Yep, Voter ID is a waste, and has been from the very beginning

Have to agree, in part, with this release from Lindsey Graham and Trey Gowdy:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-4) today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting documents pertaining to the Department of Justice’s opposition to South Carolina’s Voter ID law.

Graham and Gowdy expressed concerns that an approval recommendation by career Voting Section experts was ignored and overruled by Obama appointees at the Justice Department…

Oh, it’s a waste all right — the whole mess. Starting with the GOP’s completely unnecessary imposition of this “solution” to a nonexistent “problem,” and ending with Democrats’ hyperventilating over it. As I’ve said over and over again for years, a huge waste all around — and we all know that it’s about each party trying to gain or protect every ounce of leverage it can get at the ballot box. Which has an unbecoming intensity in this very close election.

But gentlemen, as much as one might find in “waste” on both sides — and if the DOJ leadership ignored its own staff recommendation, that does raise one’s eyebrows — the truth is that your own side started this unnecessary fight.

50 thoughts on “Yep, Voter ID is a waste, and has been from the very beginning

  1. Karen McLeod

    I was reading somewhere (I’m trying to remember where, but no luck, so far)that in several states which have approved voter ID laws, that several thousand people who were removed from the lists turned out to be valid voters, including quite a few who were naturalized citizens. If this info is true (and I’m disinclined to read off-the-wall publications), then perhaps these laws are counter productive as well as useless.

  2. Brad

    Regarding this, Dick Harpootlian said a couple of puzzling things. The first was this: “Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Trey Gowdy attempted yesterday to intimidate the Justice Department on the South Carolina Voter ID law. They should be ashamed to try and strong-arm the Justice Department to back off its opposition to this reinstitution of Jim Crow laws.”

    What did the two Republicans do that constituted “intimidation” or “strong-arming”? I don’t know, unless it was implied by the fact that they’re saying the administration is wasting money, and Congress has the power of the purse. But that would make ANY complaint from members about government “waste” intimidation, would it not?

    Dick also said, “Knowing that their failed Presidential nominee can’t persuade a majority of the American people to vote for him – they have attempted to disenfranchise a large number of South Carolinian’s who are the 47%.”

    I realize he was anxious to channel the “Occupy” movement (why, I don’t know), but what’s he saying — that 47 percent of South Carolinians don’t have picture IDs? Or that only 47 percent of the electorate supports the president? Hardly. Perhaps he’d have been clearer had he said, “are among Mitt Romney’s ’47 percent’.”

  3. bud

    The GOP is despartely trying to stem the demographic tide that is overwhelming their ability to win elections using the southern strategy approach. Their brazen attempts to disenfranchise millions of voters nationwide over a non-existent “problem” is both cowardly and ultimately counterproductive to their cause.

    As for Brad’s “hyperventilating” comment this liberal is concerned that the election will be stollen by these tactics. Not sure how concern translates into hyperventilating. Just another example of the media (especially Brad) trying to show balance where none should be shown. Now back to my hyperventilating.

  4. Karen McLeod

    I don’t know about you, but if the government (who ultimately controls who can vote) took me off the voter registration rolls, I’d be ticked, to say the least. And if I’m an African American of my age or older, I might be a little scared.

  5. Brad

    Mind you, I’m not defending the Republicans’ position on this, but as I understand it, no one would be taken “off the voter registration rolls.” You’d just have to prove you were that person on the rolls when you showed up to vote.

  6. bud

    THey had a good expose on the problems encountered by older, urban voters to get a proper ID to vote. In one case it took 4 hours and several trips to various government agencies to get the proper papers. That may not seem extreme but many voters won’t go to that much trouble or they are just not physically able to do so. The Republicans are banking on more of these folks being Democrats. But since the elderly have typically voted GOP this strategy may backfire. Now wouldn’t that be poetic justice.

  7. Kathryn Fenner

    Did you read the letter from the woman whose mother moved here from Wisconsin and needed five trips to get registered. Her WI license wasn’t enough. They wanted her birth certificate, a bank statement. The bank statement was rejected because it was an out of state bank. She needed her marriage certificate to document her name change. It went on…..

  8. Lynn

    And now we know why SC’s state song is “Let’s do the time warp…” I can’t wait until we return to black and white water fountains of my youth not to mention segregated lunch counters….

  9. Karen McLeod

    In some states they have purged the voter registration lists. As a “little old lady” I’d still be miffed if I showed up, waited in line, and was then told my ID wasn’t sufficient.

