I pitched my own broad strokes voter ID proposal back in April, Save Jerseyans.
It made the rounds online and generated a healthy amount of feedback from supporters and detractors alike.
The most common liberal criticism? “Voter ID laws address a fake problem;” that they were, in purpose and effect, a thinly-veiled attempt by Republicans to disenfranchise minority voters who tend to vote heavily Democratic.
Even if that were true (which it’s not), then Republicans (including your Blogger-in-Chief) sure did an incredibly crappy job of voter suppression!
Let’s look at just one example from down in Dixie… where minority voting is way up after a voter ID law went into effect!
In 2007, the State of Georgia’s voter ID law went into full effect. The Peach State’s version is very similar to both my outline and the Pennsylvania law which I used as a template; Georgia issues voter ID cards gratis registered voters who don’t have driver’s licenses or other state-issued ID cards.
I’d love for someone to explain to me how THAT is prima facie discriminatory!
It sure isn’t de facto discriminatory.
In 2004, three years before the voter ID law went into effect, 834,000 black voters cast ballots in Georgia’s general election. Then in 2008 – one year after enactment – a record 1.2 million black voters went to the polls and successfully cast ballots. A massive 42% increase! White participation increase just 8% during the same period. Voter ID laws also had zero negative impact on the midterms. Black turnout in 2006 was 42.9%; in 2010, black turnout jumped to 50.4%.
Georgia Hispanics saw an even bigger uptick in participation. 18,000 voter in 2004… then 43,000 voted in 2008. A massive 140% increase!
Constitutionally, theoretically, legally, morally, financially… and yes, practically, there’s absolutely no good reason not to pass a similar law in New Jersey.
We have a chance to do just that if the legislature is willing. On January 10, 2012, Senator Christopher Connors’s S200 (pdf) was introduced in the State Senate and subsequently referred to Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. It hasn’t moved. Similarly, Assemblymen Brian Rumpf and DiAnne Gove’s A674 (pdf) was introduced on the same day and sent to languish in the Assembly State Government Committee.
Persistence is our most effective tool. Jim Whelan (D-LD2) chairs the Senate’s State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee (contact info). Linda Stender (D-LD22) is chairwoman of the Assembly’s State Government Committee (contact info). They’re both terrible liberals, folks, and I don’t expect them to seriously entertain voter ID bills if they can help it.
The good news? Both represent semi-competitive districts, particularly Whelan.
Call them and politely DEMAND a fair hearing for S200 and A674 respectively! You can and should also reach out to your own legislators (click here) and make sure they grasp how this is a high-priority issue for you!