[Now UPDATED at the bottom with "Geraint's" response and our response to it! Enjoy!]
Last night, some silly Rightwing dude calling himself "Geraint Roberts" on Facebook, posted a comment on an item on BRAD BLOG's Facebook page, in which he purported to ask "Questions for American Leftists on the subject of voter ID".
As is our usual, courteous custom (when time allows), we quickly answered his questions.
As most of his "questions" are the same talking points we've seen of late, used by tons of either duped or disingenuous Rightwingers in hopes of justifying GOP voter suppression with polling place Photo ID restrictions, you may find both his questions and our brief answers to them, as posted in full below, interesting and/or helpful...
"Questions for American Leftists on the subject of voter ID"
While I can't speak for "American Leftists", I'll try to answer your questions as an American.
"1. Can you name countries where ID is not required to vote?"
Can you name countries where ID is required to vote, but NOT supplied to every voter in the nation, as is the case in the U.S.?
Moreover, you do realize that ID is required for registration by every voter in the U.S. in all 50 states under federal law (HAVA), right? ID is also required for voting in a majority of states without a problem. It's only those Republican-run states where they have implemented very strict types of state-issued Photo ID (which they know millions of largely Dem-leaning voters don't have) where it is a problem.
You knew all of that right? If you did, why would you be asking these silly questions?
"2. Why is the requirement to show ID an impediment to voting?"
It isn't. The requirement to show a very specific TYPE of state-issued Photo ID that many largely Dem-leaning voters don't have is, however, an impediment to some 21 million legally registered voters who do not own that type of very narrow, state-issued Photo ID. That, of course, is exactly why Republicans are attempting to require it. (For example, a state-issued gun license is fine for voting in many states where the GOP is trying to suppress the vote with these laws. But a state-issued student ID is not fine for voting in those same states. Now why would that be the case?)
"3. Is the requirement to show ID when boarding an aircraft an impediment to travelling?"
It is not a requirement. The commercial airlines are not about to turn away some 30 million paying customers. See TSA's page on that here: http://www.tsa.gov/trave...formation/acceptable-ids
You're welcome. Don't feel bad. You're not the only one who has been played for a sucker by the GOP on these issues.
"4. Does a requirement to show ID reduce the possibility of voter fraud?"
ID or state-issued Photo ID? You *really* need to learn the difference. Presuming you are talking about state-issued Photo ID then, no, it doesn't. While there is only 31 known cases of polling place impersonation that *might* have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions, out of more than a BILLION votes cast over the past 14 years, as judges have found in case after case, FAR MORE perfectly legal voters stand to be disenfranchised by such laws.
To quote U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman when finding WI's Photo ID law in violation of federal law and U.S. Constitution: "The defendants could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past.... It is absolutely clear that [WI's polling place Photo ID restriction] will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."
"5. If a person does not have the knowledge and know-how to obtain ID, does it follow that they may not have the knowledge and know-how to vote?"
Nope. "Knowledge and know-how" has nothing to do with the ability to afford the documents required to obtain state-issued Photo ID, with the ability to afford the time off work to go get it, or the ability to even get to the office where one is available (if they can afford it.) Remember, these folks do not have drivers licenses. In some places in TX, for example, it's a 250 mile round trip to the nearest DMV if you can afford all of the above.
As to "knowledge and know-how to vote", poll tests are unconstitutional. Also, good news for you, no knowledge or know-how is needed to vote, otherwise, you'd never even be allowed inside the precinct, based on the lack of both you've revealed here.
"6. I read in a leftist critique that Voter ID may disenfranchise students; does this imply that students are too ignorant or incompetent to obtain ID?"
No. And also, I've bet you've never read anything actually "leftist" in your life.
"6a. I read in the same critique that racial minorities may be prevented from voting by ID requirements. How is it that you regard one race as inherently more able to obtain ID than another; isn't this premise inherently racist?"
