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Showing ID

Birthers make a big deal about how normal people have to “show ID,” and then pretend that Barack Obama hasn’t. However, lots of people haven’t had to show ID. A study by the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee of those without photo IDs found:

The population of elderly persons 65 and older without a drivers license or a state photo ID totals 177,399, and of these 70 percent are women…. An estimated 98,247 Wisconsin residents ages 35 through 64 also do not have either a drivers license or a photo ID.

We’re talking over a quarter of a million people without ID.

Starting in 2012, Wisconsinites will have to show photo ID to vote. No problem, though, since Wisconsin will issue photo IDs for just $28? Ah, but state-issued photo IDs under the Real ID Act require birth certificates (or a passport or certain immigration documents), and many older Americans don’t have birth certificates, particularly minorities. The State of Wisconsin as of the end of last year has a new state-of-the-art electronic birth registration system, but that’s no help to people from out of state, or who were born in rural areas where births where not always registered.

Let the lawsuits begin.

The article has been updated to include several links to original sources for the statistics cited. There were also some errors in the cited information now corrected.

61 Responses to Showing ID

  1. avatar
    Nathanael June 21, 2011 at 1:16 am #

    Interesting, to be sure. Union-busting Wisconsin governor Walker recently topped a survey of America’s most polarizing governors.

    I say this because it appears Walker may have pulled a Dubya. Walker, who won last year with 52%, now faces a 67% job disapproval rating, and several Republican legislators are already facing recall elections.

    Who knows what that means for the Wisconsin voter ID law? While similar laws have survived court challenges elsewhere, the Wisconsin law was a Republican creation start to finish, may well be repealed by a Democratic majority in 2012.

    I’m a Wisconsin voter, but I vote absentee because I don’t live in the US. I haven’t yet checked to see how I’m affected by the new law (and getting a copy of my birth certificate from here would be … umm … difficult).

  2. avatar
    Keith June 21, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    Nathanael: I haven’t yet checked to see how I’m affected by the new law (and getting a copy of my birth certificate from here would be … umm … difficult).

    I am in Australia. I ordered a copy of my birth certificate online from Michigan, and had it in my hand in less than 10 days. You shouldn’t have any trouble, unless you are somewhere like Timor-Leste where it seems the populace is not even aware that they have a Postal System.

  3. avatar
    Nathanael June 21, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    Keith: I am in Australia. I ordered a copy of my birth certificate online from Michigan, and had it in my hand in less than 10 days. You shouldn’t have any trouble, unless you are somewhere like Timor-Leste where it seems the populace is not even aware that they have a Postal System.

    I’m somewhere where they don’t have a reputable postal system. My experience has been that getting anything from the States is a crapshoot. If I have to get a BC, then mail it back to get a Wisconsin ID, then use that to obtain my ballot, my chances decrease rapidly.

    But again, I’m not even sure what the requirements will be. I need to find out.

    –Nathanael

  4. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    As we move forward further into the Information Age and the 21st century, ID requirements and standards will become more and more common, necessary and therefore both essential and inevitable.

    The key is to try to address and handle such issues in a fair manner and take into account how to get these things in place for those who not only lack them but might incur some sort of “hardship” in obtaining them.

  5. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    G:
    As we move forward further into the Information Age and the 21st century, ID requirements and standards will become more and more common, necessary and therefore both essential and inevitable.

    The key is to try to address and handle such issues in a fair manner and take into account how to get these things in place for those who not only lack them but might incur some sort of “hardship” in obtaining them.

    And of course, to minimize instances of fraud and error as the process is implemented and standardized.

  6. avatar
    Expelliarmus June 21, 2011 at 3:21 am #

    Nathanael: But again, I’m not even sure what the requirements will be. I need to find out.

    Here’s a link to the law:
    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/23

    For absentee voting, here is what it says:

    6.24 (4) (c) Upon receipt of a timely application from an individual who qualifies as an overseas elector and who has registered to vote in a municipality under sub. (3), the municipal clerk of the municipality shall send or transmit an absentee ballot to the individual for all subsequent elections for national office to be held during the year in which the ballot is requested, unless the individual otherwise requests or until the individual no longer qualifies as an overseas elector.

    6.24 (4) (d) An overseas elector who is not registered may request both a registration form and an absentee ballot at the same time, and the municipal clerk shall send or transmit the ballot automatically if the registration form is received within the time prescribed in s. 6.28 (1). The board shall prescribe a special certificate form for the envelope in which the absentee ballot for overseas electors is contained, which shall be substantially similar to that provided under s. 6.87 (2). An overseas elector shall make and subscribe to the special certificate form before a witness who is an adult U.S. citizen.

    Now that I think about it, I think that you come under the provisions of the federal MOVE act – https://www.overseasvotefoundation.org/node/282 — which pretty much requires Wisconsin to comply with federal standards for overseas voters. In any case, bookmark that web site (overseasvotefoundation.org) because that looks like the go-to place for you to take care of your questions and needs.

  7. avatar
    Nathanael June 21, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    G: And of course, to minimize instances of fraud and error as the process is implemented and standardized.

    I think it’s a case of trying to fix something that, by and large, just isn’t broken. I’ve never heard that voter fraud has been a problem in Wisconsin, which has always had at-the-poll registration; all you needed was something as pedestrian as a utility bill with your name and address on it. The one argument that holds water, to my mind, is error reduction.

    Nevertheless, I agree. Technology being what it is, there will inevitably be be voter ID laws, which means there will inevitably be government voter databases, which means you can kiss voter anonymity goodbye. Government officials will, of course, swear on a stack of their mothers’ graves to safeguard your voting records, but the very fact that the government is recording your votes should scare the willies out of anyone. And the very existence of a voter database is just too great a temptation to trust politicians with.

    Personally I love technology. But the whole point of computerization is data processing, and where data is amassed, privacy is lost. You just can’t have both.

    –Nathanael

  8. avatar
    ellen June 21, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    The motive for demanding the showing of identification has always been TO SLOW DOWN THE LINE. That is because working people, particularly those with two jobs or working women who have to get home to their kids, are less likely to vote if there is a long line.

