Race

Democracy and Ferguson

Black residents of Ferguson should have no trouble figuring out the message here: Some would rather they vote than protest. Some would be even happier if they did neither.

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Black voters
Environmental Protection Agency / Wikimedia Commons

Not all the residents of Ferguson, Missouri, are black; not all of them are out protesting; and some think the protesters are neglecting a better option for change.

"There are so many people here that don't vote, but they think they have the rights to everything in the world," one man told NPR. "The reason that in the African-American community there's less power is that they're not registering to vote," former Mayor Brian Fletcher told NBC News.

They would not necessarily get an argument from African-American activists. When the Rev. Al Sharpton visited Ferguson, he had stern words for black residents. "You all have got to start voting and showing up," he thundered to a church congregation. "Twelve percent turnout is an insult to your children."

Actually, 12 percent was overstating it. In the 2013 local election, only 6 percent of Ferguson's black residents cast ballots. That's one reason nearly every local elected official is white.

Tony Lee, a commentator on the right-wing Breitbart website, charged that they "have essentially disenfranchised themselves and are responsible for empowering the 'white power structure' that they have been complaining about after (Michael) Brown's death."

So both left and right are agreed: More voting by African-Americans in Ferguson would be a good thing. That's how democracy works. If they want to change how the police and other government bodies work, they should go to the polls.

But not everyone is so keen on the idea. Amid the protests, a couple of local women set up a booth in Ferguson to register voters. "We're trying to make young people understand that this is how to change things," one explained.

The reaction of the Missouri Republican Party was not elation. "Disgusting" and "completely inappropriate" were the terms used by Executive Director Matt Wills. "If that's not fanning the political flames, I don't know what is," he said.

Let's get this straight. The critics don't want the black citizens of Ferguson to demonstrate. They don't want them to riot. And they don't want them to vote. What are they supposed to do to effect the sort of change they want? Pray?

Wills' comments were called "dumb" by one GOP state legislator. But he seems to be in a lonely minority. Encouraging voting by African-Americans is not a conservative cause these days, in Missouri or elsewhere.

Just the opposite. In 2006, the state's Republican governor signed a bill passed by the Republican-dominated legislature imposing one of the strictest voter ID rules in the country over objections that it would hurt the poor, who are disproportionately black.

Nor was there a genuine evil to be eliminated. "No evidence was presented that voter impersonation fraud exists to any substantial degree in Missouri," a trial court found. The state supreme court struck down the law, saying that "the 2002 requirements, which are much less restrictive on the right to vote, have been sufficient to prevent this type of fraud."

But Missouri Republicans didn't give up. They tried to get a constitutional amendment on voter ID in 2012. This year, the Missouri House approved a ballot measure authorizing the kind of requirements the state supreme court rejected. Missouri's Democratic secretary of state, Jason Kander, estimated that 220,000 Missourians lack the specified state-issued photo IDs the measure called for.

This approach has become a major GOP cause in state after state. The justification is that strict voter ID rules prevent election fraud.

But Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt undertook to examine every alleged instance of in-person voter impersonation since 2000 anywhere in America. He found 31 reports, not all of which were confirmed. Those were out of more than a billion ballots cast.

At best, the tighter rules would have prevented a few illegal votes that had no effect on outcomes. But Levitt notes, "In just four states that have held just a few elections under the harshest ID laws, more than 3,000 votes (in general elections alone) have reportedly been affirmatively rejected for lack of ID." It's a safe bet that the number of eligible voters kept out of the voting booth far exceeds the number of fraudulent ones.

Black residents of Ferguson should have no trouble figuring out the message here: Some would rather they vote than protest. Some would be even happier if they did neither.

NEXT: Brickbat: Does He Think He's a Cop?

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  1. “What are they supposed to do to effect the sort of change they want? Pray?”

    Um, yes?

    It’s not as praying and acting are incompatible – ora et labora (pray and work).

  2. But Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt undertook to examine every alleged instance of in-person voter impersonation since 2000 anywhere in America. He found 31 reports, not all of which were confirmed. Those were out of more than a billion ballots cast.

    Of course he didn’t have any sort of partisan conflict of interest when he came to this conclusion, right?

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/pro…..vitt-.html

    In New York, I joined the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: part think-tank, part advocacy shop, and part nonprofit law firm. I’ve been there ever since, working on voting rights and election administration and redistricting, with a brief leave this past fall to help run the national voter protection program of the Obama campaign.

    1. This “we can’t find any evidence of corrupt voting” is a pile of crap! There were more convictions than this, so the idea that none of them can be confirmed is pure garbage and nothing more than a DNC apologetics talking point.

