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No. of Recommendations: 16
The Art of War stresses the importance of choosing the battlefield for winning a conflict. When it comes to voter ID laws, democrats are giving up this advantage to republicans.

Republicans are pushing pictured state ID requirements for voting. That is their battlefield of choice and their justification is better voter security. That is a compelling argument for much of the country. I think democrats should give it to them.

That many people of color and the elderly do not have pictured state IDs is a problem that should be solved, not accommodated. Rather than fighting to allow these people to vote without IDs, democrats should be fighting to get these people IDs. That is a much easier position to fight for and justify. Rules restricting POC and the elderly from getting IDs are racist and ageist. Easy arguments to make.

What I think would really help the working poor to vote would be to make voting day a national holiday. That should be the battlefield the democrats choose to attack on. Let republicans make the argument why they don't think voting is important enough to allow that.
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What I think would really help the working poor to vote would be to make voting day a national holiday.

Maybe. It's unclear whether that would help. I know you think I'm overly negative, but there are some good reasons why this might not have much of an impact on turnout among the working poor.
Here's a concise summary of the problem, in response to a proposal to declare Election Day a federal holiday:

[The proponent] hasn't paid a lot of attention to actually happens on most federal holidays. Big businesses like banks and the white collar jobs at pharmaceutical companies shut down, and all the employees get a day off with pay. Schools and universities shut down, giving teachers and professors time to vote.

But you know what doesn't shut down for federal holidays? Retail. Restaurants. Hospitals. Smaller businesses that can't afford to lose a day of revenue, and if they do, they certainly can't afford to pay people for the time off.

What does that mean? If you make election day a federal holiday, you'll have all the people who work in these types of jobs still having to work, being inundated with customers who have the day off and they won't have child care because the schools will be closed. (Some jurisdictions, of course, already close schools on election days, but not all.) Some businesses may close, but their hourly paid employees will either have to use a PTO day or not get paid.


https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/no-election-day-should-not...

That's why past efforts to avoid work-voting conflicts have also concentrated on either having weekend voting (which folks have tried to get for decades) or increasing early in-person voting. That doesn't mean it wouldn't help at all - there's a reason why folks have argued for making Election Day a holiday (or folding it into Veteran's Day) for a while. But it might end up not having much of an impact, particularly for the "working poor" segment of the electorate.

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 6
Yes to both of you, and I have been screaming about the obvious necessity of real USA ID for decades and also on this board for years.

The GQP used to be opposed to national id on a pretense of avoiding the behavior of totalitarian governments, despite the near universality of such ID in almost every actually democratic republic in the world. They also pretended to oppose because of “national ID is the mark of the devil as prophesied in the Biblical Book of Revelations....” Now they just oppose it because of mumble mumble states rights.

Voting over a three day period of Sunday through Tuesday makes perfectly good sense. If voting only possible on one day, then Sunday is far better.

Combining national ID issued for free to every citizen is a no brainer. Combining it with “illegal immigrants should not be taking jobs from legal immigrants and citizens and we do that via a solid ID system” would show up GQP hypocrisy on these issues.

David fb
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Combining national ID issued for free to every citizen is a no brainer. Combining it with “illegal immigrants should not be taking jobs from legal immigrants and citizens and we do that via a solid ID system” would show up GQP hypocrisy on these issues.

It's also goin to show up Democratic conflicts on these issues. There are elements of the Democratic base that oppose a national ID - the ACLU has been fighting it for years:

https://www.aclu.org/other/national-identification-cards-why...

....and there's still a solid 'privacy wing' within the Democratic party.

As for combining this with jobs, that creates a conflict with yet another Democratic priority - protecting the existing population of people who are here illegally. So long as there are millions of unauthorized people in the workplace, whose earnings are critical to both their families and their communities, the Democrats aren't going to be on board with something that targets them or makes it more difficult for them to work. That's why Democrats have been so cool to Romney and Cotton's proposed bargain to increase the minimum wage in exchange for enhanced mandatory E-Verify. The concerns are elaborated here:

Mandating E-Verify nationwide would also increase the number of cases of identity loans and theft, as well as force more undocumented people to work off the books. That’s why Democrats have not typically considered reforms to E-Verify unless paired with some kind of legalization program for the 10.5 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, as it was in the 2013 “Gang of Eight” comprehensive immigration reform bill.

