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Are You The Registered Voter?

On election day, poll workers must determine if the person standing in front of them is the same person who registered to vote. Showing photo ID should be Missouri law, but it is not. Why?

On election day, poll workers normally do not ask whether the person standing in front of them is a qualified voter.  That decision should have been made when the person registered to vote.  Poll workers must determine if the person standing in front of them is the same person who registered to vote.  That is why there is a need for each voter to show a photo ID, but it is not Missouri law. 

Missouri Democrats postulate voting is a right not a privilege; therefore nothing should inhibit voters without a photo ID on election day.  Some, including Denise Lieberman, senior attorney for the Advancement Project, believe that requiring a photo ID requires voters to give up a “fundamental right.”  Missouri Republicans believe voting is a right, but fairness requires poll workers to ensure the person standing before them is the same person who registered. 

Some columnists have stated flatly that the requirement to show a photo ID is a racist attempt to limit minority participation in the election process.   Opposing columnists write they believe there is a conspiracy to determine the outcome of some elections by sending unqualified voters to the polls on election day for the express purpose of skewing the results. 

(Example – What if 0.01% of voters in one state were permitted to vote without a photo ID.  Could that hurt the process?  What if that happened in Florida in November 2000?  0.01% of the nearly 6,000,000 votes cast for President equal about 600 votes.  What if all 600 voted for George Bush?  Since the margin of the Bush presidential victory was 537 votes; the 600 votes by people who may or may not have been the actual registered voters could have made an important difference in the outcome of the 2000 Presidential election).

For argument sake, let’s assume a voter photo ID law is part of a racist plot to disenfranchise minorities.  How hard would it be for minorities to sidestep this attempted disenfranchisement and have their votes counted?  Compared to what minorities accomplished in the twentieth century against legal disenfranchisement, overcoming this plot seems easy.  If the effected minority community actually wanted to overcome the problem, they could take it upon themselves to help that small number of people without a photo ID acquire one. 

Not acquiring a photo ID (especially when it is offered for free) and then demanding to vote while not proving you are the same person who registered, makes it appear that some Americans have their own set of rules.  (One can understand how it might anger those who play by the rules.)

If a benefactor offered free seven day family vacations to Disney World or Las Vegas (transportation included) and all a voter needed to do to earn the vacation was show a photo ID, would those few without the ID get one fast before the vacation deal expired? 

Acquiring a photo ID seems to be a matter of motivation.  Free vacations motivate.  Proving you are the same person who registered to vote; not as much motivation. 

Personally, I do not know people who cannot show a photo ID when asked.  Everyone who drives a car has one.  People who cash a check usually need one.  People usually need one to get a library card or use the free computers at the library. 

