Friday, June 30, 2006

Barnes Dismisses Voter ID Lawsuit

The Associated Press is reporting that former Governor Roy Barnes has dismissed his lawsuit challenging Georgia's Voter ID law. The suit was dismissed because the plaintiff has voted by absentee ballot, (whoops) a method that requires no id. Barnes hopes to re-file with an appropriate plaintiff.

Doesn't it just take the cake that as the law now stands, I can walk into my local Board of Election, request and complete an application for an absentee ballot, be handed that ballot or the card for the machine, and vote on the spot- all with no reason necessary and no id of any form? Yet, the week before the election, I can walk into that same Board of Election and be required to present a narrowly defined form of id before voting. The rationale applied to requiring id at the polls is completely ignored when it comes to the absentee voting process. Why? Because Republicans drafted the law, and absentee voting is an effective part of their GOTV strategy.

I am not very charitable in my assessment of why the law was drafted in this way. The voters most impacted tend to be Democrats. Plus, Republicans make far better use of the absentee voting and early voting options than do Democrats. Last cycle in Bibb County two or three races literally turned on those absentee votes. The Democrat who had a slight lead, lost the election after the absentee ballots were counted. The new law is a win-win: for the current Republican majority only.

Most people who lack state issued id's are people who live on the margins of life- the poor, the disabled, the elderly and minorities. When a person lives on the margin, they tend to think about day to day survival, not about voting in an election two or three weeks away. It is a luxury of wealth and place in society to have the capacity to plan to vote and the ability to independently get to the Board of Elections to do so. Many Georgians don't have that luxury. Republicans purposely ignored the elephant in the room when they failed to pass a bill that addressed the potential for fraud in absentee ballots. But why not? They'd be crazy to mess with a winning election strategy just to insure access to the most basic of our liberties. Perhaps we should all celebrate the 4th by taking someone to vote.

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1 comment:

Ray Dio said...

Excuse me, but voting by absentee ballot is TAXED! If you are like my wife, visually impaired and unable to drive, you must either PAY for transportation to the Elections Office to secure the form (or you can PAY for postage to mail your request), then PAY EXTRA postage to mail the oversized ballot back. Why is not someone suing the state and reqquiring absentee ballots be Postage Paid items?
And, just goes to show you how brilliant Mr. Barnes is that he didn't discover that he client had voted absentee until the last minute? Or was it his INTENT to screw up the system in a last ditch effort to save the Democratic Party is Georgia?