Study Finds Republican Voter Suppression Is Even More Effective Than You Think | ThinkProgress

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    For those who are concerned about this, I have a question: Given that the government and business, at it’s many levels, requires a government issued photo ID in order to access the services provided, I have to ask how is it that so many people in America are able to function without a photo ID?

    Also, if said people do not have a photo ID, and they are an important demographic to Democrats*, are Democrats making the effort to help said people get a photo ID**?

    *Democrats have, for the most part, been supporters of Real ID. I find such support to run counter to the claim that it is unfair to require a government ID at the polls, when they want a government ID for damn near everything else.

    **I understand that one of the primary criticisms of Voter ID laws is that said laws do little to nothing to make it easier for people to get a photo ID that is accepted at the polls. I find this criticism valid, in that government should not impose a burden to the exercise of a right/duty and then make the meeting of that burden unduly difficult.

    PS Also, wouldn’t making sure the affected populations have photo ID be a net good for Democrats in other ways? They get to be the party that helped said people gain improved access to services & employment because they helped those people get IDs!Report

    • Avatar aaron david says:

      These are pretty much my thoughts on the whole Voter ID thing, but boy howdy does it motive the base, on both sides.

      There is this though…

      Also, using ThinkProgress to show R malfeasance is as convincing as using Breitbart to show D malfeasance.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        @aaron-david If it was just a link to TP I would agree. However the story is about research done by poli sci types which came to that result. So the research and data is the point and cannot be waved away by the messenger.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Note: As far as I can tell, the paper has not been peer reviewed or accepted for publication, so a healthy grain of salt should attach to this until the process has had it’s way with it.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            True, but with all those cool charts and numbers and symbols how can it be wrong.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              There is that…

              Just to be clear, I am playing Devil’s Advocate here, mainly because the idea of needing an ID to vote does not strike me as an undue burden on the right/duty to vote (assuming that getting the ID is as straightforward as registering to vote).Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                I don’t’ think some is bad in general but the way voter id measures have been rolled out seems pretty deliberately designed to make it harder for one type of voter. Voter fraud just doesn’t seem to an issue so its a solution in search of a problem in the best case and trying to stop the wrong people from voting in the worst ( most likely) case. What type of ID is good enough is another question and how to go about getting everybody one is another.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                So for you, the ID itself isn’t the issue, it’s that such requirements were not accompanied by extended DMV hours, or more DMV locations, or ID issuing at public libraries, etc.?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                If ID was easily and readily available with significant lead up time for people to get them then i wouldn’t’ have much problem. But some of these laws were rolled out with relatively little time before elections and w/o easy ways to get the ID.

                I dont’ really have an objection to ID”s to get on a plane or for a job. Certainly people for whom immigration is an issue want good solid ID”s. This could be done in a way that helps everyone get an ID in a low or cost manner with low hurdles if that is what the proponents wanted.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “the ID itself isn’t the issue, it’s that such requirements were not accompanied by extended DMV hours…”

                I agree with this statement.

                I remember going to get a driver’s license and car registration upon moving to a different state. The DMV clerk said “to get a license you need to show proof of residence, something like a car registration maybe?” “Well, I need to register my car, too.” “Okay, well, to register your car in this state you’ll need to show me your driver’s license for this state.”

                She honestly did not see any logical inconsistency in what she’d just told me.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m sure there was an alternative method to show residency, right (signed lease agreement, house purchase agreement, utility bill, etc)?

                Still, that is one of my criticisms of the bureaucracies, that the people who interface directly with the citizenry are not always well trained in the requirements of the bureaucracy, or worse, discouraged from being helpful in navigating the bureaucracy.*

                *Reminds me of that scene in The Incredibles where Bob Parr helps the old woman navigate to insurance bureaucracy, and then gets yelled at for it.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Have you ever played Bureaucracy?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                The Douglas Adams game?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Yup, that’d be the one.Report

        • Avatar aaron david says:

          I think @oscar-gordon nails it, it is a single study, not peer reviewed yet, etc. And when I can pull up another study basically refuting it…

          Again, seems to be one of those issues that motivates the base, but not much else until seriously looked at and reviewed. With politics in the US pretty seriously divided, not much interest in this accross party lines. And again, the other side will make noise about all the programs that are being missed out due to not having ID are often D issues, those on the fence about the whole thing still might not care.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            There have been other studies showing a drop in minority voting based on voter id laws. This is an issue because R’s are pushing for ID laws without showing an actual problem while disregarding ( in the best case) who is getting hurt.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              This is the problem I have with voter ID, that’s is a solution looking for a problem (i.e. it’s a f@#k you law, and we all know how I feel about those).Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                You feel !?!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Yes, yes, under this cold, unyielding exterior, there beats a heart.

