September 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Really enjoyed this post from Tim Noah complaining about the fact that not even the reality-based conservatives have come out against the voter suppression efforts of the GOP:
But for anyone who’s free to contemplate voter suppression from a more disinterested journalistic perch, the utter phoniness of the GOP’s movement to squelch voter fraud must surely be obvious. It’s not as if conservative commentators are going out of their way to defend these practices, as they might be expected to do if they actually believed all the GOP’s partisan nonsense about large-scale voter fraud, which has been disproven time and again…
In Ohio, Franklin County Republican Chairman Doug Preisse, when asked whether it was fair to end weekend voting, said, “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.”
These shenanigans have, of course, been going on a long time; William Rehnquist, for instance, was a “ballot security” activist before he went on the Supreme Court, and did his best to keep minorities from voting in Arizona. But now voter suppression has gone respectable, with Voter ID laws in 33 states, and it’s acquired a growing urgency as the country’s white majority slips away. The suppression techniques have become so blatant that judges in Ohio and Pennsylvania recently ruled against them, even though the Supreme Court has extended them some (wrong-headed) protection. Tova Wang points out in The Politics Of Voter Suppression that it has become common for conservative politicians to assert that voting is a privilege, not a right. (“This is a hard-fought privilege,” Florida State Sen. Michael Bennett said in defense of that state’s unusually draconian anti-“fraud” bill. “You want to make it convenient? The guy who died to give you that right, it was not convenient. Why would we make it any easier?”)
That is not an argument, or a set of practices, that any principled conservative should tolerate. I’m surprised and disheartened that so many do.
I’m not surprised. Or maybe the “principled conservatives really aren’t principled. I was on an election panel yesterday with an actual principled conservative and it was not hard to come to agreement across the ideological spectrum that if the government was going to provide photo ID to vote that it was incumbent upon the government to ensure that this burden was as low as possible. Democrats don’t object to photo ID in principle, only in the reality that it is a significant burden for many to obtain a photo ID. Sadly, it’s that very fact that has instigated so many Republicans to push these laws.