Politics on Voter-ID
Two interesting points are buried within Randal Edgar and Philip Marcelo’s article on voter-ID legislation currently under consideration in the Rhode Island House. The first is the degree to which Rhode Island ACLU Executive Director Steven Brown’s inane argument implies ulterior, political motives:
“When we have no charges filed, when we have no convictions filed against anybody for this very serious felony, one just has to wonder how rampant can this really be,” he said, questioning an assertion made by a representative from the secretary of state’s office at the hearing that voter fraud in which a person impersonates another is “rampant.”
Brown noted that the last conviction for voter fraud in the state dealt with persons voting from a place other than his or her permanent residence — not impersonating someone else.
If poll workers aren’t required, or allowed, to check identification, how are they supposed to catch impersonators? Even if the criminal is so inept as to be impersonating somebody who is not dead or known not to be voting, when the impersonatee comes to vote, there would be no way to track the impersonator.
The second point has to do with the big deal that the journalists make about the broad support within the House for a voter-ID law:
It’s not every day that House Speaker Gordon D. Fox adds his name to a bill with Republican Joseph A. Trillo or even fellow Democrat Jon D. Brien.
But Fox and House Majority Whip J. Patrick O’Neill, along with Brien, Trillo and Republican Tea Party member Doreen Costa, have joined together to support a bill that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.
Of course, we learn farther along:
[Senator Harold] Metts’ bill was held for further study last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
So the Senate killed the issue, leaving House members free to posture and gain political talking points on it, even if they ultimately wouldn’t wish for it to make it to the governor’s desk.