      There were also more than that just the last election in my state with many people being found to be registered to vote and actually voting in more than one precinct, with some of those people being from out of state. And that’s without laws that actually allow people to look for the corruption. When you aren’t allowed to question who people are or demand they show an ID, the chances of you actually determining that they are who they say they are is pretty small.

      Democrats can’t find voter fraud for the same reason that thieves can’t find cops.

      1. [citation needed]

        This guy did a study and you can check is sources and do his math.

        You posted an unsubstantiated, anecdotal, anonymous internet comment.

        I’m going with the study.

        1. I guess he didn’t care about FL finding thousands of illegal aliens voting after comparing the jury duty notices that said they couldn’t serve due to not being citizens to the voter logs. Eric “fast&furious;” Holder fought having admitted non-citizens purged from the register.

        2. Project VERITAS has videos of more than the affirmative action was able to find.

    2. I think that the use of “in person voter fraud” as commonly used vastly undercounts the voter fraud issues. Here it means someone impersonated someone else for the intent of voting.

      My biggest concern with voter fraud is people voting who are not entitled to vote. Specifically, people who are not legally citizens of the district in which they are voting (let alone of the U.S. of A.). Does anyone want citizens of other countries here illegally voting? Does anyone want a person legally a citizen of Minnesota voting in a Florida election? I don’t.

      Every person who is legally entitled to vote ought to vote without undue hindrances. And I do not think that requiring an photo ID to be matched with voter registration roles is an undue hindrance nor is requiring advance voter registration so as to allow the Sec. of State’s office or other election officials to verify that the registered person is not a disenfranchised felon , etc.

    3. As for what does constitute undue hindrances…consider what someone must face when they try to exercise their Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms.

      In my state, an applicant must show up in person at the probate court, fill out a fairly lengthy and intrusive questionnaire, submit two forms of accepted government-issued photo ID, be photographed and fingerprinted, subjected to a criminal background check, all after paying a not inconsequential fee. Then wait, possibly months, before being granted the carry permit.

      Asking for ID to vote seems reasonable in comparison.

  3. Encouraging voting by African-Americans is not a conservative cause these days, in Missouri or elsewhere.

    Just the opposite. In 2006, the state’s Republican governor signed a bill passed by the Republican-dominated legislature imposing one of the strictest voter ID rules in the country over objections that it would hurt the poor, who are disproportionately black.

    I’m sorry steve, but do we have to remind you how this excuse regarding opposition to Voter ID laws is pure Bullshit?

    1. Forget it, it’s Chapman town.

    2. Voter ID protects everyone’s voting rights.

      Chapman has drunk the “The poor are too stupid to get an ID Kool-Aid” on this one. Which is rather elitist and, oh, what’s the word…. racist.

      1. I just wish that the opponents of Voter ID objected to the racist laws requiring ID to bank or open financial services accounts with the same vigor.

        1. I don’t agree with his argument, but your response is obviously flawed. Voting is a constitutional right. Opening an account at a bank is not.

          1. The Community Reinvestment Act was pretty adamant that banking is a right, too.

            1. It’s clearly not a right because banks can refuse to open an account in your name.

          2. The 2nd Amendment protects Constitutional rights, too. But look a the hoops a law-abiding citizen has to jump through to exercise that right.

            How about we normalize the requirements for voting with the requirements for carrying?

    3. I think he is trying to say blacks are too stupid and lazy to get photo ID, despite needing ID to get on welfare.

  4. So your basing this article on fundamentally flawed, self-serving research, and then libeling people? Cool! Way to go, Reason!

  5. This whole issue is so absurd.

    The only objection anyone can dream up to voter identification is that some people, who are expected to be able to read, write, and show up to a polling place to cast a vote in a fucking election, are unable to visit the DMV once to obtain an identification card?

    1. And they also have to show ID to get booze and cigarettes, or board a plane, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Because voter fraud is just a right-wing meme.

      1. Asking people to prove their age before they buy cigarettes and alcohol is racist.

    2. No, the objection is *that they shouldn’t have to*.

      The United States does not have an ID requirement – and I’m not in any hurry to get on the road to one.

      1. Saying the US doesn’t have “an ID requirement” is patently absurd. You can’t get a job, collect a social security check, open a bank account, drive a car, fly on a plane, travel to a foreign country, or numerous other important things without being required to present identification.

        Even so, does not the state have an obligation to protect my “right” to vote? What purpose does it serve to give me the “right” to vote once if someone else can exercise his “right” ten times?

        1. I can get a job and collect a SS check without an ID.

          The courts have already ruled that flying is not a right since you can use other forms of transport.

          DL are *licenses* first and the ID part is incidental.