“We cannot solve the problem of the unauthorized or make E-Verify meaningful unless we address the other aspects of immigration reform,” Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute’s office at New York University School of Law, said. “To me, E-Verify has always been the linchpin for understanding why you need to deal with this stuff comprehensively. If the goal is that we want to stop unauthorized people from working, which is a perfectly laudable goal, it cannot be successful as long as there are 7 million of them in the workplace.”


https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/22310908/romney-cott...

That doesn't mean that Democrats are either right or engaging in smart politics by holding these positions. It just means that this isn't a wedge issue just for Republicans.

Albaby
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Of course, you combine making it illegal to work as an illegal alien with DACA and a generous amnesty for those here for “enough” time contributing to USA society and tax base and who further qualify by doing some form of public service. All to be negotiated to close the deal.

As to privacy concerns, well, that cow left the barn with Facebook and Google and etc,. I sympathize, and I really cared about the issue while there was still a little time and a smidgen of possibility left. Talk people through it. National ID is bad? Well, tell it to the face id algorithms operating everywhere. Maybe you combine National ID card with a sweeping deeper privacy and ownership of personal information act, but stop thinking it is still 1990....


Davud fb
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Combining national ID issued for free to every citizen is a no brainer.

If only that were so. How does one prove citizenship? A birth certificate? And how does one obtain a copy of that without an ID? I'm talking about adults who were born in Detroit and have spent their entire lives there. Oops. (There are ways, but they're hardly no brainer.)

You think such cases are unusual? I've seen literally thousands of them.

For that matter, I've dealt with a fair number of cases in which the seemingly simple question "What's your full name?" has a complicated answer that may or may not match "official" records.

A national voter ID could be done. But it would require extensive outreach and effort to succeed for no small number of eligible voters.
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Combining national ID issued for free to every citizen is a no brainer.

If only that were so. How does one prove citizenship?


It is a mess. And you are close to saying that the mess is unfixable and so or well those people are outside the system.

The unfixable-ness is all the more reason to FIX IT. That it is all such a mess is largely intentional as a means to blamelessly undercut and disenfranchise the poor (know any un-papered rich people?), and that intentionality needs to be defeated in a one off fix. Create a streamlined system of affidavits as I have seen used to handle all manner of messes after records are destroyed.


David fb
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How does one prove citizenship? A birth certificate? And how does one obtain a copy of that without an ID? You think such cases are unusual? I've seen literally thousands of them.

Including one who became President of the United States.

If retrumplicans wants to find a problem, they’ll find a problem. They learned that useful technique from the SS, KGB, Stasi etc.

"Your papers, please..."
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How does one prove citizenship? A birth certificate? And how does one obtain a copy of that without an ID?

When I applied for my first passport I had no problem obtaining by mail a certified copy of my New Mexico birth certificate. YMMV.

DB2
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Of course, you combine making it illegal to work as an illegal alien with DACA and a generous amnesty for those here for “enough” time contributing to USA society and tax base and who further qualify by doing some form of public service. All to be negotiated to close the deal.

But then you don't have a deal. The GOP probably would be willing to agree to a deal that combined legalization of DACA recipients with a Voter ID and employment enforcement. They won't agree to a deal that also includes legalization of 11 million other undocumented immigrants, most of whom (unlike DREAMers) willfully broke the law as adults to gain entry to the U.S. How to handle those 11 million people has been the thorny knot that's broken every effort to deal with U.S. immigration for the past two decades.

And while you might dismiss privacy concerns because they're not very important to you in this modern era, there are still broad swatches of the Democratic party that are still opposed to a national ID. Whether they are wrong doesn't affect whether they exist, complicating the politics around this type of deal.

Remember, the OP was talking about finding a more favorable 'battlefield' where the Democrats could box the GOP in. DACA for a national Voter ID has a lot of complicated policy issues, and coalition divisions, that lurk just below the surface of two otherwise-popular proposals.