    The response from those who oppose this is to pass laws requiring that whenever a voting line involves a wait of more than a specified period, say 20-25 minutes, the state must provide extra voting facilities at that polling place, and these must arrive within 20 minutes or else the officials involved will have their pay docked by $1,000 a minute.

  9. avatar
    JD Reed June 21, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Hate to say it, but it’s possible the birthers may have the last laugh on the birth certificate issue. Not the President’s BC, but the voters’. The figures Doc cited for Wisconisn don’t look very promising for Mr. Obama. Wisconsin is a likely swing state — it could be THE swing state — in 2012, and the state’s new voter ID law requiring birth certificates to register to vote stands to improve Republicans’ chances there markedly in November 2012.
    Doc says let the lawsuits begin. Well and good, but look at who has the final say. This Supreme Court has already ruled that such stringent voter ID laws can be constitutional, so I wouldn’t put much hope in the law getting overturned.
    Seems to me the task of getting the voters who would be disenfranchised thereby would be too Herculean even for even a highly efficient Obama campaign. Just too many people to get around to, I’m afraid.
    On a lighter note, look at who the Texas Monthly magazine put at the head of the parade of the state’s bad legislators:

    THE WORST
    LEO BERMAN R–Tyler
    “You have to give him credit. For most legislators, making the Ten Worst list is the result of an endurance run over 140 days of a regular session. Not so for Leo Berman. Weeks before the Eighty-second Legislature even convened, Berman got a huge jump on the field when he appeared on CNN to debate Anderson Cooper about the validity of a certain Hawaiian hospital document. Berman, you see, is a birther, someone who believes that Barack Obama was not born in America—and therefore should not be eligible to serve as president. He came to CNN’s attention because he filed House Bill 295, prohibiting the Texas Secretary of State from certifying the name of a candidate for president or vice president unless the candidate has produced his or her original birth certificate. If Berman’s bill had passed, President Obama would not have been able to run for office in Texas in 2012 unless he produced the certificate. But of course it didn’t pass …”

    http://www.texasmonthly.com/2011-07-01/feature-4.php

    But of course a voter ID bill did pass, though Texas was certain to vote Republican anyway, so it’s not the problem Wisconsin is.

  10. avatar
    Keith June 21, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Nathanael: I’m somewhere where they don’t have a reputable postal system. My experience has been that getting anything from the States is a crapshoot. If I have to get a BC, then mail it back to get a Wisconsin ID, then use that to obtain my ballot, my chances decrease rapidly.

    But again, I’m not even sure what the requirements will be. I need to find out.

    –Nathanael

    I’m told that if you want mail to get to Dili, Timor-Leste you have to address it Dili, via Darwin because the Aussies know where Dili is, and they can usually get the UN to transport it. Otherwise, it’s likely to go to Delhi, India and get totally lost, because even though the Indian bureaucracy is quite efficient and could actually route it to Timor eventually, Timor-Leste seldom pays its postal dues so they don’t get stuff delivered.

  11. avatar
    roadburner June 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Keith: I’m told that if you want mail to get to Dili, Timor-Leste you have to address it Dili, via Darwin because the Aussies know where Dili is, and they can usually get the UN to transport it. Otherwise, it’s likely to go to Delhi, India and get totally lost, because even though the Indian bureaucracy is quite efficient and could actually route it to Timor eventually, Timor-Leste seldom pays its postal dues so they don’t get stuff delivered.

    sounds familiar.

    11 years back, my wedding presents from my family (all in the same packet) didn´t arrive for 6 months.

    seems someone in england mixed up guadalajara mexico with guadalajara spain

  12. avatar
    AnotherBird June 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    JD Reed: Wisconsin is a likely swing state — it could be THE swing state — in 2012, and the state’s new voter ID law requiring birth certificates to register to vote stands to improve Republicans’ chances there markedly in November 2012.

    Then now is the time to get Democrats and Independents in Wisconsin to get voter IDs.

  13. avatar
    Expelliarmus June 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    JD Reed: in 2012, and the state’s new voter ID law requiring birth certificates to register to vote stands to improve Republicans’ chances there markedly in November 2012.

    There’s no mention whatsoever of birth certificates in the law, which I linked to above:

    “Identification” means any of the following documents issued to an individual:
    (a) One of the following documents that is unexpired or if expired has expired after the date of the most recent general election:
    1. An operator’s license issued under ch. 343.
    2. An identification card issued under s. 343.50.
    3. An identification card issued by a U.S. uniformed service.
    4. A U.S. passport.
    (b) A certificate of U.S. naturalization that was issued not earlier than 2 years before the date of an election at which it is presented.
    (c) An unexpired driving receipt under s. 343.11.
    (d) An unexpired identification card receipt issued under s. 343.50.
    (e) An identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in this state.
    (f) An unexpired identification card issued by a university or college in this state that is accredited, as defined in s. 39.30 (1) (d), that contains the date of issuance and signature of the individual to whom it is issued and that contains an expiration date indicating that the card expires no later than 2 years after the date of issuance if the individual establishes that he or she is enrolled as a student at the university or college on the date that the card is presented.

    See: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/23

    Obviously, a birth certificate may be required to obtain some of the documents listed above, but for anyone who already has an acceptable ID, there will be no need to find a birth certificate. (Nathanael, for example, must have a valid passport — I can’t see how a US citizen living abroad would be without one. )

    The study that Doc cites does NOT say that all of those people lack photo ID’s — it says that 23% of the elderly (age 65+) lack a driver’s license or picture ID — and that minorities and the poor are less likely to have a valid driver’s license. But Wisconsin, like other states, will issue photo ID’s via its DMV to people do not have driver’s licenses. See http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/apply/idcard.htm

    The study cited did not have any info on the percentage of unlicensed drivers in Wisconsin under the age of 65 who do have those photo ID’s.