          Bank Account – that’s a private transaction between you and the bank. Don’t want to use an ID, find a bank that doesn’t require it.

          And you guys keep saying that there is all this voter fraud, and then point the finger at the left. I don’t like ’em any more than you do but the left is not winning elections often enough to suggest there’s undetected fraud.

          I say that there isn’t a problem needing this as a a solution.

          1. And if its *multiple* voting you’re worried about – die the voters thumb like we did in the early elections in Iraq.

            1. As it is right now – requiring ID eliminated absentee voting altogether.

              That’s most of your military not able to vote. Add in the infirm and elderly.

              Do you really think fraud is such a problem that these people need to be disenfranchised to reduce it?

              1. There are ways to establish identity indirectly. People apply for and receive passports through the mail all the time.

                1. They do? Then why did I have to show up at the post office, have my picture taken, bring a birth certificate AND a picture ID to get one?

                  What country do YOU live in?

                  1. Fair enough, I considered the post office to be part of “the mail” but I can understand that what I said seems to imply that you could just drop an envelope in the mailbox and get a passport.

                    Requiring you to go to a US post office or consulate/embassy to verify your identity before submitting a ballot doesn’t exactly strike me as an undue burden vs. showing up at a polling place.

          2. First, I never said voter fraud was tied to any particular party, and I never said I knew anything definitive about how often it occurs.

            Voter fraud could be practically nonexistent, and every fraudulent vote could be cast for Republicans, but how exactly would we know?

            Second, what the fuck are you smoking?

            Employers are required by law to check if you are eligible to work (have you never filled out form I-9?) which requires that you prove your identity.

            The Social Security Administration is itself one of the identification-issuing authorities so saying you don’t need ID to collect Social Security is nonsensical.

            Saying that a driver’s license is incidentally identification is like saying that a car is incidentally capable of transporting people. In order to obtain a driver’s license, you must prove your identity, and the license is required by law to itself be a form of identification.

            You can pull out that “flying is not a right” bullshit all you want, and I can pull out “voting is not a right” too. If we can discount natural rights, then we sure as shit can discount procedural ones.

            Banks too are required by law to obtain identification before opening an account in your name. There are no banks that don’t require ID.

            1. Have I filled out an I-9, yes. Several times. All I needed to provide was a Name, Address, and an SSN.

              Same for the last bank account I opened.

              1. Those people are violating the law.

                The I-9 requires you to show either a primary form of ID (youyr passport) or two secondary forms of ID, one of which has to be a photo ID (driver’s license/SSN card are the usual combo)

              2. All I needed to provide was a Name, Address, and an SSN.

                tarran has already pointed out that this is not enough for employment, but let’s take this at face value for the bank account situation.

                First, this is already more than you have to provide in order to vote in many places.

                Second, the bank has to have some documentation attesting to the fact that not only have you identified someone but in fact have identified yourself.

                Third, this requirement is imposed to exercise a natural right, that of engaging in a consensual transaction with a third party. Surely if this infringement of liberty is justified, then any similar rule on exercising a privilege of citizenship is justified?

              3. Agammamon, either the last bank account you opened was in the 80s, or you’re disingenuous.

                There are ID laws everywhere, you even need one to buy sudafed now.

              4. Then your employer was not properly completing the I-9 form – document verification is required.

              5. Uhm… your SSN is an ID…

          3. Bank Account – that’s a private transaction between you and the bank. Don’t want to use an ID, find a bank that doesn’t require it.

            It’s against the law for a bank not to verify your identity via a government ID here in the US.

            You might have heard of something called the Patriot Act.

          4. What job do you have without an ID, working on a corner in high boots?

      2. You can’t carry a weapon, exercising your 2nd Amendment rights, without an ID.

    3. The claim about voter fraud being “virtually nonexistent” is such nonsense. They’re measuring the incidence of voter fraud by asking the people who are abetting it. What election official is going to admit to condoning fraud?

      Even when the election officials aren’t trying to be dishonest, how exactly are they supposed to know that voter fraud isn’t taking place when they can’t identify the voters? It’s not exactly difficult for party operatives who’ve been canvassing neighborhoods for decades to know who isn’t going to show up on election day. Never mind knowing the names of people who are dead but still on the voter rolls.

      Thus the only cases that are going to be reported are when a fraudster gets unlucky and picks the name of someone who actually showed up or the name of a dead person that was purged from the rolls, and even then only when caught by an honest election official.

      There’s no point in conducting a sham election.