Albaby
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Then leave the illegals out except for DACA, and in the aftermath some thing like my suggestion gets passed because the workers are needed and their status is a con.

The crux is universal voter ID in lockstep with ending the illegal immigrant con game.

David fb
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No. of Recommendations: 20
Dr Bob says When I applied for my first passport I had no problem obtaining by mail a certified copy of my New Mexico birth certificate.

I have no idea how many years ago that was. Here is a list of the documents currently required to obtain an official copy of a NM birth record: https://www.nmhealth.org/publication/view/help/3238/

It is similar to that of most states with which I have experience in assisting people. And it is a daunting obstacle to many indigent citizens.

As you will see, the preferred ID to obtain the birth record is a Drivers License, a State ID, or a passport--the lack of which is exactly the reason for seeking a copy of the birth record in the first place. Alternative items (a minimum of 2 required), include, e.g., a baptismal certificate, Social Security card, school records, tax forms. Many indigent citizens don't have any of those.

I'm telling you from more than a decade of direct experience working with thousands of people that the process is not "no problem" for many American citizens. You'll have to decide for yourself why you choose not to believe that.
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David fb replies to me: ...you are close to saying that the mess is unfixable

Not really. What I said is: "A national voter ID could be done. But it would require extensive outreach and effort to succeed for no small number of eligible voters."
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I had no problem obtaining by mail a certified copy of my New Mexico birth certificate. YMMV.

1st world mentality.

Yes, one's mileage may vary, especially if one was born in some village where records are sketchy if they exist at all.

Surely the hospital has a record?

Hmm... I'm pretty sure there's no hospital births for a lot of the villages by spots I surfed down south. Babies happen in the village. But where does the ambulance take the hard cases? Ambulance? Shirley, you jest.
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Remember, the OP was talking about finding a more favorable 'battlefield' where the Democrats could box the GOP in.

A corollary to that is for democrats to not buy into Republican narratives that improve the GOP battlefield. Again, republicans are making a big deal about Voter ID laws, and the more democrats object the more it reinforces republican arguments to their base. Yet most recent studies (some by social scientists!) indicate that such laws are inconsequential with respect to overall voter turnout, minority voter turnout, or voter fraud.
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/2/21/18230009/v...
https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/3/15/14909764/study-vote...

Like the border wall it is a symbolic gesture. Democrats should just use such laws to energize efforts to get more people government IDs.

On a related note, I find the notion of a National ID to be a solution in search of a problem. I don't see how it solves anything. A fast way to invoke doubt about a national ID program to a republican is to argue that it is a slippery slope to a national gun owner registry.

The NRA has a phobia about slippery slopes.
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I had no problem obtaining by mail a certified copy of my New Mexico birth certificate. YMMV.
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1st world mentality.


And we live in a 1st world country.

Look at the long list of documents acceptable to New Mexico. Aside from the usual government IDs (either US and Mexico) you can use baptismal certificates, school records, a tribal ID, medical records et cetera. It is possible to be born and live in the USA without leaving a paper trail but certainly not a common occurrence.

DB2
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A corollary to that is for democrats to not buy into Republican narratives that improve the GOP battlefield. Again, republicans are making a big deal about Voter ID laws, and the more democrats object the more it reinforces republican arguments to their base. Yet most recent studies (some by social scientists!) indicate that such laws are inconsequential with respect to overall voter turnout, minority voter turnout, or voter fraud.

Yes - but remember, both parties have spun narratives around these issues. The GOP pretends that Voter ID will be consequential; but the Democrats tell their base that any law that keeps even a single eligible voter from voting is anathema. Particularly when those eligible voters are likely to be members of marginalized and historically discriminated-against groups.

The Democrats have invested a lot into persuading their base that measures like Voter ID are meaningful efforts by the GOP to suppress minority voting. And the more that Republicans object, the more it has reinforced Democratic arguments to their base.

I don't know how it would shake out. Trading a federal holiday for Election Day in exchange for Voter ID would probably not have much of a direct impact on election outcomes - though it would certainly help some people, and hurt other people, trying to exercise their voting rights. But indirectly, I'm not sure which party it helps to take those issues off the political table.

