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The Voter-Fraud Myth: What Racist Voter ID Laws Are Really About

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Is Voter Fraud a Myth? Here's What Racist Voter ID Laws Are Really AboutAre Voter ID laws racist? It’s a question that has touched a nerve in many of our readers. Here is the best response we’ve received to our coverage on this controversial topic:

I am of an age that recalls a significant lack of access to certain institutions, like hospitals, for a mother to deliver her child because of the color of her skin or the lack of means in her wallet. This means there are millions of seniors over the age of 60 still living in or near their place of birth who do not have a birth certificate. And don’t think that these people needed to present a birth certificate to register for school, apply for a job or enlist in the military. I can assure you none of these institutions asked for it.

I also know that there are thousands of young to middle-aged people who are earning low to moderate incomes who never obtained a copy of their birth certificates because no one ever asked for it before, and even if they were asked, they had to weigh the expense to obtain one against their next meal, bus ride or rent payment. These people would have to scrounge for the extra money to purchase a copy of their birth certificate for what? The right to vote every two or four years in the nation that they were born in, paid taxes to and sacrificed their lives for during wars.

I have traveled enough in the United States to know that in many regions of our country, people do not drive because they do not own a car or don’t need one because they rely on public transportation or their feet to walk to where they need to go. These same people never thought to get an ID from the DMV because where they live, people know one another.

There is an old saying: “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” Those of you who have ID and think that it is sooooo easy to get one need to open your eyes, really listen with your ears and walk away from your comfort zone to the outer rim. Then tell me what these new voter ID requirements are really all about.

There is no evidence of outcome-changing voter fraud in America. What there is evidence of is narrow-minded, life-inexperienced people who can’t think for themselves in the midst of manufactured clouds of fear and mindless screeching of impending doom by callous extremists. The need for voter IDs in the United States is baseless, has no merit and is extremely cruel in its intent. Just because people do not live their lives like you does not mean that they are less human, less deserving of the rights of all citizens, and without need for each of us to stand firm for all of us to fully participate in the processes that shape this nation.

Let’s move on to what really matters: saving this country for everyone who is here. We cannot afford to waste one human life or to trample one person’s rights so that a narrow but vocal few can scream fire while they are in the middle of a theater.

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For more on the election and racism, read:

Is Jim Crow Back? Racist Voter Laws Exclude 5 Million Blacks, Latinos From Polls

Are Voter ID Laws Racist?

‘Racist’ Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down

Racist Obama Facebook Pages & Your Office: What Do You Need to Know?

Why Obama & Romney Aren’t Connecting With Women

Are Obama & Romney Ignoring Latinos?

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48 Comments

  • If your GOAL is to Allow ILLEGAL ALIENS, Criminals who have lost the RIGHT to vote through their ILLEGAL Activities, then you WILL call these Laws “Racist”, but then, what is one to Expect from a Political Party who Fought AGAINST All of the Freeing Laws in USA History (AKA Democrats)
    And to Say there is NO Voter Fraud, means you have Kept your Head in the Sand (like an Ostrich), for the last several years, where Vote Buying by BOTH Democrats and Republicans, have been found in ALMOST EVERY SINGLE STATE, where Voter Intimidation by the Black Panthers has been Proven, in More than Just Philly, Where Voter Intimidation by FIXING the POLLS, HAS BEEN PROVEN over the last several Months.
    You Wrote this Article to Continue the LIES the Democrats Try to Continue.
    Why are you MORE interested in LYING than in dealing in TRUTH?

    • Lilly Buckwalter

      OMG – edav38 is one scared person. It is hard for me to believe he/she even reads diversity magazine with views like that. You have a lot of work still to do Luke. Good Luck!

      • Lilly Buckwalter

        By the way, you do not need ID in PA this year. They will ask, but you do not have to show.

  • edav38, while I don’t entirely agree with the article, I agree even less with your response. The writer did not claim absolutely no voter fraud–the statement was “no outcome-changing voter fraud”. Given the structure of the presidential election, it is hard to see how voter fraud could really change the outcome of that election. Even the challenge of the Bush election in Florida couldn’t come up with enough fraud on either side to affect that vote. In states with small populations, it is possible that fraud could change the outcome of US Senate or House elections, though highly unlikely. In the last Montana US Senate race fewer than 4000 votes separated the winner from the loser and there was no indication that fraud was responsible for that difference. The only outcomes that are truly subject to fraud are local elections and for the most part, those would be in areas where voters would be known. On the other hand, I also believe some sort of ID system is needed because of the fluidity of our populations. The issue is how to make those IDs available to everyone at a cost anyone can afford. I don’t have the answer to that one, but it is something that voter registration processes need to consider. As a final note, most offenders get their right to vote back once they are out of prison.