      1. Those districts in Philadelphia where they chased away GOP observers and then reported 100% for Obama? Totally legit.

        1. The only guy that wanted to vote for the “r” ticket must have dipped too much vagisil that morning.

      2. Voter Fraud ranks right up there with Jaywalking as a “why should I really give a shit?” problem. It’s simply not consequential to the overall political operation of this country. So it’s hard not to see anyone obsessing with it as one whose obsession is fueled feeling paranoid about immigrants or the poor “ruining the country”.

        There are far more important issues for one to hang their hat on. The fact that so many hang their hat on this shows how pandering to emotion is ultimately the most successful political tact.

        Which, simply put, sucks.

        1. It’s simply not consequential to the overall political operation of this country.

          There are only two ways in which I can see voter fraud being inconsequential.

          1. It happens, but does not affect the outcome of elections. How does one measure this, given the limitations I noted above?

          2. It happens, and it does effect the outcome of elections, but elections don’t matter. In which case, what is (according to you) the actual political operation of this country if not by election?

          You are free to set your priorities, and I realize this is to some extent quibbling over table scraps. But if you’re arguing for possibility (2), then there isn’t really anything (peaceful) to be done about the situation, so why bother discussing politics at all? Convincing people only matters if elections are meaningful.

          1. Apparently, I knew which of affect/effect to use early in the post then forgot later in the post.

            1. This is known as the “transitive effect/affect effect.” It is an effect of one’s affect; in order to effect a change to this effect one must affect one’s affect such that such ineffectual prose is effectively eliminated.

              Affectionately yours,
              TallDave

          2. It happens, but does not affect the outcome of elections. How does one measure this, given the limitations I noted above?

            So you argument is that we need to impose costs to gather metrics to see if we need to impose costs?

            Let’s imagine that voter fraud did in fact influence an election. So what? 1 out of 100,000 elections? At what point is it worth the burden?

            I’ve simply never seen anything that implies that even gathering the metrics is worth the effort. Gerrymandering is a far more pertinent, and obvious, voter manipulation issue than perceived voter fraud. Yet it’s not taken anywhere near as seriously.

            So yes, the Voter ID proponents have a much higher bar than simply claiming it’s necessary to gather the metrics to see if it is necessary.

            1. If you don’t care that the people who hold office were actually elected to that office, then what difference does the shape of the districts make?

              Are unelected dictators magically better when they represent pleasingly shaped districts?

              Also, just so we’re clear, it’s totally okay for the state to tax me to fund an election, but it is an unacceptable additional burden for said election to be conducted honestly?

            2. “Let’s imagine that voter fraud did in fact influence an election. So what? 1 out of 100,000 elections? At what point is it worth the burden?”

              It is accepted fact that LBJ won his first Congressional election due to voter fraud. Some dead people voted in a small obscure Texas county. Without that first win he might have never risen to the Presidency. Without LBJ we may never have had The Great Society imposed upon America.

              That 1 in 100,00 elections can change history.

            3. “Let’s imagine that voter fraud did in fact influence an election. So what? 1 out of 100,000 elections? At what point is it worth the burden?”

              See “Al Franken”.

        2. If that’s the case its the only emotional pandering argument the right makes. What is the logic and reason argument for having ballots printed in Somali in Michigan? Why do former leftists talk of block captains that make sure someone votes in the name of those that move away?

    4. The notion that the political preferences of people who do not have and cannot obtain a photo ID are a great boon to the institution of democracy might have a few tiny holes.

  6. “But Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt undertook to examine every alleged instance of in-person voter impersonation since 2000 anywhere in America. He found 31 reports, not all of which were confirmed. Those were out of more than a billion ballots cast.”

    Well, when the only mechanism that would even tip you off to fraud isn’t in place, how can you even begin to count fraudulent votes? If we no longer required ID to buy booze, but still kept it illegal for those persons under 21 to buy it, how would one even *begin* to quantify “fraudulent” alcohol purchases?

  7. “Let’s get this straight. The critics don’t want the black citizens of Ferguson to demonstrate. They don’t want them to riot. And they don’t want them to vote. What are they supposed to do to effect the sort of change they want? Pray?”

    Does it really need to be pointed out that Wills was not saying that blacks voting was “disgusting”. He was instead saying that a memorial/rally held in honor of a man who was killed was perhaps not the appropriate place for Democrats to start “getting out the vote”.

    In addition, if you don’t have a clue what’s going on? Please, do not vote. A nation is not better off just because everyone votes, especially when a huge chunk of those people have no idea what they’re voting for.

    1. Does it really need to be pointed out that Wills was not saying that blacks voting was “disgusting”. He was instead saying that a memorial/rally held in honor of a man who was killed was perhaps not the appropriate place for Democrats to start “getting out the vote”.

