An Increasingly Disenfranchised Minority
Photo ID is the new Jim Crow...
[by Mac Johnson] 8/30/05
a Klansman in your pocket.
you panic, please know that I do not refer to the hooded secret
member that many of you no doubt immediately feared, but I
refer to an insidious intimidator nonetheless. Obviously, I’m
talking about your photo ID -- the most intimidating thing
any American will ever have to face on Election Day -- at least
according to the ACLU.
After a recent
Justice Department approval of Georgia’s new anti-fraud
law, requiring voters to show one of six reliable forms of
photo ID before voting in upcoming elections, the ACLU’s
Daniel Levitas claimed that "The decision to clear the
measure now gives Georgia the most draconian voter identification
requirement in the nation."
Johnson is a freelance writer and biologist in Cambridge,
Mass. Mr. Johnson holds a Doctorate in Molecular and
Cellular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine. He
is a frequent opinion contributor to Human
Events Online. His website can be found at macjohnson.com [go
to Johnson index]
John Lewis, Democrat, claimed that asking a voter to show photo
ID “takes us back to the dark past of literacy
tests and other insidious devices that were carefully devised
to hamper the participation of all of our citizens in the political
Photo ID is insidious.
David Becker, formerly
a trial lawyer for the Justice Department, wrote a recent commentary
for the Washington Post, entitled Reviving
Jim Crow?, in which he called the Photo ID law “one of
the single most discriminatory pieces of voting legislation of
Photo ID is discriminatory.
Photo ID is the new Jim Crow.
Photo ID is the Klansman in your pocket.
And you just thought it was a way to prove you are who you say
you are -- before you cash a check, or buy a beer, or a drive
a car, or board a plane, or get a fishing license, or rent a
tuxedo, or do any of a thousand common things in which people
are tempted to lie about who they are, where they live, or how
eligible they are.
We verify who we are all the time, and we all know why this
is necessary. People lie and cheat and steal. Sometimes they
even steal elections. Which should be very disturbing to anyone
who would like to believe that we actually choose our leaders
in fair elections. Without fair, verifiable elections, there
can be no democracy. Asking for ID before allowing someone access
to a ballot box is simply common sense, and a key to demonstrating
that any close election was fairly decided. Otherwise, you do
not know if a person has voted once, or four times. You do not
know if he is a felon prohibited from voting, or part of a group
of political nuts bussed in from another state, or an illegal
alien trying to vote himself an amnesty.
Without photo identification, you have no way of figuring out
why some precincts have 113% voter turnout. Or if that extra
bag of votes someone always finds in a close election is real.
Or if our leaders are just con men with a group of smirking,
So the only people
who could conceivably not want voters verified as being real
are those that believe a fairer election will somehow
make some of their “voters” disappear. Strangely,
the Democratic Party is very concerned with Georgia’s new
voter identification law -- and similar laws being considered
in two dozen other states. And from Bill Clinton to Jesse Jackson,
the Democrat Leadership has hit the campaign trail to discredit
such laws as an insidious, discriminatory, draconian, Jim Crow-like
plot to suppress minority voters.
The only problem with
that argument is that minority voters can get, and usually
already have, photo IDs just like everyone
else. It’s an undeniable right, guaranteed by equal protection
and equal access laws.
So who are these minorities
that will be “disenfranchised” by
voter ID reforms? Democrats have claimed, in Indiana, that such
laws could adversely affect the Amish, who do not wish to be
photographed for religious reasons. Democrats do well to worry
about the Amish vote: ultra-religious agrarian luddites form
the bedrock of the Democrat’s base, after all. But Republicans
quickly offered a draconian exception for the Amish, thus negating
this budding civil rights crisis.
Perhaps vampires could also be affected? I mean, when you appear
invisible in mirrors and photographs, photo ID is hard to come
by. But since Vampires are both hard-core Republicans and mostly
Romanians, it may be a moot point for the Democrats.
Nope, the only group
I can think of that could have their right to vote impacted
by requiring the quick flash of a common photo
ID are Imaginary-Americans. From the cemeteries of Chicago to
the backwoods of Appalachia to the homeless voters of Seattle,
Imaginary-Americans have long been a core Democrat constituency.
Never asking for the benefit programs and pork-barrel bridges
often demanded by the majority culture of “Real-Americans,” from
which they were so often excluded, Imaginary-Americans have always
been there with a bag of ballots and a smile just when a humble,
honest Democrat candidate needed them most.
Why are Republicans
trying to disenfranchise this persecuted minority? Didn’t
they see that old Jimmy Stewart movie Harvey? Imaginary friends
are the best kind to have, and the
Democrats need their imaginary friends more and more now that
many Real-Americans have abandoned their cause.
However principled the Democrats defense of disenfranchised
Imaginary-Americans may be, I must point out, however, that Democrats
of all people should support laws making election fraud more
easily tracked and proven. It is, after all, the Republicans
that have stolen the last two Presidential elections, according
Jesse Jackson, who
spoke at a rally against the Georgia law, has spent quite a
bit of time complaining that there was no paper
trail on some voting machines in the 2004 election. Surely, then,
he would want a paper trail to exist on the voters operating
these machines as well. How does he know Republicans didn’t
steal Ohio with a whole lot of fake voters on the rolls? Perhaps
this is also how we stole Florida in 2000?
As a matter of fact,
I can’t believe how stupid Republicans
are being by even proposing election reform laws. Since Republicans
depend on fraud to win elections and Democrats are honest “one-man,
one-vote” types, we have made the greatest mistake of our
sordid lives in trying to make voter eligibility clear and unarguable.
Photo ID laws could
even stop the evil Republicans from using the insidious trick
of challenging questionable voters’ eligibility
and forcing them to fill out provisional ballots. Jackson claims
that such “mass challenges” of minority voters in
2004 may have cost Kerry the election and harkened back to the “era
of the night riders.”
It is undeniably true
that an octogenarian Republican election worker asking terrifying
questions like “Is your name on
the list of registered voters, Sir?” is a terrifying act
of voter intimidation. But there is a secret weapon you already
have in your wallet that can stop the elderly country club night
riders dead in their tracks: it’s called “Photo ID.” When
you show it, no one can question who you are and make you fill
out a provisional ballot. You get a real, live, throw-it-in-the-can-and-count-it-without-question
You guys can eliminate
all our fraud if you just jump on the bandwagon. Call our bluff.
You’re honest. You have nothing
to fear from a cleaner system. Let’s make elections free,
fair, and verifiable -- before Republicans steal the Presidency
from Hillary in 2008.
It’s what the
disappearing Imaginary-Americans would have wanted, after all. tOR
This piece first appeared at Human
2005 Mac Johnson