Most of us will agree that American elections tend to run about as smoothly as a Detroit-built automobile with bald tires. But some of us seem to be missing the real reason our balloting is more Chrysler (ranked by Consumer Reports as the least reliable brand) than Scion (ranked most reliable). Last week, NAACP President Ben Jealous, in Los Angeles to address the group’s 102nd annual convention, railed against voter ID laws, claiming that efforts to ensure ballots are not cast fraudulently are racist.
According to Jealous, voter ID laws are among “the last existing legal pillars of Jim Crow” and are pressed by “the worst and most racist elements” among conservatives. Of course, Jealous also thinks jailing cop-killers like Mumia Abu-Jamal and Troy Davis is racist; but I suspect Mr. Jealous thinks late newspaper delivery, runny eggs and bald tires are racist, as well.
How unfortunate for Mr. Jealous and his increasingly irrelevant organization that situational irony is paying a visit. While the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People excoriated the racist conspiracies that are voter ID laws, Mississippi NAACP officer Lessadolla Sowers peered through the bars of a prison cell, staring down a five-year prison term for convictions on 10 counts of voter fraud.
That’s right, kids. While Jealous castigated conservatives over efforts to introduce voter ID laws to prevent exactly what Sowers did to earn a stretch in the pokey, Sowers began a stretch in the pokey for doing exactly what voter ID laws are designed to prevent. And while I suggested that situational irony is merely paying a visit, it has actually moved in, put up its feet and raided the fridge. For all Jealous’ bluster in L.A. last week, Lessadolla’s lament is hardly the only example of the NAACP and similar liberal groups proving their opponents’ cases.
Elsewhere last week, three Democrats in Wake County, N.C., were placed on $10,000 bond each after admitting to combining for six pro-Obama votes during the 2008 election. Even a teachers’ union victim will recognize that kind of bad arithmetic. It should be noted that North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue vetoed the most-recent attempt by the North Carolina State Legislature to institute a voter-ID law.
In Ohio (the site of the infamous 2004 incident in which a manufactured Democratic talking point led to howls of injustice over the election results) the NAACP was pegged for dozens of verified instances of electoral fraud, including at least one instance in Lake County, Ohio, of the old Democratic ploy: the voting corpse.
I would be remiss in leaving out the supposedly-defunct Democrat group ACORN and its fairly remarkable record of vote-rigging, a record which followed that august group into its “new” iteration earlier this year with a conviction in Nevada.
If I actually recounted the details of every confirmed case of Democrat-leaning groups and individuals turning voting into three-card monte, I would run out of bandwidth faster than the local salons run out of relaxer every time Al Sharpton comes to town.
Obtaining basic, legal identification isn’t particularly complicated. In fact, you have to work to fall completely off the grid. If you succeed, maybe voting isn’t really something you’re cut out for. Do we really want to exhaust ourselves chasing down every moody loner, crack-addled scarecrow and backwoods psychopath to ensure they’ve cast their ballots? “Pardon me, Mr. Nihilist V. Anarchyston. Will you participate in the election and… um… what’s with all the fertilizer?”
And the Democratic rhetoric that voter ID laws are a racist attempt to suppress minority (read: Democratic) turnout is belied by those pesky facts that never seem to make it into a Ben Jealous sermon. Studies by the University of Delaware and the University of Missouri and a 2006 study in which 37 schools participated showed that, in some cases, turnout actually increased in Democratic-majority counties where voter ID requirements were implemented.
Voting isn’t complicated. Stupid and/or illiterate people vote; consider Detroit. The very fate of the Nation depends on a legitimate electorate exercising legitimate balloting. Again, consider Detroit. Ben Jealous and the NAACP say voter ID laws inherently contrast with that exercise. But Ben Jealous and the NAACP are not going anywhere, so I say we keep voter ID laws around for a while.