Human Events Blog

Voter ID works like a charm in Tennessee

To the surprise of nobody who isn’t a shrieking hysteric or dishonest ideologue, voter ID did not “disenfranchise” or terrorize anyone when implemented in Tennessee during the past election.  TNReport has the numbers:

Of the 2.45 million votes cast during the election, 674 provisional ballots related to the new photo ID law were filled out. Of that total, 178 voters returned with proper photo identification and had their ballots counted, according to records.

The new law states that voters who come to the polls without a photo ID may still vote using a provisional ballot. Voters can then return to the polls within two days with a valid ID, such as a driver’s license, and their vote will be counted.

“It’s not even 1 percent of the vote,” Secretary of State spokesman Blake Fontenay said.

The share of voters who did not have their provisional ballot counted because they lacked photo ID comes to roughly .02 percent of all votes cast.

“From the moment this law was introduced opponents have been screaming that the sky was falling in ways that would shame Chicken Little.  The numbers have shown otherwise. Photo ID provides voter protection, and now we have proof,” said Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.  ”When I see these numbers and then open the paper and see obvious examples of voter fraud in Philadelphia and Cleveland, I rest comfortably knowing that Tennessee has done the right thing in protecting the franchise.  What these numbers reveal is that the only thing Tennessee’s voter ID law suppresses is voter fraud.”

It’s kind of interesting that 496 out 674 provisional ballot voters didn’t bother returning with proper identification, isn’t it?  Are those people supposed to have been retroactively intimidated from casting legitimate votes after they went home and contemplated the terror of the provisional ballot?  Or is it more likely that they either didn’t care enough about voting to follow up on the provisional ballot, or shouldn’t have been voting in the first place?

Of course, uncertainty is always cited as the reason to keep our electoral system as uncertain as possible.  The entirely hypothetical fears of imaginary voters are more important than real people getting disenfranchised by illegitimate votes.  The shrill hysterics and dishonest ideologues aren’t going away any time soon, no matter how far we sail into the information seas of the 21st Century:

When the Republican-controlled Tennessee Legislature passed the photo ID bill, opponents argued the measure was not designed to protect voter integrity, but rather was a deliberate move to discourage groups that tend to vote Democratic, such as the elderly and minority voters.

They say the real takeaway from the recent election is not that the vast majority appear unaffected by the voter ID law, but that potentially hundreds of otherwise eligible voters may have been turned away.

“Those numbers, they may seem low to you, but they’re not,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, a voter advocacy group.“That’s a good chunk of people who don’t have a voter ID.”

Mancini has opposed Tennessee’s voter ID laws. This week, for example, she said that the Davidson County Election Commission “utterly failed,” citing hundreds of voters experiencing problems at the polls on Election Day, including not being able to access provisional ballots.

“If one voter is kept from casting their vote because of this law then it’s one vote too many,” she said. “The other thing is that we’ll never really know many people showed up at their polling place, saw the sign about having a photo ID and just left.”

Yes, we’ll never really know.  Just like we’ll “never really know” how much vote fraud goes on, because we’re not allowed to intercept and study it.  But that won’t stop “voter advocacy groups” from making up whatever numbers they need, in order to keep those ballots nice and vulnerable.  We’ll all have to indulge them by pretending that common-sense identification measures remain and inscrutable and terrifying mystery, long past the point where polling stations become the only place in America that citizens are not expected to provide reliable credentials.

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