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WHAT OTHERS SAY: It's pitch perfect that Voter ID measure tossed as fraud

Monday, April 2, 2012 | 10:50 a.m. CDT; updated 5:03 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 2, 2012

In a perverted, poetic justice kind of way, it's pitch perfect that in their alleged attempt to stop voter fraud, Missouri Republicans committed, well, fraud.

So concluded Cole County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Joyce, who last week ruled unconstitutional a joint resolution passed by the Missouri legislature last year that would have placed on the November 2012 ballot an amendment to weaken Missourians' fundamental right to vote.

Judge Joyce, in no uncertain terms, accused the Republicans who wrote the summary language for the inaccurately titled "Voter Protection Act" of trying to pull a fast one on voters.

Most likely, Judge Joyce merely slowed down the steamroller that is the Republican Party's national campaign to suppress the votes of young people, minorities, poor people, elderly people and disabled people. Before the ink was dry on her ruling, Missouri Republicans were seeking to pass a new constitutional amendment asking voters to play along with their voter disenfranchisement scheme.

Fine. Let them continue their ruse. But if they really want to see their freedom-hating initiative on the ballot, they ought to heed her words:

"The Summary Statement drafted by the General Assembly states that the Proposed Constitutional Amendment will (1) adopt a 'Voter Protection Act,' (2) 'allow' the General Assembly to provide for advance voting; (3) 'allow' the General Assembly to set 'voter photo identification requirements,' and (4) 'allow' the General Assembly to set 'voter requirements based on whether one appears to vote in person or by absentee ballot.' The Summary Statement is insufficient and unfair as a matter of law because the Proposed Constitutional Amendment would do none of these things."

None of these things.

That's dramatically clear.

It should be no surprise the voter identification measure contained a dishonest summary, considering that the entire proposal is one falsehood built upon another. Republicans know very well what they're trying to do. They're trying to reduce Democratic votes in the presidential election. They're trying to cook the books in their favor. But they've gotten so good at lying among themselves over the true nature of Voter ID legislation that they forgot they were lying to the voters, too.

In coming legislative days, the two Republicans striving to make a name for themselves by pushing this very bad legislation — Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, and Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Willard — will try to outdo the other in proclaiming their allegiance to a bill that seeks to diminish fundamental constitutional rights. That's because Mr. Stouffer and Mr. Schoeller are running against each other for their party's nomination for secretary of state, Missouri's top elections official.

Perish the thought.

Should one of them take up this role, we have a suggestion, drawn from Judge Joyce's clear and unadulterated ruling.

Why not just tell the truth?

Republican primary voters know what you're trying to accomplish, and they're on board. You want to limit the number of African-Americans in St. Louis and Kansas City and college students in Columbia and elsewhere who might vote for President Barack Obama and other Democrats. And if in the process a few folks in wheelchairs, elderly nuns and legal immigrants who are naturalized U.S. citizens are denied the right to vote, even better.

Tell the straight truth, and Judge Joyce will approve your ballot language.

It might even help you in your primary race.

Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Reprinted with permission.


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Comments

J Karl Miller April 4, 2012 | 10:15 a.m.

This St Louis POst Dispatch editorial ranks among the most blatantly audacious mendacities I have seen published other than in such venues as the Daily Kos. Totally bereft of evidence and apparently without any research, the Post Dispatch continues to carry the water for the Democratic Party in falsely accusing the Republicans of promoting a photo voter ID to disenfranchise minority, elderly, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged voters.

Had they done even a modicum of homework, they would have learned that one may not apply for and receive Social Security, Food Stamps, Medicare/Medicaid or government welfare payments without proper identification--a driver's license, Military or State ID card or birth certificate. The disadvantaged seem to find a way to receive these earned or welfare benefits.

Moreover, Missouri Voter ID Amendment 2012 stipulates as did 2011's SB-3, that the Secretary of State will provide notice of the ID requirements and, that the state provide at least one form of ID and at least one document to acquire that identification for those who do not possess one. In each instance, the identification and documentation are to be provided at NO COST to the voter, thus dispelling the myth that the poor or disadvantaged will be unable to cast a ballot.

Consequently, the allegation that there are insurmountable barriers to acquiring the credentials for those who actually intend to vote is highly exaggerated if not laughable. It appears shameful and condescending for Democrats to infer that their poor, disabled, minority and elderly voters, unlike their Republican counterparts, lack the initiative or spirit to exercise their right to vote. I have more faith in their self-reliance than does their party leadership seem to offer.

I am not so naive that I don't expect the mainstream media editorial commentary to tilt leftward; however, as subscribers, we have a right to expect a certain honesty, objectivity and integrity on the opinion page.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub April 4, 2012 | 10:41 a.m.

"...that the state provide at least one form of ID and at least one document to acquire that identification for those who do not possess one. In each instance, the identification and documentation are to be provided at NO COST to the voter, thus dispelling the myth that the poor or disadvantaged will be unable to cast a ballot."

What! The state is going to give me an ID and documentation so I can acquire an ID to show as proof I am allowed to vote? So Joe terrorist just needs to contact the state and they will give him proof of citizenship? Also I assume the state will come to the home of an 94 year old invalid women to make sure she has proof of citizenship. Nothing you said in this diatribe makes any sense except you don't like the Post.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 4, 2012 | 10:51 a.m.

Mr Straub, if you actually read and comprehended what I wrote, you would understand that virtually everyone on food stamps, drawing Social Security or welfare already has the necessary documentation. The no cost documentation merely covers those who may have lost theirs or otherwise have fallen through the crack. Why is it that ONLY Democrats seem to have trouble procuring a photo ID for voting?

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 4, 2012 | 7:38 p.m.

Col Miller, I hope he has room for one more foot in there. Your reply outlining the merely obvious sometimes escapes those who are so blind that they refuse to see.

(Report Comment)

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