      Every normal, reasonably intelligent person of course would understand this at the first reading with no explanation.

      Chapman is a world class Journolist concern trolling dipshit whose job is flacking for Obama and the democrats. He has just about surpassed Dave Weigel in the assclown category, and it’s sad that he’s permitted to pose as a libertarian and that his crapola continues to get featured here at Reason.

    2. Yes, it does need to be pointed out. Because Reason has gone batshit crazy over Ferguson, and by pointing it out you’re injecting a little sanity into the discussion.

  8. Great article Chapman. Everyone knows things work out great for the black community when black voters create one-party city governments with airtight incumbent advantages.

    A miniature Coleman Young is EXACTLY what Ferguson needs rights now.

    1. Come to think of it, let’s go a step further with a miniature Kwame Kilpatrick. 😉

    2. With a little effort Ferguson could be every bit as successful as Detroit.

      Chapman inferred that voting along racial lines was important. I’d think that voting to achieve more ethical policy goals might be a better way to achieve equality? But what do I know, identify politics is a mystery to me as it seems to seek the opposite of equal treatment under the law.

  9. 31 reported cases of voter impersonation vs. zero cases of potential voter being obstructed while getting state issued ID.

    Math isn’t Chapman’s strongsuit.

    1. Fascism is his strong suit.

  10. I realize I’m oversimplifying this due to the inherent lack of subtlety in my thinking, but if the vote is restricted to citizens, how is it an onerous burden to ask those who vote to show some sort of proof of their citizenship?

    Also, what conceivable justification can there be to place limits on issue advocacy on the part of any party, directly affected or not?

    1. I don’t think they mentioned placing actual limits, they simply wanted to piss and moan about it being “inappropriate”.

  11. The reaction of the Missouri Republican Party was not elation. “Disgusting” and “completely inappropriate” were the terms used by Executive Director Matt Wills. “If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is,” he said.

    Tough shit, pal. The world does not owe you a privileged position. If your ideas are superior to the other guys’, get your whiney ass out there and explain why.

  12. “So both left and right are agreed: More voting by African-Americans in Ferguson would be a good thing. That’s how democracy works.”

    Except we did not start out as a democracy. As the country drifts away from being the Constitutional Republic as established, we see more and more evidence that democracies readily violate individual rights just as much as any other tyrannical form of government does–just as the Founding Fathers recognized. What Ferguson needs is the same thing that the rest of the country needs: a robust constitution that protects individual rights and a body politic dedicated to this purpose.

    1. Well said.

    2. “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

  13. Tehre is a dude that knows what time it is. Wow.

    http://www.AnonCrypt.tk

  14. “…some think the protesters are neglecting a better option for change.”

    Yeah, vote for more of that “hopey-changey” stuff and that will fix everything.

    They could attend their county and city meetings and raise ten kinds of Hell to get something done, without even being registered to vote. They could even be a convicted felon and change things that way.

    But…as anyone with half a brain knows, the American black voter will 90% or more, vote just as hard-core leftist as they possibly can.

    Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot….would have been supported by the American black voter in large margins.

    Anyone that says they don’t want black Americans voting is merely stating they would prefer Marxists, socialists, communists and leftists won’t vote. It has absolutely nothing to do with skin color.

  15. ok, dumbass

    First, everyone showing up to vote is great so long as all those people inform themselves about what they are voting for. Nothing, NOTHING, is improved by uninformed voters coming to the polls in mass to endorse poor polices and demagogue politicians. We need less of this, not more. From talking to my fellow citizens, it seems like things would be improved if 2/3 of the existing voters stayed home on election day.

    Second, voter ID discriminates against people who are not eligible to vote, or, are so uninterested in it that they can’t be troubled to get an ID. If they are not eligible, then preventing them from voting is proper, if they are too uninterested to get an ID, see my first comment above.

    I am pretty tired of this line of crap about how Voter ID is disenfranchising people. Let’s get real, That ID they can’t be bothered to get, is necessary for them to get Social Security Benefits, cash a check (even at the payday loan store), buy beer, liquor, or cigarettes, board a plane, get medical care using any kind of insurance (including Obamacare) and a multitude of other activities including many interactions with government.

    I am finding it hard to imagine a huge legal population without an ID, who are eager to make the effort to vote.

  16. Requiring ID at the polls is purposely designed to deter certain people from voting. If you can’t see that you’re fooling yourself.

    The Right is too smart to say, “We don’t want the darkies and the wetbacks to vote. And those out of state college kids can get fucked as well.” But they’re still desperate for any advantage they can get.

    The Left is too genteel to day, “The crackers are shit scared that demography is destiny.” Also, they can just wait it out.

