An about-face by an opponent of voter ID laws

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

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127 comments Add your comment

Ayn Rant

October 24th, 2011
6:12 am

Dixiecrats turn Republicans according to the political tide, so a former “democrat” politician in Alabama turning tail to utter a lot of nonsense is not newsworthy.

The point about the voter ID law is that it is unnecessary and unconstitutional. it is intended to discourage the poor and elderly from voting by placing an irrelevant burden on the process. The law can be justified only if there is indication of widespread voter fraud due to failure of voters to produce picture IDs. There is no such evidence.

Can’t Alabama and Georgia politicians find something better to do than posture over voter IDs, Sunday alcohol sales, and immigrant farm workers? Shouldn’t they be concerned about the high unemployment, overloaded and crumbling infrastructure, bad schools, and grim prospects for improvement in their states?

We get who we elect

October 24th, 2011
6:23 am

Numerous documented cases of voter fraud. People who register (or someone else registers them) with fake addresses, deceased people voting, voter registration notices returned as undeliverable, no one at address, etc. You show an id to buy alcohol, board a plane, verify a credit purchase, rent a car, but not to vote? Kind of ridiculous this is even a topic for discussion.


October 24th, 2011
6:24 am

A friend of my family attended college in Alabama, and while he was there, established residence and registered to vote. He voted in the 2004 Presidential election. He also used his parents’ address in Smyrna, requested an absentee ballot, and voted again. Today, he lives in Tennessee and has been volunteering with Hermain Cain’s campaign.

Voter fraud occurs in all sides of the political spectrum, and the voter ID law does not prevent this type of fraud. A better solution would be to focus on actual fraud and devising a solution to prevent it. The voter ID law does not address this type of fraud.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 24th, 2011
6:26 am

“The law can be justified only if there is indication of widespread voter fraud due to failure of voters to produce picture IDs.”

To paraphrase one of the libtarded justifications for Obozocare…You’re already required to have a picture ID to drive, what’s wrong with requiring a picture ID to vote?

Tom E. Gunn

October 24th, 2011
6:27 am

Well, BEFORE the law, I saw a very close local election decided by less than 2o votes. The ‘winner” had got absentee ballots for every nursing home resident in two local homes. Wonder how they voted? Why does anyone have a problem showing an ID?

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 24th, 2011
6:29 am

There have been numerous convictions nationwide of Democrats for fraudulent voter registration (aka “community organizing”). Are we to understand that Democrats stop at illegally registering people, and don’t then try to cast ballots in the name of those fraudulent voters?

Voter ID laws are absolutely necessary to stop Democrat vote fraud.


October 24th, 2011
6:38 am

Tom, how does requiring folks at polls to show an id cut down on absentee voter fraud??

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 24th, 2011
6:40 am

But Kyle, if you enforce the law, how will dummycrats ever get elected?


October 24th, 2011
6:45 am

I’ve always thought the screeching over voter ID laws was overblown. As long as non-drivers can get state-issued ID’s without undue fuss or cost, people too confused/stupid/lazy to obtain them shouldn’t be voting anyhow.

Democratic Logic

October 24th, 2011
6:49 am

The stimulus is working! Jobs are returning!

Jessie "The Slogan Master" Jackson

October 24th, 2011
6:51 am

Republicans are always trying to hold down the Black man.
Obama turns water into wine and is making America shine.

Joel Edge

October 24th, 2011
7:12 am

My first thought, if he had any career hopes in the Dem party, they’re done now.

Southern Comfort

October 24th, 2011
7:13 am


The one problem I have with voter ID laws is why would you require me to have a photo ID for election day voting, but there’s no similar requirement if I request an absentee ballot. Seems like if you think it’s a good idea to have an ID for voting, you’d require it for ALL voting. That’s what makes it appear that there’s a certain segment being targeted by the ID laws in my opinion.


October 24th, 2011
7:14 am

Ms. Rant,
Authur Davis is a black man. Likely not a former dixiecrat. Slander, or guilt by association as a form of arugment are both cheap rhetorical tricks. They can be effective if the writer is clever; you are not.

Coupling dismissive silliness with standard liberal talking points while predictable is not effective.


