Voter ID bill disenfranchised

Jan. 12, 2010

By KATY GRIMES

A bill designed to combat voter fraud was disenfranchised in the state Senate’s elections committee after a close vote and plenty of testimony in opposition.

The committee heard testimony of the bill proposed by Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, requiring government-issued identification to vote. Current law states that only first-time voters are required to show identification.

Huff appeared before the committee and explained that SB465 was necessary for “maintaining integrity at the ballot box – we must know our vote will count.” When Senator Huff first introduced the bill in March 2009, he explained that the purpose of the bill would help ensure that only those who have a constitutional right to vote are choosing our elected officials.

In testimony, Huff explained that voter fraud is a problem in California and has been highlighted many times in news investigations, citing the 1999 60 Minutes story that found people in California who used mail-in forms to register fictitious voters, and even their pets, and then obtained absentee ballots in those names. Huff said that fraud still occurs, necessitating the voter identification bill. Huff also shared the example of the illegal immigrant who assassinated a Mexican presidential candidate who, ironically was registered twice to vote in San Pedro, Calif.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, AARP, the League of Women Voters, Disability Rights California, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality, and California Immigrant Policy Center testified in opposition to the Voter ID bill, each presenting a common theme of “voter disenfranchisement” and “discrimination.”

Appearing in support of the bill, David Wolfe from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, opined, “I need identification to get a library card or use my credit card at Best Buy. Why not show ID?”

ACLU Representative Tiffany Mock said the ACLU was opposed to the bill because “it would disproportionately affect the elderly, working poor and racial minorities, who statistically are less likely to have this form of identification. … Having to show ID makes it more difficult to vote.” Ms. Mock did not explain how the elderly, racial minorities or working poor would be affected, or why they are less likely to carry identification.

Trudy Schafer from the League of Women Voters explained that the League’s opposition to SB 465 was the “burden to the elderly and disabled” if they had to get government-issued identification. Schafer said they believe that having to show identification to vote could be a “possible privacy issue.” Margaret Johnson with Disability Rights California said that she was in agreement with the previous speakers in opposition to SB 465 because having to produce identification to vote “would be a burden to the disabled as many disabled persons do not have the requisite ID.”

Nationally, the ACLU and the League of Women Voters have been opposed to voter identification laws. The League of Women Voters “opposes efforts to create new barriers that block citizen voter participation” as well as opposing ID and documentary proof-of-citizenship requirements.

The committee chairwoman, Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, spoke in opposition, stating that she would not be voting for the bill because “it will chill voter participation for people of color, immigrants, the young and old, and new voters.” Hancock used herself as an example stating, “an old picture could lead to problems with poll workers, and people do not have time to do that.”

Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, questioned several of those opposing the bill, and asked if their organizations oppose using ID to board a plane. The League of Women Voters’ Schafer said it was discriminatory to ask someone for ID. Ignacio Hernandez with the Dolores Huerta Foundation answered that he would need to look at voter intimidation laws in California and “requiring government-issued identification to vote is a civil liberties issue because the Hispanic population would be required to pay to have an ID” and that “could be considered a poll tax.”

Several of the opposition groups claimed that the bill is overly strict and exceeds the voter identification requirements contained in the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) or as required in current California law.

Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, disputed the claim of disenfranchisement: “It is not a burden on a person” to produce identification “in order to protect the electoral process.” Walters added, “Even my children must carry student ID” and said that she hoped the committee would pass the bill.

The bill failed, 3-2.

In 2008, with 29 states already requiring some form of identification to vote, the U. S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to uphold voter identification laws. In California, there are currently 30 different forms of identification that can be used under HAVA, including a government issued check or a utility bill that includes the person’s name and address.

12 comments

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  1. PRI
    PRI Author 12 January, 2010, 10:58

    Amazing. I’m not a fan of government ID’s. But if you vote in a *government* election, then it’s not unreasonable to ask for a *government* ID. If you don’t want to show it, or even have a government ID, then don’t vote.

    – John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  2. Thia Johnson
    Thia Johnson 13 January, 2010, 10:22

    The amount of voter fraud in California is amazing. My daughter attended “Love Fest” in San Francisco last year where she was registerd (by an Obama support group) as a permanent absentee voter in California. This was done without her having to show ANY identification.

    Reply this comment
  3. Pete Rincon
    Pete Rincon 13 January, 2010, 17:52

    I submitted a comment yesterday on Katy’s piece related to the initiatives for November. Senator Huff should have presented his bill as helping those that are currently disenfranchised, to be able to vote without fear of any kind of discrimination. For the elderly and handicapped, don’t they need any kind of identification to obtain a handicap parking placard to hang off of a vehicle’s rear view mirror? Conservatives are getting behind the curve on these issues. No wonder the lefties are taking over everything. Let’s start talking about how conservative strategies will benefit the common person. I think as a group, conservatives are stuck with the law and order mentality of the 1980’s & 1990’s. This millenium we coservatives need to be helping people. Law and order should only be a bi-product of our efforts at helping people survive in this millenium.

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  4. L. HYAK
    L. HYAK 19 January, 2010, 22:56

    The fight to keep the honesty out of elections began with motor voter or vote early and often, the stuffing of the ballot box, the corruption of voting machines in fact anything to help destroy the integrity of the voters expression is being sought by these same groups under the guise of discrimination. We have had intimidation at the ballot box by the black panthers and the perp is recieving protection from the USAG, who is himself a number one suspect in how to make a end run on civil liberties and corrupting the legal system, antics that dismay and anger voters and tax payers alike.