Albaby
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Yes - but remember, both parties have spun narratives around these issues.

But also remember I am describing what I think democrats should do. Democratic leadership is not asking for my opinion.

Trading a federal holiday for Election Day in exchange for Voter ID would probably not have much of a direct impact on election outcomes

In the swing states and districts you have independents choosing between different narratives that will determine elections. Democrats not opposing voter ID undermines the republican narrative that democrats don't care about voting integrity and are trying to steal elections. Democrats pushing for a voting day holiday supports the narrative that democrats want to make voting easier for everyone, not just democrat-leaning demographics.
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In the swing states and districts you have independents choosing between different narratives that will determine elections. Democrats not opposing voter ID undermines the republican narrative that democrats don't care about voting integrity and are trying to steal elections. Democrats pushing for a voting day holiday supports the narrative that democrats want to make voting easier for everyone, not just democrat-leaning demographics.

I agree that it would undermine the GOP narrative. I was just pointing out that it would also undermine the Democratic narrative that the GOP has been trying to suppress turnout, especially among minorities. Which narrative would be further undermined by the GOP agreeing to a voting day holiday.

I think the narrative that the GOP is the party of suppressing minority votes is a very important one to the Democrats, politically. It might even be more useful to the Democrats than the GOP's narrative that Democrats are opposed to voting integrity is to them, though I'm not sure. I think independents, suburbanites and swing state voters are more likely to be upset over a party fighting minority voting rights than a party fighting election integrity - and of course, key coalitions of the Democratic base care a lot about whether the party has their back on this issue.

Albaby
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Dr Bob says When I applied for my first passport I had no problem obtaining by mail a certified copy of my New Mexico birth certificate.

I have no idea how many years ago that was. Here is a list of the documents currently required to obtain an official copy of a NM birth record: https://www.nmhealth.org/publication/view/help/3238/


I have my original Texas Birth certificate, complete with the wrong birth date. (This is worth mentioning because social security uses that date on a lot of things. To fill a prescription, I have to give them the wrong date of birth - and Mom wouldn't lie about such things.)

CNC
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Look at the long list of documents acceptable to New Mexico. Aside from the usual government IDs (either US and Mexico) you can use baptismal certificates, school records, a tribal ID, medical records et cetera. It is possible to be born and live in the USA without leaving a paper trail but certainly not a common occurrence.

So you're saying you don't believe MrF.

You do realize he volunteers (and has volunteered for a long time, apparently) to help people do exactly what we're talking about. If he says it is not trivial, I have no basis to contradict him.

About 30 years ago I was dealing with INS to get 1poorlady here on a fiancee visa. I had to produce a birth certificate. It wasn't "no problem", but it wasn't THAT hard. I had to pay a fee, and I needed to get some documents together to get the certified copy of birth. So it was neither free, nor effortless. As I recall it took me a week or so to get the docs they wanted. If I had not been able to get those documents easily, it would have been MUCH more of a PITA. Conceivably could have taken weeks, and cost a lot more.
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Interjecting here...

I don't care what the "election outcomes" are. I only care that everyone that is legally entitled to vote get the opportunity to exercise that right.

As I recall, Reps actually were slightly favored in the final tally of the mail-in ballots. I still support mail-in ballots, even though I find the Reps reprehensible (see what I did there?) and I don't want one serving even as a dog catcher. But mail-in ballots are the right thing to do to enable more people to vote legally.

If the people can't vote, then we don't really have a democracy.
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No. of Recommendations: 20
DB2 continues to insist: Aside from the usual government IDs (either US and Mexico) you can use baptismal certificates, school records, a tribal ID, medical records et cetera. It is possible to be born and live in the USA without leaving a paper trail but certainly not a common occurrence.

OK, here is the FULL list of alternative documents, from the NM Dept Health, to get a copy of your birth record. Note: You must provide a minimum of TWO of these.

What follows are typical answers I get from people I've been assisting at Detroit's Capuchin Soup Kitchen on a weekly basis since 2009:

1. Social Security Card with Signature: "I lost it years ago. I tried to get a replacement, but they require a Drivers License, a State ID, or a U.S. passport. I don't have any of those, which is why I'm here."

