Liddick: Whack the zombie voters
Ryan Summerlin February 20, 2012
Well, well. It seem the “shrieking Right” was correct after all.For years, those who argued for establishing a requirement that voters produce a photo ID before exercising the franchise were derided as racist loons who only wanted to limit minority voting. They were accused of baseless alarmism because they didn’t have any evidence of voter fraud to back up their demands. But now …Those who read the small-but-vital news items in the middle pages of newspapers, buried behind reams of coverage on Whitney, were recently rewarded with a couple of tidbits on America’s electorate which give these accusations the lie. According to a report just published by the Pew Center on the States – no shriekers they – about 24 million US voter registrations contain “significant errors” or are “no longer valid.” That’s one voter in eight. Some 2.7 million voters are registered in more than one location. And by cursory examination, 1.8 million voters still on the rolls are dead. Perhaps this is why liberals reject any attempt to determine the true identity of voters: their bedrock belief that being a corpse is no reason to be deprived of one’s civil rights. After all, the dead gave “Landslide Lyndon” Johnson his start in politics, so we’re talking longstanding tradition here. Plus, in a close election, nearly two million zombie voters represents strength that even the evil leader of the Deadites would envy; there’s no way Democrats are going to set that weapon aside without compulsion.But now that we see the registrations of 12 percent of the voting public are open to question, it’s time to act. We should demand legislation requiring that those picking our leaders prove their bona fides to the same extent necessary to cash a check. Call me crazy, but I think electing congressmen and presidents is more important than buying a couple of pairs of pants and a sweater at Penney’s.One hoary objection to demanding photo identification from voters is that it would depress minority turnout, since a photo ID is difficult to get in Colorado. Is this true? One may obtain either a driver’s license or a photo ID from any Department of Motor Vehicles office in the state; ours is easily accessible by bus. One must prove one’s identity (full legal name and identity) age, legal status and residency, usually by showing a driving license or ID from another state, plus a utility bill, mortgage document, bank statement or some other such form with name and local address. If these are unavailable there are many alternatives, all listed at http://1.usa.gov/y0XkgW. If problems remain, an exemption process is available throughout the state. So, no – it isn’t an odious task.This “too hard” argument also carries the disturbing whiff of paternalism. Those using it seem to suggest that the populations they are “protecting” are either too dull or too lazy to undertake the undemanding process required to obtain a photo ID. In the case of the zombie vote, they may have a point: Corpses are notoriously difficult to mobilize and motivate. But since the interests of the dead are – as far as I am able to determine – hardly my own, I am not particularly sympathetic to difficulties in their exercise of the franchise. As to the others who are either unable or unwilling to bestir themselves from their torpor long enough to perform a simple task: Do we really think voters such as these will select leaders who are farsighted and wise, or establish polices beneficial to the Republic?How many of the 24 million voters cited in the Pew Center study fall into this category? We don’t know. Should we care? If we believe that selection of leaders and determination of national policy are topics for engaged and informed citizens, yes. So why are some among us so resistant to that argument? The real, if unstated, objection to photo identification for voting is that it requires one to establish legal presence – either through specific documents or through an affidavit – and there’s the rub: A certain number of people cannot do this. Opposition is therefore the product of cynical political calculation; those who insist that even the minor inconvenience of proving one is eligible to vote will be an insurmountable obstacle hope emotional appeals will again trump common sense, and that their party will reap benefits at the polls. But there are now 24 million reasons to dismiss this self-interested red herring and insist that voters prove they are who they say they are.Unless you believe that 1.8 million zombie voters can’t be wrong …Summit County resident Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. E-mail him at email@example.com.