One of the things that I fear will hold us back as a nation, long term, is our inability to correct our own problems of governance and improve them. One of these areas is is voter registration.
As the number of democratic nations has grown over the decades, a fairly strong consensus, backed by the United Nations, has emerged on just what “free and fair” elections look like. IOW, there has developed international consensus on what is and is not part of free and fair elections.
For example, this article in Foreign Policy, where international observers pointed out the flaws, when compared to international standards, in the US election system:
Foreign election officials amazed by trust-based U.S. voting system
For the head of Libya's national election commission, the method by which Americans vote is startling in that it…
For the head of Libya’s national election commission, the method by which Americans vote is startling in that it depends so much on trust and the good faith of election officials and voters alike.
“It’s very difficult to transfer this system as it is to any other country. This system is built according to trust and this trust needs a lot of procedures and a lot of education for other countries to adopt it,” Elabbar said.
The most often noted difference between American elections among the visitors was that in most U.S. states, voters need no identification. Voters can also vote by mail, sometimes online, and there’s often no way to know if one person has voted several times under different names.
So, from an international perspective, it’s clear that Voter ID would be viewed as an improvement to the system. Yet, we reject improving ourselves. We bury attempts at improvement under a facade of ad hominem attacks on the motivations of others. It must be racism? Really? The entire planet does things one way to ensure free and fair elections, but if WE want to do it, it’s racism?
Let us not forget a few things:
- A properly written Voter ID law has been ruled constitutional by the SCOTUS. It was not a 5–4 decision. The opinion stated that if properly written, Voter ID did *NOT* constitute any sort of a difficulty to voters. And in the US, the SCOTUS settles the matter. Whine about it if you wish, but there’s no reason to pay attention to you, seeing that our highest court already reviewed the matter and decided that you’re wrong.
- To the extent that any voting regulation burdens the poor, it burdens white voters more than minorities. Most poor people are white, after all.
- Early voting is expensive. Damn expensive. The linked article also references how the US spends more on elections per capita than any other nation. And poll workers are volunteers, many of which have jobs they take time off from to work the polls; extended early voting creates a personnel problem as well. So, before kneejerking into “aha, disenfranchisement” when a jurisdiction cuts back on early voting, consider the fact that they just MIGHT be trying to not raise taxes to pay for it all.