                A heart of solid granite…Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                Dartmouth grad?

                (Lyrics to Dear Old Darmouth go as follows:

                Dear old Dartmouth, give a rouse
                For the College on the hill,
                For the Lone Pine above her,
                And the loyal ones who love her.
                Give a rouse, give a rouse, with a will!
                For the sons of old Dartmouth,
                For the daughters of Dartmouth.
                Though ‘round the girdled Earth they roam,
                Her spell on them remains.
                They have the still North in their hearts,
                The hill winds in their veins,
                And the granite of New Hampshire
                In their muscles and their brains.)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Nope, UW-Madison, although I’ve been to Dartmouth, very pretty campus.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      To the first question i think most middle class people can’t picutre how many poor people live in some ways. Many poor people never fly, don’t’ have credit cards or need to show ID. Sometimes none of these things are needed for their lives or they just can’t afford. Certainly in small towns or even if you spend all your time in one area of a big city you know all the people you need to and services accommodate the needs of poor people. Lots of poor people don’t own cars, so that eliminates one need for an ID.

      Part of the problem with getting everybody ID’s is that it isn’t up to D’s in the states controlled by R’s. There was a recent hullabaloo in Alabama i think where the govenor ordered DMV offices closed in poor/minority counties to save money. Well that cut them off from a place where they could get ID.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        @greginak
        @saul-degraw

        I understand that there are grey economies operating in areas (not just inner cities, mind you) such that the need for a photo ID is greatly diminished, but removed entirely is a hard sell. That would be a very high trust community. Greg, is this something that has been studied in some way?

        As I said above, erecting barriers to obtaining a photo ID is bad governance and the politicians who support such should be roundly criticised, but that is a separate question from the requirement of a photo ID to vote. I know that it is not the responsibility of the Democratic party to help people get IDs, but that is the point. They would potentially gain a lot of goodwill by taking it upon themselves to help people get IDs and get to the polls. I have to wonder if the money spent helping people overcome the hurdles the R’s put up would be more effective than money spent on TV ads. Actions have more of an impact and all that.

        Personally, I find the whole ID thing to be pointless, given that most people have a hard enough time finding time to vote, so finding enough people who are willing to stand in line to vote multiple times in order to affect an election is going to be a trick, and will only make a difference in very small districts or very close races (and such races would therefore be easy to watch for signs of fraud). Still, if making sure everyone has a proper ID is so important that we need to force Real ID on everyone, then IDs for voting are not an unreasonable requirement (as long as getting one is straightforward).Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          I don’t know if the “high trust” aspect has been studied. Maybe. But to a degree it isn’t high trust that helps poor people get by, its paying a ton more in interest and such. You might get a loan from a loan shark but you are paying a lot. Or from a check cashing place where you will also pay a whopper in interest.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Ah, OK, that makes a lot more sense (the lack of ID is compensated by not by higher trust, but by higher transaction costs).Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        You do indeed remember correctly. AL passed a voter ID law before the 2014 election, and declared it a success despite the fact that only a handful of voter fraud cases have been discovered nationwide over the past few electoral cycles.

        You can still see a number of helpful pointers on the state’s website pointing out that the DMV is the go-to place for obtaining ID and giving directions.

        By September 2015, up to 90% of DMV offices in rural, majority-black counties had been closed “to save money”.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      I have to ask how is it that so many people in America are able to function without a photo ID?

      Does it matter?

      I mean we have a study showing that the ID requirement suppresses turnout among legal voters. And since “in person” voting fraud doesn’t actually exist, what we have here are laws designed to fix a non-existent problem that coincidentally suppresses votes in a highly convenient way.

      So really, does it matter that some people don’t have photo ID, in the end? It’s a red herring.

