Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Voter-ID laws are a good ole fashioned poll tax

Rank-and-filed Republicans can never be convinced that there has never been an incidence of group voter fraud, much less an incidence that swayed an election. (Republican leaders know it's a sham to give them an excuse to suppress voting.)

So my conservative friends, just read this parallel in Hong Kong that Beinart found. It blew me away, because this Leung guy is speaking aloud what Republican leaders are saying behind closed doors:

If Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters succeed in booting C.Y. Leung from power, the city’s unelected chief executive should consider coming to the United States. He might fit in well in the Republican Party.

In an interview Monday with The New York Times and other foreign newspapers, Leung explained that Beijing cannot permit the direct election of Hong Kong’s leaders because doing so would empower “the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month.” Leung instead defended the current plan to have a committee of roughly 1,200 eminent citizens vet potential contenders because doing so, in the Times’ words, “would insulate candidates from popular pressure to create a welfare state, and would allow the city government to follow more business-friendly policies.”

And for those who say getting a new photo-ID just to vote (not for any other use by the voter) isn't a poll tax, consider this:

Acquiring that free ID requires showing another form of identification—and those cost money. In the states with voter-ID laws, notes a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, “Birth certificates can cost between $8 and $25. Marriage licenses, required for married women whose birth certificates include a maiden name, can cost between $8 and $20. By comparison, the notorious poll tax—outlawed during the civil rights era—cost $10.64 in current dollars.”

It's not like poll taxes are OK if they are "affordable" by somebody else's standards. No. Poll taxes are forbidden, period. 

By Peter Beinart
October 22, 2014 | The Atlantic

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