  • edav38 needs to settle down before their conspiracy theories cause them to have a stroke. The so-called voter ID laws are but yet another avenue being used to prevent (legally registered) folks from voting in an effort to allow the Republicans to gain the advantage in winning the White House. Pure and simple. There is so much ugliness going on in the world in general and with this presidential election, in particular that no one should be surprised. Disgusted, yes but not surprised. Should there be a drive to “shore up” voter registration ID initiatives. Maybe, but not during a presidential election year. That is just way to obvious.

  • Drivers licenses and state ids are issued regardless of race. Even your Medicaid card is an ID. Or is it racist for me to point that out.

    • Luke Visconti

      No, it’s not racist to point that out, but your posts tell me that you’re a virulent racist. Go troll someplace else. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

      • He makes a good point here (haven’t read any of his other posts). I don’t think requiring identification is inherently racist or evil. It applies equally to every race. If anything you may call it class-ist as your points seem to focus on low-income individuals mostly.

        Voter fraud likely isn’t as “rare” as most would have you believe. Common sense will tell you that only those who are actually caught are counted in the statistics, furthermore Eric Holder explicitly stated the DOJ will not investigate voter fraud (see the problem here?). To spell it out, if voter fraud isn’t investigated for the most part, the numbers of people caught will be very marginal.

        Holder and the DOJ are able to ignore studies like the one I am about to reference, because they are done by private groups and therefor nobody can actually be convicted of fraud if the DOJ chooses to ignore the evidence.

        Note: this site is admittedly right-leaning, however when you strip out the partisan talk and look explicitly at the numbers it is quite alarming. http://www.truethevote.org/news/voter-id-laws-racist-or-reasonable

        • Luke Visconti

          Eric Holder did not say the DOJ won’t investigate voter fraud. (Here’s a link to a memo that gives procedures protecting the vote and preventing fraud: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/October/12-opa-1245.html.) I’m going to include the link to the article you reference on True The Vote to illustrate what a load of garbage it is—the only links are to its own website! There are no external links to anything the site asserts, no pictures of “problematic” documents, no documentation of a vote being in any way fraudulent. The article is, however, full of misleading “history” about the Democratic Party (which is an organized storyline and has turned up here in other posts). Here’s the FULL context: The Democratic Party of the post–Civil War South was the anti-Lincoln, pro-slavery party. Lyndon B. Johnson (D) maneuvered to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Right Acts and commented while signing the Civil Rights Act, “We’ve lost the South for a generation.” Richard Nixon (R) invented the “Southern strategy” to pander to racists, and our modern definition of Republican and Democrat was conceived.

          By the way, the founder of True The Vote is also a member of Groundswell. Look it up.

          We’re back at the beginning: I have not seen a single credible study that there is significant voting fraud. There is no fraud—these laws target poor people. MOST poor people in this country are Black and Latino. That you would think the Attorney General would be permissive on voter fraud to get Democrats elected is really foolish—it would be the Republican’s greatest dream come true if they could find a cabal of people committing vote fraud. The fact that they can’t produce a single incident means they have to create a bogeyman. Turn on the lights, there’s nothing under your bed. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

          • I find it ironic Luke, that I must provide you my email address and my name in order for me to post on your website. In order for me to have my voice be “heard” I must be identified by you and your affiliates. 20% of americans are without email, and I’m sure the vast majority are poor people. Thus aren’t you in turn being “racist” by disenfranchising internet users whom do not have email to partake in such a forum?

          • Luke Visconti

            No. Let’s not forget that to post a response a person would have to have access to the Internet to read the article in the first place. Access is free in most libraries. Email is free. I’m not requiring people to post their email address (nor do I track their IP address) to discriminate against poor people—I do that to discriminate against the dirtbag white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other trash that post their nonsense on this site on a daily basis. You’re not one of those guys are you, Chris? Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • grannybunny

    In my state — Texas — the voter ID law is estimated to disenfranchise 600,000 voters. Voter fraud — on the other hand — is rare and usually involves political operatives manipulating absentee ballots, not the in-person voting targeted by these laws. The dubious benefit of voter ID laws simply do not outweigh the harm caused by disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.

  • Frankly I don’t see how a legal citizen can function in this country without an ID. I have been asked to produce an ID to: cash checks, buy alcohol, return merchandise, pick up medication & use a credit. I can’t imagine there’s anyone who doesn’t do one or more of these things. I don’t have a problem with being asked to produce my ID for any of these things let alone when voting.

