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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Longer Lines = Voter Suppression

Writing at, a local village clerk says making people prove they are who they say they are just isn’t right:

As a municipal clerk I feel that I will do everything I can to keep fraud away from my polling place.

But fraud has nothing to do with a perfect match of someone's name or information on his voter registration vs. his drivers' license. Unless the law has changed, in the State of Wisconsin I can call myself anything I want to, as long as I am not trying to commit fraud. So if I am Donna H. Richards, D.H. Richards, Donna Horowitz Richards, Donna Horowitz-Richards or Donna Richards, I should be able to vote. I would hope my clerk will do her job, by discerning my intent, and making sure I can vote.
I’m sure her clerk has magical mind powers, enabling her to know in advance whether she’s “trying to commit fraud” or not.

If only we could require county and municipal clerks to have that ability! Or, wait, that would probably run afoul of discrimination laws. Yeah. Back to the paper trail, then.

But, no, Ms. Richards sees evil afoot there:

Any delay, any question, any removing of names from the voting list on this basis under Wisconsin law would be voter suppression. And any lines that form because of the Attorney General should reflect on him. Voter suppression from the top cop of the state. That is just awful.
Longer lines = voter suppression. Got that?

Now let's hear from a more rational part of the state:

(Sauk County Clerk Beverly) Mielke said the computerized system can pick up inconsequential differences between a person's name on a voting list and the same person's record in the state motorist or Social Security databases. It can make it appear the voting record is wrong even if the difference is not relevant to the person's voting status.

"That is what is going to be creating the bulk of the issues that will come up in these matches," she said, "even as much as a dash or a space between an 'Mc.' Some people leave a space in the name, some run it as one word."
Bev has, I think, accurately portrayed the problem: minor differences in the databases can flag a voter, even though that voter is legal and eligible. So. What happens then?

If they find a problem during the cross-check, Mielke or a village or city clerk must notify the voter so they can set the record straight and insure they will be able to vote without hindrance on Nov. 4.

"If worst comes to worst, all they would have to do is re-register at the polls on election day," she said. "But because this is a big election, that could cause some wait time."
Just re-register at the polls. It’s like we’re turning into communist Russia or something.

Naturally, that won’t satisfy Ms. Richards, since re-registering at the polls will mean a longer wait for that voter, and a longer wait is exactly the same as voter suppression.

Exactly the same thing.