    See: http://www.inclusionist.org/files/wistatusdrivers.pdf

    So if anything the law could backfire on the GOP, by disenfranchising a significant portion of its base (people over the age of 65).

    I’d also note that there is no sort of cross-tabulation between the numbers of individuals who lack ID’s vs. those who are both eligible and likely to vote. It’s pretty hard to get by in today’s society without some sort of photo ID. So its a very big leap to look at driver’s license status as indicative of lack of an ID.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Thanks, Expelliarmus, for the details and corrections.

    The source I used for my article was careless and I failed to find and verify the primary sources. I have updated the article both with links to primary sources and updated statistics.

    After consulting the primary sources, however, the problem is worse than I reported originally with over a quarter of a million people lacking a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID.

    There is a difference between my original source and the state web site on the cost of an ID card. It may be that the State plans to drop the $28 charge, because if they did charge for the card, it might be considered a “poll tax” which is illegal.

    A birth certificate (or certain other documentation) is required to obtain the ID card.

    http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/apply/doc/proof-legal.htm

    Expelliarmus: The study cited did not have any info on the percentage of unlicensed drivers in Wisconsin under the age of 65 who do have those photo ID’s.

  15. avatar
    Majority Will June 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Speaking of showing ID, where are the demands from birthers to see an original long form birth certificate for any of the Republican candidates for President?

    How about their baptismal certificates, school records back to kindergarten, marriage or divorce certificates, selective service registration if applicable, and on and on?

  16. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    AnotherBird: Then now is the time to get Democrats and Independents in Wisconsin to get voter IDs.

    Exactly! This should be the focus of voter registration efforts, regardless. Helping people without IDs to get IDs should be a priority everywhere, as the need for them will increase in order to function in the 21st Century. That is just reality.

  17. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Nathanael: I think it’s a case of trying to fix something that, by and large, just isn’t broken. I’ve never heard that voter fraud has been a problem in Wisconsin, which has always had at-the-poll registration; all you needed was something as pedestrian as a utility bill with your name and address on it. The one argument that holds water, to my mind, is error reduction.

    Yes, error reduction was part of what I was referring to. The other key area is ID fraud and identity theft, which are very serious and real issues today and will continue to be in the future.

    Any new design/standard has to look to ways to minimize the ability of ID fraud/theft in the process. Not an easy task.

    I was not referring to voter fraud, which I agree that there is a lot of demagogery about, yet very few actual instances of when it has happened in modern times.

  18. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    Nathanael: Nevertheless, I agree. Technology being what it is, there will inevitably be be voter ID laws, which means there will inevitably be government voter databases, which means you can kiss voter anonymity goodbye. Government officials will, of course, swear on a stack of their mothers’ graves to safeguard your voting records, but the very fact that the government is recording your votes should scare the willies out of anyone. And the very existence of a voter database is just too great a temptation to trust politicians with.

    Personally I love technology. But the whole point of computerization is data processing, and where data is amassed, privacy is lost. You just can’t have both.

    I agree. That is one of the main concerns, but the reality and need for identification standards in the information age is both important and inevitable. It is a trade off in “privacy” that will need to happen, whether people are thrilled about it or not. You touched on the key issue here – which is who has access to the data and how is it used. The safeguards will be the concern.

    When you look at it, EVERY policy is a trade off of plusses and minuses (benefits and concerns, if you will).

  19. avatar
    Eglenn harcsar June 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Off topic for dr.c

    Leo d may have again referenced you indirectly by way of the koan contest in his latest analysis that shows how M v H establishes precedent for NBC.

  20. avatar
    Thrifty June 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Majority Will: Speaking of showing ID, where are the demands from birthers to see an original long form birth certificate for any of the Republican candidates for President?How about their baptismal certificates, school records back to kindergarten, marriage or divorce certificates, selective service registration if applicable, and on and on?

    I believe the standard response is that they get to slide because there is no controversy. Birthers aren’t asking because nobody is asking.

  21. avatar
    Nathanael June 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    Expelliarmus:

    So if anything the law could backfire on the GOP, by disenfranchisinga significant portion of its base (people over the age of 65). …

    (Nathanael, for example, must have a valid passport — I can’t see how a US citizen living abroad would be without one. )

    I do, of course (and thanks for the links you provided), though presumably a valid passport must show your current address. So I’d have to update it should I ever find myself back in Wisconsin, which means the financial burden hasn’t been eased.

    Off the top of my head, without doing any research whatsoever, I think the impact could cut both ways — also disenfranchising many low-income voters who, I believe, tend to vote Democrat. Of course, I suspect elderly may turn out in higher percentages than the low-income, but I’m probably just talking out of my ***.

    In general, I tend to dislike any law that erects hurdles between a citizen and his or her right to vote, though given the list of acceptable IDs it would appear the law has made an attempt to address some of the ID burden.

    –Nathanael

  22. avatar
    Nathanael June 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Expelliarmus:

    JD Reed:
    Wisconsin is a likely swing state — it could be THE swing state — in 2012

    My, that’d be fun! Wisconsin did receive some attention last go-round as one of the battlefield states, but with a relatively meager ten electoral votes, it’d take an unlikely confluence of events to bounce America’s Dairyland to the head of the Swing Pack.

    JD Reed:
    This Supreme Court has already ruled that such stringent voter ID laws can be constitutional, so I wouldn’t put much hope in the law getting overturned.

    And I linked earlier to the results of lawsuits against other voter ID laws. Not too promising on the legal front, I agree.

    Perhaps, should Democrats wrest away control of the government (Walker seems to be channeling GWB in the way he’s turning voters off Republicans, so who knows) they’ll repeal the law. But I only see that happening if Democrats perceive it to be a direct threat to their voting base; otherwise, they’ll probably have bigger fish to fry — like rolling back Republican gerrymandering and reinstating collecting bargaining, issues which DO directly target the Democratic base.

