In the last few days, Virginia passed a voter identification bill while Arkansas governor Mike Beebe vetoed a similar law, once again sparking the debate over voting rights. But the fury and controversy over these types of laws largely involve partisanship fighting and ignore the complexity and troubles of mass democracy.
I can understand the concern from conservatives and Republicans over the legality of voters. Elections are supposed to be free and fair, and requiring a voter prove who he or she is seems like a simple way to help assure that these goals are met.
But much of the push and support for voter ID laws appears to be misguided and does in fact disenfranchise many, many people. According to a report by the ACLU on voter suppression, "up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID, and would be required to navigate the administrative burdens to obtain it forgo the right to vote entirely." Many of these Americans are minorities, elderly, or disabled.
The ACLU report then goes on to claim that other than "the occasional unproven anecdote or baseless accusation," there are virtually no documented cases of voter fraud in America and that voter ID bills are thus not necessary.
To seriously make the claim that there is no voter fraud or corruption in elections here in America is simply wrong, naive, and ignores the nature of democracy.
James O'Keefe, who helped expose ACORN's fraudulent and criminal behavior, recorded poll workers on Primary Day in Washington, DC offering Attorney General Eric Holder's voting ballot to a complete stranger while other voting locations in the district offer to sign for ballots.
Project Veritas, another O'Keefe project, showed how voters are created out of thin air. The names of football stars Timothy Tebow and Thomas Brady were registered to vote in Minnesota and other states. Once registered, anyone can then cast a vote as them.
Who can forget Florida and the 2000 election? Or Ohio and the 2004 election? Last year's Republican primaries featured many accusations of voter fraud, intimidation, and outright theft. If it wasn't for Mafia cronyism and voter fraud, Richard Nixon would have probably beat JFK in 1960. The cases of election fraud in earlier American history are too numerous to count.
And should this really come as such a surprise? Just think about what is at stake in an election, especially the higher up you go. At the city and state level, there is prestige and power, the awarding of local contracts, and a period of time where you or your group get to have control over an institution with the legal right to initiate coercion against the innocent.
At the federal level, there are literally trillions of dollars up for bid, a giant auction of stolen wealth that is passed out by whoever wins the election, and an immensely power state at your fingertips. It's no wonder large corporate interests and political cronies try to rig the system in their favor.
The issue is much more complex than whether voters should show identification. When we cast a vote, especially in modern America, we are essentially urging the state to restrict others' behavior that we don't like, transfer wealth, and in general violate the liberty and private property of the minority who may or may not agree.
Besides, what have "legal" voters with IDs given us? For decades, American citizens have voted to restrict gun rights, expand welfare and wealth transfers, debt, massive spending programs and warmongering politicians over and over again. What does it matter if the person eyeing my liberty and wealth has a government ID or not?
I always have trouble supporting any government mandate, requirement, or paperwork, and voter ID registration is no exception. I don't know what the right answer is. But what I do know is that no amount of laws or reform will prevent cronyism, corruption, and fraud during an election over control of a massive centralized state with a printing press of trillions to auction off.