State Senator Will Kraus (R-8) is seriously worried that there’s going to be a massive outbreak of voter impersonation sometime in the future, declaring that, “in the state of Missouri, without an ID, it’s pretty easy to get somebody else’s utility bill and say, ‘Hi I’m Bob Jones, I’m here to vote.’” Of course no one votes in Missouri without identification – which might be why there are almost no cases of the type of voter impersonation that’s got Kraus all excited.
The point seems to be that Kraus and his GOP pals in Jefferson City want to change the Missouri Constitution to mandate the use of very specific types of state, military or federal photo ID. Not everyone has these IDs and they can be difficult to obtain. Other types of photo ID, such as student IDs, are not acceptable to our persnickety GOPers. The fact that this constitutional amendment would almost immediately disenfranchise about 220,000 registered voters in Missouri – just in time for a big presidential election – does not seem as important to these representatives of the people as stopping a type of voter fraud that essentially doesn’t exist. A study in 2012 showed that there were only 10 provable cases of voter impersonation in the U.S. over a 12 year period.
But Missouri lawmakers like Kraus are obsessed. They’re willing to obligate the state to pay the $16 million dollars over a three year period that would be necessary to implement the requirement in a fair way, which means paying for the IDs, for obtaining supporting documents necessary to obtain the IDs, and advertising the requirement so that all eligible voters know what it takes to vote. Bear in mind that Missouri is a state that can’t even afford to repair its crumbling highways and bridges.
The GOP fervor for unnecessary photo voter ID suggests that maybe something else is going on. Maybe it is the power of Democratic voter coalitions that they really find frightening. For instance, Wisconsin Republicans enacted a very restrictive voter photo ID law. A former legislative staffer remembered that when it was first proposed, “some Republicans were ‘giddy’ over the legislation’s ‘ramifications’ and the effect it would have on minority and young voters,” both groups that tend to vote Democratic. On Tuesday, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) had this to say on uses of photo ID:
I think Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up. And now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well …
If you have to resort to voter suppression to beat Hillary Clinton, maybe she isn’t as weak as you think. Of course, giddiness about the prospect of beating back the hordes of brown American voters and college-age hippies might be what’s making our own Missouri GOPers too “giddy” to exercise their best judgment, not to mention their higher moral faculties.
Why is it that Republicans fear that they will loose in a fair contest? Shouldn’t free market advocates endorse the free marketplace of ideas?
Do you think GOP disinclination to stay on the up and up might have something to do with the string of disasters that have resulted when conservative ideologues got their way in government? After all, unregulated financial (i.e., free) markets gave us the crash of 2008; tax cuts in Kansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and elsewhere have been economic disasters. Hare-brained GOP efforts to run government like a business led to poisoning the children of Flint. Obstructionist GOPers in the Federal legislature have shown themselves incapable of the flexibility necessary to govern fairly – or to govern at all.
Republican ideology just doesn’t have much of a track record, although the facts are often obscured or denied. Religious and racial bigotry may be all that has kept the party going. Voter suppression provides one more tool.
If GOP ideology is demonstrably bankrupt, what is it that fuels the Republican drive to power at any cost? We know, of course, that many of our lawmakers are true believers and live in a perpetual state of misinformed denial. We also know that many are simply dumber than the proverbial post. But don’t you think it might also have something to do with people like the Koch brothers, the Humphries of Joplin, and St. Louis’ Rex Sinquefield? The so-called 1%, the folks who gain when the rest of us lose? And, incidentally, the same folks who rain dollars on our rambunctious GOP ideologues. Whether you’re right or wrong, nobody wants to disappoint the folks who pay the bills and open the doors to affluence. And once the goal is clear, who wouldn’t use any tool that presents itself?