      But to answer this:

      Also, if said people do not have a photo ID, and they are an important demographic to Democrats*, are Democrats making the effort to help said people get a photo ID**?

      If you think about it for a few seconds, you will quickly realize that states insisting on voter ID are states where Democrats have zilch capacity to do anything. You might as well ask what Congressional democrats are doing to stop those “repeal the ACA” bills.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        WI is hardly a state where Democrats have limited power. Actually, quite a few of the states in the Forbes article Aaron linked have pretty robust Democratic presence. Still, their political power doesn’t matter as much as their willingness to put boots on the ground to help the affected populations get IDs.

        I mean we have a study showing that the ID requirement suppresses turnout among legal voters.

        That’s not actually what the study shows, since the researchers didn’t verify that each person who did not turnout was a legal voter. The study showed that demographic turnout changed in states with voter ID laws. Or are you thinking of a different study?Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Does it matter?

        Maybe.

        After the big BP disaster in the Gulf, the feds eventually arrived to pay people who had lost their livelihood because of the pollution. Commercial fishermen, charter boat captains, and on and on. There were a surprising number of people who turned up to make claims, across the whole age range, for amounts well above the poverty line, who couldn’t document their income for any of the previous few years. No check stubs. No income tax returns. No SS number. They had been living “off the books”, sometimes for decades. One description about one charter-boat row was along the lines of, “Boats need papers, so the owner/captain exists. The people who crew for the captain, who work at the marina, who do all of the little jobs that make sport fishing work… just don’t exist, as far as the government is concerned.”

        When someone shows up, age 45, that’s just not in the system at all, I want them to be able to vote if they’re eligible, but I’m going to be somewhat more demanding about making them prove at least once that they qualify.

        But the state ought to work damned hard at helping them.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      @oscar-gordon

      First, I think all your questions are valid ones.

      But think about it this way… how often are you required to show ID? Me personally… I can’t think of any regular occurrence in my life that requires it. I mean, yea, technically I need my license when driving, but how often does that come into play… maybe once or twice a year if I’m having bad luck? And now that I barely drive (public transportation to work), it is even less likely I need to show it. I don’t really hit the bars or even buy booze any more and look old enough that I don’t get carded when I do. Even at my bank, my debit card and PIN are enough even for teller transactions. Just went to a new doctor… all I needed was insurance card.

      So, yea, I think it is pretty easy to get by without an ID. You and I would probably never chance it (even when I run, I tend to stick my license in my arm band), but the reality is it is totally doable.

      And getting an ID *can* be hard. It ain’t free and some states have really difficult measures for proving your identity… especially if you don’t have an ID. When NJ changed over from their old shitty licenses to real ones (maybe 10 years ago), it took me multiple trips to multiple agencies to get all the necessary documentation. I even needed to get a replacement birth certificate issued. And I was a college kid with time to burn and parents willing to drive me where ever I needed to go (and foot the bill).

      Personally, I think your advice for the Dems would be wise but I don’t even know who controls those particular levers. Who decides how late DMVs are open? Who determines the requirements for getting an ID? That might be a sufficiently different process that it’d be hard-to-impossible to make a Voter ID law conditional on such changes.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        But think about it this way… how often are you required to show ID? Me personally… I can’t think of any regular occurrence in my life that requires it.

        It’s a matter of personal circumstance, but I’d have to approach this question from the opposite direction. How much of my life wouldn’t have been possible unless I were prepared to show, at infrequent intervals, a US passport or documentation sufficient to acquire one? Much of my higher education. Most of my career(s). Telling a colleague who wants to give your name as a reference for a security clearance, “Please, don’t do that.” With an implicit “the identity I’ve assembled might not hold up to the check that will be run against it.”

        That doesn’t mean I don’t support the notion that states — or the feds — ought to support people’s efforts to assemble the proper documentation once. But that’s the number of times it ought to take.

        I really believe that I’ll live long enough to see national IDs done that way, and the states required to accept them.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          If you don’t drive and don’t travel out of country (two things that often go together) you really don’t need a photo ID.

          Of course, it’s always funny what counts as a photo ID. In Texas, your CC permit does — but not your student ID.Report

          • Avatar aaron david says:

            “Of course, it’s always funny what counts as a photo ID. In Texas, your CC permit does — but not your student ID.”

