For an understanding of why Arkansas Republicans
continue to press Voter ID laws
despite an absence of evidence of voter identification fraud, consider this from the Los Angeles Times:
A 77-year-old disabled black woman who'd voted for 56 years was denied a ballot for lack of a state-approved photo ID. She lives in Milwaukee. Wisconsin had its lowest turnout in 20 years and more than 40,000 fewer voters in Milwaukee, normally a strong Democratic vote.
Many believe voter ID laws contributed to the lower vote, though certainly President Obama's absence might explain some decline. But it's also worth noting that the election was decided by critical states — Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio, for example — where Republican politicians have erected voting barriers, including ID laws. Coincidental?
A study is underway in Wisconsin to see if the fact that hundreds of thousands of voters don't have approved IDs contributed to the election participation (and outcome). The Republican governor thinks not. Delia Anderson, the woman denied a vote, sees it otherwise:
On election day, she considered going to the DMV to apply for an ID card and using the receipt to vote, which the law allows.
But she would have needed her long-lost birth certificate to apply as well as somebody to drive her to the DMV, wait in line with her and take her to the polls.
“I’ve always been telling everyone they should vote,” Anderson said. “Now it was me who was not voting.”
And while we're talking about Voter ID, a law allegedly designed to attack a fraud problem that no researcher has found exists in any meaningful way, here's more on that front from the New York Times today,
a check for voter fraud in the 50 states
(except Kansas, which wouldn't cooperate):
In an election in which more than 137.7 million Americans cast ballots, election and law enforcement officials in 26 states and the District of Columbia — Democratic-leaning, Republican-leaning and in-between — said that so far they knew of no credible allegations of fraudulent voting. Officials in another eight states said they knew of only one allegation.
A few states reported somewhat larger numbers of fraud claims that were under review. Tennessee counted 40 credible allegations out of some 4.3 million primary and general election votes. In Georgia, where more than 4.1 million ballots were cast, officials said they had opened 25 inquiries into “suspicious voting or election-related activity.”
But inquiries to all 50 states (every one but Kansas responded) found no states that reported indications of widespread fraud. And while additional allegations could surface as states wind up postelection reviews, their conclusions are unlikely to change significantly.
There's a measure of irony in the Arkansas Republican Party's insistence on a need for a Voter ID law to combat election fraud in a state where Donald Trump got almost 67 percent of the vote.