    This resistance is akin to that of Prop 8, in that attempts ot institute the legal right of the majority by use of the ballot box is constantly thwarted by finding a judge in the legal system that will side with the minority opposition and their drive to tyranize the outcome. It is a disgusting way to practice your right to appeal but then maintaining a Republic that is bent on using democracy to express freedom truly does test the patience of the majority and the sanctity of freedoms. Sometime in our future it would be good to see commonsense find a safe harbour.

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  5. LEE
    LEE 19 January, 2010, 23:09

    PETE RINCON IS CORRECT. I EXPECT TO BE DISSED BY THE DIMOCRATS. I DO’NT HOWEVER EXPECT THE REPUBLICANS TO SIT IDLY BY AND LET US GET RAN OVER. THE CONSERVATIVES MUST PUSH A LOT HARDER, AND WITH MORE VOCAL LEADERSHIP THAN WE HAVE NOW OR WE’LL BE STUCK BEHIND THIS BUS FOREVER. I HAVE’NT HEARD A CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF THE GOVERNMENT IN CA OR D.C. EVER DO ANYTHING EXCEPT “TRY TO GET ALONG”WITH THE DIMS. SORRY, BUT IN POLITICS NICE GUYS FINISH LAST.

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  6. TA
    TA 19 January, 2010, 23:37

    I thought it was against the law not to have identification on your persons at all times. This is just an excuse by these groups to encourage voter fraud, which has been out of control in this state for years. I think the whole system should be changed. At this point, I feel that everyone must re-register to vote, at the County Clerks Office and provide valid identification and documentation in order to vote and only allow voter registration to occur at the Clerks Office. How do you think Boxer etc…keeps getting re-elected. STOP VOTER FRAUD NOW OR NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

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  7. Dave
    Dave 19 January, 2010, 23:49

    Gee, what a shock that this issue is coming down along party lines. Can you imagine the arguments from the left if the homeless and illegals were republicans and the shoe were on the other foot? “Oh, we need identification to assure the civil right to cast a valid vote isn’t being jeopardized,” would no doubt be the new concern. Not shocking is that the backlash is coming against the populist, socialist movement as in Massachusettes; people don’t like their country hi-jacked and governed from the extreme left by an administration that is determined to push a leftist agenda of socialism at the expense of the will of the majority.

    Reply this comment
  8. SHARON
    SHARON 20 January, 2010, 05:19

    WE NEED OVERTURN THIS REDICULOUS RULE. I IMMIGRATED HERE IN 1964 FROM CANADA. I HAD TO MAKE A DECISION AS TO CITIZENSHIP. I ELECTED NOT TO BECAUSE SHOULD MY CHILDREN LOOSE THEIR DAD I WOULD HAVE NEED TO RETURN TO CANADA AS THEY HAVE NO FAMILY HERE IN THE US.I HAVE BEEN HIGHLY INVOLVED AND PRODUCTIVE LO THESE MANY YEARS, WISHING I COULD VOTE. I GUESS THE TIME IS NOW TO FOLLOW THE ILLEGAL CROUDS AND SIMPLY BREAK THE LAW. THE PRISONERS IN OREGON CAN NOW EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE. GO FIGURE HOW THEIR VOTE WILL GO!!!!!! AMERICA WAKE UP AND SAVE THIS COUNTRY I SO LOVE

    Reply this comment
  9. Bill
    Bill 20 January, 2010, 09:30

    Since the law CURRENTLY says that you need a government ID to initially register to vote, every voter is supposed to have an ID. By what logic are the elderly or Hispanics less likely than other voters to remember to bring their ID? What they are really saying is that many voters are registered to vote WITHOUT government ID, in violation of the law. Checking ID at the time of the election would catch those who never had ID in the first place.

    Reply this comment
  10. Mike Hickman
    Mike Hickman 20 January, 2010, 10:55

    Just think if you had to have an ID to vote. The Democrats would lose half of their voting base. That really would put them in a pickle in a honest election.

    Reply this comment
  11. Jim
    Jim 11 March, 2010, 13:59

    This really is a simple issue that the left has been allowed to paint as a civil rights issue without any real challenge. Come on…make them PROVE their point. Show us the facts that support the elderly, poor and minorities don’t carry IDs. Then, show us the facts that say they won’t carry the ID if it is required for voting? And given that this bill would have allowed any one of thirty different forms of ID, tell me why they have access to NONE of these documents. We just let the left keep touting the same story over and over again without a real challenge.

    Geez, by their argument, we could say that requiring someone to register is a violation of their privacy and an undue burden. Maybe everyone should just be allowed to show up and, without announcing who they are, vote.

    Reply this comment
  12. joyce
    joyce 12 November, 2010, 23:14

    Why the heck should anyone have to prove who they are ? OBama didn’t have to. Let’s all be mysterious …. Its a law to have i.d. to register to vote,
    Break that law, lets do them all in, No i.d. for school registration, to enter a hospital bed, get a library card, getting food stamps, show i.d. to a policeman, to cash a check, getting a drivers licence, on and on and on.
    Ya know, those leftist democrats will surely get their way, because if the leader of our country doesn’t have to show his i.d. then guess he has the right to say ” Ya don’t have to prove who you are honey cause you’re gonna vote for me. Welcome to communist America folks.

    Reply this comment

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