Friday, September 22, 2006

US House Passes Anti-Oregon Voting Law

The United States House of Representatives today passed a law that would require all voters to show identification at the polls. There are two major problems with this that are immediatly obvious. First, and most importantly, it violates the 24th Amendment banning poll taxes. And Secondly, because it is blatantly anti-Oregon.

This seems to me clearly to violate the 24th amendment as it essentially is a poll tax. Unless all United States citizens are given a free voter ID card, then the cost of obtaining an ID or drivers license, makes requireing their presentation at the polling booth in order to vote unconstitutional. Two Courts have recently ruled precisely this, one overturning a Georgia law requiring ID in order to vote, and the other in Missouri doing much the same thing. Why are judges throwing out these laws right and left? Because it isn't really a difficult Constitutional question, clearly these laws are fundamentally the same as a poll tax as banned by the 24th Amendment.

The bill also is anti-Oregon, or rather anti-Oregon voter. With the highly successful mail-in ballots (Oregon has about a 67% voting rate), sending a drivers licence or other identification would be highly inconvenient to Oregon voters, and would undoubtedly cause Oregon's voting rate to decrease, as some voters would be unable to run to kinkos before mailing their ballot. Representative Peter DeFazio points this out.
"There are going to be plenty of people who are going to be reluctant to take some of their most secure identification, Xerox it, stick in an envelope and send it to the Elections Division," DeFazio said. "What are they going to do with it? Do they keep it on file? Do they shred it?"

Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury agrees calling it the "Oregon Copier Acquisition Act." Stating:
"This bill does nothing other than destroy the accessibility of vote by mail, and makes it a chore, not a right, to vote," wrote Bradbury, who oversees the state Elections Division.

Anyone who voted in favor of this piece of crap bill should be ashamed, and anyone from Oregon who voted for this piece of crap bill should be chased out of the State. Shall we see if any of them did (as the law passed in a 228-196 vote).
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the only Oregon representative to vote for the bill, said he has received an assurance from House leadership that the final version will address Oregon's concerns.

Aha, Eastern Oregonians should promptly vote Mr. Walden out of office shortly, due to his desire to prevent his constituents from voting. Congrats to the entire Democratic Oregon delegation for soundly opposing this anti-Oregon bill. How does Mr. Walden justify himself? Better question is how does he live with himself, but we'll answer the one that can be answered here.
"In my district, 70,000 square miles, if every voter every time has to photocopy their ID and put it with a ballot that they send in, it raises some issues," Walden said on the House floor Wednesday. "I think there are other ways to guarantee that only citizens get ballots to vote."

Walden said he'd like to address those issues when the bill moves to conference committee. During Wednesday's floor debate, he asked one of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., for his support in "trying to address that issue" in conference committee.
Walden spokesman Matt Daigle said Walden secured a "really solid concession."

"He supported the bill because he supports this sort of reform and trying to not disenfranchise voters," Daigle said. "But his support was strongly conditional."

Aha! A "really solid concession," he just won't tell anyone what that concession was. In addition to all I said before, Bradbury brings up a good point. All this effort, and high risk of voter disenfranchisement, is in response to a complete non issue.
Oregon, Bradbury wrote "does not have a problem with ineligible voters." Of the more than 10 million votes in Oregon cast since 1991, Bradbury wrote, "only 10 people have met criteria that would even warrant an investigation into their citizenship. Of those 10, two have been prosecuted."

Sure, some States are probably higher, but there has been no real reason to suspect that masses of noncitizens are voting, and the rates in other States I feel confident in saying, is also extremely low. This is really a cynical attempt to keep poor people away from the polls, and has the added side affect of keeping Oregonians in general away from the polls. This unconstitutional bill must be stopped in the Senate.

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