Posts Tagged ‘voting restrictions’

How difficult is it, really, to get voter photo ID?

November 13, 2014

Getting photo ID for voting is damned difficult if the process is set up intentionally to make it hard for you.

pennsylvania_voter_id_rally-thumb-640xauto-6483-thumb-640xauto-6766Richard Sobel, a researcher for Harvard’s Institute for Race and Justice, looked at what some people in Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas went through as they tried to get photo ID.  He wrote a report on what he found, which was published in June.

steve-frank67FAC2A7-A14C-4F72-D3C8-71613E397404He said “free” ID cost $75 to $150 if you figure in the cost of getting birth certificates, naturalization documents and other documents, the cost of travel, and time spent traveling and waiting.   Sometimes there were legal fees as well.

Sobel noted that this is considerably more than the poll taxes that were outlawed by Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1964.  I don’t see how any requirement to pay money in order to vote can considered anything but a poll tax.

Here are some examples from his report of what would-be voters ran into.

In Pennsylvania

According to a September 13, 2012 letter to The Morning Call in Scranton, a Pennsylvania resident seeking a “free” voter ID had incurred costs of $94.61 so far, which were likely to eventually reach $133.61. The potential voter traveled 34 miles round trip to and from the PennDOT agency in Bethlehem, an estimated hour of travel time.

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Old white guy power, and other election topics

November 4, 2014

Who’s Buying the Election? A Bunch of Old White Guys by Zoe Carpenter for The Nation.

Speaking as an old white guy, I do not feel represented by the rich people who finance the election campaigns.  And I can say the same is true of my old white male circle of friends.

The problem with our system of campaign financing is that it is dominated by a tiny group of super-rich people, less than 0.1 percent of the population, whose economic interests run counter to the rest of us, including the vast majority of us elderly white males.

Making this elite more diverse will not change this.  What’s needed is to reduce its power.

Two Charts on Why the Obama Economy Sucks by Ian Welsh.

Ian Welsh points out that the percentage of working-age Americans with jobs fell and remained low all through the Obama administration, as did median household income.  Although the election is influenced by many factors, Republicans would not have a shot at controlling the Senate if economic conditions were better for most Americans.

Now the Democrats did not create the recession, nor are they responsible for the fact that it is much worse than a normal economic downturn.  And it is true they face obstruction from Republicans in Congress and on the Supreme Court.  But what have they done, or tried to do, or talked about doing, aside from a modest economic stimulus plan, that would make things better?  It seems to me they’ve swallowed the meme that reducing the budget deficit takes precedence over putting Americans to work.

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