    –Nathanael

  23. avatar
    kimba June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    A photo ID rule was added by surprise to an election bill being considered in committee in the Ohio Senate. Scheduled to be voted on by committee this afternoon. The Republican Sec of State is against photo ID requirement without allowing for other options for voters, e.g. providing their entire SSN. The Dems in Ohio, as in other states, are growing tired of these stealth additions to bills at the last minute. Right now, one can vote in Ohio using a paycheck stub, a utility bill, a govt check stub that shows current address. Whenever anyone asks me why I am opposed to photo ID for voters I have the following response: Not only does photo ID place an undue burden on the poor, the aged, the homeless because these people may not have a birth certificate to get a form of photo ID. Photo ID requirements tend to suppress voting by people who tend to vote Democratic. That’s why Republicans love them. The spirit of voting laws is that a voter’s identity is confirmed by the local boards of elections and the Sec of State in Ohio when he registers to vote. When a voter goes to the polls, the concern of the poll workers in a particular precinct should be to ensure the voter is eligible to vote in the precinct, that they have the right to vote at that particular location because they live there. The role of poll workers should not be to confirm voters’ identity. It’s another good reason to convert to voting by mail.

  24. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    I was traveling in Wisconsin a few years back, taking my son to graduate school at UW Madison. Keep in mind that I’ve always lived in the South. This was the first time in my life I’d ever heard a liberal talk radio show.

    JD Reed: Wisconsin is a likely swing state — it could be THE swing state — in 2012,

  25. avatar
    Majority Will June 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    Thrifty: I believe the standard response is that they get to slide because there is no controversy. Birthers aren’t asking because nobody is asking.

    It’s still hypocritical and a double standard. The birther bills they supported did not exclude candidates based on anyone’s subjective perception of the existence of controversy.

    IMO, the more obvious reason is because birthers are stubborn bigots and hypocrites.

  26. avatar
    Sef June 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    kimba: The role of poll workers should not be to confirm voters’ identity. It’s another good reason to convert to voting by mail.

    As an Election Inspector, I totally disagree with this view. The role of the Election Inspectors (poll workers) is to “be” the Board of Elections at the polling place on election day and to make sure that the election laws are implemented properly. Without identification, either by signature or other state approved method this is not possible.

    Consider what happens when a person is incorrectly logged into the poll book. When the correct person arrives they are disenfranchised. You cannot go back and remove the previous incorrect vote. It also ties up the Inspector so that others must wait until everything is sorted out. Many elections have been decided by 1 vote.

    Note I am not saying that photo ID is necessary to accomplish this. Signatures or the other approved forms of ID are adequate

  27. avatar
    Expelliarmus June 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Nathanael: I do, of course (and thanks for the links you provided), though presumably a valid passport must show your current address. So I’d have to update it should I ever find myself back in Wisconsin, which means the financial burden hasn’t been eased.

    Presumably if you went back to Wisconsin, you’d want a driver’s license or state issued ID? You could use your passport to get the state ID. A utility bill or bank statement is adequate to show your Wisconsin residence. The cost of a state ID is less than the cost of renewing a passport, so while I agree with Doc’s poll tax concern, I can’t see a $28 fee as being all that onerous for an international traveler.

  28. avatar
    JD Reed June 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Just to clarify, I did not mean to imply in my initial post that showing a birth certificate per se is required to be issued a ballot in Wisconsin, but my impession after a quick read — perhaps too quick — was that a birth certificate was the prerequisite for obtaining the required photo ID to show at the polls, for those who don’t already possess a suitible photo ID.
    Now as for Wisconsin being a swing state, 10 votes in close presidential race could be huge. Note that Florida is under solid Republican control, which opens the opportunity for partisans to pass laws that make ballot access difficult for a small but significant piece of the Demoractic base. Take away some combination of Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana, and suddenly you have an extremely tight horse race.

  29. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    G: That is one of the main concerns, but the reality and need for identification standards in the information age is both important and inevitable.

    I go way back on this issue. I attended the National Bureau of Standards Symposium: Computer Security and Integrity in 1977 that had personal privacy as one of its topics. I still have my copy of Databanks in a Free Society from 1972 that came out of a project of the National Academy of Sciences. I spent my career with electronic medical record systems, implementing safeguards to comply with state and federal laws, including the Security and Privacy rules of HIPAA and the HITECH Act.

  30. avatar
    Expelliarmus June 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Nathanael: In general, I tend to dislike any law that erects hurdles between a citizen and his or her right to vote,

    I agree but I suspect I would have some very different feelings if I arrived at the polls one day and was told that I couldn’t vote because someone else claiming to be me had already had done so.

  31. avatar
    Fred June 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    I read the other day that in Texas (or was in Indiana?) a gun owner ID is valid identification for voter registry but student ID is not.

    I’m not American but I cannot understand how normal every day Americans allow this nonsense to go on and just let the Plutocrats steal your democracy right from under your feet incrementally.

    There should be marching in the streets and wide spread protests.

  32. avatar
    JD Reed June 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Fred, ’twas in Texas. Theory appears to be that students might tend to vote liberal so no need to make it easy for them. Gun permit owners are presumed to list to the right, so they’re encouraged, as are oldsters who are exempt from the photo ID requirement.

  33. avatar
    kimba June 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    Sef: Consider what happens when a person is incorrectly logged into the poll book. When the correct person arrives they are disenfranchised.

    Photo ID won’t solve the mistake of someone signing the wrong line in the book. The only ways that can happen is if there are two people with the same name in the precinct and the poll worker points to the wrong line in the book. Or if the voter mistakenly signs the line above or below their name and the poll worker doesn’t notice it.. Then it’s going to be their spouse or neighbor whose vote is interfered with. Certainly that doesn’t happen very often and if it does, it’s a training/ paying attention issue. Photo ID won’t fix that. It’s matching the name to the address that’s important at the poll on voting day. A photo isn’t needed to accomplish that.