    The Brennan study is actually quite interesting. The vast majority of voter fraud cited by those who support ID at the polls has nothing to do with impersonation and could not be solved by voter ID. Unless you’re dumb enough to think that registration fraud, ballot stuffing, absentee fraud and other shenanigans that do not require going to the polls will be solved by someone showing a picture ID before they vote. The fact that very well paid, intelligent lawyers cited such irrelevant evidence is a powerful indicator that they know their official arguments are bullshit. And they are.

    1. It is widely known, and well reported, that fraudulent voting in Chicago was significant during both the Kennedy, and LBJ elections. It was so widespread, and so significant, that it may have swung the state, and thereby the presidential election.

      I grew up hearing about “in Chicago, a good Democrat is one that has been dead for 30 years and never missed and election”

      So I call BS on you, just another lying sack of $t leftest that believes the end justifies the means.

      I too can read, and none of the “studies” are even remotely useful. You can summarize them as “we have not caught very many people in voter fraud, so therefore there is no voter fraud.
      Cool, so, if I fire all the police and no one arrests anyone breaking into houses, that means no houses got broken into?

      1. [citation needed]

    2. Requiring ID at the polls is purposely designed to deter certain people from voting. If you can’t see that you’re fooling yourself.

      Look, I’m not going to say that Republicans are pure of heart and have nothing but noble intentions, but if you can’t be bothered to get an ID, should you really be voting?

      Many of these proposals include programs to help people get identification if they need it. I can’t speak to the Missouri proposal, but I’ve seen many of the proposals and they have everything from subsidies to get identity cards, to providing free informational pamphlets, to advisors paid to help walk you through the process of getting an ID.

      Really, this argument boils down to “black people are too stupid to get ID, so therefore it’s racist to require them to get ID”. Umm, isn’t the underlying assumption what’s really racist about all of this?

      1. “Really, this argument boils down to “black people are too stupid to get ID, so therefore it’s racist to require them to get ID”. Umm, isn’t the underlying assumption what’s really racist about all of this?”

        This.

    3. Unless you’re dumb enough to think that registration fraud, ballot stuffing, absentee fraud and other shenanigans that do not require going to the polls will be solved by someone showing a picture ID before they vote.

      Perhaps I misunderstand something, but I’m pretty sure “registration fraud” would in fact be solved at the poll by requiring identification. Sure, you can register a dozen fake persons to vote, but unless you can come up with fake IDs to match (and if you can, that’s a whole different problem), you’re not going to be casting any additional votes.

      Ballot stuffing is something that should already be addressed by existing laws, but if not should definitely be addressed as part of a larger “honest voting” reform. No precinct should have more ballots to count than voters who showed up on election day(s). Nowadays with electronic voting, is ballot stuffing even possible (absent collusion from the election officials)?

      As I mentioned upthread, there are ways of proving identity through the mail for absentee ballots. A state can resolve a lot of absentee fraud by just paying closer attention to its elections processes, which I realize is more of a people problem than anything else, but there it is.

      Voter ID solves specific problems, not all problems. Throwing it out because “RACIST!” and “NOT PERFECT!” is absurd.

    4. Mexico not only requires ID, but they have actual fucking holograms.

      HOLOGRAMS.

      If you think getting ID is a big problem, then how about a finger-marking system like they used in Iraq (another country with better vote security than the United States)? Shockingly, Democrats don’t like that either.

      The party of slavery and Jim Crow is too genteel to accuse the GOP of racial discrimination? Are you fucking kidding me? They do it every single day, at every level. Do you live under a rock? Have you never seen MSNBC? Heard of Eric Holder?

      1. Don’t get down on Eric Holder. He’s the Attorney General of Black People. Have some respect for this defender of tribalism!

    5. Its the left that is shit scared that demography is destiny. Didn’t you see the story about how NYC’s top public high school was going kick out poor Asian students so that black+hispanic could be greater than 2.9%, with Asians protesting?

  17. This article is pure Leftist propaganda. Quoting people out of context and then painting an entire group of people with a broad brush are Stalinist tactics.

    You have presented absolutely no factual evidence that Republicans (as a group) are suppressing the Black vote. You should be ashamed for publishing irrational articles like this that only serve to further inflame the hatred and polarization already induced by race pimps like 0bama, Jackson, Sharpton and their minions.

    When did Reason become a tool for racists like 0bama, Jackson and Sharpton?

    1. Preach it! I heard Holder’s got twenty commies writing all the articles for the magazine and Ayres edits all the online content.