2. Baptismal Certificate. "Huh?"

3. School Records. "I dropped out of school in the 9th or 10th grade in Alabama, around 1982. I think it was in Birmingham."

4. Marriage Application. "Never been married."

5. Social Security Numident. [Me: SSA stopped providing these about 8 years ago.]

6. Voter’s Registration Card. "I'm not registered to vote. I was told you need ID to register, which is why I'm here."

7. Medical Records. "I don't have insurance. I haven't been to the doctor in 18 years."

8. Tax Form. "I don't have a job, so I don't pay taxes."

9. Tribal ID. "Huh?"

10. School ID. "I just told you: I haven't been to school since 1982."

So what do I do?

In some cases, I can track down the school the person last attended, or at least the school district, call them up, and try to get a copy of an old transcript. Often, they require ID to release the record. Sometimes I can sweet-talk them. Sometimes not.

I tell the person to go to a free clinic or (if need be) to the ER, complain of some illness or injury (which they often have), and get some paperwork.

In Michigan, you can register to vote without ID, although if you do that, you'll need to bring ID when you go to vote. So I get them registered and we wait for the voter registration card to come in the mail, often using the Soup Kitchen as the address (which is legal).

All of this can take weeks and weeks, a fair amount of detective work, money for various fees, and driving around to various offices. How common is this? I keep a spreadsheet of people who've come for assistance. There are more than 4,000 names on it. For two soup kitchens in one city in Michigan.

But by all means, just keep insisting that there's nothing to it, Dr. Bob. You do you.
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PS:

8. Tax Form. "I don't have a job, so I don't pay taxes." "And I can't GET a job until I get an ID! Which is why I'm here!"
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Look at the long list of documents acceptable to New Mexico. Aside from the usual government IDs (either US and Mexico) you can use baptismal certificates, school records, a tribal ID, medical records et cetera. It is possible to be born and live in the USA without leaving a paper trail but certainly not a common occurrence.
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So you're saying you don't believe MrF.


What? Do I think he's lying? No. It's just that he spends his time on the people who have problems, not the vast majority who don't.

About 30 years ago I was dealing with INS to get 1poorlady here on a fiancee visa. I had to produce a birth certificate. It wasn't "no problem", but it wasn't THAT hard.

And there is no hassle-free bureaucracy. However, as the long list of alternatives that you or a member of your family can use to get get a birth certificate copy shows there are alternatives and flexibility.

DB2
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It helped that I had a driver's license. And a passport. And an employment history. And a SS card. And money to pay the fee for retrieval.

I don't remember now what I had to provide, but it's not like I was living in a cave or otherwise off the grid. So I had documents. A lot of people can't say that.
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I don’t know why hospitals don’t take a footprint of every baby, if their fingerprints are not yet developed. They do this in Colombia. Some ink dust is brushed on the baby's foot, then the foot is pressed right onto the original birth certificate. All while in the hospital with the mother.

I dunno about the science of footprints but they probably have lines that are a good identifier. Sure DNA would be the modern way, but you have to send it to a lab where OJ might be working distracted, punching or knowing some woman and getting the samples mixed up. Footprint is low tech high touch.
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I dunno about the science of footprints but they probably have lines that are a good identifier. Sure DNA would be the modern way, but you have to send it to a lab where OJ might be working distracted, punching or knowing some woman and getting the samples mixed up. Footprint is low tech high touch.

When I was born, the hospital took my footprint. Apparently I wiggled my toes. Dad insisted I was born with six toes because that footprint looked like six toes.
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I don't remember now what I had to provide, but it's not like I was living in a cave or otherwise off the grid. So I had documents. A lot of people can't say that.

IIRC, you live in Arizona. Let's say you were born on the East Coast in the state of Utopia. Given the needs of privacy and security, what requirements would you set up in Utopia to get a certified copy of your birth certificate?

DB2
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Given the needs of privacy and security, what requirements would you set up in Utopia to get a certified copy of your birth certificate?

I'm not poorguy, but I'm going to reply regardless.