            But who issues those two ID’s, and what do they do to insure that you are a citizen who is elegilble to vote?Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              Citizenship? You seem to be confused. You don’t need to be a citizen to have a CC permit. Citizenship is checked as part of the registration process on the state side.

              Photo ID’s are, purportedly, to ensure that the guy claiming to be Bob Smith is, in fact, Bob Smith. Which is why, historically, providing proof of address is sufficient. In-person voter fraud is so incredibly pointless* that really, just having a bill addressed to you is sufficient.

              Now there’s a few wrinkles with registration — for obvious reasons, if you’re registering voters you’re not allowed to discard ANY completed forms, even if they’re for Mickey Mouse. The government has to weed through them, because at least theoretically the state isn’t going to toss registrations of people they’d prefer not to vote.

              *Stealing an election isn’t done by having people vote while pretending to be someone else. When the dead voted in Chicago, they didn’t bus in people to actually pull levers — the dead were registered so that you could add a thousand votes to a tally without reporting more votes than voters that lived in the district.

              Photo ID prevents a type of fraud no one uses, because it’s too easily caught and completely insufficient to actually change the outcome.

              Anyone claiming “photo ID for voting” is about citizenship is either conning you — or been conned. But then, the entire photo ID movement is a huge con anyways. Anyone really concerned about the integrity of the ballot would start with something like adding a paper trail and audit requirements for voting machines (a simple receipt with the vote tally that a voter can visually verify, then drop into a box and a random audit of half a percent of the ballots would be sufficient to ensure integrity) would be where to start, because if someone planned to steal elections, you start with the machines.

              Or if you were really in a tizzy about people voting under someone else’s names, you’d start with absentee voting. Those folks don’t show ID, after all.Report

              • Avatar aaron david says:

                Well, from reading a bunch of Texas concelled carry info, you need to provide a drivers license or state ID and get fingerprinted it seems. Then it needs to go through DPS, a state organization if I am not mistaken. In other
                words, the ID provisioin is already covered, so they extend it as a if A(had to show ID that is on the list) then B(has ID that is valid) situation I assume.

                Do college ID’s show if someone is a Dreamer? Do Dreamers reside in Texas? I couldn’t find any good info.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                But you don’t need to be a citizen. At no point is that checked.

                Therefore, showing your CC license to vote is not checking citizenship. It is checking your face against an issued ID.

                Colleges, BTW, require rather extensive documentation that you are who you say you are.

                Again, you seem to be confused: Showing ID at the ballot is in NO way a check to ensure you’re a citizen. It is a check to show the name on the ballot rolls and the person in front of them are the same person. Eligibility to vote is done when voter registrations are processed by the state.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                And this century folks did cold hard time for Ohio.
                Voter fraud, nowadays, is electronic.
                Do not let cat administrate the elections process.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        @kazzy

        So I thought about it, and I am asked to show ID at least once a week. Usually it’s for a credit card transaction, but it’s also required any time I try to use on of my VA or military benefits, or any time I go to a bank, or when I got my disabled bus pass, or any time I fly, etc.

        The question should not be, “how often do you really need an ID?” It should be, “what parts of modern society are you effectively excluded from because you can not produce a government issued photo ID?”

        Again, to reiterate, because everyone just loves to hammer on this part, adding a new requirement for an ID, and then reducing access to the offices that can provide that ID, is not just dirty pool politics. I’d argue that it’s criminal, or at least legally actionable through a lawsuit. Especially if said reductions are targeted to affect certain demographics. If the NAACP or ACLU can not bring such a suit, or the Justice Department can’t, then the laws which prevent it are wrong and should be repealed by the legislature or overturned by the courts.

        Creating a requirement to exercise a right & then creating undue barriers to meeting that requirement is one of those little tyrannies that destroy trust in government.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          @oscar-gordon

          I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said and agree wholeheartedly about the vileness of this approach.

          My point was to simply answer your initial query: “I have to ask how is it that so many people in America are able to function without a photo ID?”

          At this point in my life, I essentially function without a photo ID. But as @michael-cain points out, this is largely circumstantial.

          Many people do not interact with the institutions that regularly require ID. Or, more worrisomely, have accepted an inability to interact with those institutions.

