Thursday, June 19, 2014

163.1 - Good News: Voter photo ID drive stalls in Nevada

Good News: Voter photo ID drive stalls in Nevada

First off, we have some good news about voter ID.

I haven't talked about this a lot of late, but as it gets into election season, I expect it will come up more.

Just as a quick reminder, the voter ID issue involves demands that prospective voters produce some specified form of photo ID at the polling place in order to cast a ballot. It's supposed to prevent in-person voter fraud, something the right wing claims is "rampant."

But first, such fraud is almost totally non-existent - in fact, the numbers are so small, often running to something like one ten-thousandth of one percent, that Stephen Colbert once joked that "Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere."

Second, the people most likely to be affected by the law are the poor and minorities, followed by students and the elderly. So the move would disenfranchise millions to prevent a crime that essentially doesn't exist. By the way, three of those groups most affected - and a good part of the fourth - tend to vote liberal and the demand for voter photo ID comes almost exclusively from the right wing. Just a coincidence, no doubt.

Anyway, there had been some sense in some corners that the effort at voter photo ID had peaked. Now there may be some actual evidence of that, as an effort to place a voter photo ID measure on the Nevada ballot this November failed miserably. Organizers had to turn in over 100,000 signatures by 5 pm on June 17. The deadline came and went, and the effort failed so badly that voter registrars in two counties said they’d received no petitions whatsoever.

This doesn't mean the effort is dead, even in Nevada. But it does appear to mean that it's getting harder to convince people that some things are just more important than others and being able to have the most people free to vote is one of them. And that is good news.

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