Thursday, April 28, 2011

Protecting – Not Threatening – Voting Rights

While leveling ridiculous charges against Republican lawmakers, a New York Times editorial demonstrates contempt for “civil” discourse and diminishes voting rights and responsibilities in the process.

If you caught the April 26th editorial by The New York Times “The Republican Threat to Voting,” you managed to read some pretty nasty, biased, and misleading information. Not unusual, considering the source. But, really, is there no decency at all over there?

The purpose of the article was to portray Republicans in state houses all over the country, who are attempting to pass legislation requiring government-issued or photo ID’s to vote, as attempting to block voting efforts by “the young, poor, and African-Americans” because they traditionally vote democratic. The Times stopped short of saying the legislative actions by Republicans were illegal, but stated: “There is still time for voters who care about democracy in their states to speak out against lawmakers who do not.” Now, apparently, Republicans do not care about democracy because they want the voting process to be legitimate.

Among the misleading or biased statements by the Times:

-“Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud.” I guess they haven’t been paying attention. Voter fraud is difficult to prove, but there is no doubt disturbing discrepancies have consistently appeared everywhere, much of it having to do with faulty registration procedures by left-wing organizations. Requiring photo ID’s goes a long way towards making phony registrations less effective.

-The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.” Gee, they could have called it the largest legislative effort to guarantee voting rights – might have been more accurate, or at least fair. But who needs fairness when you are pushing a point of view?

-The Times noted that the Kansas law was written by Kris Kobach, who also wrote Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. Uh, er, I believe that was the anti-illegal immigrant law.

-The Texas bill “would also reject student IDs, but would allow anyone with a handgun license to vote.” Of course, a driver’s license or photo id is required to get the handgun license, but, again, that’s all trivial.

As noted in the editorial, the Supreme Court has already upheld Indiana’s voter ID requirement in a 2008 decision. Could that be because the court takes the right to vote seriously? Actually, probably not. The court most likely used legal principles (what a concept!) to decide the case. It is clear, however, that the Times does not take the voting privilege seriously at all. They obviously believe anyone should just be able to waltz right up to the booth and cast a ballot.

The Times, in making the point that most of the legitimate citizens that will be turned away for lack of a proper form of identification are likely democratic-leaning voters, may be correct. Nevertheless, the right to vote is an important constitutional right – conferred on American citizens. Protecting the sanctity of the vote requires as much effort to make sure only legitimate voters vote as making sure that those with the right to vote are not denied. However, it is up to officials to make sure that votes are not cast by those not authorized, and to legal citizens to make sure their own voting rights are kept intact. If it isn’t important enough to take the time to get a proper id (which is not nearly as difficult as The Times would have you believe) then how important is it? No one is being denied here. They are only being asked to take some responsibility -- provide a proper id.

Again, the left-wing Times assumes the “young, the poor, and African-Americans” are less capable than others. That’s insulting.

Mercer Tyson

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