Jul 18 2011

It Was Designed to Happen This Way

Posted by Steve Ross in State Politics

via Tri-State Defender

Back at the end of June I wrote a couple of posts about the new ID requirements for voting and the free ID bill that seeks to keep the US Supreme Court from overturning those ID requirements.

On Friday the Tri-State Defender published an article detailing just how arduous a task it is to get ANY ID in Tennessee, much less a free one.

Marred by purposefully rigged service times (they don’t start counting wait times until you get in the building, ignoring the 3 hours you spent in the scorching heat) Shelby Co.’s four Driver’s Service Centers already can’t handle the volume. Can you imagine just how much worse the service will be when people realize their vote is about to be in danger.

Further, the locations of the service centers in Shelby County aren’t really all that convenient to the populations that would most likely need to be served.


View 6340 Summer Ave in a larger map

These four service centers are supposed to be able to deal with their current volume, and the additional volume of a County of over 926,000 people. That’s ridiculous.

The fiscal note on this bill (the estimated amount it would cost the state) was supposed to be not significant. I guess they figured, as much trouble as it is to get an ID in Tennessee, no one would bother and just put up with being disenfranchised.

In an article published this morning in the Commercial Appeal, local leaders met to discuss the new law, and considering the inherent challenges of even getting ANY ID in this state they called it like it is, voter disenfranchisement.

The bill was originally intended to address the minuscule problem of voter fraud. According to the CA article, less than 1% of all ballots cast are investigated for fraud, and fewer that half of those actually lead to a conviction. Sounds like a huge problem huh? /snark

But Brent Leatherwood, flack for the Republican House leadership set up his straw man argument and let it fly:

“Even 1 percent, as we’ve seen time and again, can sway an election,” said Brent Leatherwood, communications director for the House majority. “Given that, even one incident of fraud is far too many. We want to stop that and, clearly, Democrats do not.”

Bull part one, but it gets better…

“The only individuals this bill will disenfranchise are dead people whose votes should never count in elections,” he said.

Bull part two Leatherwood.

Apparently Mr. Leatherwood wasn’t in line with all those folks who waited hours to get in the building only to wait almost another hour to get their damn ID and tell THEM this isn’t some kind of disenfranchisement.

And dead people voting is the problem? Really? You mean to tell me that the Election Commission can’t use public records to research who’s dead and who’s alive? Well that certainly restores my faith in them. Seems they’re the ones with the problems, not verifying identity.

The best part of all of this is, barring a special election after January 1, 2012, no one will even think that much about it until the Presidential Primary in March. Then a whole bunch of folks here in Memphis will be confronted with the fact that they can’t vote because they don’t have an ID. It’s not going to be pretty.

But that’s what Republicans want. They don’t want to fix government, they want to make it so difficult to interact with government that you lose hope and just sit down. When you do that, you lose, not them.

Make no mistake, it was designed to happen this way, and they’re making sure it does, to the detriment of the will of all the people.