Mr Kevin Lewis, who does the "Uncommon Knowledge" column on Sundays,♠ did a short item on Voter ID and its application at Boston Polls in 2008. The reference is to an item by Cobb, R. et al., “Can Voter ID Laws Be Administered in a Race-Neutral Manner? Evidence from the City of Boston in 2008,” Quarterly Journal of Political Science (March 2012).
Background for this is that Poll Workers may demand to see an ID if they have a question as to if you are a legitimate voter at that Ward and Precinct. Yes, Massachusetts has Voter ID. Good thing that Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't know about it.
At any rate. the conclusion of the study was that Poll Workers in Boston tended to request ID of Blacks, Hispanics or people with poor English 10% more often than for other people.
My beef with the article was early on, when Mr Lewis wrote:
In general, Republicans support voter ID requirements — ostensibly to prevent fraud — while Democrats oppose them, on the grounds that they disproportionately burden the poor, elderly, and minorities.That appears to me to be a blatant attempt to make Republicans out as frauds in claiming voter fraud is a problem.
Is there actual fraud out there? Aside from the famous line from 1960 about the Illinois going for Kennedy—"We just stole it back from the Republicans down state", we have anecdotal evidence. I was at a rally for Senator Brown a few weeks back when a former Lawrence Mayor told me about people being bused in from out-of-state to vote in local elections. Not edifying.
It isn't like most folks are opposed to Voter ID. The quoted study says:
Survey after survey finds over 70% of vot- ers typically support photo identification requirements, with over 60% of Democrats and just under 90% of Republicans in favor (Alvarez et al., 2010; Green-Atchley, 2007). Moreover, public opinion polls suggest that majorities of whites, blacks, and Hispanics support voter ID laws (e.g., Alvarez et al., 2010)."Majorities of ... blacks and Hispanics support voter ID laws." Imagine that.
By the way, here is, to me, a key point out of the study:
To the extent one hypothesizes, as we do, that our results may be due to unconscious assumptions on the part of poll workers paid less than minimum wage to work 15-hour days, we provide some evidence that such assumptions may resist remediation via simple training programs.So, it is incumbent upon the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to ensure that Poll Workers are paid minimum wage and that they are not worked more than eight hours a day, and certainly not 15 hours in a single day. Is there no union willing to take up this challenge? What about our State Legislators?
Again, trying to look at this through the other end of the telescope, I wonder if what is lacking is not elderly and minorities, etc, without IDs as much as elderly and minorities being prevented from enjoying many of the fruits of citizenship (or residency for those not eligible to vote due to not being citizens). For example, at my local Sovereign Bank I saw a sign a couple of weeks ago. It said:
Notice: For your protection and our's, you may be required to show two forms of identification.What are we doing to make sure everyone has at least one form of ID? If you can't bank, what else can't you do? Is this bigger than voting? I assert it is. It is time for our State Legislature, our General Court, to get on the ball and make sure that no one lacks a photo ID. Let the tax payers ensure that poverty is not a reason for someone to not have an ID. This issue is bigger than ID to Vote. While I agree with ID to Vote, even more important is ID for Everyone.♥
Regards — Cliff
♠ I like the "Uncommon Knowledge" item on Sundays and I think Mr Kevin Lewis does a great job, but he does have a bias toward the Democrats. But, as discriminating readers, we can filter for that.
♥ But, not checking everyone's ID just because they are walking down there street. As per the US Constitution, I will want to be free to walk around my block without any ID. This is, after all, the United States of America.