October 24th, 2011
7:27 am

I try not to use harsh terms when commenting on the internet but in your case I just can’t help it. Wingfield, you’re an idiot. According to your logic, we shouldn’t ask anybody to get a drivers license because this would also unfairly discriminate against minorities. Let’s not hold anyone to even a minimum standard for anything. And yeah, if someone isn’t motivated enough to get some sort of ID then they shouldn’t be voting.


October 24th, 2011
7:35 am

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.

Don’t know about the motivated part, but LESS CAPABLE? That’s all I’ve ever heard from Democrats…African Americans NEED the government’s help because they can’t make it on their own. It’s almost as though they see African Americans as their meal ticket…gobbling them up decade after decade.


October 24th, 2011
7:39 am

Even my mother of 72 that has voted over 50 years had a hard time getting a state issued ID card after she misplaced hers. She cannot drive and is medicated so has a hard time riding buses on her own. Not much family in her city as she refuses to leave her home of 30+ years. It costed much more than her fixed income budget allowed. She got the money and went to get the ID but had tbeen misinformed on the cost and document requirements. Money and time wasted. She had to go to the court house to get a birth certificate but had to wait til the 3rd of the month to get more money for the cab. I finally arranged to get everything taken care of from Atlanta, got her a ride, sent the money, phoned the state officials for all requirements and double checked everything I could online. Finally, she got an ID.

She is poor and elderly and the ‘process’ was just too tough…others would have been frustrated and quit…but we wouldn’t let her.

How bout spending some money on thumb print technology like the banks use to prove who you are. When you vote or register to vote or get a driver’s license/ID or go to the bank, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, register for welfare, go to jail, pay a court ticket, register your child for school….get this done. Have thumb-printing a big part of everyday life. Then let’s see how many thumbs are cut from the bodies of dead people to cast a fraudulent vote…most violators won’t go that far…now we got em.

Sounds like a great movie, too!! Look out Spielberg!

My mother deserved to vote. And her middle-classed family had to get it done for her. What about those who can’t do what seemingly seems simple? This goes back to the days when African Americans were forced to take a literacy test to vote…always trying to prevent voting instead of encouraging and defending people’s right to vote.


October 24th, 2011
7:40 am

Kyle, my cousin’s friend’s bosses’ neighbor’s gardener’s barber’s niece’s tennis doubles partner told me that – this one time at Band Camp – that they heard somebody say they were going to cheat on a test. I guess that means we need to come up with new laws to prevent test cheating.

Dude, serious, the plural of anecdote is *not* data. The fact that there have been successful prosecutions for a crime does not mean you need new laws.

Wait – I just realized something. KYLE IS BECOMING A NEO-LIBERAL!!!!



October 24th, 2011
7:42 am

I’d like to know how opponents think they can know there’s very little voter fraud. If you’re not checking for it, then you’re not going to catch it, and if no one has to show ID, then how are you supposed to check for it. I’ve also heard people say that it doesn’t matter because the fraud only affects registrations, and that it’s a lot harder to vote fraudulently. So why bother having registration if it matters so little we are satisfied with massive registration fraud from groups like ACORN?

Personally I think the vast majority of African Americans, and poor people of any color, are capable of getting IDs. Attempts to say otherwise merely demonstrate the in their own minds superiority of the critics, who think the “savages” can’t tie their own shoes without an assist from the state.


October 24th, 2011
7:43 am

In 1850, there was a Kyle Wingfield working for the Charleston SC newspaper of the times, and he wrote the exact same article, complaining that his slaves never voted anyway, so why bother with polling them?

Kyle is a Nazi-class racist from hell, and he belongs behind bars.


October 24th, 2011
7:44 am

Ms. Rant,
I refuse to call you Ayn, because that would associate you with an individual with more intelect in her left pinky than you have in your whole liberal dinner party club. Please site the exact reference in the Constitution guaranteeing ANYONE the right to vote.

#Occupy my desk...