No sensible person objects to reasonable measures to ensure privacy and security for important documents such as birth records, just as no sensible person is in favor of insecure voting. The real questions revolve around what to do about the nontrivial number of American citizens who do not possess a driver's license, state-issued ID, passport, or similar documents. That's perhaps only 2 or 3 percent, but 2 or 3 percent of ~300 million is a lot of people.

One response is, "Too bad. Not my problem." Another response is, "We should establish a 'tough cases' office that acknowledges the existence of such problems, some of which are the result of inequitable treatment by public institutions, and works diligently to resolve them."
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Let's set the rules, communicate the rules, and if necessary, provide those who qualify to vote with the resources to be able to participate securely, same as any millionaire.

We can count stock on store shelves, track packages from Florida to California, so if we focus, we can have secure elections. If the requirements impede certain groups from voting, then we need to boost the support for those groups, who qualify, to be able to participate. Support participation by eligible voters. Done. It won't look the same in every state, but the broad principles would be. The cost would be less than a fighter jet.

-No qualified/eligible persons are excluded from voting, either expressly or due to imposition of some burden greater than that placed on the general population (like waiting in line for 8 hours when others spend 15 minutes).

-No non-qualified/non-eligible persons get to vote.

If you think that those with more resources or privileges should have a significantly easier time voting (and if you don't think we should make voting equally accessible to all eligible voters) well, that's a different vision and not democracy (more of a caste system approach). Let's deal with this according to our basic principles and move on.

Cheers,

Bill
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We can count stock on store shelves, track packages from Florida to California, so if we focus, we can have secure elections. If the requirements impede certain groups from voting, then we need to boost the support for those groups, who qualify, to be able to participate. Support participation by eligible voters. Done.

It’s not a technical problem. It’s a political problem. Republicans don’t want poor people voting, because they’re more likely to vote for Democrats.

Let’s face it, Republicans have become the Enemies of Democracy. They want dictatorship. Call them what they are. Half of this country are not real Americans. They are Enemies of Democracy.

The Dems will need to organize voter registration drives, state by state. Don’t expect a whit of help from the right wingers. In fact, expect aggressive opposition.

This is not about technology. This is about war. Biden is right to say, it’s a battle for the soul of the nation. Take it back, or lose it forever.
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In Michigan, you can register to vote without ID, although if you do that, you'll need to bring ID when you go to vote. So I get them registered and we wait for the voter registration card to come in the mail, often using the Soup Kitchen as the address (which is legal).

I know we don't get along, but this is a serious question. No snark intended.

It looks like you register people to vote who have no credible forms of ID, no permanent address, and no clear employment or education history. How do you confirm that these are in fact American citizens as opposed to, say, illegal immigrants, Russian spies, or Proud Boys out to create mischief?
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We can count stock on store shelves, track packages from Florida to California, so if we focus,

This is not such a compelling argument. Retail shrink is about 1.5%, plus or minus, each year. In 2020 there were 160,000,000 people who voted, so a 1.5% “fraud” rate would be 2,400,000 votes. Clearly nobody kids going to say “Well OK, let’s do that.”

Even going to the UPS/FedEx “lost package” stats, it’s about 0.5%, or 1/3 the percentage above. That would still translate to 800,000 votes, and that’s not gonna fly either.

Personally I like the “purple thumb” test they do in Iraq, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to be popular here either so we have what we have. We could do better. We are always trying to do better. Two centuries ago voting was limited to a select few wealthy white land owners. A century ago it was expanded, but there was also rampant corruption and vote buying. We’re so much further ahead that we have ever been in history, but Republicans have discovered ways (plural) to corrupt the process while they innocently shrug and say “Who, me?”

The fight will continue, especially with a stacked USSC where a majority cares more about outcome than fair minded justice.
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This is not such a compelling argument.

or...

This is not a technical problem.

Well dadgum. My intention was to suggest it is a problem which can be solved.

Not to characterize or categorize the nature of the problem, or the efficacy of various means. Once you decide to solve it and put the resources in place, it will be taken care of within an acceptable or reasonable degree (which can also be determined) of non-compliance, non-participation.

The problem is an outgrowth of a variety of factors...but we can certainly resolve it AND have multiple multiple tools in our arsenal to do so.

