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MO Voter ID Fracas Gets National Play

In the NY Times

Now, some questions and observations: the article says, "Even before Missouri passed its new law, it had tougher ID requirements than many states. Voters were required, with limited exceptions, to bring ID with them to the polls, but university ID cards, bank statements mailed to a voterís address, and similar documents were acceptable."

I have never been asked to produce a single thing, except my signature on a line affirming my address/info, when I've voted in the city, going back to 1997. Even then, my signature line is right next to a reproduction of my signature from the last time I signed, making it pretty easy to fake it if I wanted to. On Tuesday, when signs all around my polling station screamed "ID REQUIRED," I was not asked to show any identification. I sometimes take the mailer reminding me of my polling place with me, but just as often I forget it.

Anyone else have similar experiences?

Also, I have to say I break from expected liberal orthodoxy on this: though I don't think individual fraud at the polling place is the most pressing electoral change needed, I also don't think requiring an ID is too much to ask. You have to have some form of ID to do lots of things, like getting a Hollywood Video card, a library card, a check cashed, etc. It doesn't seem like the most onerous task imaginable, especially if do-gooders could ensure the availability of low-cost access to documentation (birth certificates and the like) or funds to help those who truly cannot afford to acquire them.

Posted under STL in the News by Amanda Doyle on Thu., Aug 10, 2006 at 2:09 PM


The back of the polling place notification card we received said, "Part of the law requires every Missouri voter to have a state or federal photo ID to vote at the polls starting this November." The photo ID requirement was not in effect for Tuesday's election.

The only kind of fraud the photo ID law combats is impersonation (somebody pretending to be somebody else to vote under a different name). As far as I know, that has never been a substantial problem.

Instead of trying to suppress already abysmal voter turnout in the name of fighting made-up election problems, Republicans should focus on addressing real problems of their own creation -- you know, like massive disenfranchisement of Democratic voters in Ohio ( http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/10586714/was_the_2004_election_stolen ); ethical, legal and security issues involving Diebold ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diebold_Election_Systems#Criticism ), etc.

[Posted by Brian Marston on Thu., Aug 10, 2006 at 3:30 PM]

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