October 24th, 2011
7:45 am

Ayn – how is providing obtaining an ID an irrelevant burden? You can’t buy a pack of smokes or a case of beer without one technically, but it somehow turns grueling around election time. I never tire of my liberal friends acting like widespread election fraud by dems is just preposterous. I grew up in Chicago where “voting early and often” gets its wind. I guess until you see people being bussed in from Cabrini or Robert Taylor to vote with a pre-populated ballot in exchange for a quart of vodka and a pack of cigs, you don’t think its an issue. Voter ID laws would have a pretty major impact on elections and wouldn’t benefit dems, which is why you all are such staunch opponents. I guess democracy is only sacred when it benefits your candidates…


October 24th, 2011
7:47 am

Ayn Rant

You misunderstood. He is not a former Democrat. He is a former congressman. He did not change parties. He is no longer in Congress.

And he is black. Far from a Dixiecrat.


October 24th, 2011
7:48 am

Respectfully Todd, while I will not call you an idiot; nor is Wingfield. Voter fraud is very real. Asking someone to show a picture I.D. is perfectly reasonable. Now, it the law read that a certain person of color or gender were required to show picture I.D. – then I can certainly understand your’s or Ms. Rants thought process.


October 24th, 2011
7:50 am

First off I don’t believe that voter fraud has impacted a single election in the last 40 years nor do I believe it will do so in the future. Have there been isolated cases on both sides sure, but not of enough scale to worry about. That said should fraud occur in an election it will happen because the electronic voting machines have been hacked. Not providing a paper audit capability for those machines is a disaster waiting to happen. Second I don’t see any reason showing proper ID to vote should be a problem. Is the law we have now well written…probably not…but for crying out loud go get an ID, its not hard.


October 24th, 2011
7:53 am

The Republicans have this wonderful way of looking at things in present time, all credit reports or history is thrown out and we have totally innocent white people being victimized. They sound like the people on death row wanting the world to forget they have killed someone and start having a conscience about the sanctity of life. Life doesn’t work that way. The Republicans want us to forget they bailed out the banks, put us into a war we couldn’t win and were ill prepared to manage for 9 years. It is always that was then and this is now with them. Study them closely and you will see they have repeated over and over the same paranoid and hate driven functions no matter the actors, the play is always the same.

Republican Logic

October 24th, 2011
7:54 am

The Obama Administration has turned a net monthly job loss of 700K into job growth of about 150K a month in about 2 1/2 years. However a net improvement of 850K jobs PER MONTH is a failure cause we say so.


October 24th, 2011
7:55 am


Lefties are constantly calling conservatives Nazis. Don’t you know anything about Nazis? The term refers to a movement that created a state with vast power over its people. The government ran everything. Wingfield’s philosophy is as far away from Nazism as you can get.

Don’t dumb down the definition of a Nazi so that it means merely someone who disagrees with a liberal. That is an affront to the victims of real Nazism.

Republicans = Democrats

October 24th, 2011
8:07 am

Libtards cheat…..conservatards cheat. Get over it. Clean house. Get rid of ALL of them.

Maintaining Sanity in Today's World

October 24th, 2011
8:11 am

the red herring

October 24th, 2011
8:22 am

nothing wrong with making people prove they are who they say they are. people have to do it buy alcohol, write checks, etc.—wonder why the liberals aren’t up in arms over those laws. it is a stupid argument used simply to try and let them achieve their goals of having people vote illegally. no court in the land should stand in the way of voter i.d. laws.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 24th, 2011
8:34 am

Not to put too fine a point on this but there are about as many really strange and ignorant comments about the voting process as I’ve seen in a long time.

First, absentee balloting. No, you don’t need a picture ID to get an absentee ballot. HOWEVER, most jurisdictions have the requester sign their paperwork and the ballot signature can be (and is) checked for accuracy. Is it perfect? No, but when you have third-party canvassers creating hundreds, if not thousands of registration cards (and yes, I’ve seen them first-hand, all made out in the same handwriting), signature checking becomes a relatively effective way to keep fraud from happening on absentee ballots.

Now, as to the hacking of electronic voting machines. Somebody has been watching conspiracy videos again. Can it be done? Absolutely! If you leave the machines unattended and unlocked (almost impossible) and if you have at least 2 other knowledgeable conspirators and a lazy voter registrar. Does a paper audit keep a potential hack from being discovered? Absolutely NOT!