  10. J

    Saw this tweet and thought it made a good point.

    “If voter ID protects election integrity why aren’t we fingerprinting all voters instead. You can get a fake ID.”

  11. Juan Caruso

    Voter ID is going to happen in SC, too. Fraud has always been a very, very difficult crime to prove. There are so many elements (compared to homicide) that must be proven.

    Some of you crybabies (lawyers and journalists among you) fail to acknowledge this month’s news, or similar indictments and convictions I listed for you months ago when you breached this sorry topic and tried the same “never happens” tactic:

    Mississippi NAACP executive is in jail after being convicted of voter fraud for fraudulently casting absentee ballots, including for four dead people.

    Shame on all of you for abetting a system abetting cheats and discouraging honest voters. Your party-line attempts to minimize the sanctity of our one vote per eligible voter paradigm are frankly pathetic.

  12. Steve Gordy

    I am shocked, shocked that would try to peddle anything that wasn’t provably true. Obviously we should trust anything they post.

  13. Lynn T

    Juan, Absentee voter fraud does happen. Photo ID does nothing to prevent it. PhotoID can only affect in person voter fraud, which is extremely rare and never proven in SC.

  14. Ralph Hightower

    Twenty years ago, when I went to get my passport, the birth certificate issued by the hospital was not good enough, it was one of those that had the foot print on it. I didn’t know that the hospital didn’t file my birth with DHEC Vital Records. My mom had to sign an affidavit about my birth so I could get a birth certificate for my passport.

    I could see some benefit to not having a birth certificate. If I don’t exist according to the government, then why should I be paying income taxes?

  15. Tim

    Not exactly sure how photo id solves an absentee voter fraud problem. Guess how many fake ID’s float around 5 points on a Friday night. The only way to make photo id’s work is to install expensive equipment in each polling place, train staff to properly use them, develop a complicated, expensive provisional ballot system, all to solve a problem that is in the .00001 percent of votes cast. Never mind that the vast majority of vote fraud is done by the people running elections… which is why Mitt Romney “won” Iowa, when Ron Paul had the most votes. Where’s the outrage?

    Oh, and shame on you for supporting vote suppression.

  16. Tim

    Just because he used Breitbart does not make the story false. It is a real case. The issue is is it a real problem that will be worth millions of dollars of equipment, training and other unknown legal ramifications to solve a problem that is utterly tiny? In the period between 2002 and 2007, when the Bush Justice Department was actively looking for any kind of voter fraud, they brought to trial exactly zero cases. When the Department could not find any cases, they leaned hard on the US Attorneys to invent cases, eventually firing 8 US Attorneys who refused to invent cases when they could find no cases. These are the same folks who opposed motor voter laws just a dozen years before, because it enfranchised voters.

  17. Doug Ross

    “I could see some benefit to not having a birth certificate. If I don’t exist according to the government, then why should I be paying income taxes?”

    You think the people who can’t get a government id ARE paying taxes? Maybe that’s exactly why some don’t want to.

  18. Tim

    Honestly I don’t get why a libertarian thinks this is an issue. Its a non-problem that requires a costly big government solution that will not solve the non-problem. Again, Expensive Card Reading System. Training on Expensive Card Reading System. 5 Points. Fake ID. Somewhere between 86 (likely) and 1000 (extremely high estimate) estimated voter fraud cases in the last decade, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast. Ron Paul had Iowa stolen from him by election officials, not some poor guy who can’t get a driver’s license.

  19. Juan Caruso

    “ You’ve got to be kidding! That site is trash.” – J

    As any lawyer would know, convictions are a matter of public record, J.

    You will also find the story buried in fish wrappings you may consider more reputable than Google’s first listing. By the way, if any of you read the NYT, how is it you ignored Sowers April fraud conviction – (rhetorical?

  20. bud

    I find it interesting that the case Breitbart used as an example to support voter ID laws is an example of a crime that will NOT be alleviated by a photo ID law. Seems like indirect evidence that the right really is just trying to disenfranchise voters.

  21. Mark Stewart

    All I know is that I have recently spent well over 40 hours wrangling with SCDMV to obtain title for a older, never before titled trailer. It turns out to be impossible here; they believe that if something doesn’t exist in their system, it simply cannot be real.

    So the idea of having them involved in Voter ID is probably not going to be helpful for resolving really serious issues of “properly” identifying the elderly – and it doesn’t seem to anyone that we are in any way talking about anyone under 50 anyway.