  34. avatar
    Sef June 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    kimba: Photo ID won’t solve the mistake of someone signing the wrong line in the book.The only ways that can happen is if there are two people with the same name in the precinct and the poll worker points to the wrong line in the book.Or if the voter mistakenly signs the line above or below their name and the poll worker doesn’t notice it..Then it’s going to be their spouse or neighbor whose vote is interfered with.Certainly that doesn’t happen very often and if it does, it’s a training/ paying attention issue.Photo ID won’t fix that. It’s matching the name to the address that’s important at the poll on voting day. A photo isn’t needed to accomplish that.

    If you read my post you will see that I did not propose photo ID, so I do not know why you are going on about it.

  35. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Sef: As an Election Inspector, I totally disagree with this view.The role of the Election Inspectors (poll workers) is to “be” the Board of Elections at the polling place on election day and to make sure that the election laws are implemented properly.Without identification, either by signature or other state approved method this is not possible.

    Consider what happens when a person is incorrectly logged into the poll book. When the correct person arrives they are disenfranchised.You cannot go back and remove the previous incorrect vote. It also ties up the Inspector so that others must wait until everything is sorted out. Many elections have been decided by 1 vote.

    Note I am not saying that photo ID is necessary to accomplish this.Signatures or the other approved forms of ID are adequate

    I agree with Sef.

  36. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I go way back on this issue. I attended the National Bureau of Standards Symposium: Computer Security and Integrity in 1977 that had personal privacy as one of its topics. I still have my copy of Databanks in a Free Society from 1972 that came out of a project of the National Academy of Sciences. I spent my career with electronic medical record systems, implementing safeguards to comply with state and federal laws, including the Security and Privacy rules of HIPAA and the HITECH Act.

    Wow. Really cool. Thanks for sharing! From your experience, would you also agree that the “Real ID” direction is both inevitable and fairly necessary to progress and standardize in the information age?

    I agree that there are many concerns in carefully implementing it, issuance, and the issues of privacy in maintaining along the way, but I actually think that it will be better for everyone once we can all move to having these standards in place. I think it can actually enable *more* fairness into society and reduce issues of fraud or misidentification, once nearly everyone has been moved into such a system.

  37. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    Fred:
    I read the other day that in Texas (or was in Indiana?) a gun owner ID is valid identification for voter registry but student ID is not.

    I’m not American but I cannot understand how normal every day Americans allow this nonsense to go on and just let the Plutocrats steal your democracy right from under your feet incrementally.

    There should be marching in the streets and wide spread protests.

    Yeah, that is one of the examples of BAD law, where the issue of allowing one set of ID and NOT another is clearly biased and based on ideology as opposed to fairness.

    I believe that TX law will be challenged in court, and rightly so.

  38. avatar
    G June 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    kimba: Photo ID won’t solve the mistake of someone signing the wrong line in the book.The only ways that can happen is if there are two people with the same name in the precinct and the poll worker points to the wrong line in the book.Or if the voter mistakenly signs the line above or below their name and the poll worker doesn’t notice it..Then it’s going to be their spouse or neighbor whose vote is interfered with.Certainly that doesn’t happen very often and if it does, it’s a training/ paying attention issue.Photo ID won’t fix that. It’s matching the name to the address that’s important at the poll on voting day. A photo isn’t needed to accomplish that.

    Here in OH, the Poll Workers ask for ID and then confirm that name & address on the poll list in their book. They are really good (at least where I go) and point out and ask to you to verify again that is you.

    The line in the book shows my name, address and a digital copy of my last signature. The poll worker carefully watches me sign on the correct line before moving onto the next person.

    The margin for error in someone else signing as me is extremly small. They would have to have the same name, address AND signature to be mistaken for me, even if they signed on the wrong line somehow….AND the poll worker would have to not be paying attention. That is an awful lot of hurdles to cross. As part of my career, I’ve dealt with (and even taught) quite a bit of Risk Management. Some worries, like that have such a low probability of occurance, without being caught during the process, that they are not worth wasting time on them.

  39. avatar
    Nathanael June 21, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    G: It is a trade off in “privacy” that will need to^H^H^H^H^H^H^H happen, whether people are thrilled about it or not.

    FIFY πŸ™‚ I would debate “need to”, but since it is, as you say, inevitable, there’s little point.

    Any time the debate can be framed as privacy vs. security, privacy ipso natura loses. “Privacy” means “no one knows what I’m doing”, which all too easily transmogrifies into “No one knows what they’re” — cue ominous music — “doing”. GWB used the specter of terrorist bogeymen to push through the Patriot Act — its clear privacy and constitutional issues notwithstanding — and the increasing number of security cameras popping up on public streets, lauded by law enforcement groups as a boon to public safety, is further testimony. For most people, safety concerns are visceral, whereas privacy issues belong to a great, nebulous, politico-philosophical debate that just doesn’t register at the same instinctive level. Ask most folk why privacy is important, and you’re likely to get a blank stare.

    Convenience and efficiency also seem to be effective arguments (though somehow no matter how effecient or convenient the new system is, it’s never enough). Take RFID tags as an example. Commercial interests fell for their convenience long ago — and have discovered they’re also a boon to tracking customers’ shopping habits, information which many retail stores have no qualms about selling to marketers.

    With the advent of RFID inks, I think it’s inevitable that we will eventually see RFID technology built into US currency (citing, e.g., any or all of anti-counterfeiting, tax-collection, or terrorist money-laundering concerns). After all, the EU has been doing it for nearly a decade. And the potential for RFID-enabled currency to aid in tracking Americans’ movements is enormous.

    G: You touched on the key issue here – which is who has access to the data and how is it used.The safeguards will be the concern.

    In general, I agree. In this particular case, however, I think it goes beyond that. Enabling the government to collect and safeguard Americans’ voting records is exactly analogous to asking the fox to watch over the hen house. If my coworkers or neighbors or even my boss wants to know my voting history, I might just tell them. But when the government comes asking who I voted for, that‘s scary.

    I certainly hope I’m being alarmist(*), but it’s not the technology that’s holding things up. And is it really too far fetched to imagine a well-placed politician leaking the voting history of an opponent — or his supporters? Imagine how much more potentially effective they Ayers/Wright/Soros attacks against Obama might have been with their voting records in public view.