Finally, to the poster with an elderly mother who is medicated and can’t get out. It may seem a bit heartless here, but should someone who is medicated enough to not be able to get out on their own be voting? If you can’t do the things that can get you an ID card, how are you able to cast a vote?


October 24th, 2011
8:35 am

Earlier this week, New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran (pictured, left) announced that her office has made a disturbing discovery. After a two-day-long probe into possible fraud in the voter registration rolls, Duran and her team reported that their investigation revealed that at least 117 names of foreign nationals appeared in that database.

What’s more troubling is that every one of those 117 individuals used a social security number that did not match their name. The final result of this cross-checking of files revealed that 37 of those foreigners who illegally registered to vote actually did cast ballots in New Mexico elections.
According to the statement released by Duran, her office scoured documents going back eight years. Bobbi Shearer, the director of the state Bureau of Elections, told reporters that the process of checking this information was arduous, involving very detailed surveys of thousands of names.

Regarding the findings, Shearer commented, “There’s evidence that they’re in the foreign national database, that their name and date of birth matches, and their Social Security number in our database is not valid, and that they did cast votes.”

One county official, Dona Ana County Clerk, Lynn Ellins, downplayed the findings, musing that “no system is perfect.” Added Ellins, “She [Duran] claims 37 people have voted in eight general elections. That’s millions of voters; 37 is not a very big number.”

If 37 voted illegally, how many more have gone undetected? We cannot change the outcome of past elections. Now is the time to prevent the numbers from escalating.

The same discovery was made in Colorado.

Now with Ten Percent More Flavor

October 24th, 2011
8:38 am

Trying to figure out a way to get some votes that Nixon and other Republican’s “southern strategy” drove away. Shall you call it “The Perverse Southern Strategy.” :lol:

Maintaining Sanity in Today's World

October 24th, 2011
8:44 am


October 24th, 2011
8:50 am

If I want to drive a car, I must have a valid Georgia driver’s license. Since so many soldiers have fought and died for my right to vote, I should at least be able to produce a valid ID if I wish to vote. The more certain groups protest anyone having to do this, the more it seems to me they are trying to hide voter fraud. Imagine a large, well funded group trying to stop the law having the right to ask you to produce a driver’s license. I doubt many would believe this was merely a way to protect Black drivers.

Southern Comfort

October 24th, 2011
8:50 am

HOWEVER, most jurisdictions have the requester sign their paperwork and the ballot signature can be (and is) checked for accuracy. Is it perfect? No

My point exactly. Signatures can be copied, and if you’re a professional, you can do it well enough to pass scrutiny from most any election official.

If politicians were really interested in doing away with fraud, they could and would use biometrics to ensure that there was little to no fraud involved. If a person obtains a legitimate ID by means of fraud, no ID law will catch that type of voter fraud. It’s quite hard to duplicate fingerprints, and a simple fingerprint capture would solve any ID issues. We’re already using touch screen voting equipment, so it can’t be too hard to upgrade the equipment to also capture a fingerprint.


October 24th, 2011
8:53 am

Maria Azada, 53, of Grayslake, Ill., was arrested March 17 by ICE HSI agents and a Lake County State’s Attorneys special investigator. Azada faces 17 felony counts in Lake County Circuit Court of perjury, mutilation of election materials, and tampering with voting machines in connection with illegal voting by a non-U.S. citizen.

The investigation began in February 2009 when Azada admitted to a USCIS officer during an interview for an immigration benefit that she had voted in an election. It is illegal for foreign nationals to vote in national or state elections in the United States.

A subsequent investigation revealed that Azada allegedly voted nine times in primary, general and consolidated elections between 2003 and 2009. According to the arrest warrant, Azada allegedly falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen on two Illinois Voter Registration applications.


October 24th, 2011
8:57 am

For me the biggest concern causing me to support voter ID requirements is the prospect of millions of illegal aliens voting, with a minor related concern being people who do not reside in the district or otherwise not entitled to vote in the district casting a ballot. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that only legal citizens and eligible voters get to vote. In a nod to the complaints about the process of getting an ID being too onerous, perhaps we can arrange to issue them at the time and place where applicants register for welfare benefits?

The 2nd concern is absentee voting irregularities. IIRC, the absentee ballot includes an affidavit. Election boards should invest some scrutiny on these and pursue some felony perjury charges when warranted.

