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Author: Radish Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 757654  
Subject: Question for TMFPMarti Date: 7/10/2013 7:03 AM
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Thank you for answering my question at http://boards.fool.com/30767287.aspx

Seeing as how you said, later in that thread, that you were putting the thread on ignore due to the responses of other posters, I'm taking the liberty of responding to your response in a new thread... otherwise (presumably) you wouldn't even see my response.

I'm having trouble understanding how voter ID laws, either ones requiring an ID to be shown at the poll or ones requiring an ID to be shown at registration (or both), can disenfranchise voters except in the sense of extremely rare isolated instances. And I mean that literally, not sarcastically. I really just don't see it, so I'm hoping you can explain.

Consider even the extreme case of requiring specifically either an official state-government-issued photo ID or a US-issued passport. Colovion recently posted that even the so-called homeless people he's encountered have state photo ID's. I ran this past my friends in law enforcement here (in southern California). They said that they had never encountered, even once, one of the "homeless" who didn't have an actual state-government-issued photo ID. And because these people are very prone to being encountered by law enforcement, the officers have encountered a very high percentage, perhaps 100%, of them.

We're talking people who are, by and large, severely mentally ill (or otherwise mentally impaired, for example with severe drug-induced impairments). Many of these people wander aimlessly talking to people who, as far as anyone else can tell, aren't there. (On the other hand, lots of people do that these days with bluetooth headsets.) People who couldn't tell you what country they are in... perhaps not even what planet they're on. And I'm not kidding or exaggerating here. These people are just about as non-functional as you can get and still walk around... in that portion of the time they're able to walk around. And they all have photo ID's; they need them to use various government aid programs. I'm not making this up... check with your own local police department.

Now if people who are almost completely non-functional can get photo ID's, how can you possibly say that an ID requirement disenfranchises voters? Which voters, exactly, are unable to get a photo ID? Mind you, there's countless organizations that are dead set on helping people vote. None of these are going to help anyone get photo ID's? Geez, some of the ACORN people purposely violated local laws, risking jail time (some of them even got jail time) in order to maximize the registration of would-be voters.

I'm just having trouble seeing an ID requirement as a method for disenfranchising. Sure, you could disenfranchise probably dozens of people nationwide. But, realistically, it'd be easier to just hire hit-men to kill those dozens of people than it would be to go to all the effort that's being put into trying to require photo ID's, wouldn't it?

Perhaps I'm missing something here. Hopefully, TMFPMarti, you can enlighten me.

You said "My favorite story from the unintended consequences file came in the Kansas primary when a judge known by every precinct worker was turned away because he didn't have photo ID." How did he come to be at the poll with no photo ID? Did he not have such an ID? Did he just fail to bring it? Why couldn't he get an ID? Why couldn't he bring it? I'm simply not understanding this as an explanation as to how requiring ID's disenfranchises people.

Phil
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