Friday, August 30, 2013

The Wrong Conversation on Voter ID Laws

Last week, President Obama's Justice Department filed suit against the state of Texas over Texas' new voter ID law. It wasn't surprising, but it's the latest salvo by progressives to delegitimize the effort by many states across the country to pass voter integrity laws.
One of those laws, signed by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory recently, was written about last week by Phyllis Schlafly - and she defended the measures that would cut down on early voting, party-line voting, and institute voter ID requirements.
Progressive writers have seized on Schlafly's column and other conservatives' comments on voter ID laws to be a trend in which, as Kevin Drum writes, "conservatives are finally admitting what voter suppression laws are all about." Drum was following what was written by Steve Benen, and the theme was picked up by Jamelle Bouie. Progressives think that what conservatives are earnestlyafter is the suppression of voting demographics that are unfavorable to Republicans.
That's wrong, and it's wrong for an obvious reason. Conservatives are genuinely concerned about voter fraud nationwide. The typical response is that voter fraud is not a big deal (something that is contentious, obviously). If voter fraud is not a legitimate issue to be concerned with, progressives have done a lousy job of doing the convincing. The impetus for voter ID laws is not voter suppression - it's ensuring clean and fair elections. And this is not to mention that the arguments about who would be disenfranchised by such laws are egregiously trumped up by progressives.

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