#occupy my desk...

October 24th, 2011
8:58 am

GT – you need to check your history in a hurry man – they don’t call him Barry Bailout for no reason. And Republican Logic – you have no idea what you are talking about and the numbers you put up are totally imaginary. So we are netting 150k new jobs/month? Thats awesome! Wait, it isn’t even remotely true though…


October 24th, 2011
9:00 am

We had an illegal alien who wanted to join the Army when I was a recruiter. When asked for an ID he gave us 6 drivers licenses and 9 SS cards. But ask a voter to produce and ID to prove who they are…. Crazy talk.


October 24th, 2011
9:09 am

And there are also issues within the State of Utah where they found 58,000 illegal aliens had fraudulently obtained driver’s licenses.
Of those, at least 383 were registered to vote, presumably by motor voter. I narrowed some of that down, took a sample of 135 of these individuals and discovered that five were naturalized citizens,
20 were ‘‘deportable’’ by their measure, one is a permanent legal resident and 109 had no record and were assumed to be in the United States illegally. But at least 14 had voted in a recent election, and we know that people move, so that makes it an even
more significant number.
North Carolina ICE agents … /33810.PDF

Don't Tread

October 24th, 2011
9:19 am

“it’s a serious problem if it changes the will of rightful voters in even one election.”

Not if you’re a Democrat and want to win “by any means necessary”.

Republican Logic

October 24th, 2011
9:49 am

@#occupy my desk…

And here are the monthly averages for each category over the past year:

Total jobs: increase of 109,917 per month
Private-sector jobs: increase of 136,333 per month
Government jobs: decrease of 26,417 per month


October 24th, 2011
10:00 am

Great article Kyle. I lived in Los Angeles for 6 years and WATCHED Illegal Aliens voting in U.S. elections with no recourse.

It is dishonest and ignorant for a Liberal/DemocRat to contend that minorities are discriminated against when merely asked for identification while voting; plain and simple.

If I was a minority, I would be HIGHLY offended that Liberals/DemocRats don’t think I am intelligent enough to get a simple photo ID from the state.

Southern Comfort

October 24th, 2011
10:06 am

If I was a minority, I would be HIGHLY offended that Liberals/DemocRats don’t think I am intelligent enough to get a simple photo ID from the state.

Well, if it makes you feel better, I AM a member of a minority group, and I’m offended by GA’s law. I’m not offended that they ask for an ID when I vote, but I’m offended that people made such a fuss about fraud, yet they left loopholes to allow fraud to continue while they’re pretending that they got tough on election fraud.

Rick in Grayson

October 24th, 2011
10:08 am

Anyone can get a fraudulent driver’s license with any name and their picture on it! Illegal aliens get jobs by presenting these IDs.

I guarantee that the election officials who examined my driver’s license took all of 2 seconds to look at it. We need the REAL ID that many states refuse to produce for their residents and the US government keeps pushing enforcement of that law into the future.


October 24th, 2011
10:10 am

” I’ve never understood why these opponents are allowed to get away with making what strikes me as a bigoted statement on its face”

You want to see the answer, Kyle? Read today’s AJC Editorial page where David Brooks is presented as “from the right”. Your own editors promote the mischaracterizations.

Did someone mention voter fraud?

October 24th, 2011
10:12 am

Democratic Presidential Election, 1960: Chicago.


October 24th, 2011
10:13 am

Kyle: “ 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.”

This comment is plainly a shameful distortion: I have notheard anybody to claim that “African Americans are somehow less capable or motivated when it comes to obtaining a state-issued photo ID.” The argument is that many are living under circumstances, under which the obtaining of state-issued photo ID is a hardship. A very different thing than “less capable or motivated.”
Kyle’s comment also shows how one-sided is his view: He refutes the claim that voter fraud is non-existent (“there have been successful prosecutions for the offense”) but not that it is “so rare a problem that it’s not worth the potential suppression of a future voter.”

Kyle, tell us how many successful prosecutions have there been, what percentage of voters!!!!

Kyle: “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.”

That is a silly argument at best. The issue is not that people are unable to cast a ballot because of ID laws, but that it discourages people, black and white, from voting.