Last week, a letter to the editor (from a local Republican committee official) lamented that requiring voters to present photo ID should be reinstated. [Fauquier Times, “Is this national mess where we want Virginia to go?”] “It inconveniences few …” it said. Spoken like someone who isn’t inconvenienced at all, I would venture.
Spoken like someone who isn’t a single parent working at a minimum wage job who needs to take public transportation across town with kids in tow to apply, spending hours of pay to make it happen, I would say.
Voting is a right. As such, it must be afforded equally to all with uneven burden on none. If a photo ID is deemed essential, take the picture at the time of registration and make it part of the registration data base. Pretty hard to fake that.
If counterfeit mail-in ballots are feared, place encrypted identifying information on the ballot.
If it’s believed that people will vote twice (a felony that President Trump actually encouraged his supporters to commit), implement a cross check database of voters.
Instead of requiring people to deliver ballots in person, use signature verification or two-factor authentication. There are always solutions that don’t burden the voter if you care to look.
Mind you, I don’t think any of these measures are necessary. The current election “mess,” as the letter writer put it, is not due to fraud or even ineptitude. It’s due, for example, to Republicans outlawing absentee vote tallying before Election Day, and then crying foul when the massive influx of ballots due to COVID couldn’t be counted immediately.
It’s due to Trump and his enablers shouting massive fraud where none exists. Their charges of misconduct are proving embarrassingly baseless when they arrive in court with no evidence to support the cases they've filed.
In reality, the Democrats need only to get out the vote to win elections legally, and Republicans rely on selective voter suppression, which is also legal, albeit unethical. I see the latter as the real threat to fair elections.
For example, look at the Republican-imposed Texas photo ID requirement (Texas Board of Elections website): Concealed carry photo ID? Valid. Student photo ID? Sorry, not on the list.
It also happens that gun owners tend to be conservative. Students tend to be liberal.
Likewise, the fraud prevention measures mentioned in last week’s letter to the editor selectively and unnecessarily burden the disadvantaged who also happen to lean Democratic. One wonders if the Republicans would be so sanguine about fraud prevention if the law required that their prevention measures be non-discriminatory.