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Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Supreme Court On Voter ID (Voter Obstruction)

Voting Booth
Voter ID Court Challenges Expected to Have Big Impact on 2008 Elections:
The high court will hear oral arguments Jan. 9 in two cases challenging the validity of an Indiana law that requires voters to produce photo identification in order to cast ballots.
(Thanks, Mike's Blog Round Up, once again.) More:
Opponents of the law argue it is an unconstitutional burden on voters. They say the Supreme Court should give the law “strict scrutiny” and reject it because Indiana cannot cite a single instance of voter fraud that the statute would have prevented.

Supporters say that the court should see the law as a reasonable requirement that does not unduly deprive anyone of the right to vote.

[snip]

Both sides have been forced to rely on thin empirical evidence. While Indiana cannot cite any cases of preventable voter fraud, neither can the law’s challengers point to specific people who would not be able to vote because of the law...
[emphasis mine]
Sorry, but that last bit is nonsense. Obviously, anyone without a "valid photo ID" would not be able to vote. And who are these people?

They are citizens who economically disenfranchised to the point of distraction, as in obtaining and maintaining a "valid photo ID" is way down on the list of their daily concerns. You know, like the homeless.

Citizens, nonetheless.

They are citizens who find a "valid photo ID" ideologically toxic, and curmudgeonly exercise their right to not play along. (I tend to agree with these people, but I'm not eccentric enough - yet - to suffer the trials of not having a "valid photo ID" in these Modern Times.)

Citizens, nonetheless.

There is clearly a majority of "enfranchised" American citizens who have a problem with both of these types of citizens at some level - whether or not it rises to the level of obstructing their right to vote is moot. What is relevant, however, is that they are citizens just the same, regardless of how distasteful their situation, their ideology, or whatever qualifying adjective is placed before the word "citizen."

As in, "non-valid-photo-ID-carrying" citizens. Citizens, nonetheless.

If I choose (or am forced) to drop out of "conventional" American society as defined by mainstream citizens/participants, I damn well sure still want access to the ballot. One does not disappear citizens from the national conversation simply because they do not fit in to what is considered reasonable according to the standards and chatter of the currently enshrined American paradigm (which, it could be reasonably argued, contains its share of inherent dysfunction.)

A healthy democratic society entertains all criticisms and points of view in its conversation. Adding qualifying adjectives to the word "citizen" is not simply a slippery slope towards the tyranny of the majority - it is arriving at that lesser plateau.

This should be a no-brainer for those black robes, those protectors of this American Experiment. And it is a no-brainer. If this Indiana law is not tossed on its arse with dispatch (and though IANAL, this should also void a similar law here in Arizona, borne of "illegal" immigrant jingoism), it should be clear that this country is in deep shit.

Not that we didn't know that already.

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