          From their perspective, the idea of spending $80+ and several hours of their time to get an ID that they might use once every four years to vote (and that is only if they don’t lose it inbetween) doesn’t seem like the best use of their limited resources.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Fair point.

            However, there is still the issue of not having an ID limiting participation or increasing transaction costs.

            Perhaps $80 is a lot to ask, but in the same token, if those voters are important to Democrats, perhaps they could help with the $80, or give people a ride to the DMV, or help them gather the documents needed for an ID, etc.

            But, that issue is separate from my initial query, so don’t feel obligated to answer it.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              Hmm. Poll taxes. So Constitutional.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Not a poll tax. Not even close.

                Or rather, if the requirement of an ID to vote violates the equal protection clause, then requiring an ID at all for access to any government service would violate equal protection.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                requiring an ID at all for access to any government service would violate equal protection.

                I am willing to run with this pretty freaking hard, for the record.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                IIRC the problem with the poll tax was less the tax itself and more the fact that it was levied at registration, and that it was waived if you or your father had voted in the previous election, or that it was set at a value such that most minorities would be unable to afford it. Thus it ran afoul of equal protection.

                Now, if the only purpose of an ID was for voting, and there was no other legitimate governmental interest is citizens having an ID, then yes, requiring one would run close to a poll tax, if not being one in practice.

                As such (and I’ll say it again), requiring one for voting, and then making it hard to get one, or making it more expensive than it nominally is (in WI, a state issued ID is $28 for a new one, in WA it’s $54) is wrong, and if no one has brought suit against any state that made it more difficult, I’d be curious as to why. Also, I would like to see the SCOTUS rule that if a state is going to require a voter ID, that they offer it widely and for free (after all, voter registration is). So again, it isn’t the ID that is the issue, it’s that the requirement is accompanied by changes that make it harder, not easier, to get an ID.

                (As someone who probably read a bit too much Heinlein as a kid, a general requirement for a government ID is not a good sign)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I’d like to look at the books and see where the money that we pay for IDs and the like go. I know an ID costs more than the paper it is printed on… you have to factor in wages and overhead and the like. But I’d be interested to see if the IDs are subsidized by other revenue streams, are subsidizing other areas, or are cost-neutral. If that money is going to other things, that makes the immorality of the current system even greater. “Sorry, you can’t vote because you don’t have the $80 we need to cover the budget def… errr… for the new ID laminator.”

                I believe I’ve gone on record as saying that any voter ID law should require the creation of a totes-for-free ID that can be acquired at any government institution.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Oh we could have fun doing that in so many areas of government…Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                It reminds me of the “administrative fees” they tack on to traffic and parking tickets. “I have to pay you so I can pay you? What the heck am I paying you people for??? How about I just don’t pay you and then you won’t incur the costs of me paying you?”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Is there a monetary hurdle you’re required to clear in order to vote? Yes?

                Walks like a duck….

                *shrug*. Of course, make it free AND easy to get (no “hidden” costs of having to take a half day off to get it done) and I’ll change my tune.

                Until then, it’s pretty clearly aimed at discouraging certain forms of voter. Which is why poll taxes, literacy tests, etc were done in the first place.

                That pesky “wrong sort” keeps voting.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I agree that the practical implementation of Voter ID is a problem, but that is the actual problem, not the requirement of an ID.

                I took at look at WI, and noticed that a person can get a Free Voter ID! Then I looked closer, and saw that you can get a free Voter ID if you have a valid WI ID or driver’s license, and I had to face palm.

                Seriously, if they were honest about it, 60 days before an election, they would have Voter ID vans driving through the state in the afternoons & early evenings, getting people their IDs…Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              @oscar-gordon

              I *really* can’t stress how much I’m agreeing with you. I think the issue is we’re simultaneously having one conversation that is descriptive (“Some people just get by without IDs!”) and another conversation that is prescriptive (“A lack of ID limits peoples’ options — and increasingly so — and helping them get IDs is a good thing!”). I agree wholeheartedly with the latter. I think making that case is easier said than done, especially with folks who may already be skeptical of the government in general. I know a friend who briefly did work signing people up for government benefits they didn’t realize they were eligible for. A number of these folks were very skeptical of Well Meaning White Folks With Clipboards encouraging them to entangle themselves with “the man”.