It is possible that we are too focused on studying the problem to actually get to work on fixing it. It's not that complex. Disney could do it.

Cheers,

Bill
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It is possible that we are too focused on studying the problem to actually get to work on fixing it.

Where we differ is in identifying what exactly is the problem. All studies that I have seen indicate that the recent elections were very accurate. No evidence of significant fraud or errors. So the problem isn't technical. The system worked.

The problem is about perception. A group of people believe the election was tainted not because of the way it was done, but because of the results.

That requires a different solution than the one you present.
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The real questions revolve around what to do about the nontrivial number of American citizens who do not possess a driver's license, state-issued ID, passport, or similar documents.

First it is worth observing that the system works for 99% of people. Then, as New Mexico shows, allow "non-traditional" methods such as high school or marriage records or family members. Finally, set up some support, either government or not-for-profit, for people to help those who are truly lost.

DB2
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First it is worth observing that the system works for 99% of people.

I'm not sure that's true.

The U.S. is one of the worst among all developed countries in terms of election turnout, measured as a percentage of Voting Age Population (VAP). Barely half of the people who are eligible to cast a ballot actually do so in the U.S., compared to the 60-80% in other countries. However, we're one of the world leaders in terms of the percentage of registered voters who vote:

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/11/03/in-past-ele...

....which means that virtually all of the deficiency in turnout between our country and everyone else lies in the population of potential voters who don't get registered. Many countries have either compulsory or automatic voter registration, which will explain part of the difference - but it is entirely within the realm of possibility that our registration system does exclude a lot of people that would end up voting if it were easier to register, and far more than 99%. In the U.S., some 30% of the population that is eligible to vote is not registered to vote - a shockingly high number by international standards.

So the current system isn't necessarily working well for 99% of the people. It's theoretically possible that it is, but since only 70% of the people have successfully navigated the system, it's very possible that more than 1% of the people have been deterred from registering and voting (rather than simply being uninterested in voting or choosing not to vote).

Albaby
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Two follow up on the list of documents needed, I was terrified that I had lost my daughter's social security card. And I'm not homeless or any sort of lost soul, I am a lawyer and I still have justified fear of navigating this kind of system. She is 15 and we were applying for her learner's permit (driver's license). Need actual card or other proof (W-2, tax return) (not mere number) to get license, I assume so they can track child support liens or something.

SO I was going to need to get a social security card. But under 18, must appear in person. And no in-person appointments due to COVID. And at social security, needed proof of identity, but no school ID because COVID (first year at public school).

I saw I could use payroll check stub to prove SSN, so I was just going to issue her a paycheck from my office.

Luckily, I married well and my wife had the social security card.
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Luckily, I married well and my wife had the social security card.

A Rec just for this.

Didn’t need no more than that quip. But the rest of your post was great, too.
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First it is worth observing that the system works for 99% of people.
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I'm not sure that's true. The U.S. is one of the worst among all developed countries in terms of election turnout...


Under discussion here was not election turnout but rather obtaining documents such as a certified birth certificate.

DB2
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Under discussion here was not election turnout but rather obtaining documents such as a certified birth certificate.

Exactly....obtaining such documents so they could register to vote (or obtain the ID necessary to register and vote).

If we had very high rates of voter registration, one could assume that most people don't have trouble getting the documents that are necessary to register to vote (like a valid birth certificate). But we don't. We have one of the worst among the developed world.

Which means that it's actually quite possible that it is far more difficult for more people to get these documents than a system that works for 99% of the people would have. We just don't know.

Albaby
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Albany, do you really think the reason for low voter registration and turnout is documentation difficulty? MrF suggests it might even be a 2 or 3% percent problem (which would still mean 97 or 98% solved the 'problem').

Personally, there were many years (decades) in my younger days when I didn't vote/register. It wasn't because I had document difficulties.

DB2
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...do you really think the reason for low voter registration and turnout is documentation difficulty? MrF suggests it might even be a 2 or 3% percent problem (which would still mean 97 or 98% solved the 'problem').

Yeah, but it just so happens that a very large part of that (low ball) 2 - 3% are low income and/or minority and/or historically suppressed and discriminated against.