    –Nathanael

    (*)Yeah, OK, I probably am. However, having lived in a country (China) which does actively monitor its citizens’ activities, and which actually did once come knocking at my door, I plead extenuating circumstances πŸ™‚

  40. avatar
    Expelliarmus June 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Fred: I read the other day that in Texas (or was in Indiana?) a gun owner ID is valid identification for voter registry but student ID is not.

    I just checked. In order to get a concealed handgun license in Texas, a person needs to submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. So you are looking at a form of ID that is only issued after a significant level of scrutiny. The fee for a handgun license is $140, with reduced fees in some instances.

    The ID requirements are:

    (1) a driver’s license, election identification certificate, or personal identification card issued to the person by the Department of Public Safety that has not expired or that expired no earlier than 60 days before the date of presentation;

    (2) a United States military identification card that contains the person’s photograph that has not expired or that expired no earlier than 60 days before the date of presentation;

    (3) United States citizenship certificate issued to the person that contains the person’s photograph;

    (4) a United States passport issued to the person that has not expired or that expired no earlier than 60 days before the date of presentation; or

    (5) a license to carry a concealed handgun issued to the person by the Department of Public Safety that has not expired or that expired no earlier than 60 days before the date of presentation

    See: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/SB00014F.htm

    The “election identification certificate” referenced in the first paragraph is a certificate that must be issued without charge to a person who is a registered voter and does not have another form of ID, established as part of the Texas law:

    CHAPTER 521A. ELECTION IDENTIFICATION CERTIFICATE
    Sec. 521A.001. ELECTION IDENTIFICATION CERTIFICATE.
    (a) The department shall issue an election identification
    certificate to a person who states that the person is obtaining the
    certificate for the purpose of satisfying Section 63.001(b),
    Election Code, and does not have another form of identification
    described by Section 63.0101, Election Code, and:
    (1) who is a registered voter in this state and
    presents a valid voter registration certificate; or
    (2) who is eligible for registration under Section
    13.001, Election Code, and submits a registration application to
    the department.
    (b) The department may not collect a fee for an election
    identification certificate or a duplicate election identification
    certificate issued under this section.
    (c) An election identification certificate may not be used
    or accepted as a personal identification certificate.
    (d) An election officer may not deny the holder of an
    election identification certificate the ability to vote because the
    holder has an election identification certificate rather than a
    driver’s license or personal identification certificate issued
    under this subtitle.
    (e) An election identification certificate must be similar
    in form to, but distinguishable in color from, a driver’s license
    and a personal identification certificate. The department may
    cooperate with the secretary of state in developing the form and
    appearance of an election identification certificate.

    I want to make something clear: I personally do not support these voter ID laws and I do think that they unduly burden the voting process. But I don’t think that this is the biggest problem voters face, and I base my opinion on having volunteered with the nonpartisan Election Protection for two election cycles. The biggest impediment to voting I saw is the fairly standard requirement to re-register in the correct precinct when a person moves — it isn’t new voters who are impacted, but people who thought they were registered and only find out that they are not on the rolls when they get to the polling place. My personal opinion is that the biggest help would be same-day registration (or same day address changes) at the polls, but I don’t see how that realistically can be implemented without some sort of online database that tracks voters by unique identifying information.

    The other thing that irks me — and is why I am taking the time to look up the statute — is that partisans on both sides tend to exaggerate and misstate the content of laws they oppose. I don’t think that helps anyone to understand what is going on. For a very detailed analysis of the bill,its worth reading the House Research Organization analysis at http://goo.gl/uCU3h

  41. avatar
    nancy June 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    A lot of this new id stuff came along with the Patriot Act. Institutions are required to get photo id. Supposedly helos with anti money-laundering of terrorist monies but can be a real pain for, like Doc C mentioned, elderly folks who have perhaps stopped driving.

  42. avatar
    John Potter June 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    G: Gun

    G: Yeah, that is one of the examples of BAD law, where the issue of allowing one set of ID and NOT another is clearly biased and based on ideology as opposed to fairness.

    I believe that TX law will be challenged in court, and rightly so.

    Yeah, it is humorous on its face, that in Texas, guns (in the form of a concealed carry permit) expedites civil rights in ways that education (a student ID) will not. But the CCP is state-issued, student IDs are not, and do not indicate citizenship or residency. Student could be studying on a student visa … of course, int’l student IDs are–in my experience–visually different. The student could also be commuting across precinct/ county/ state lines. Again in my experience, non-local students students vote absentee, if at all. FInally, educating the poll workers on dozens of schools IDs would be a disaster.

    Since most precincts are far too large to make voting a personal experience, and in cities workers aren’t necessarily from their own precinct, personal recognition isn’t happening. Some form of ID is reasonable (but a pain). The requirements should be more general. Heck, a utility bill, combined with with form of photo ID a/o gov’t ID.

    Texas Monthly is an excellent magazine, perhaps the only good thing about the entire state, in my estimation. Check it out.

  43. avatar
    Nathanael June 22, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    My personal opinion is that the biggest help would be same-day registration (or same day address changes) at the polls, but I don’t see how that realistically can be implemented without some sort of online database that tracks voters by unique identifying information.

    Wisconsin’s been doing it for decades. Simply walk into your precinct polling place with a recent utility bill(*) in hand and you’re good to go. If the precinct’s voter roll is out-of-date, or the voter is new to the precinct, the poll worker is authorized to update the roll based on the information the voter provides. I’ve not heard it’s ever been a problem, though I’m open to correction.

    Of course, I’m sure the new voter ID law changes all that.

    –Nathanael

    (*)The utility bill simply proves current address. Of course, you’re still required to have another approved form of ID to prove you’re you.

  44. avatar
    Nathanael June 22, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    taking my son to graduate school at UW Madison

    Cool. Did my undergrad at UW-Madison. Love Madison, love the U.

