laws so much?
(17-05-2012 06:55 PM)BryanS Wrote:  The whole reason it is a problem is that the crime is virtually untraceable. The person I witnessed lying about their address was so brazen because the odd chance that people would be at the poll who could call them out on it was so unlikely to happen, and they knew that there was nothing anybody could do about it. That is why there can be no study--you are asking for something that would be impossible to provide. Where is your study showing fraud never effects election outcomes? The left acts as if nobody has an incentive to cheat the system and is curiously incurious about whether fraud happens or not.

Imagine that the US Mint had a policy of allowing citizens to anonymously exchange their worn out paper currency by dropping off their old worn out bills into a collection box, and then in the privacy of a booth that dispenses new notes enter in how much money they should get back. Of course nobody would think this was a good idea. If we allowed such an exchange system, we would require the person exchanging their note to validate their bill and do a one for one trade. And moreover, we require citizens to provide identification if they drop a large sum of cash off at the bank so that the bills exchanged can be tracked and traced. Is a fair and accurate election worth so little that we don't care to protect the process from interested parties stealing their results? Why is it not possible to require a voter to prove they are who they say they are?

I get what you're saying, and it sounds like a convenient argument- "We don't know how to study it, so let's not. Let's just pass laws blindly, whether or not they address the problem which may or may not be occurring." That doesn't sound like a positiive measure, especially considering the 21 million Americans it would affect- those Americans who currently do not hold an ID. Can you really speak for a significant portion of them to say that it should be easy for them to get IDs? And as GT mentioned- it would add cost to taxpayers to address a potentially non-existent or minimal problem.

And it's not that studies haven't been done. They have been done- they just find little evidence of voter fraud at the polls that voter IDs would have a significant impact on. But we do know that voter fraud does happen. I'm not arguing that it doesn't- I'm arguing magnitude. The argument of "we can't study it so we don't know the magnitude" doesn't hold up against the fact that it is a wildly inefficient way to commit fraud. Do you think it is remotely as significant of an issue as the claims being made? And no simply to justify ID requirements? I see it as a fear tactic by the right- a political game which doesn't actually address voter fraud in any significant way. If you want to really go after voter fraud, you need to go after absentee ballots, which is a much more efficient way of committing fraud in a way that would have an impact on an election. The occasional voter casting a double-vote isn't going to do it. And no study has found any significant conspiracy suggesting voter fraud. And if it were going to have an impact, it would have to be a significant conspiracy.

Here's an article from Dec. 2011 on the issue:
Some highlights:
Quote:The Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) in an attempt to discredit a NAACP report this week on the lack of voter fraud evidence has bolstered the view that there is no need for voter ID laws, imposed by many states.

Quote:Viewing the data for the period 2000-2010, the report by its own account shows there is no link between voter fraud in states and the need for stricter voter ID laws. The data shows that during the entire 10 year period, 21 states had only 1 or 2 convictions for some form of voter irregularity. And some of these 21 states have the strictest form of voter ID laws based on a finding of 2 or less convictions in ten years.

Quote:At the time of registering to vote, other states like Kansas and Alabama further demand proof of citizenship beyond the federal legal requirement that citizens swear they are citizens. Kansas had one conviction for voter fraud in ten years; Alabama had three convictions in the same time period.

Quote:In the states with higher convictions of improper voting, most involved voters improperly filling out registration forms, vote buying or a person with a felony conviction attempting to vote. Vote buying occurs when a voter is paid or offered money for their vote. Neither of these issues would be prevented by state photo ID requirement.

But you are right that it's difficult to get proof of it occurring, and if it is successfully done then there wouldn't be much in the way of evidence for a prosecution. A Harvard study admits the same, so aims to look at how peoples' opinions of voter fraud are used to steer policy (i.e. fear tactics). I regards to your anecdote from your prior post, I would argue that it is the fault of the polling manager that allowed the vote for not taking action- and perhaps he or she did take action but you were unaware. That may not have meant refusing the vote, but could have meant following up with an investigation after the fact, or reporting the incident- would you be aware of he or she did? Those types of occurrences should be reported in order to be able to have more data on the subject to review. But without that type of information being reported frequently- does that mean it goes unnoticed or it is simply not an issue? Who knows.

Here's the Harvard study.

Intro:
Quote:In the current debate over the constitutionality of voter identification laws, both the Supreme Court and defenders of such laws have justified them, in part, as counteracting a widespread fear of vote fraud that leads citizens to disengage from the democracy. Because actual evidence of voter impersonation fraud is rare and difficult to come by if fraud is successful, reliance on public opinion as to the prevalence of fraud threatens to allow courts to evade the difficult task of balancing the actual constitutional risks involved. In this Essay we employ a unique survey to evaluate the causes and effects of public opinion regarding vote fraud. We find that perceptions of fraud have no relationship to an individual’s likelihood of turning out to vote. We also find that voters who were subject to stricter identification requirements believe fraud is just as widespread as do voters subject to less restrictive identification requirements.

Here's the actual essay: http://hlr.rubystudio.com/media/pdf/anso...ersily.pdf

I found it interesting that peoples' beliefs about how frequently voter fraud happened changed depending on political party, ideals, education, age, and race. It seems that the older you are, less education you are, or more conservative you are- the more likely you are to believe that voter fraud is a frequent occurrence. But almost universally people believe that it's an occasional occurrence, regardless of of those demographics.

Also of note (and more importantly), states that require an ID to vote don't seem to quell any fears of voter fraud:
Quote:We find that voters who have been forced to show identification are no less likely to perceive fraud than those not similarly subject to an ID requirement.

So even when IDs are required, people still believe fraud is occurring.

Here even more information collected on the subject: http://www.truthaboutfraud.org/

So what do we know about voters and voter fraud?
  • Voter fraud occurs at the polling place, but we don't know how frequently.
  • Evidence for fraud is difficult to come by. This could mean that it occurs with success (frequently, occasionally, infrequently), goes unreported, or doesn't occur frequently enough to be an issue. Source
  • Voter ID laws make it more difficult for citizens to vote (sometimes even impossible). In some states the laws are even more strict to obtain an ID than federal laws for citizens to swear their citizenship. Source
  • There are currently 21 million Americans without an ID. Source
  • Sometimes to get an ID you need a birth certificate. To get a birth certificate if you don't have one, sometimes you need a photo ID. Source
  • Ballot fraud is an inefficient method of voter fraud. Absentee ballots would be much more efficient. Source
  • Personal IDs either cost the individual money, or the state money to provide free IDs- which comes from taxes. In the 35 states where this is enacted that cost could range from $276 Million to $828 Million during the first four years alone. Source
  • Voter ID laws are unlikely to impact actual voting fraud. Source
  • Voter ID laws don't quell fears of voter fraud in states that already have the laws enacted. Source
  • Citizens that are legally allowed to vote that tend not to have a photo ID include: the elderly, minorities, the poor, and young adults 18-24. Source

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