There is a community interest to ensure elections are free from fraud.  It is a mystery why some would not want to know that the person at the voting machine is the same person who registered to vote.  Perhaps they are the ones looking for a particular outcome rather than an honest election? 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Roos March 06, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Before I vote my signature has to match the one I gave when I registered! Where are the recent and specific cases of fraud by people who lack ID's? The demand that everyone have a photo ID is a solution to a problem that essentially does not exist. Jim Roos, President of Neighborhood Enterprises, a business/ministry that provides rental housing to lower income families.
Lee Presser March 06, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Jim, How often have you taken a rent check from a new tenant without seeing a photo ID? Ballot security is even more important to the community than finding out if the rent check is good. Lee Presser
Jean Whitney March 06, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Some are still unclear what ballot "insecurity" would look like, in this day and age?
Lee Presser March 07, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Local elections are sometimes won by a single vote. You wouldn't want your Mayor or Alderman elected by someone who should not be voting in your election, would you? Hope that answers your question about ballot insecurity.
Lee Presser March 07, 2012 at 02:48 AM
RDBet - You definitely have the Democrat talking points down. Good luck to you.
Bill McKenzie March 07, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I place more trust in commentators who use their name, not something like RDBet. Who is that?
Gabrielle Biondo (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 11:15 PM
RBBet - Not sure how the comments were deleted, but you are invited to repost. We encourage healthy debates (as long as everyone abides by the user guidelines) on Patch. Again, not sure how/who deleted the comments.
RDBet March 08, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Gabrielle-I deleted the comments. Bill M. has a valid point about use of real names-so not going to waste associating my real name with the above article/commentary/paid political advertisment (not sure what it is, frankly). My general concerns were covered by the two other commentors. Thank you
Gabrielle Biondo (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Ok - mystery solved! Thanks!
RDBet March 08, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Gabrielle, it would be appreciated if the Patch put a big disclaimer on top of these tales -telling people that it is an opinion piece, or an advertisement of political party, or whatever it is -not necessarily the opinion of the Patch etc. Or put it up with a counter opinion piece. Or better yet- skip it alltogether.
Dennis Broadbooks March 08, 2012 at 02:59 PM
@RDBet: Why "skip it alltogether"?
PandG March 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM
"By all estimates, those least likely to have a government-issued photo ID fall into one of four categories: the elderly, minorities, the poor and young adults aged 18 to 24. The Brennan Center estimates that 18 percent of all seniors and 25 percent of African-Americans don't have picture IDs." I think this article best describes the other side of the story; http://www.npr.org/2012/01/28/146006217/why-new-photo-id-laws-mean-some-wont-vote If one two or ten voters are denied thier vote that is too many!
Dennis Broadbooks March 08, 2012 at 06:49 PM
@PandG: "If one two or ten voters are denied thier vote that is too many!" I'd say if there is ONE voter who fraudulently casts their vote, THAT is too many! What's conveniently left out of your argument is that any bill requiring a photo ID will include exceptions for the elderly & ways for any other "photo IDless" person to obtain a provisionary ballot. They won't lose their right to vote, rather the process will be protected along with including their right to vote.
Lee Presser March 08, 2012 at 07:09 PM
PandG Every registered voted is entitled to vote. The purpose of the photo ID is make sure the person voting is actually the person who registered. If there is some question about a potential voter being qualified to vote, there is the Provisional Ballot. The Poll Workers manual states, "The purpose of issuing a Provisional Ballot is to offer those voters whose eligibility cannot be immediately determined a chance to vote." "After the election, the election office will research the problem to determine if the ballot should be counted." This is not about denying anyone access to a ballot. It is about protecting qualified voters from persons not qualified to vote changing the outcome of that particular election. I am sure you do not want the outcome of an election skewed by people who just show up and vote by claiming to be the qualified voter, but are not.
RDBet March 08, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Thanks for the info PandG. This is just one of the latest "boogieman" issues. The real question is -when will they stop the ineligible voters in the Best Hamburger of Mid-county poll? Good Grief.
PandG March 08, 2012 at 09:39 PM
This IS about denying access to vote!! http://rt.com/usa/news/vote-tennessee-thompson-veteran-073/ http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/oct/05/marriage-certificate-required-bureaucrat-tells/ http://www.readersupportednews.org/news-section2/319-67/10340-86-year-old-ohio-veteran-denied-vote-under-id-law
Lee Presser March 09, 2012 at 01:23 AM
These are the sources you wish to sight in opposition to voter ID??? The first link is to RT.Com --- RT,Com, previously known as Russia Today, is a government-funded global multilingual television news network based in the Russian Federation. It was founded in 2005 as Russia Today by the government-owned RIA Novosti. --- www.readersupportnews.org is a hard left news outlet Reader Supported News is a new service by the creator of Truthout, Marc Ash. “I started Truthout in downtown Los Angeles in the summer of 2000, as the Democratic convention unfolded a few blocks away." --- And here is a comment about Reader Supported News by one of the co-founders: “After 15 years of political organizing, I helped Marc Ash start Truthout in early 2001. George W. Bush, with the assistance of the Supreme Court, had just stolen the presidency.” --- The Chattanooga Times Free Press is a real newspaper. The story of Dorothy Cooper aged is 96 is a travesty. The article is about how an old lady was treated by a lazy bureaucrat. It was not was not about an attempt to disenfranchise Mrs. Cooper. (Read the story)
PandG March 09, 2012 at 03:03 AM
You are right Lee and Dennis us republicans should make it as difficult as possible for the elderly, minorities, poor people and young adults to vote after all they will probably just vote for them damn democrats ;)
RDBet March 09, 2012 at 04:33 AM
The cable right wing show host going all Joe McCarthy-gotcha over the fringe publications and a "lazy bureaucrat" - the same lazy bureaucrats the elderly and poor will entrust with their provisional ballots. I'm sure the NPR link doesn't count either, because NPR isn't real news like Fox. And there certainly has to be something wrong with the League of Women Voters, who oppose these voter suppression bills The first two commentor questioned whether there are cases of fraud from voters without photo ids. Still waiting - surely in all that well-funded tea party literature there has to be something.
RDBet March 12, 2012 at 09:12 PM
National GOP has been trying to to ram photo id law through every state legislature where they hold a majority. Apparantly, there is no proof of voter identification fraud to merit making it harder for people without photo ID to vote. The initiative is a political ploy to gain advantage for the party promoting it -much like when voting districts get creatively re-drawn(by either party). Disingenuous articles such as the above are part of that game. Fortunately for the relatively small group of voters without photo id and also without much voice in government (overwhelmingly the group consists of the poor, non-whites, and elderly) - a few judges are holding up this political steamroll. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/us/justice-dept-blocks-texas-photo-id-law.html http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/ruling-expected-monday-in-second-voter-id-case-c44hifo-142307425.html

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