The Second and the Twenty-Fourth

You may have seen this meme floating about (h/t Mare):

Via Facebook/Join the Coffee Party Movement

Via Facebook/Join the Coffee Party Movement

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz both agree criminals and terrorists should not have to show an ID to buy an assault rifle because it is an infringement on their constitutional rights.

But Rand Paul and Ted Cruz both agree a 92 year old senior trying to vote without the proper ID is a threat to our democracy and could destroy our free election system.

Leaving aside the atrocious font, the argument still isn’t quite right. It offers sort of a caricatured summary of the argument in favor of voter ID laws, and doesn’t note the constitutional implications of requiring people to get an ID that they would not otherwise need solely for the purpose of voting. That’s pretty much a poll tax, which is pretty unambiguously unconstitutional. Anyway, here’s my own caricature of the usual response to this meme from the pro-voter-ID-law crowd: Continue reading


Wendy Davis Totes Saved Greg Abbott on Election Day…..Or Did She?

Domenichino [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsTexas Attorney General, presumptive 2014 Republican gubernatorial nominee, and general dweeb Greg Abbott might not have been allowed to vote Tuesday because of a voter ID law that he vigorously endorsed. His driver’s license has a different name than his voter registration. One says “Greg Abbott,” while the other says “Gregory Wayne Abbott.” Since we have to ensure that people have the same name on both documents (or else the terrorists win or something), this would have prevented him from voting altogether, but for an amendment to the law from State Senator and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. Her amendment allows a person to vote anyway if they sign an affidavit confirming that both names are correct.

Of course, in-person voter fraud is not exactly an epidemic. One of the most prominent organizations supporting voter ID laws, True the Vote, states on their page “The Reality of Voter Fraud,” that “64 percent of Americans believe voter fraud is a serious problem.” Note that this is an opinion poll, not a statistic on actual investigations or convictions for actual voter fraud. The page goes on to cite more opinion polls, mostly Fox News and Rasmussen, but no actual statistics that would, you know, show actual voter fraud. They do add in a bit of anecdata, with the obligatory slam on ACORN, and a single incidence of alleged voter fraud, Hazel Woodard James of Forth Worth. James was indicted for conspiracy to arrange in-person voter fraud in May 2012:

Hazel Woodard James, 40, is accused of arranging for her son — who was not a registered voter — to vote on behalf of his father. The incident reportedly came to light when the father showed up later in the day to vote in the same precinct, 1211, for which James is now running to be chairwoman.

Now, I’m not trying to minimize the severity of the allegations against James, in part because I don’t think the severity can get much more minimal. Allegedly illegal, of course, but not exactly cause for a major overhaul of the voting system.

I tried to find any information on James’ case after early May 2012, but nothing comes up in a Google search, the Tarrant County Clerk (which would have the case if it is a misdemeanor) has no records, and the District Clerk (if it’s a felony) does not have online search capability. I don’t know if she was convicted or acquitted, if she entered a plea, if the state dismissed the case, or even if the state ever pursued a case in the first place. The news media saying she was “indicted” doesn’t tell me much of anything. I will try to follow up on this. At any rate, Greg Abbott does not have the best track record when it comes to identifying actual convictions for voter fraud in Texas, and neither do other proponents of voter ID laws.

My theory, which I completely made up from my own imagination, is that Greg Abbott wanted to get turned away at the polls, which would make him a martyr to the cause of fighting in-person voter fraud. Wendy Davis screwed all of that up, though. He would have proudly ridden across the plains of Texas, tilting at the mighty windmills of fraudulent voters for the greater cause of liberty—if it weren’t for that meddling Wendy. I say we should support Greg Abbott in his quixotic quest, perhaps by encouraging him to do something about Texas’ serious unicorn problem.

Photo credit: Domenichino [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.