The Spectacle Blog

The Photo ID Wars: A Bulletin from the Front

By on 10.3.12 | 4:24PM

Today I had the pleasure of attending a Federalist Society program that presented a debate on photo ID and related election integrity issues. As is always the case with Federalist Society programs, both sides of the issue were represented by well-qualified panelists: John Fund, TAS senior editor and co-author with Hans von Spakovsky of Who's Counting (which I wrote about here on August 14), and Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center. 

The speakers presented their positions very professionally. Still, I must confess that there is some dissonance experienced when John Fund gives detailed examples of actual, detected, and prosecuted vote fraud, and Ms. Wydra stuck to the talking point that there is essentially no fraud, but that 1 in 10 Americans lacks sufficient identification to satisfy photo ID law requirements. But this is all familiar to those who follow this subject closely.

I wish to comment here on the striking remarks of the young woman who was called on when the moderator said there was time for "one more question or comment." I'll not give her name, but I tried to take down her remarks verbatim.

Here is what she said: "As you can see I am a black woman. I am from Detroit. And I want to tell you, I am so sick of the victimization narrative. I am so tired of hearing that blacks are victims and incapable of getting photo ID."

"In Detroit we have a lot of liquor stores, and they sell a lot of liquor to blacks. A photo ID is required to buy liquor, and trust me, if black people were unable to get their own IDs the liquor retailers would be in the legislature saying something about it."

She continued, "Will you please, because I am black, stop looking at me as if I need your help. Please stop pandering to me. Treat me like an adult."

"And by the way, I am a registered Republican, and I know for a fact that my vote was suppressed in the last election in Detroit. And it was not for lack of an ID..."

Her remarks were greeted by rousing applause, and from pretty much everyone in an audience clearly divided in its views of the main topic on the agenda.

Bravo to her for her attitude, and for having the grit to say this out loud. Others who were present will recall her remarks and I suspect most will echo my sentiment.

It was refreshing to hear such honesty on a day when my inbox is yet again graced with emails from the Obama campaign lamenting how photo ID laws "have imposed heavy burdens" that threaten to "disenfranchise" many thousands of voters, especially minorities. 

Since there remains no credible evidence that citizens lack or cannot obtain proper photo identification, we are left to wonder why such vast resources are being poured into the support of policies that make our electoral system more vulnerable to fraud.

I am concerned about vote suppression alright, but the vote I'm concerned about is mine -- i.e., that my vote will be offset by a vote cast for or by someone who's either dead or otherwise ineligible.  

 

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