Vail Daily letter: Unfair arguments
I want to make a few quick comments on the article “Restore fairness to voter registration laws,” by Jack Van Ens, printed in Sunday’s Vail Daily.
In Van Ens’ article about unfairness, he uses some very unfair arguments:
He says, “Texas officials, enamored by voter fraud that virtually doesn’t exist, preferred that Sammie get lost in the crowd of citizens denied the right to vote.” Firstly, can he simply dismiss all the investigating reporting done on ACORN and other political action groups that show they knowingly registered ineligible persons? Just saying voter fraud “virtually doesn’t exist” is not an argument that it doesn’t exist. Voter ID laws are changing specifically to make fraud harder to perpetuate and these laws don’t come out of thin air. There are reasons laws change and Van Ens sweeps them aside as if they are all invalid. Color me skeptical of his assumptions.
In driving home his point that more states are asking for voter ID which requires the poor to spend money (they don’t have) on ID, he assumes that most of the poor don’t have ID. It that true? I find it more likely that most Americans do have a photo ID, even if they meet the federal definition of “poor.” Isn’t it more likely that people perpetuating voter fraud have a nearly 100 percent rate of no photo ID?
When he speaks to who benefits from photo ID laws he says the beneficiaries are “white guys who drive cars and have valid driver’s licenses.” Really? Besides bashing white guys, which is a cheap shot, it’s more likely that all Americans, rich and poor, and all races benefit since fraud is diminished. I want to live in an America where fraud is made tougher, not easier to perpetuate.
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Lastly, his final appeal is, “Don’t bar citizens who can’t afford a driver’s license of their right to vote.” If you’re poor or rich, you still have to decide what is important to buy. No one has an unlimited budget. And it’s the poor who understand this more clearly and will buy what they think is most important to them. I don’t think the poor are stupid, nor do I imagine they have literally no options as Van Ens portrays them. And if they value voting they’ll make the sacrifice, even as I did when I met the federal and state definitions of “poor.” And a photo ID will make any citizen’s life easier in several other areas of life. It’s a smart investment. And despite Van Ens’ inference, these new voter ID laws are not designed to hurt the poor, but to limit the deceit and unfairness of the unscrupulous.