Registering Voters is Voter Suppression?
I recently ran across several articles and statements (all by Democrats) making the claim that requiring voters to identify themselves is “voter suppression.” I’m sure most people reading this have seen the same claim made by the same people.
So I looked up the term and found there’s more than one definition.
One of the more commonly found is (from Britannica): “in U.S. history and politics, any legal or extralegal measure or strategy whose purpose or practical effect is to reduce voting, or registering to vote, by members of a targeted racial group, political party, or religious community.”
I also checked the American Civil Liberties Union webpage where I found an “info graphic” which makes the point that 10% of American voters do not have government issued photo ID and one in four (25%) of African Americans don’t have government issued photo ID. So how is it an injustice to get that fraction of Black Americans registered? It isn’t and in fact we know Democrats regularly organize voter registration drives. How can it be right for Democrats to do that and wrong when Republicans support the requirement to register?
The second definition is given in 18 U.S. Code, sec. 594 and it reads: “Whoever intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, at any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing such candidate, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.” (Source: Cornell Law School)
As for the first, we see the questionable statement, “…any legal or extralegal measure or strategy whose purpose or practical effect is to reduce voting, or registering to vote, by members of a targeted racial group, political party, or religious community.” Reduce voter registration? So in effect Democrats are charging Republicans with requiring registration! If it’s legal it cannot be causing harm to any person or group. It cannot be a crime to require registration. Instead, it’s true that people with illegal intent (voting without registering) should be excluded from voting.
Regarding the ACLU infographic, did you notice they begin with all U.S. voters before switching to the much smaller African American group? So isn’t the “1 in four” really describing a fraction of a fraction? 25% of 12% =3% of the total population. Again, the Democrats organize voter registration drives and Republicans just support an existing requirement for all eligible citizens.
I just want to focus on the fact that laws requiring government supplied identification are meant to weed out those who may be a threat to every election. It’s normal and proper to use such a defense, otherwise “anyone” could pose as a pilot, a driver of motor vehicles, or as a legitimate voter.
Let’s also look again at 18 U.S. Code, sec. 594. It clearly says, “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.” Yet the Democrats make this statement about ‘voter suppression” without calling for the arrest of Republicans who pass voter identification laws. No, they just imply that Republicans are committing a crime. If it’s true that voter IDlaws are illegal under 18 U.S. Code, sec. 594, the Democrats would have scores of prosecutors filing charges against Republicans everywhere in the United States.
Republicans are clearly not breaking our voting rights laws with the requirement for registration for the purpose of identification. No, instead they are helping us avoid becoming the victims of people who vote illegally for Democrats. This is why Republicans are opposing mail in ballots which do not require a person to register as a voter. They don’t even require the person to be present to vote.