Letters to the editor – Wednesday (12-14-11)
Voter ID opponents must have something to hide
It seems the argument against voter ID is a two-pronged pickled fork. The first is high voter turnout. Any impediment to high voter turnout is considered bad. It doesn’t matter if the person who votes is eligible, as long as someone votes. Did not the Founding Fathers require voters to be property owners? They wanted to ensure that those who voted for how tax dollars are spent had a stake in the game. They wanted to avoid what we have in this country, where 47 percent pay no federal income tax, and many get refunds of money they didn’t even pay in to begin with (earned income tax credit).
The second prong seems to be: Let’s wait until we have an election stolen due to fraud or ineligible voters. One need only look to California back in the early 2000s when a white male Republican (talk about politically incorrect!) lost a Congressional election to a female Hispanic Democrat, due in no small part to illegal Hispanic voters. Her mantra was: “They are here, let them vote.” Last I heard, the woman was still in office.
Or take Minnesota. Democrat Al Franken, late of “Saturday Night Live,” was elected in 2008 with the aid of felons in prison voting for him. Is this what the Salisbury Post along with the anti-ID folks want? Apparently.
As for the gentleman who suggested the purple-ink finger solution, that might keep someone from voting twice. But it in no way addresses the problem of eligibility.
Right now, things don’t look too good for Democrats in the 2012 election. Since most, if not all, of the ID opponents are Democrats, can we say they whole-heartedly endorse voter fraud?
Finally, a question for opponents of voter photo IDs: What are you hiding?
— Jeff Vail
Editor’s note: Following charges of widespread voter fraud in the 1996 election of California Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a congressional committee investigated. It found evidence of 748 illegal votes but deemed it insufficient to overturn Sanchez’ 948-vote victory.
The Franken allegation relates to a study by the group Minnesota Majority, which contends a significant number of ineligible felons voted in 2008. The group makes no claim as to who received those votes. Readers can find more information at http://minnesotamajority.org.
ID impacts aren’t ‘myth’
It is no “myth,” as Susan Myrick wrongly suggests (“Myths about voter ID laws,” Dec. 12), that voter ID requirements have a disproportionate impact on young, elderly, disabled, African American and Latino voters. For example, a study in Georgia found that “36 percent of Georgians over the age of 75 do not have a drivers’ license,” while a study in Wisconsin found that “only 22 percent of black men aged 18-24 had a valid drivers’ license.” A breakdown of active registered voters in North Carolina who do not have a photo ID prepared by Democracy North Carolina showed that African American voters are almost twice as likely as white voters not to have a photo ID.
A recent survey by the Brennan Center for Justice found that up to 10 percent of the American population does not have a current, valid government issued photo ID, and a recent review by the State Board of Elections estimated that somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million North Carolinians do not have a valid government issued photo ID.
The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the very real burdens that these types of requirements place on voters, which is no doubt why the court has only ever upheld photo ID requirements for voters that also provide a free and accessible way for voters to obtain a photo ID. A system to provide free IDs to all North Carolinians who need it has an estimated price tag upwards of $20 million.
It may be true that one act of voter fraud is too many, but the right to vote is fundamental, and the potential that thousands of eligible North Carolinian voters could be turned away from the polls should outweigh any perceived benefit that photo ID requirements might have.
— Sarah Preston
Preston serves as policy director for the ACLU of North Carolina.
for those who serve
I was visiting my Dad this weekend and picked up the Sunday paper. I was so pleased to read Kent Bernhardt’s column about “a servant’s heart.” I am so happy to know someone else appreciates everyone, no matter what their position in life may be. Shame on the mother who looks down on a position in a restaurant. Not everyone can be everything. We are all important to each other, and I thank God that he gave each of us our own strengths and talents. Thank you, Mr. Bernhardt, for your column. I just hope the people who need to read it, actually read it. And no, I’m not a waitress but a director of nursing. But I greatly admire those who work in a serving capacity no matter what the position.
— Dianne Brideson