  • Aren’t there some 12 million illegal immigrants in this country right now? I am certain that number of votes cast for Obama would sway the election in his favor. And I am equally certain no one would be prosecuted for voting illegaly in such an event.

    Separately, does any voter identification statute specify that it applies only to Blacks and Latinos? Is it racist because of disparate impact or something?

    Third, let’s get a taxpayer funded program in place to provide free identification to all US citizens. Let’s get this program to also pay for assistance to be provided in getting the required supporting documents – transportation, copies of birth certificates, notaries for notarized affidavits, etc. Whatever it takes.

    • Steve, there are many places, where, if you are known in the community,you don’t have to have an ID to do any of the items that you mentioned. Reread the article and “walk a mile in their shoes”. They are unable to easily get the documentation to get the required id and have no need for it in their daily lives……….

      • Luke Visconti

        I think ID is a red herring—it’s throwing us off the trail:

        1. I can find zero evidence of fraud being committed that rises above inconsequential. Therefore, the “franchise of voting” is NOT in jeopardy.

        2. An “any level” or “zero tolerance” argument is disingenuous because whatever fraud is being committed is not significant.

        3. Even if you’re concerned about a single false vote, one must consider greater harm. What is more important—hundreds of thousands of Americans voting or potentially stopping inconsequential voting fraud?

        4. “Potentially” is a key word—the honest people will still be honest, ­but why would an ID law change the behavior of people intending to defraud the voting process? Think about all the people arrested for producing false ID at college campuses—for drinking. Take a walk through certain neighborhoods and you’ll see SSI-document vendors peddling false identification. Forcing honest people to get identification changes nothing. Go back to point one.

        Bottom line is there’s no problem to be solved—except the problem that some people have of poor (non-white) people voting, a right which has been under attack since this nation was founded. This voter ID effort is all about racism and bigotry; it’s constructed to appeal to those who are fearful of the “other” Americans. It divides to conquer. I cannot imagine anything more anti-American than a group of people organizing to disenfranchise groups of Americans to serve their selfish interests. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Try to ignore the politics of this issue for a few moments and compare it to other less politically charged practices. We demand government issued photo ID’s for many (often less important) tasks than choosing our governmental leadership. There is usually no debate over requiring ID for these purposes. Should fraud in some of these areas occur, such as passing bad checks, it is sometimes correctable, and the money returned. However, given our secret ballot practice, actual correction of voter fraud is impossible. Once voter fraud is proven, if it is proven, it is too late, the ballot is permanently recorded, correction is impossible. I understand the crux of the argument is access of the right to vote versus preventing fraud. However, given that fraud is uncorrectable in this case, it would seem to me that we should err on the side of caution. While voting is a constitutional right, as a side note, would anyone really try to argue though that a government issued photo ID should not be required to purchase a firearm or else their second amendment rights would be infringed?

    • Luke Visconti

      “We should err on the side of caution”? There is NO significant voter fraud. These new laws disenfranchise poor, mostly Black and Latino, voters. Whose caution? What caution? Anyone else smell a bigot? Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

      • No, I don’t smell bigotry in Dave H’s post, but your willingness to attribute racist motives to his attempt to provide thoughtful comment captures the essence of bigotry. You do not deny that voter fraud exists, but you believe it not significant enough to risk possible disenfranchisement for people who will, for whatever reason, not pursue obtaining government provided identification that would allow access to the franchise. Thoughtful people, without ugly motives, can dispute your assertions.

        • Luke Visconti

          I don’t “believe” that voter fraud is insignificant–every study that I can find PROVES that voter fraud is insignificant. There is also plenty of evidence that the voter ID laws are targeting Black and Latino voters–like the threatening billboards that are springing up in poor areas all over swing-state cities. Your phrase “people who will, for whatever reason, not pursue obtaining government provided identification that would allow access to the franchise” is disingenuous and implies ill intent among those poor people affected by these new laws. There is no evidence that people don’t WANT government ID. For some people, the cost is prohibitive, and in some states, like Georgia, the timing of these laws coincided with the closing of motor-vehicles offices in poor areas. Finally, it’s not like I tapped either you or Dave and asked your opinion–you guys came on to this site and posted comments. I think people who present seemingly reasonable arguments while ignoring inconvenient facts on this subject are either intentionally ignorant or bigots. I don’t think either of you guys are ignorant, or you wouldn’t be on this site (because it’s clear you’re not regular readers). Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

          • Luke, they are some poor white folk as well. In this article, I believe it’s more social and age discrimination than racial. I was for the ID issue, until I read this article. I didn’t think of ederly folk not having birth certificates, etc. But, too me, it’s not a racial issue. Moreover, if someone disagrees with you – you call them a troll or bigot or racist. Get over yourself. Not everyone is a bigot or racist that disagrees with your articles. Seems too me you’re being the arrogant one.