  18. Elections are not stolen by a few people pretending to be another person. They are stolen by wholesale fraud where conniving election officials and committeemen cast votes for those on the voting rolls they know to be dead, who didn’t show up by 8pm, or whom have moved to another district. This is more readily accomplished in areas, usually cities, where one party is in power. In Phila., the minority GOP election officials have actually been paid (money or patronage) at times to look the other way, usually so one entrenched Democrat in a primary can stick it to reformist Democrat challenger.

    1. They’re stolen that way, but also in phony voter registration.

  19. “Actually, 12 percent was overstating it. In the 2013 local election, only 6 percent of Ferguson’s black residents cast ballots. That’s one reason nearly every local elected official is white.”

    This statement, especially the last sentence really struck me as racist. It’s the old belief that whites should vote for whites, and blacks should vote for blacks, because only people of your race will look after your interests. Great job Chapman, you’ve reached a new low.

    1. He’s been bottom feeding for a while now. I’m not sure if he started openly advocating his brand of fascism whether that would take him to a new low or whether the honesty of the admission would elevate him.

    2. Chapman is scum.

      1. I’ve been reading Reason for a few years now. He has a good article every now and then, but it seems like any time he is advocating for a policy that is a net benefit for liberty, he has to include some kind of study saying why it’s a good thing. It reeks of utilitarianism.

        1. He has no good articles. There are only differing degrees of awful. His most passable articles are the ones that don’t touch on any notable topic and where he makes no arguments of his own. Thus, any article that involves his own thoughts, opinions and positions is by default, fucking stupid.

    3. My hometown has a slight majority latino population. A few decades ago there was a lawsuit over the elections, because all the city council, school board, and hospital board members were white or asian. So the judge ruled that we must have district elections. So the town of barely 10,000 was divided into five districts.

      We got two latino city council members the next election… from the WHITE DISTRICTS! The remaining council members were white and from the LATINO DISTRICTS!

      The controversy got the hispanics out to vote, which was the underlying problem. It wasn’t the lack of districts, it wasn’t an old-white-boy network, it was merely that latinos never bothered to vote.

      1. Well we can’t have white people running things anywhere, or there will rampant chaos, theft, vandalism and cattle rustling.

      2. How has your town been since the affirmative actions got seats. San Antonio has a majority Hispanic population but the majority of citizens are white.

  20. The latest arguments from Reasons most absolutely unthinking pseudo-libertarian; requiring ID to vote is racist, and that the problem with Ferguson is that the people don’t vote for their ethnic tribe enough. For Chapman, it’s a bad thing that white people get elected to office.

    FIRE STEVE CHAPMAN ALREADY. He’s a majoritarian, racialist, populist without a single libertarian bone in his body. What the fuck Reason.

    1. yes, we can read this crap in the Chicago Trib or the NYT. Why is it here?

      1. He should be a perfect fit for Salon.com

    2. +1 to fire Chapman; I get nothing from his articles. I wish I had my five minutes back each time I inadvertently read one of his articles. Fist step, look for the author before reading; If I want the statist progressive point of view I have most of the rest of the media available.

  21. “Amid the protests, a couple of local women set up a booth in Ferguson to register voters.”

    Dear Lord. This is proof to Reasonites that people don’t want black residents of Ferguson to vote? That’s what you gleaned from this reaction? Not that it was an opportunistic, political, classless thing to do at the time?

    I guess this was just another crisis that shouldn’t go to waste. Has Rahm Emanuel taken over Reason’s writing crew?

  22. Granted, Ferguson’s GOP officials kinda suck and should lose their jobs. On the other hand, I have very little doubt that if all those residents were voting, they would elect someone much worse.

    Hell, most people shouldn’t vote. Low voter turnout is the only thing keeping democracy viable.

    1. You mean because they let 2 section 8 complexes be built 10 years ago?

  23. Methinks the lady doth protest too much. That’s what I think everytime I hear someone complain about efforts to get voter ID. Sure voter fraud might not be a problem, but so what? Burglaries are not a problem in my neighborhood, but I still lock my doors.

    The effort the Democrats and the left put into blocking Voter ID is in itself suspicious to me. They protest too much. What are their real motivations?

    Now certainly there are some Voter ID proposals that stink. But the idea itself is a sound one. If you are a US citizen and registered voter you WILL have identification. You shouldn’t need INS strict identification, but providing some form of official or notarized identification seems prudent. You need it to buy beer, you need it to get social security, you need it to get welfare (but I repeat myself), you need it for everything else in life. So where did this idea come from that requiring some minimal form of ID is Evil(tm) for voting? It makes no sense to me. Merely showing your voter registration card should be sufficient, you don’t need a fricking passport.