  22. Mark Stewart


    We are talking about the elderly here. Nobody expects these people to be big income tax generators.

    That’s the whole point of this targeted disenfranchisement. Talk about something that is Republican in name only – this is pure Dixiecrat politics. It’s a small issue, but an odious one.

  23. Doug Ross


    Are these elderly people receiving Social Security, Medicare, or any other government assistance?

    How do you sign up for those programs if you don’t have an id? And if you have an issue with either of those programs, how do you get it resolved without proving who you are? You can’t enter the Strom Thurmond building to go to the Social Security office without an id.

    The number of people actually impacted by this bill is very small.

  24. Brad

    Sometime before I met my wife, her grandmother decided she would take a trip around the world, and she persuaded her daughter (later my mother-in-law) to accompany her.

    Her grandmother, whom my wife called Nina, of course needed a passport to do this. She had no birth certificate, having been born at home in rural West Tennessee. So she needed a witness to attest that she was indeed born at that time and in that place. So a cousin went down to the office with her and so swore — even though he was slightly younger than she was. It satisfied the passport people.

    (Actually, I need to double-check with my wife — the cousin may not have been younger, but in any case he was too young to remember her birth.)

    I guess it’s OK to tell that story now that none of the parties can be prosecuted.

  25. Doug Ross

    If this wasn’t a government problem, some bright person would set up a way to have an official person review each case in person and sign off with an official statement that the person is who he says he is.

    But this is government “at work” which means bureaucracy rules.

  26. Kathryn Fenner

    This issue is not any government ID. The requirements are very specific,and many people just do not have the correct documentation.

  27. Brad

    Doug, there’s something really basic that you and others who rail against government and bureaucracy don’t understand.

    This is a trust issue.

    The reason we have bureaucracy is because there are lots of people in this world — and I’m looking around me here on this thread — who just don’t trust government, period.

    So what we do is hobble government with all sorts of excessive rules and regulations and procedures and paperwork and checks and double-checks and triple-checks, until it gets beyond ridiculous. And we do all of that because each and every one of those requirements grew out of somebody not trusting government to go ahead and do the sensible thing.

    We don’t have bureaucracy because of people like me, Doug. We have it because of people like you.

    Not only you, of course. Lots of people have different reasons for their distrust. Black folks, for instance — particularly older black folks — are persuaded that the white man’s world is going to come back and take back all the rights and simple dignity as citizens that was only granted to them during their lifetime.

    Things like Voter ID reinforce that paranoia, by the way. But in any case, one reason why gummint sticks its heavy hand into such things as even the private workplace is because in the past, those who made the laws had good reason, or thought they did, not to trust folks to be fair to each other.

    If everybody’d just chill, and give each other the benefit of the doubt, government and everything else in our society could act more like it was run by human beings, could just act reasonably. But we don’t allow it. And so we get the kind of bureaucracy that you rail against.

  28. Brad

    I’ve got a whole sermon about how lack of trust is THE root of evil in our world, the cause of all our domestic, and most of our international, problems. Wrote it all into a column once, in the 90s, long before I was a blogger. I’ll try to go dig it up…

  29. bud

    If the DMV was run like a private company a simple trip to obtain a new vehicle tag would involve all the upselling nonsense we get whenever we try to buy anything from a new car to a hamburger. This trip would look something like this:

    CUSTOMER: I would like to get a new tag for my 2008 Ford.
    DMV CLERK: Certainly, we have several options for new tags, including some very nice specialty tags.

    C: I’ll just take a plain one.
    D: Did you graduate from college in South Carolina?

    C: Yes, USC.
    D: Great, then you’d probably be interested in our new Gamecock tag. And it will only cost an extra 40 cents per month.

    C: Uh, no thanks. That actually amounts to quite of bit of money over the course of 5 years. I’ll just take a plain one.
    D: But that is such a small price to pay for the pleasure of showing your school spirit? Ok, well maybe you’d rather make a political statement. Are you a liberal or a conservative?

    C: I’m not really all that political.
    D: Are you an animal lover?

    C: Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?
    D: As a man of conscience I’m sure you’d probably like to save the Manatees?

    C: Yes, but we don’t even have Manatees in South Carolina.
    D: But right now for a reduced price you can help out the folks in Florida who are trying to save them. We have a reciprocal agreement to sell Manatee tags in exchange for them selling “Protect our spotted woodpeckers” tags. They don’t have many spotted woodpeckers in FL so it seemed like a great deal.