    Totally off-topic, just ran across this over at Orly’s site. Looks like birthers are starting to eat their own:

    Phil Berg and Lisa Liberi are harassing editor of “Post Email” Sharon Rondeau

  45. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 22, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    OH this is rich:

    Ms. Rondeau told me, that she is a reputable journalist (she certainly is) she checks information and she does not cave in, when people harass and threaten her.

    Nathanael: Totally off-topic, just ran across this over at Orly’s site. Looks like birthers are starting to eat their own:

  46. avatar
    Nathanael June 22, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    nancy: can be a real pain for, like Doc C mentioned, elderly folks who have perhaps stopped driving.

    I had a great aunt who drove until she was 98, though she had to go in every 6 months to get her license renewed. Finally, one day she was involved in an accident that totaled her car (I don’t know who was at fault), at which point she voluntarily surrendered her license.

    She suffered a massive stroke and passed away three months shy of her hundredth, disappointing not only herself (she had talked constantly of her upcoming bash) but all of us who were busily planning her centenary. Nevertheless a wonderful — if opinionated — lady.

  47. avatar
    Nathanael June 22, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    Expelliarmus: I can’t see a $28 fee as being all that onerous for an international traveler.

    No, of course not. However, for both one irregularly employed sister and my mother — who is retired and living on a fixed income — it might certainly be non-trivial to scare up two bills big enough to cover even that minimal expense.

    But perhaps the Wisconsin law includes provisions for such cases (I haven’t read it) so it may not be an issue in this case.

    –Nathanael

  48. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 22, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    I’m a Gemini, and am of two minds about everything.

    Just look at the FISA Warrant to see how easy it is to go from strong protections to very little protection with very little public debate. In the past anybody with the money could buy a copy of the South Carolina voter database on computer media. I don’t think they do that now.

    But I think that it is reasonable for the government to issue ID to people and that when a person wants to do something that by law they are only allowed to do by identifying themselves, then they be required to show a government issued ID with some sort of biometric identifier (photo, fingerprint, retina scan). I also think that the government should not charge for such an ID, and that they should make as easy as possible for someone to get one, even to the point of the government paying the fee to get a supporting document for someone.

    Requiring ID is really not on my priority list of privacy concerns.

    G: Wow. Really cool. Thanks for sharing! From your experience, would you also agree that the “Real ID” direction is both inevitable and fairly necessary to progress and standardize in the information age?

  49. avatar
    Nathanael June 22, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    OH this is rich:

    Exactly! Reputable Sharon “punked by a high school satirist” Rondeau, who “checks her information” — which apparently doesn’t mean “checks it for factual content”.

    I admit I haven’t read Sharon’s Liberi hit-piece, but when a fellow birther starts throwing lawyers at her yelling “Libel!”, and Sharon admits to “correcting” a “couple of minor mistakes” I can well imagine what happened.

    You just can’t make this stuff up!

    –Nathanael

  50. avatar
    G June 22, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    Well, you might be a bit alarmist on where you are going with the voting record issue, which I’m not sure where that is coming from. All that is tracked and reportable is whether you show up to vote or not. That is what is being tracked and discussed here (and there is nothing new about this – this is how it has been for a long time). The whole point of the sign-in and show your identity is to record that you voted and that your vote has been tallied, NOT *who* you cast that ballot for.

    Recording that you vote is important and prevents duplication or ballot-box stuffing. It also helps determine turn-out percentages and stuff like that.

    Adding additional ID requirements (whether photo ID or not) when you sign-in at your voting booth does not change protections to the privacy of *who* you actually cast a vote for.

    Nathanael: In general, I agree. In this particular case, however, I think it goes beyond that. Enabling the government to collect and safeguard Americans’ voting records is exactly analogous to asking the fox to watch over the hen house. If my coworkers or neighbors or even my boss wants to know my voting history, I might just tell them. But when the government comes asking who I voted for, thats scary.
    I certainly hope I’m being alarmist(*), but it’s not the technology that’s holding things up. And is it really too far fetched to imagine a well-placed politician leaking the voting history of an opponent — or his supporters? Imagine how much more potentially effective they Ayers/Wright/Soros attacks against Obama might have been with their voting records in public view.

  51. avatar
    G June 22, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Expelliarmus and John Potter:

    Thanks for the clarifications on what the TX law actually entails. You are both correct that the sound-bite summaries often reported can be either too simplistic, biased or misleading and cause something to come across more alarming (or conversely, more harmless) than the actual text prescribes.

    I appreciate learning about the details of the concealed gun-carry laws there, which shed light on why that could make sense as a legitimate form of ID as well as the concerns of college IDs not being state-issued standards and therefore not valid for confirmation of identity & residency purposes.

    Good points to ponder and thank you both for digging that up.

  52. avatar
    G June 22, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    I agree that precinct re-registration is one of the biggest legitmate problems out there that can hurt a registered person’s ability to vote. Definitely an issue which deserves more focus on how to better address/educate people on, etc.

    I’m not convinced that same-day registration is the answer. Although that adds convenience, I can see the many weaknesses in that system as well, as well as the valid risks where that could lead to potential fraud or duplicate voting. Then again, this is another area that at some future point, technology might solve.

    If the polling stations were working off of accessible and centralized (and most importantly, current) databases of voter registration records instead of flipping through a book, then many of the problems with same-day registration could be resolved as well as precinct registration could be resolved.

    Expelliarmus: The biggest impediment to voting I saw is the fairly standard requirement to re-register in the correct precinct when a person moves — it isn’t new voters who are impacted, but people who thought they were registered and only find out that they are not on the rolls when they get to the polling place. My personal opinion is that the biggest help would be same-day registration (or same day address changes) at the polls, but I don’t see how that realistically can be implemented without some sort of online database that tracks voters by unique identifying information.

  53. avatar
    G June 22, 2011 at 1:47 am #

    Valid points. The Real ID Act (which never met its “mandated” implemenation dates…nor which was every properly budgeted for at either the state nor federal level) can definitely be seen as a by-product of the Patriot Act and the post 9-11 world. However, I would argue that the demands of the evolving information age would have led to the need for Real ID sooner than later anyways. It will eventually be a reality.

