At This Point Why Don’t We Just Reinstate the Poll Tax and Literacy Tests?

At a time when you can’t hold an election anymore without someone making claims of voter fraud, I’m fully onboard with creating a system where a voter’s identification should be verified. But I fear that developments recently have shifted from ensuring fair and untampered elections to one of impeding the right to vote.

The truly worrying aspect of what’s happening today is the speed with which these measures are getting pushed through. This lack of prudence is thusly destroying the intent of our voting system, and overriding the necessity of new controls in the first place.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m fine with checking IDs conditionally. I believe that if you are truly going to be against voter fraud, then all steps must be taken. But at the same time, ID requirements should not impede a legal voter’s right to do so. The fact that so many groups of people are hindered in their right to exercise self-governance proves the point that we’re doing it wrong.

Yes, let’s have some voter ID checks, but also let’s not have them until we come up with a system that easily and FREELY gives said IDs to voters who need them. Without that added step, the voter ID law is on par with voter disenfranchising. And while this recently occurred in Indiana, Missouri is taking things a step further.

This week legislation is expected to pass that would not just require an ID, but proof of citizenship as well. At this point, I’m wondering why we don’t just go ahead and reinstate the Poll Tax, and Literacy Tests.

The funny thing, in a macabre sort of way, is that the proof of citizenship requirements ostensibly puts an end to the illegal immigration menace that has come to our land to vote for our presidents. Thus, paranoia against one group feeds the subjugation of a number of other groups such as the poor, the elderly, and minorities.

As far as regressive governance goes, this is a work of art.

Here’s the thing; no one outright claims that they are disenfranchising voters. They know it’s wrong, and so no one is going to stand up and admit, “Black people, poor people, old people, none of them vote for me, so I’m going to write a few laws that will make it hard for them to vote for anyone.” So you get a Poll Tax so the disadvantaged can’t afford to vote, or you get a literacy test so that the fate of a voter rests within the subjective opinions of the grader, or you start asking for proof of citizenship from a group of people who you know very well are citizens, but due to economic conditions, etc., have difficulty providing proof.

What’s the rush? You know, for advocates of challenging identification and legitimacy at the polling place, you’d have an ally in me and people who are with me on this if you slowed down and made it fair. Instead, this entire push strikes me incredibly like the PATRIOT ACT wherein you have lawmakers rushing to accomplish something without taking into consideration the very dire consequences.

And that’s the non-cynical view of things.

The cynical view of things is that these people don’t want to take the time to do it right. That would mean the wrong people would be allowed to vote which was the whole point to this in the first place.

4 Responses to “At This Point Why Don’t We Just Reinstate the Poll Tax and Literacy Tests?”

  1. Plumb Bob says:

    At first I thought I’d found my prize-winner, but no, despite the reasoned tone of your essay, you still don’t make the grade.

    I’ve been touring left-leaning blogs that responded to Missouri’s proposed citizenship-check voting requirement, looking for one that at least acknowledges that Democrats expect a flood of votes from illegal aliens, and that Republicans have a legitimate reason to be concerned about it. I feel like Diogenes with his lantern, looking for an honest man. I haven’t found one yet.

    Look, I know you guys think all Republicans are unthinking, homophobic, bigoted haters of the poor (despite the fact that we’re provably more charitable than you, when spending our own time and money.) But God damn it, how can I possibly take you seriously as honest men if you can’t acknowledge the simple, obvious truth that Democrats hope for a boost from 12 million aliens who entered our country illegally and traditionally vote Democratic? Do you really believe you can get away with ignoring the obvious?

    I’m more convinced than ever that leftist politics is a symptom of a mental disorder, and that systematic dissembling is another of the symptoms of this disorder. I am sickened.

  2. DrGail says:

    Plumb Bob, your reasoning would be spot-on and your criticism would be accurately aimed if, indeed, there was any evidence that undocumented aliens were voting (in Missouri or any other state).

    I have not seen any proof of this and am somewhat doubtful that it is happening. However, I am a reasonable person who believes well-collected data when I see it (after all, I did live in Missouri — the “show me” state — for some time), so show me some proof. I can be convinced that I’m wrong, but I can’t be browbeaten.

    The skepticism Kyle expressed is based on the philosophical foundation that wholesale and organized voter fraud is to be prevented by all possible means, while taking care to ensure that people who are fully eligible to vote are not prevented from doing so.

    It is akin, at least in my mind, to the judicial system which holds as its highest ideal the commitment to ensuring that no innocent person is found guilty. If that means that guilty people go free (which of course happens), then there is work to be done to refine the system. However, such refinements should NEVER increase the likelihood that the innocent are found guilty.

    Imperfections exist. We all wish that were not so, but it’s unavoidable. For myself, I would rather accept that some people vote illegitimately than see large swaths of people illegitimately prevented from voting. Our country has been down that road in the past, and it ain’t pretty.

  3. tas says:

    Plumb Bob, stop setting up strawman so we can can get to an actual conversation. If you would, answer a couple questions for me:

    1. Is it not the job of a municipality to check the citizenship of anyone who registers to vote?
    2. Do the stricter voter ID laws not favor Republicans since they would restrict — inadvertently or not — more urban voters from exercising their right to participate in our government?

    In the case of question 1, I think we both know what the answer is. Given the case that city and town workers are supposed to verify the status of those who register to vote, what’s the point of checking at the polls? This is a needless redundancy meant to harass people. If the laws restricting non-citizens from voting are already being enforced beforehand, then there’s new need for additional laws. And if those laws aren’t being enforced beforehand, then they should be — without the need for any additional laws.

    But, if in a case that they are needed, then question 2 needs to be addressed. If you indeed care about keeping non-citizens from voting without restricting the rights of legal voters in urban areas, then I don’t expect you would mind your tax dollars going towards outreach aimed at those voters telling them this is what they need to do in order to not be disenfranchised come November. These outreach efforts should include increase staff at City Halls so citizens can easily get their birth certificates.

    Regardless, none of this should be needed because additional laws to keep non-citizens from voting shouldn’t needed to be added in the first place. If you think there’s a problem with non-citizens voting, Plumb Bob, then why aren’t you pining for the current laws to be more enforced? Why do you want to add more red tape that effects all voters? It just doesn’t make sense, Plumb Bob — and that’s why it makes it look like you, and other Republicans supporting these new laws, have ulterior motives.

  4. matttbastard says:

    I’m more convinced than ever that leftist politics is a symptom of a mental disorder, and that systematic dissembling is another of the symptoms of this disorder. I am sickened.

    *Holds out tiny paper cup*

    If you’re gonna spew, spew into this.

    Jesus. For someone so genuinely upset about stalwart GOP supporters being “unfairly” pegged as “unthinking, homophobic, bigoted haters of the poor”, you’re sure as pig-shit not helping the apparently erroneous perception by regurgitating all-too-familiar xenophobic, fact-challenged concern trollery in an especially hackalicious, matryr-posing fashion (Diogenes? Yeah, try not to burn your little fingies on the oil, precious. And don’t forget to turn out the lights when you leave.)

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