GOP Poll Tax Bill Advances

by Michael Cook ( 4 views 

Which prominent national Democratic strategist said the following in regards to Voter ID fraud?

“I think that all of this stuff that has transpired over the last two years is in search of a solution to a problem, voting fraud, that doesn’t really exist when you look deeply at the question. It’s part of the mythology now in the Republican Party that there’s widespread voter fraud across the country. In fact, there’s not.”

Actually, that’s a trick question. That quote is from Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s 2008 campaign manager. Even that Republican knows voter ID fraud is not a problem. But Arkansas Republicans have bought into the myth.

There is a deeply engrained mythology with the Republic Party that voter ID fraud – where people attempt to vote twice or in another people’s name – is a rampant problem. When you ask them for evidence, they’ll point to a single potential case there or maybe the possibility of a voter fraud ID case here, but frankly no real evidence of such fraud exists.

There were cases of voter fraud in West Memphis last year, but it involved absentee ballots and buying votes. However, even the crook who led the voter fraud scheme, former State Rep. Hudson Hallum, said that a voter ID law would not have stopped his fraud. And on a side note, hopefully Hallum and his co-conspirators will receive significant jail time for their part in disenfranchising voters.

But no matter, Arkansas Republicans are determined to pass an unneeded voter ID law to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

Today Senate Bill 2, sponsored by State Senator Bryan King, came before a Senate Committee.

If the bill passes, it requires voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. I’ve written many times already about this is basically a GOP poll tax and that it was designed to keep folks who tend to vote Democratic, such as the poor and the elderly, from voting all under the guise of protecting the vote.

In today’s Senate committee meeting, Senator David Jonson asked King if this bill was about voter suppression. King replied that he was offended by the question. Of course he was, King was being called out for the true purpose of this bill and was offended by it.

Here are some of the problems with this bill:

1) If you show up at a polling place, but do not have your a photo ID, you’ll be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. However, you are then legally required to go to the County Board of Elections by noon on the Monday following the election to present your photo ID. If you do not to this, then your vote is not counted.

This requirement is basically requiring citizens to vote twice. Even if you have been voting at the same polling precincts for 15 years, as I have, and the polling workers all know you by sight, if you forget your ID you must then take time out of your job to go prove you are who say you are.

2) The bill sets up a system where the Secretary of State will provide photo IDs at no charge to all 75 County Clerk offices. But who ends up paying for these photo IDs? The taxpayers. Where in the budget is the money coming from to implement this increase in bureaucracy?

3) In the end, this bill is still a poll tax. It’s a tax on the voters’ time and money to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

The bill passed the Republican controlled (5-3) Senate State Agencies committee today on a voice vote.

Sadly, with the legislature now under a Republic majority, the bill will likely pass both chambers.

The big question is will Governor Beebe veto this legislation or sign it into law?