    On the issue of the elderly who have stopped driving – they can get State IDs to replace their driver’s licenses. Many do. Of course, the catch-22 is that someone will have to drive them to the License Bureau to get their photo ID for their State ID. πŸ˜‰

    nancy:
    A lot of this new id stuff came along with the Patriot Act.Institutions are required to get photo id.Supposedly helos with anti money-laundering of terrorist monies but can be a real pain for, like Doc C mentioned, elderly folks who have perhaps stopped driving.

  54. avatar
    G June 22, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Good points. Personally, I agree and think that if this is necessary, then the government (state or federal) should pay the cost to educate, register and issue everyone’s initial “formal ID” documentation/cards/etc. I can understand the argument that the costs aren’t that much and people should be expected to shoulder the burden of that small expense too.

    As a compromise, I suggest that this would be a great business model for creating a non-profit organization to address finding those in need, registering them and covering the cost of their ID application/issuance.

    I also think that once the initial ID documents/cards/etc. are issued for someone, that it is fair and reasonable to ask that person to be responsible to pay for a replacement if they lose it. The issue of how long a photo or biometric ID is good for (i.e. renewal period) before expiring is a valid debate for how that responsibility and cost burden should be shouldered too…

    Dr. Conspiracy: But I think that it is reasonable for the government to issue ID to people and that when a person wants to do something that by law they are only allowed to do by identifying themselves, then they be required to show a government issued ID with some sort of biometric identifier (photo, fingerprint, retina scan). I also think that the government should not charge for such an ID, and that they should make as easy as possible for someone to get one, even to the point of the government paying the fee to get a supporting document for someone.

  55. avatar
    Whatever4 June 22, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    nancy:
    A lot of this new id stuff came along with the Patriot Act.Institutions are required to get photo id.Supposedly helos with anti money-laundering of terrorist monies but can be a real pain for, like Doc C mentioned, elderly folks who have perhaps stopped driving.

    Or, perhaps, city dwellers who never started. There’s plenty of regular folks in urban areas who long ago gave up owning a car. A parking space in my building costs more than a house in many small towns.

  56. avatar
    Expelliarmus June 22, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    Nathanael: But perhaps the Wisconsin law includes provisions for such cases (I haven’t read it) so it may not be an issue in this case.

    Here’s the link…. again:

    Expelliarmus: Here’s a link to the law:
    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/23

    (I’d note that it was NOT easy for me to find it. I chased it down specifically to answer your concerns as an overseas voter.)

  57. avatar
    kimba June 22, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    G: Some worries, like that have such a low probability of occurance, without being caught during the process, that they are not worth wasting time on them.

    Yes, I’m in Ohio too and that’s why I doubt the “signing on the wrong line” mistake occurs more than once or twice in an election statewide. I’m just saying, the procedures poll workers follow on election day to ensure that you are really you have nothing to do with what you look like. Even if you showed them picture ID, it wouldn’t change how they do their job, unless they start printing the photo in the book and the poll worker is required to check the pic in the book against the photo ID. Photo ID laws get passed on the myth that people ( mostly brown or black people) go to the polls and pretend to be other people so they can vote multiple times coz everyone knows the only way Dems can win elections is by cheating. It plays to the emotions of Repubs who can’t understand why Dems are Dems. The new election law in Ohio cuts by 2/3 the number of days for early voting, stops early voting 3 or 4 days before the election. No early voting on Sunday. Less time to vote by mail. And Photo ID. They may as well eliminate all pre-voting and pass a law that says if you want to vote, you vote at your precinct on election day. If you’re not able to physically go to the precinct on election day, too bad for you.

  58. avatar
    Bovril June 22, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    The issue of “Papiere, Bitte.” tends to lead to substantial amounts of heat and light partly because the arguments of just WHAT needs to be identified are never really articulated.

    The matter, fundamentally is that governments (of whatever ilk) INEVITABLY stretch the whole issue into areas where they have no actual good cause to reach.

    The argument needs to change to WHAT an “ID card” is used for not HOW An “ID card” is used.

    For example a card and it’s associated information does NOT need to be attached to your whole life as the SSN has become.

    If it is for the purposed of ensuring that the holder is who he/she/it says on the front and that the identity is valid then there is no VALID reason for it to be linkled to back end databases or systems.

    The technology already exists to create a card with all the necessary hooks to create a card that can be interrogated by a stand alone terminal or handheld WITHOUT ANY BACK END CONNECTION that will, solely using the data on the card, be able to ensure that

    a. The card has not been physically tampered with
    b. The card data on the front/back has not been tampered with
    c. The image on the card has not been tampered with
    d. Standalone biometrics held on the card have not been tampered with

    Using public/private key encryption, digital signatures etc the card can then be shown to belong to an individual, the individual that is presenting it and that the card and identity is valid.

    The initial set up and data capture to create the card and build the digital snapshot of the individual that is embedded in the card will require positive validation of the user. This data capture can be treated in the same manner as a firearms NICS check where the snapshot data is removed from the generating system within a short period of time.

    This would allow a secure method of identifying an individual with a far lessened concern over Big Brother.

    Since however a system such as this would not allow a government to more closely intrude on its citizens life “It’s for the children” I doubt it would ever get off the ground.

  59. avatar
    mikeyes June 22, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Is the requirement for a picture ID in WI, which cost $28 assuming you have all the proper papers to get it, the same as a poll tax? $28 can be a lot of money for some citizens and the cost of getting the proper paperwork raises the total. If the only way you can get to vote is to pay cash to another government entity it sounds like a poll tax to me.

    (I know that it probably isn’t a poll tax, but it is discriminatory based on income alone.)

  60. avatar
    Horus June 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Here is AZ we must show either our drivers license or a State issued photo ID card in order to vote.

  61. avatar
    Sef June 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Horus:
    Here is AZ we must show either our drivers license or a State issued photo ID card in order to vote.

    Is there a charge for the State issued photo ID?