There is a constant refrain from the opponents of voter ID laws: that it is an attempt by white Republicans to suppress the votes of black Democrats. I’ve never understood why these opponents are allowed to get away with making what strikes me as a bigoted statement on its face: that African Americans are somehow less capable or motivated when it comes to obtaining a state-issued photo ID. But they do get away with it.
That’s why I thought it noteworthy that someone who admits to making such an argument in the past has turned the argument on its head and explained why election fraud is the real suppression measure — and testified that such fraud does happen.
Here’s Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama, writing in the Montgomery Advertiser:
The truth is that the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt.
Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally-impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights — that’s suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don’t; I’ve heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I’ve been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.
The fact is that lawsuits opposing voter ID lawsuits have, in Georgia’s case and every other case with which I’m familiar, never managed to identify even a single person who’s been unable to cast a ballot because of ID laws. Yet, the issue doesn’t seem to go away. Even though Georgia’s law has been upheld by the state Supreme Court and the federal courts as constitutional, the law is still dragged out periodically by partisans of grievance politics as evidence of bad faith by Georgia’s ruling Republicans.
Opponents also like to claim that voter fraud is either non-existent — which is plainly false, given that there have been successful prosecutions for the offense — or so rare a problem that it’s not worth the potential suppression of a future voter. But, as Davis points out, it’s a serious problem if it changes the will of rightful voters in even one election.
– By Kyle Wingfield