Do Progressives Think Americans are Stupid?

The Daily Caller describes a conversation one of their reporters had with Representative Jerrold Nadler (D, NY) concerning photo IDs for voters.  Nadler says, with a completely straight face, that requiring photo IDs prior to voting in an American election is a “deliberate plot by conservatives and Republicans to suppress votes.”

Let’s look at the Progressive reasoning he offers in support of this thesis.

He says

It doesn’t have to be photo ID.  You get Social Security with Social Security cards and, by the way, plenty of voter IDs—you have a photo ID issued by a state university as a student or as a teacher, and those—in a lot of states, those aren’t valid.

However, none of these require proof of citizenship, as Congressman Nadler knows.  Social Security is for anyone who works in the US and earns wages—explicitly including non-citizens.  Additionally, our higher education system welcomes citizens from other nations (for very good reason), and the universities’ photo IDs are for their internal purposes: access to university facilities.  Finally, these documents don’t require any sort of background check, for instance to see whether even a US citizen is eligible to vote in the particular election: is the person a resident of the jurisdiction in question, for instance, is the person not a felon, and so on.

He continues

And there’s no valid reason why those shouldn’t be valid for voting purposes….

Except for the above, unless there’s concern that Chicago-style ballot box stuffing might be reduced with a photo ID.

Congressman Nadler also says

People generally have voter IDs because they drive cars, but lots of people don’t drive cars….

But as Nadler knows full well, states are happy to issue photo IDs to people who don’t drive.  It takes about as much time as it does to get an actual driver’s license.

He does address this, though.

A lot of these states that are passing these laws are making it very difficult to get the underlying document so it will take you a lot of time; it will cost you a lot of money to get it.

What laws, exactly, in what states?  Certainly, it’s easy enough to toss off these accusations without substantiating them.  Furthermore, while there is some time expenditure required, that simply means an adult American citizen needs to plan ahead a little bit and get the documentation and then the photo ID in advance of the election.  Some years ago, I needed to get a copy of my birth certificate from California pursuant to getting my passport (another of those photo IDs that would be accepted at a polling place, and also one of those photo IDs that’s required to fly or to reenter our country after having traveled abroad—is Congressman Nadler suggesting the DHS is deliberately throwing roadblocks in the way of honest Americans wanting to come home?).  That copy would cost me $21 today (so much for “a lot of money”) and a couple of weeks.  It took six more weeks for State to issue my passport.  Perhaps Congressman Nadler would like to address that “lot of time” with State.

Congressman Nadler finishes with this:

We don’t have 5 million cases of voter fraud. You don’t have 50 cases of voter fraud in the country of the kind of voter fraud that an ID card might deal with.

Again, he offers no evidence that the small number he tosses out is an accurate one.  However, stipulating that the number of voter fraud cases is small, what might happen, anyway?  In 2004, a Washington Governor was elected by a 129-vote margin out of 2.6 million votes cast, and in 2008, a Minnesota Senator was elected by 312 votes out of 2.4 million votes cast.  And in 2000, some might remember that a state’s electoral votes were awarded on the basis of 537 votes out of nearly 6 million cast.  It wouldn’t have taken much fraud at all to have swung those outcomes.  And accusations of such fraud were (and are) widespread.

Yet Congressman Nadler assures us that requiring photo IDs in order to vote is nothing less than a “deliberate plot by conservatives and Republicans to suppress votes.”


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