Oh that voter fraud

Kevin Drum has a nice article about the push for voter ID bills (there’s also a companion page with lots of information). He notes that in person voter fraud is almost non-existent and, for now, there’s no evidence that it does much to reduce voting. As I note here, this is more about a message than results–they are implicitly saying that some people shouldn’t be able to vote and sometimes they’re a bit more explicit:

The only people I want anywhere near a ballot box are those who have demonstrated they are actually invested enough in the process that they want to vote. That is the flaw with same-day voter registration: most of the people it serves are unengaged in the process.

I want the act of voting to be easy, but just hard enough that a voter has to actually want to vote to be able to do so. Asking someone to register two days ahead of time is not an unreasonable requirement, but such a system does mean you have to think about voting before you can actually vote. That is a good thing.

and:

Why are left-wing activist groups so keen on registering the poor to vote?

Because they know the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians.  Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery. 

Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.  It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.

If voter ID laws are mostly about optics, Republicans have other methods:

Some states have ended Election Day registration. Others have restricted early voting, which is more heavily used by minority voters. Laws requiring proof of citizenship have been proposed in a dozen states—a legislative push closely associated with the right-wing campaign against illegal immigration. Laws making it harder for students to vote have mushroomed. And last year Florida placed such stringent rules on voter registration drives that the League of Women Voters simply stopped conducting them.

and then there’s the purging of voter lists. This would be the same tactic that was so problematic in 2000:

If Vice President Al Gore is wondering where his Florida votes went, rather than sift through a pile of chad, he might want to look at a “scrub list” of 173,000 names targeted to be knocked off the Florida voter registry by a division of the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. A close examination suggests thousands of voters may have lost their right to vote based on a flaw-ridden list that included purported “felons” provided by a private firm with tight Republican ties.

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