Just like Abominable No Man, GOP has
one answer for everything: Photo ID
Even if you watch television as little as I do, which is very little, you have probably been exposed multiple times to the credit card commercial in which "customer service" representative only has to know one answer: "No!"
Call him the Abominable No Man. He has an answer for any customer question or complaint. No, no, and no.
For some reason, that came to mind when I was reading the latest Wisconsin Republican Party press release about voter fraud.
Republicans, like the No Man, have one single answer for every problem with Wisconsin's electoral system.
People voting twice? Photo ID cards.
Absentee ballots counted after people died? Photo ID cards.
Felons voting? Photo ID cards.
Local clerks not purging voter lists? Photo ID cards.
Photo ID, photo ID, photo ID.
(The right wing seems to be trying to adopt Gen. Russel Honore's "stuck on stupid" line as their own; they liked it because he said it to reporters. But the GOP is stuck on stupid about this issue, among others. Either that or they think the voters are stuck on stupid and will buy their BS.)
Let's take the latest blatant untruth from the GOP, Thursday's release, entitled,
"Jury Trial Indicates Photo ID Would Have Prevented Man's Attempt to Vote Twice"
No, no, no. Photo ID would not have prevented it. Not at all. No.
From the release:
The trial of a man charged with voting twice in the Nov. ‘04 elections is strong evidence that a photo ID requirement would have prevented such behavior from occurring. The 25-year-old Milwaukee man testified that he filled two on-site voter registration cards.The only way that would be true is if the Republicans are talking about sweeping changes that go far beyond the requirement to have a photo ID card to prove you are who you say you are.
The man actually lived at an address different than the one he said he entered one of his registration forms (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 22, 2005). According to the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is trying the case, the man’s two registration cards each show different numbers. Election officials at the trial said a number means a voter was given a ballot.
“Here is a case where photo ID would prevent someone from casting a ballot fraudulently,” said Rick Graber, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “The man did not live at the address he said he did and a photo ID requirement would have stopped him from voting at that address.
The real Republican agenda isn't simply to require voters to show a photo ID. It is to require them to show a photo ID with their current address, which means getting your driver's license or ID changed every time you move. About 20% of people in the US move every year; some move more than once.
And it is no secret that most people don't change the address on their driver's license every time they move -- or if they do, they don't do it promptly.
The second part of the GOP agenda is to end voter registration at the polls -- even though 20% of the voters in the 2004 presidential election in Wisconsin -- 390,000 people -- used that system. Guess who's most likely to register at the polls? You guessed it; the same people who are less likely to have a current photo ID card -- minorities and the poor, who are part of the Democratic base.
This is a little complicated, but bear with me a minute if you haven't nodded off yet.
To understand what the GOP is trying to do, you have to understand how the current system works.
When we talk about election day registration, in many cases we are talking about people who are on the voting rolls, but who have moved since the last time they voted. Those people are required to fill out a registration card with their new information and their old address, and to show the poll worker some proof of their new address. New voters who are not on the rolls must show ID to show who they are and where they live.
I worked at the on-site registration table at a South Side polling place last November. Most of the people who were registering or changing their addresses had a driver's license. But in many cases that license had their previous address. My co-worker and I copied the number of the license onto the registration card, and then -- if the license had an old address -- asked for some other proof of their new address. They produced utility bills, leases, rent receipits, bank statements and a variety of other documents to show they lived where they were registering.
If the system had been working as it should, the defendant in this case would not have been able to vote twice at two different addresses, photo ID or not. What is needed is more and better-trained poll workers to endorce the current law.
But the facts don't matter to the Republicans, whose goal is to suppress turnout. Dem Party Chair Joe Wineke hit it on the head when he said, "Republicans are not interested in election reform; their real goal is to prevent as many people as possible from voting."
If the only way you can vote in Wisconsin is to show a photo ID with your current address, they certainly will have accomplished that.
Of course, even with that system in place there would be nothing to prevent someone who has moved from voting at his or her old address -- the one on the photo ID.
And there would be nothing to prevent felons from voting. No one is claiming they used false names. They simply voted when they should not have been allowed to, and no photo ID would have solved that problem, either.
So the "debate" continues.
Photo ID! Photo ID! Photo ID!
No. No. No.
POSTSCRIPT: The jury could not reach a verdict in the case the GOP used as its latest example, and a mistrial was declared. Reminds me of the news conference outside the home of a voter accused of double voting, who turned out to be innocent, one of a series of false charges of voter fraud.