          • Luke Visconti

            You’re right—there are plenty of poor white people impacted by this. But wealth correlates to race in our country. On a percentage basis, Black and Latino voters are impacted far greater than white people. Just do a web search and follow the trail to which states—and which political party—are pushing this issue … and make the oh-so-small-leap to a conclusion. Now, regarding your advice: Please have some concern for the bigots and trolls that regularly send us racist flames that we don’t publish. If I got over myself, where would those lonely bigots, homophobes, sexists and other trolls go? What would they do all day? Oh, the humanity. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

    • While you’re focused in on I.D’s only…I’m more concerned with closing of polling places in minority neighborhoods, early voting hours cut down or eliminated, college students no longer able to vote where they attend school, polling stations that have 30 parking spaces for 6k people…all of which are attached to these new voter id laws…so for me, showing a I.D. is far down on the list of things I find wrong about these new laws. I’m not sure if you knew these things about the law but if you did, I believe disingenuous is the word

      • Luke Visconti

        Thank you. These laws are not about ID. The pattern of abuses tells you that. Evil often cloaks itself in reasonable-sounding arguments. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • This material was not presented in a balanced way. Your biases are brought forward in the area of voter fraud and disenfranchised ethnic groups. It raises concern that your other opinions on diversity are based on rational thinking.

  • Luke, lighten up. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a bigot. No certainty of outcome-changing voter fraud does not necessarily mean that there has not been any — there may be a whole lot here that no one knows for sure. Some kind of ID card seems to me to be a reasonable solution. On the other hand, it is very troubling if the outcome of the proposed ID requirement is the disenfranchisement of voters, especially if it tends to change the outcome of elections. So clearly, the required ID would need to be reliable and yet easy to obtain, even by those who currently have the least acess to and need for an ID. Perhaps the too-often-silent moderates can find some room for compromise if we all cool the rhetoric and stop questioning each other’s motives.

  • Requiring voter ID in order to combat fraud assumes there is no problem with people obtaining counterfeit or fake IDs. There are more cases of fake IDs than there reported cases of voter fraud. Therefore, requiring ID as a solution seems like it adds a layer of fraud to the voting process.

  • Given the data which is supposed to be objective, the confirmed claims of voter fraud are statistically insignificant. So for those who support voter suppression for whatever reasons – racial, anti-immigrant, socio-economic classists, etc, it is still wrong. It’s merely a power play to usurp the institutional processes to take power for control purposes. What really makes me angry as a contractor working in various parts of the world to help “others” with Democracy and Governance on behalf of the USA, it feels as an American like “the cobblers’ children do not have shoes.”

  • Robert Lamb

    Voter fraud is dismissed in this article as rare, when in truth no study can include all cases of voter fraud because not all are caught. The article rasies an intersting point to include fringe elements, but a lack of routinely collected and published data by election boards, county prosecutors, and state election agencies has made it difficult for scholars to conduct studies of voter and other forms of electoral fraud. As long as our head remains in the sand of the depth of the problem, asking for voter authenticity will be incorrectly treated as another demographically based scare tactic.

    • Luke Visconti

      You can’t prove there is a problem because there is no problem. It’s like asking, “When did you stop beating your dog?” Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • I think your argument is silly. Although what you say of the past may be true the argument that showing I’d to vote doesn’t hold water. You show I’d for every function in life today from writing a check, collecting any government service, going to a hospital, flying, etc. it doesn’t make sense to me that someone can not produce an ID.
    I believe your comment perpetuate racism and class division. Don’t assimilate because its racist. There isn’t a function provided by government to help someone get their ID? I am sitting in a room right now eating breakfast with 30 people of different ethnic orientation and everyone had to provide an ID to be here.
    Keep preaching your hate. I have seen a lot in my life and the one than stands out no matter how much things change the arguments never change. Keep preaching and keep preventing true equality.

    • Luke Visconti

      I have yet to hear one of these voter-ID proponents cite one study that shows there’s a significant risk of voter fraud. Yet I can find videos on YouTube of the Pennsylvania House majority leader admitting that ID laws are all about suppression of the vote for certain segments of our society.

