One of the oldest political techniques in the book is for a politician to create a fake crisis and then pretend he is the only one available to avoid disaster. The Republicans remind me a little of the old story about the old maid who always feared finding a man hiding under her bed, but was disappointed when he really wasn't there. The Republicans are a lot like that when it comes to looking for voter fraud.
During the last session of the Legislature, our governor declared as an emergency a measure to require all voters produce picture identification in order to vote. Not just any picture identification, however--it specified a narrow group of photo IDs that would qualify. The premise of the legislation was to deal with voter fraud which in fact did not exist. For the last several years, the primary source of voter fraud in texas, what little there was, stemmed from mail-in ballots--which was totally ignored by the Republican legislation requiring voter identification.
While the Republicans blandly say it really has nothing to do with preventing persons from voting, hearings before federal courts have revealed very clearly that it does.
One example is my mother, who will be 98 before the year is out, who has been voting ever since she was old enough to pay for a poll tax. Clearly desiring to vote and having some time back forfeited her driver's license, she did not possess a voter ID which would pass muster under the Republican legislation. Because she clearly wants to vote in the future, I bundled her up, took her from the assisted living residence and traveled to downtown Port Arthur to get a photo ID from the drivers license office. After a wait of about 45 minutes, her picture was taken and in exchange for the $10 fee she was given an official Texas Identification Card containing her picture.
Other evidence brought forth in federal court hearings shows there are counties in Texas which do not offer a Department of Public Safety drivers license office. This would require, in some instances, poor people to drive many, many miles in an effort to obtain a sanctioned picture identification card.
Comments from various Republicans make it clear what this is about--such as a Republican leader in Pennsylvania who boasted that now that voter ID had been passed in Pennsylvania Governor Romney's election would be assured. Facts uncovered since the plethora of voter limiting proposals offered by Republicans is further evidence that Republican concern for voter fraud is phony.
The Associated Press has recently revealed the fact that in Colorado--where the Republican Voter Registrar estimated almost 12,000 non-citizens on the voter rolls when checked--only a small handful of non-citizens were on the rolls. Less than 200 out of the estimated 12,000 of those had actually participated in voting.
North Carolina and Florida were other examples. Particularly in Florida, where huge estimates were made of illegal or non-citizens being on the roll, in the final analysis less than 1/100th of a percent were discovered on the voter rolls. It is absolutely clear the efforts to limit voter registration and throw roadblocks into voting is a solution in search of a problem.
Communists in despotic countries use police force, the military and other totalitarian ways to stop people from voting. Unfortunately, one of the major parties in the United States has adopted a more subtle but equally dangerous threat to voter participation.