No. I'm sorry if you don't care for math and stuff, but if a larger percentage of minorities do not have the ID required to vote, they will be disproportionately burdened by such laws. That is in violation of both the federal Voting Rights Act, as well as the U.S. Constitution. Are you unfamiliar with these things? If so, why should you be allowed to vote?
"7. Can you explain how it is that a normal, functioning human being in America is unable to obtain ID?"
I've already spoken to the costs above. As well, I've spoken to the issue not being about "ID", but the very specific types of ID that would be required under these GOP voter suppression laws. But if one is required to have a birth certificate to obtain one of those IDs, and no birth certificate exists for that person, that is just one way a "normal, functioning human being in America is unable to obtain" one. If you'd read ANY court case about any challenge to any Photo ID restriction in the nation, you'd already know these things.
You are *so* lucky that poll tests are now unconstitutional, chief.
"8. Given that countries such as Germany, UK, Spain, Belgium, France, Greece and Italy require ID to vote, do you regard them as engaging in discrimination and suppression?"
If Rightwing extremists such as yourself would agree to supply every voter in the nation with a Photo ID, as those nations do, nobody would have any problem with it being required for voting.
Feel smarter or dumber now? If you're smart, you now know how you've been duped by the Rightwingers who continue to hoax you and attempt to undermine American Constitutional values.
We answered those questions very quickly, and Facebook doesn't make it easy to add links to text, as we would normally do, so that folks could independently verify our information. So we left a lot out. Therefore, if you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask them in comments below. As "Geraint" knows, we'll do our best to answer them.
UPDATE 10/1/2014, 1:50pm: Geraint has now offered a very brief reply to my response! You'll be shocked to learn that instead of offering a substantive rebuttal or saying something like: "Thanks. I didn't realize how misinformed and lacking knowledge on this topic that I was until you finally answered the questions for which I've been seeking answers," he responded as follows, along with my subsequent response to his...
"Your responses are predictable - I had noted them from a brief internet search prior to posing the questions. Perhaps others on the internet learned them from you."
By "predictable", you mean accurate and independently verifiable? If so, why did you embarrass yourself by asking such silly questions in the first place? If, on the other hand, by "predictable" you mean inaccurate in some fashion, you have completely failed to identify even a single inaccuracy.
"They appear vapid, however, and hardly account for the passion on this issue from the left."
Yeah, you know those on "the left" and how they are so silly when they get passionate about protecting core Constitutional values that so many have fought and died for in this country (and others) over so many decades. Silly "left".
As to the "vapid" part, I guess, by that you mean accurate and independently verifiable, since you completely failed to identify even a single inaccuracy.
"If you are to be taken at your word, your real concern appears to be the lack of state-issued ID ... so why not make that the focus of your activism?"
a) I am not an activist, I am a journalist. b) So, I see. You are suggesting that instead of preventing the criminal from robbing the bank, we should notify every customer of the bank and have them take their money out before they are robbed by the criminal. Brilliant! Why didn't I think of such a simple plan!
"I've no wish to trade insults and epithets with you ... I acknowledge your pre-eminence in that arena ..."
Thanks. But I can't take full credit. Your lack of knowledge and know-how make it *incredibly* simple.
"but I will point out an interesting irony: You obviously know a 'Rightwing extremist' when you see one, yet you don't seem to know yourself ('I cannot speak for American leftists')"
Ouch! You are calling me an "American leftist" again! That smarts!
By the way, please don't let folks like Allen West (R-FL), Joe Miller (R-AK), Ron Paul (R-TX), and so many of the other Rightwingers, conservatives and Republicans whose right to a fair election I have fought for in dozens of articles over the years know that I am an "American leftist". I suspect it would break their hearts.
Wanna keep whiffing? I can do this all day.
Why do you hate the U.S. Constitution and American values so much? Don't worry, though. I'll keep fighting to protect them, even if you clearly don't give a damn about either.
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)