Why am i not surprised?


David fb
(Who has registered a hell of a lot of people to vote)
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It looks like you register people to vote who have no credible forms of ID, no permanent address, and no clear employment or education history. How do you confirm that these are in fact American citizens as opposed to, say, illegal immigrants, Russian spies, or Proud Boys out to create mischief?

It's not my job to confirm that. The applicant must provide on the form one of the following: (1) a drivers license or state ID number; (2) the last 4 digits of SSN; (3) indicate that they cannot provide either one of those. It's up to the Department of Elections to determine what happens next.

As I said previously, if the applicant does not provide ID at the time, they may register but they must provide ID when they next vote.
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I'll go with MrF's reply to you.

But I would add that privacy is an illusion. We don't have it anymore. I remember many years ago a utility wanted my SS number. I refused to give it (Privacy Act of 1974). Next time I called them they had it anyway.

Unless you live in a cave disconnected from the world, you have very little privacy. So that is not a major consideration.**

I would say that every person born in this country should receive a free voter ID at age 18. No need to register, it is automatic. If you choose not to exercise that right, well, you can do that. But it shouldn't be difficult for legal voters to register, no matter their circumstances.

And then it shouldn't be difficult for them to vote, either. It should be at least as easy as paying your taxes. I note they make that VERY easy.

1poorguy

**Last I knew the NSA computers monitored everything, and if you say something on a telephone that is among their list of key words, your call will be flagged and analyzed to make sure you're not a terrorist.
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...but since only 70% of the people have successfully navigated the system, it's very possible that more than 1% of the people have been deterred from registering and voting (rather than simply being uninterested in voting or choosing not to vote).

Much as it pains me to agree with Drbob, all the studies I've seen indicate that only a small percent of the unregistered voters are that way because of regulations. The vast majority don't register because they are not interested in voting. For example, this 2016 PEW survey: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-bri...

This doesn't mean we should ignore those few who want to vote but are structurally prevented from doing so, but it does suggest that the number of affected are sufficiently small that it shouldn't be one of the defining issues for democrats. What affects people the most are stuff like jobs, taxes, health care, education, and the environment. The democrat narrative on each of these issues is much better for the middle and working classes than the republican, which is why republicans keep trying to distract voters with side issues like transvestites playing sports, Mexico border walls, and voter ID.

We democrats have to stop reacting to everything the republican throw at us and keep the focus on the really important stuff, that part of the sand box the republicans don't want to play in.
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...do you really think the reason for low voter registration and turnout is documentation difficulty? MrF suggests it might even be a 2 or 3% percent problem (which would still mean 97 or 98% solved the 'problem').
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Yeah, but it just so happens that a very large part of that (low ball) 2 - 3% are low income and/or minority and/or historically suppressed and discriminated against. Why am i not surprised?


I'm not surprised either. But that doesn't make them a large part of the people who don't register/vote.

DB2
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Much as it pains me to agree with DrBob, all the studies I've seen indicate that only a small percent of the unregistered voters are that way because of regulations. The vast majority don't register because they are not interested in voting.

As an example, look the history of college students voting. No problem there with documentation. Here are some numbers:

www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2019/09/24/college-stud...
While voting rates for all Americans increased in the most recent midterms, the surge in college student voting - from 19% in 2014 to 40% in 2018 - is particularly striking.

So, six years ago less the one-fifth of college students bothered to vote.

DB2
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Much as it pains me to agree with Drbob, all the studies I've seen indicate that only a small percent of the unregistered voters are that way because of regulations. The vast majority don't register because they are not interested in voting.

I agree, and I wasn't really trying to argue that low registration is caused by difficult in obtaining these documents. Just that the reverse isn't true. If we had very high levels of registration, it would be evidence that people aren't having trouble getting documents required to register and vote. But we don't.

Apparently, just over 10% of Americans do not have a government-issued photo ID card (at least, as of a few years ago):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/getting-a...

I suspect that for a lot of those folks, it would be burdensome to build the documentary record necessary to get a Voter ID card. Not impossible, of course - but difficult.

Albaby
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