Thursday, December 6, 2012

Did Voter ID Laws Backfire On The G.O.P.?

In the past few years, more states in the USA have been enacting voter identification laws wherein voters have to show identification at the polls before they can vote.  This was usually done in states where Republicans had the majority in the legislature, and many observers, the American Civil Liberties Union among them, noted that such measures were in response to basically a nonexistent problem in that actual voter fraud was a very rare occurrence.  Many people such as journalist Greg Palast noted that the voter i.d. laws seemed to fit into a pattern in recent years of Republicans trying to make it harder for people to vote, especially people likely to vote for Democrats.

It makes one long for the ideal democracy wherein candidates and political parties try to win elections by appealing to the voters with good public policies, not by trying to prevent people from voting.

But, assuming the critics of the Republicans are right and the voter i.d. laws were just an attempt to prevent the elderly, minorities, the poor, and students (those most likely to not have the right i.d.s and "coincidentally" those most likely to vote Democratic) from voting, did the Republican plan backfire and actually hurt their chances of winning?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his supporters seemed confident he was going to win the 2012 election right up to the end.  Perhaps that was because they were believing what they wanted to believe, or because Romney, at least, knew Karl Rove or somebody had fixed some voting tabulation computers to make Romney seem like the winner (until some hackers checkmated Rove and prevented him from doing that).

Perhaps overconfidence or a failed electoral theft are the whole story behind Romney's surprising loss (well, surprising to him at least), but I was also reminded of a story a friend of mine told me years ago about how his father, a hardcore conservative Republican, used to vote twice every election, once at his current polling station and once at the polling station for where he used to live a few years earlier (he moved but never updated his address there, leaving him on the rolls).  So, basically, some guy who loved Rush Limbaugh and Republicans was voting twice in every election.  Maybe that was an anomaly, or maybe he wasn't the only Republican who did stuff like that.  In any case, with the voter identification laws in place in many states, he wouldn't have been easily able to do that anymore.  So, even if the Republican plan was actually to clean up voter fraud, then it didn't work how they imagined it would.  All they did was prevent the Dittoheads from voting twice (or three times, I heard another story that one woman voted in her mother's and grandmother's name after they were deceased since they all shared the same name).

All of this is at the level of friend of a friend stories (it's shocking how people aren't more open about their electoral fraud, isn't it?  Ha!) so it's a pretty thin ice argument, but it is interesting to think about.

Maybe in the future, instead of trying to prevent people from voting, the Republicans should just concentrate on trying to appeal to all the voters by offering policies people like.

That might be less likely to backfire on them.

Of course, then they probably wouldn't be able to mainly stand for rich people doing enough for society as is so they shouldn't have to pay taxes too, and for rich people being able to loot the public treasury any time they want, which seem to be ultimately their two primary public policy positions.

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