              Which doesn’t mean it isn’t possible or isn’t the wise or right thing to do. Just that it is a bit more complicated. It doesn’t shock me that the Dems haven’t figured it out… they’re pretty good at getting in their own way. What I think would be a good strategy (and may already be happening) is an organization committed explicitly to support this particular subset of the population (e.g., NAACP) take a two prong approach: get your fire breathing big shot to decry the evilness of these laws and get your best man-on-the-street out there getting people IDs.

              Also, the cynic in me speculates that if Democrats started sending out $80 vouchers for government IDs, Republicans would push legislation that barred third party funding of IDs. Because terrorism. Or something.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Also, if said people do not have a photo ID, and they are an important demographic to Democrats*, are Democrats making the effort to help said people get a photo ID**?

      To a degree, sure, but you of all people are well aware of the concept of opportunity cost. If the GOP passes voter ID laws to solve a made up fraud problem and the Democratic Party has to spend X million to ameliorate or mitigate the impact of that law then the GOP is X million better off than they were.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Oh I agree, which is why I also brought up the issue of a lack of ID limiting societal participation. Also, if the party spends $X million helping poor people get valid IDs, that is a lot of potential for direct face time with those voters, showing them just how serious the democratic party is for those votes…Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    1. This is a good question! I suspect that there are a lot of places with informal and shadow economies and they are not well-studied or understood yet. People without these IDs tend to be the poorest of the poor. Shadow economies are largely invisible to us for a variety of reasons.

    2. Time and money. The issue is not necessarily just requiring ID but then creating six trillion hurdles to getting one including limited hours to get one when people are workingReport

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      The second one is a big deal. It’s difficult enough to actually vote, depending on the specific wording of the applicable law.

      But on a completely different day, to get approved for enough time off work(1) to take public transportation to the next county or the ass-end of your own county, hoping all the while that it’s not one of the offices that has closures or takes a long lunch – that’s not the easiest thing to do when your boss knows that you need the job more than it needs you. And if you do get a half-day off, that’s a half-day you don’t get paid.

      Fish it. Universal vote-by-mail and be done with it.

      (1) Offices e.g. DMV are notorious for at best being open M-F 8-5.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        I do love vote-by-mail, one of the best parts of moving to WA.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Isn’t it great? I haven’t been to a “polling place” other than my kitchen table since Colorado created its permanent mail-in-ballot list. In polls, 80% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans in Colorado favor retaining the vote-by-mail system — I doubt there’s another public policy question that can match that.

          In the last election >60% of all votes cast in Arizona were cast by mail; >50% of all votes cast in California were cast by mail. I expect both of those states to adopt “every registered voter gets a mail-in ballot” in the next few years.

          I got downright rude with a couple of East Coast friends during the 2014 voting season, who were adamant that there was rampant voter fraud going on, but westerners just weren’t competent to find it.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            What I love is the fact that I can take my time and make decisions for the lesser known races. Sure, I’ve got a pretty good amount of information about Presidents and Governors and Senators & Representatives at the state & federal levels, but all the minor offices at city & county level? All the judges, school board members, etc.? The referendums & initiatives? Half the time I had no idea the office was up for re-election or issue was up for a vote until I open my ballot. The mail in system gives me time to do a bit of reading and try to make an informed decision.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              Every registered voter in Colorado receives a “blue book” for the state-wide referendums and initiatives. It’s going to be a thick one this year. Single-payer is already on the ballot, and that constitutional amendment runs to twelve pages, plus the legislative staff’s fiscal note and the sections where selected arguments for and against are summarized. Of the items not yet on the ballot, it seems likely that beer/wine sales at groceries, and at least one of the anti-fracking initiatives, will make it.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Saul,
      Do you seriously think so lowly of the humanities?
      https://amapofcalifornia.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/the-underground-economy/

      They study watermelon peddlers for economics papers… (they grab seconds off the fields)Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I tend to think that a tax return ought to be good enough to serve as voter identification.

    “Look. I’m registered with the government to pay taxes and, if under a certain level, receive tax monies. I am in the game.”

    Then you can vote. It doesn’t matter if you’re here legally or illegally, if you’re a felon or never received so much as a speeding ticket, if you’re old, young, or whatever. If you’ve filed your taxes (or have filed jointly with someone who is filing taxes), awesome. Congrats. Here’s your ballot.Report