    C: I really just want a plain tag.
    D: But sir just think about much better you’ll sleep at night if you help save the Manatees. Do you want it on your conscience if the Manatee goes extinct? Ok then maybe you can help save the Manatee by praying for them. So how about a nice religious tag to show your faith in God?

    C: But my religious affiliation is none of anyone elses business.
    D: OK. Well are you a lifelong southerner?

    C: Yes, but…
    D: Great! For a special low price of just 20 cents per month you can now have your own “Southern Heritage” tag to let people know you appreciate your ancestry.

    C: No, it’s getting late so maybe I’ll take one of those USC tags. My wife will probably like it.
    D: Fantastic! You won’t regret this opportunity to show pride in your school. Plus, 1/3 of the proceeds go toward building the new deck of the stadium.

    C: Fine.
    D: Great, well let’s get started with the paperwork. For today only I can include this new protective coating for your beautiful new USC tag for the low price of just $14.99. It’s guaranteed to protect your investment for 6 months.

    C: Sure.
    D: One more thing. We can throw in one of these new LED lighting packages to fully illuminate your tag at night. It does a much better job than the old style lights.


  30. Doug Ross

    Did government become complex because I don’t trust it or do I not trust government because it is too complex?

    Since the complexity existed before I did, I vote for the latter. Do you think the TSA implemented its rules because I don’t trust them? Hardly.

    I’d like to see an efficient government. Since there is little accountability, especially in non-elected offices, the efficiency is significantly lower than it would be.

    Here I am offering a suggestion that would eliminate the bureaucracy and you’re trying to convince me that I want it to be complex. The bureaucracy is self-serving. The complexity creates jobs.

  31. Jeff Miller

    There’s a new movie called “Electoral Dysfunction.” Hopefully it will play or be available in SC sometime soon. (It may get a slot on PBS.) Mo Rocca narrates, so there’s humor. And some of the movie dwells on the topic of voter fraud/voter suppression. But the larger point is that our system of voting is — and always has been — dysfunctional in so many different ways, and yet our democracy depends on this dysfunctional process to somehow help us translate “the will of the people” into governance.

    Even if you know all this, I highly recommend it.


  32. Juan Caruso

    “I find it interesting that the case Breitbart used as an example to support voter ID laws is an example of a crime that will NOT be alleviated by a photo ID law.” – bud

    Gee, bud, the case Breitbart and the NYT reported, which has not been isolated, illustrates why the lack of trust Brad refers to is justified.

    Let me guess, bud, you and Brad are trusting souls who would gladly spend your own savings to buy valuable art or antiques without provenance? Not!

    Yet, the majority of voters who support voter ID should support claims by you of the party (both you and Brad will vote for Obama) some of whose supporters perpetrated all of such recently detected frauds that voter ID is unnecessary?

    Fraud exits globally in human nature. While the government is neither the sole vehicle of frauds even are founders noted without exception that the government should not be trusted by citizens due to its unique capability to perpetrate MASSIVE frauds (e.g. Solyndra, global warming).

    How about going an extra step when you find something interesting to share with us and accompany your conclusion by factual research.

    Obviously, you and others have laid or fallen into the trap that absentee voting cannot be prevented by voter ID. True, but so what; homicide cannot be prevented by DNA evidence either.

  33. J

    Doug, a generation or two ago, many people weren’t born in hospitals but in rural areas and the only birth record was their family bible. Evidently you’re not on SS or you’d recognize that their work history and a SS# are a basis, but sometimes the SS office wants your DHEC birth certificate. Wonder what you’d do if you didn’t have one. You can handle most of this over the telephone with the SS office. SS referred to here is not Sunday School…. Mark’s experience is not that uncommon.

  34. Tim

    As is plainly evident, there are very few instance of voter fraud. Why? because there is a ten year sentence and a massive fine if you are caught. For one vote. The cost benefit is just not there. That is why it is so seldom done. There are far more homicides in this country than instances of voter fraud. In a vote fraud, someone may, repeat MAY, win an election, which can then be challenged. In a homicide, if I don’t get this wrong, someone actually dies.

    So, you want to make it harder for about 100,000 folks to cast a vote in this state alone, to protect against, lets see, what are the odds, about a 1 in 100,000 chance that someone casts a vote illegally. A single vote. Now, to really do what you say you want to do, you will need to implement a machine reading system, and train poll workers in recognition of the acceptable legal photo id’s. So, what are there, maybe 10,000 polling locations in SC? 3 Poll workers in each location, maybe more? So, we are talking probably 10 million dollars in equipment and training to protect against possibly 1 vote being falsely cast statewide. Sure, its a ballpark, but seems about right.

