Voter ID Funnies: Collect 'Em All

Voter ID Funnies: Collect 'Em All

Voter ID Funnies: Collect 'Em All

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 10 2012 4:43 PM

Voter ID Funnies: Collect 'Em All

I'm a fan of Katie Pavlich's stuff, so I have chosen to single her out and ask why this argument for the rightness of voter ID laws keeps resurfacing.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post. 

Earlier today, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the NAACP Nation Convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. What did media need in order to attend? That's right, government issued photo identification (and a second form of identification too!), something both Holder and the NAACP stand firmly against when it comes to voting.
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Two things here.

1) It's extremely common, for security and other reasons, to demand proof that journalists are who they say they are. This violates no one's rights, and in my experience, it's malleable -- I've been in situations where a business card was enough to prove that I was not a trouble-making imposter.

2) There's no federal law governing how organizations vet the crowds for events. There is federal law governing what you need to do in order to vote.

To assure that the right of citizens of the United States to vote is not denied or abridged on account of race or color, no citizen shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election because of his failure to comply with any test or device in any State with respect to which the determinations have been made under subsection (b) or in any political subdivision with respect to which such determinations have been made as a separate unit, unless the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in an action for a declaratory judgment brought by such State or subdivision against the United States has determined that no such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color... The phrase "test or device" shall mean any requirement that a person as a prerequisite for voting or registration for voting (1) demonstrate the ability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter, (2) demonstrate any educational achievement or his knowledge of any particular subject, (3) possess good moral character, or (4) prove his qualifications by the voucher of registered voters or members of any other class.

That's the Voting Rights Act, which commands the attorney general's enforcement, which is what these cases about. Obvious point, sure, but this "ha, ha, someone needed an ID to get into a Democrat's speech!" zinger is so deathless that it's worth pointing out. You don't have a de jure right to attend a speech.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.