      I also can never find a voter-ID supporter who is also in favor of having the vote be three or four days long; instead, people in favor of voter-ID laws are also connected with shortening voting hours. You also see the voter-ID laws in combination with the shortened voting hours in the states where oppression is the greatest—the latest of which is North Carolina, where the state government seems to have regressed right back to 1960. I remember very well that when Georgia implemented voter-ID laws, the state simultaneously closed the motor-vehicle offices in poor areas as a “cost-cutting measure.” The Tea Party suppressed the overt racist and bigoted signs and chants (“Kill him”), but it is still at work. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Concerned

    This is truly ridiculous. Any amount of fraud is something we should protect against – it means there is a hole in the system and it needs to be fixed.

    I’ve lived in and around lower income neighborhoods my entire life and have yet to see anyone who didn’t have enough money or access to gain proper identification. Granted, some (very, very few) are so poor, they may have to give up something temporarily in which case there should be a way to help them.

    Show me someone in my local city who legitimately doesn’t have fair access to gaining proper identification, and I will pay for them to get it myself so they CAN vote.

    • Luke Visconti

      Name and address, please. Why limit your offer to your city? Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • If one is unable to obtain I.D., how do they obtain a Voter Registration Card? That has been a requirement at every polling place where I have voted, even without photo I.D. And I know that in order to register to vote I had to apply at the D.M.V.

    In my humble and unsolicited opinion, race baiting is as much, if not more, of a problem as racism in this country right now. “You think people should need I.D. to vote? You’re a racist!” No, you need I.D. to drive, fly, buy beer-why shouldn’t you need one to vote? And how have people paid taxes without ever having obtained I.D.? By the way, even if there is a generation that did not ever have to obtain I.D. to work, join the military, or go to school, that is no longer the case.

    • Luke Visconti

      “Race bating” seems to be the new phrase of the listeners of Beck, Limbaugh, et al. superseding hysteria over “the New Black Panther Party” and attempts to destroy Trayvon Martin’s character (as if the character of the dead victim was more important than the character of the police-wannabe murderer–or somehow was relative to being shot while carrying Skittles in his own neighborhood).

      By the way, check out the patterns of DMV offices being closed as voter-ID laws are enacted. Again, to all of the people who never read DiversityInc but come here as directed to submit a comment: There is no evidence of significant voter fraud. Logically, it doesn’t make any sense–the size of a conspiracy large enough to swing a local election makes secrecy impossible. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • TruthHurtsHuh

    “There is no evidence of outcome-changing voter fraud in America.”

    Unless we count the IRS manipulation of the 2014 Presidential election, and the measly 2% swing that could have changed the outcome, as a result. Oops…

    • Luke Visconti

      If you’re referring to Ohio, that 2 percent cited on extreme-far-right websites seems to refer to dead people still listed as voters. The problem for the 2 percent argument is that it quickly devolves down to less than two dozen fraudulent votes—including those by a woman who went to prison for voting fraud. So again, there’s no problem to solve—unless your problem is that you don’t want people to vote who are likely to vote Democratic. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • If requiring ID to vote is racist and suppresses the right to vote, then requiring ID to keep and bear arms is racist and suppresses the rights recognized by the Second Amendment. So when will you start challenging ATF rules requiring ID for purchasing guns?

    • Luke Visconti

      I am a master-rated rifleman, qualified expert pistol in the Navy and am pretty handy with a shotgun. I believe in the Second Amendment, but I feel the words “well regulated” in that amendment are to give latitude for regulation to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are not competent to handle them, including those who would harm themselves or others and people whose behavior in society would tell us that they are unstable or untrustworthy. I’m sure the framers would understand this reasoning and I’m surprised it seems so elusive. “Shall Issue” laws regarding concealed weapons are logical, as is forbidding a person under active mental-health care to possess a firearm—that’s “well regulated.” Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Why was my comment removed?

    • Luke Visconti

      Because I’ve already responded to several comments just like yours. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Really? I see how this is done here. Your way or the highway huh? Why not leave it posted so others can respond? Or are you the only one who can respond?

    • Luke Visconti

      I already responded, several times. And you’re right—it is my way or the highway around here.

      I’ll put it to you bluntly: There is no existing significant voter fraud. Voter-ID laws are about preventing poor Black and Latinos from voting. They’re pushed forward by people who stand by others calling our President a “subhuman.” You can tell this by what happens after voter-ID laws are passed. In Georgia, for example, they closed all the motor-vehicle offices in poor neighborhoods, which was the only convenient place where poor people could get a non-driver ID. Another thing about Georgia: It recently joined the states that offer a Confederate-battle-flag license plate; the other states are Alabama, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. See a pattern here? Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

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