    But in any event, that is not going to happen. The state legislature will not appropriate one dime to do anything to do this, other than tell the election commission to publish a sheet to send to poll workers, one detailing acceptable ids. Who won’t be able to tell a fake id from a real id. Who will just look at the id, look at someones face, shrug and say go on ahead. So, what then, is the real reason you want this non-sensical law, since we have had widespread photo ids in this country for probably 40 years? Why is it a good idea just now?

  35. bud

    Juan, you are getting a bit long-winded trying to rebut something without actually rebuting it. Just answer with a yes or no. Would the incident Breitbart cited have occurred with the photo ID law? If yes then you’re basically acknowledging that the photo ID laws are useless and serve ONLY to disenfranchise voters. A no is not plausible.

  36. bud

    Juan, I’m going to vote for Obama because he is the best candidate and gives our country the best chance for a prosperous and safe future. As for all this fraud vs disenfranchisment back and forth it is pretty clear to me that disenfranchised voters outnumber fraudelent voters by a margin of at least 10-1. And guess which party is doing virtually ALL of the disenfranchisment? You guessed it bub, the GOP.

  37. Doug Ross


    So what you are saying is that these people can provide reasonable documentation to identify themselves in every situation EXCEPT when it comes to voting. So change the voting id law to match that of Social Security. If you can identify yourself to get a government check you should also be able to identify yourself to vote. Bring a copy of a S.S. card or a letter from Social Security or a copy of a Social Security check (I’m assuming these people don’t have bank accounts because I’m not aware of any bank that lets you open one without valid id).

    See, the issue is the government bureaucrats who can’t figure out a way to provide a reasonable way to identify a person. It’s not the id law itself.

  38. Tim

    Why should “government bureaucrats” waste time with an issue that is not an issue, solving a problem that isn’t a problem? If the system is working currently, what exactly are you trying to fix?

    Again, Voter ID laws are a Top Down, Big Government fix to a problem that isn’t a problem, that will require lots of money to do properly, but won’t be funded, so it will just result in a poorly conceived law given no resources to execute resulting in exactly nothing… except preventing many currently eligible voters from voting, and sowing confusion amongst many more who would nonetheless meet the picture ID requirement.

    Since many of them are seniors of all political backgrounds and ideologies in SC, it isn’t just those voters who voter ID proponents think will pull a lever a certain way they don’t like all the time.

  39. bud

    Doug you are huge advocate of getting the government out of our lives. Why do you support increased government intervention in this issue? If there ever was a case where additional laws are unnecessary this is the poster child for that philosophy.

  40. Juan Caruso

    “Would the incident Breitbart cited have occurred with the photo ID law?”
    – bud

    How dumb was the convicted perpetrator? If dumb or impassioned, the answer is yes.

    Voter ID will reduce organized fraud (ACORN, NAACP, etc) AND make detection much faster. I am for it. The cost for it over 10 years will be less than 10% of what Obama has wastedon just Solyndra.

    The reason you are voting for him, if what you have told is in the past is true is for Obamacare and your personal health issues.

    If yes then you’re basically acknowledging that the photo ID laws are useless and serve ONLY to disenfranchise voters. A no is not plausible.

  41. Steve Gordy

    Voter ID will do nothing to stop exercises like Rick Scott’s recurrent attempts to purge the voter rolls in Florida. Hey, it worked for Jeb Bush prior to the 2000 presidential election, why not now?

  42. bud

    Voter ID will reduce organized fraud (ACORN, NAACP, etc) AND make detection much faster.

    Even IF (a huge IF) there is fraud by these groups AND the voter ID will reduce it I’d still be against it because it will disinfranchise far, far, far more legitimate voters (by some estimates 10-1) than incidents of fraud prevented. No system is perfect but to suggest it is better to deny legitimate voters their right to participate in the political process because of some phantom problem is an abomination.

  43. Tim

    There is absolutely no evidence of organized voter fraud. Plenty of election fraud, run by state and local officials. No evidence of voter fraud. This is purely about vote suppression. You need some better talking points from the Governor’s office.

  44. bud

    Hey, it worked for Jeb Bush prior to the 2000 presidential election, why not now?

    Indeed it did. The difference this time around is that the people are onto these diabolical schemes.

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