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Poor People Lose Right to Vote in Indiana

April 28, 2008

Today the United States Supreme Court threw at least 43,000 and as many as half a million of Indiana’s poorest citizens off the voting rolls. Their crime? Being too poor to afford a photo ID and not having a car or need for a driver’s license.
Poll taxes are expressly forbidden by the Constitution. But today’s Supreme Court — including self-proclaimed originalist Justice Antonin Scalia — does not care much for the text of the Constitution or the intent of the drafters of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment banning the poll tax in 1964.
They upheld Indiana’s imposition of a poll tax — $12 to buy a birth certificate in some counties as a necessary prerequisite to getting the photo ID — even though that amount was higher (even inflation-adjusted) than the famous 1966 case striking down Virginia’s $1.50 poll tax.
Indiana did not offer to take the pictures of these photo-ID-less citizens nor give them a ride to the DMV. They just said, “Tough luck. Guess you’re too poor to vote.” I guess the Republican governor and legislature of Indiana were angry at poor people who voted out three Republican Indiana Congressmen in 2006 (tied for the largest Republican loss of any state). So they took it out on the poor people by throwing 40,000 to 500,000 of them off the voting rolls. If they won’t vote for us, Republicans reasoned, we’ll take away their right to vote!
Although the real purpose of the legislation wasa to prevent poor people from voting Democratic, the stated purpose of the law was to protect against “in-person voting fraud.” And how many cases of in person voting fraud occur in Indiana each year that justify throwing away 40,000 to more than 400,000 legitimate voters (1 to 12% of its voting rolls)?
40,000 a year? 4000 a year? 400 a year?
no, no, no
40 a year, 4 a year, 4 in all of Indiana history?
no, no, no
1 case in Indiana history?
You’re getting closer, but no.
There has never been a recorded or even suspected case of in-person voting fraud in the 192 years Indiana has been a state.
There have been recorded cases of absentee voting fraud, but the Indiana statute upheld by the right-wing Supreme Court that installed Bush as President (two of whom, Roberts and Alito, owe their jobs to the Supreme Court’s 2000 illegal coup d’etat) does nothing about absentee voting.
Indiana does not want to stop absentee voting fraud. Rich people vote absentee, as do military people who are presumed to support Republicans. So that fraud will be allowed to continue.
But in order to fight a hypothetical fraud that has never occurred in Indiana history — and one that incidentally carries a penalty of five years in prison — Indiana will throw away from 1% to 10% of its citizens votes. This even though there has never been an Indianan stupid enough to risk five years in jail to increase his or her candidate’s vote total by 1.
And people think Jim Crow is dead…..
Or that poor Americans have all the same rights as other American citizens….
Ever wonder why this decision got such little press?
I give a full explanation of all of the details on today’s show. And tomorrow, I debate the Supreme Court decision with Republican strategist Mike Lane.

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  • Rat-a-tat Jack May 7, 2008 10:57 am

    Hey–we’re at war–remember? A slip of the lip can sink a ship
    If you’re too poor for a photo-ID–maybe you shouldn’t vote–how much could you be invested in America anyway? (if you don’t have your papers–you can’t cross the bridge, verstehen zie?)
    We live in a police-state–get used to it (casting votes isn’t as important as counting them–and that’s done by well-programmed robots)

  • Reggie May 4, 2008 12:49 am

    they did it to get rid of obama supporters so they can allow hillary a chance to say she was close the government is corrupt as it can be.

  • Nuff Said April 30, 2008 10:03 am

    Scalia has been duck-hunting with Dick Cheney

  • Robt April 29, 2008 3:32 am

    What on earth is awry with Scalia?
    One example:
    The State voter ID decision during this election year?
    Scalia boasted of torture on the BBC a while ago and was put to shame by another legal scholar.
    (I found it on the BBC Feb 12 ’08)
    It seems the court has been given a wake up and march order all of a sudden. Like its time for the GOP Justices to make noises of false improves.
    Why are they so emboldendly brash and in the publics face and now?
    Will this be the year Scalia Thomas, Roberts and other justices come out campaigning for Presidential candidates? Show up in political attack ads for the GOP?
    Is the Supreme Court Justices acting way out of judicial prudent stature as late? It really seems troubling and bizzare.
    I think of Scalia’s recent remark over the S. C. ruling of the Florida vote, “Get over it”.
    Clarence Thomas over his book and the (Kiss my butt) interview a while ago.
    I think Boston legal has it right,