    Do the poor have less identification than the middle class? Then let’s fix that problem. Do blacks have less identification than whites? Then let’s fix that problem.

    1. The effort the Democrats and the left put into blocking Voter ID is in itself suspicious to me. They protest too much. What are their real motivations?

      To direct, control, and plunder the life, liberty and property of others at any cost, except costs to themselves.

  24. Way to put words in the Republicans mouths Chapman. Maybe next time, you want to try and use this thing called “reason” to support your claims. I mean it is the name of the magazine you’re being published in, and pretty much it’s soul purpose: to use reason to support the cause of Libertarianism.

    On that note, why the hell does Reason Magazine keep this guy around? Rather than using real evidence to drive his point home and convince others that true freedom is a good thing, he seems to want to be combative and add fuel to the fire.

  25. I’m surprised at the number of comments with the theme ‘you have to provide ID for everything else, so voter ID is OK’. I think if the US suddenly decided to issue ID cards to all citizens (with the federal government holding the personal data) most libertarians would have a fit. This is the same thing, but on the state level. It’s not OK that we have to provide a state-issued ID for many basic functions of life. I’d rather stay off the state’s radar if I can.

    1. So it’s reasonable that I should be required to show ID at the liquor store, but it’s not reasonable that I should be required to show ID in order to plunder my neighbors? Granted I don’t think I should have to show an ID at the liquor store, nor do I think my neighbors should be able to plunder me based on majority whims.

    2. So third world nations are smart enough to ink the thumbs of voters to prevent fraud, but 3rdworld illegal aliens in the US don’t need to when they vote?

  26. So all of Democrat controlled Fergusons’ problems, in Democrat controlled St Louis County, can be laid at the feet of Republicans?

    Good to know.

  27. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt undertook to examine every alleged instance of in-person voter impersonation since 2000 anywhere in America. He found 31 reports, not all of which were confirmed.

    Why bother with “in-person voter impersonation” when you can just have dead people vote?

  28. “Black residents of Ferguson should have no trouble figuring out the message here: Some would rather they vote than protest. Some would be even happier if they did neither.”

    And most would wish that people stop making excuses for lazy behaviour.

  29. Seriously, WHAT THE HELL?!?

    Are we turning into Salon.com here?

    We do need to reach out more to the African community. What we DON’T need to do is trying to reach out to the using the same tactics that the left wing is using.

    Setting up a registration booth while the corpse of the boy is still warm, is in bad taste.

  30. I’ll bet it’s more accurate to say: Of the 25% of Ferguson residents who are white, most would prefer black residents to vote, than protest, but a few would prefer they did neither. Since 75% of the residents are black, I’d expect black voters, if one can get black voters out, would be able to effect whatever changes they wish. Why play the victim? – 30 –

  31. please explain why you think blacks are too fucking retarded or incompetent to get a fucking ID or shut the fuck up already.

  32. my best friend’s mother makes $66 /hr on the computer . She has been without work for 7 months but last month her payment was $13283 just working on the computer for a few hours. go…..

    ?????? http://WWW.JOBSAA.COM

  33. No evidence of voting fraud? How about this?

    http://watchdog.org/167046/17-voted-twice/

  34. You are just incredible. If it weren’t for Democrats, black people would have it a lot better today than they do. It is Dems who push for affirmative action (an obvious violation of the equal protection clause).. putting one more perceptual hurdle in front of every potential black manager. It is Dems who pushed for busing to achieve integration, ignoring the central statement of Brown vs Topeka Bd of Ed that separate schools are inherently unequal. And what is the result? It is the DEMS who gutted the 1957 civil rights act and stood opposed to the 1964 civil rights act. It was Dems that passed the Jim Crow laws and brought us Plessy vs Ferguson. in 1968 the dems seated the Mississippi Freedom delegation and in 1972 they passed a rule defining what percentage of the delegates must be black, hispanic, gay, native american, etc thus successfully limiting the participation of each group. And the idea that there were only 31 cases of “in person voter fraud’ in a billion votes is laughable. In 2008, the Indiana dems forged the names of petitioners to get hillary clinton and barack obama on the indiana primary Ballot. Every forged signature is a case of voter fraud as the question that every petition signer must answer is “are you a registered voter”. When Chicago cemeteries full of registered voters vote the straight Dem ticket, how is that not “in person voter fraud”?

  35. I think I get it now. Reason publishes Chapman articles because his arguments are so bankrupt, his positions so ridiculous, that readers will undoubtedly perceive and reject the silliness of his leftie talking points. And this will lead to more people becoming aware of the flaws inherent in such political beliefs, thus helping to create a better voter.

    That’s got to be it. If not, why would this clown be getting published regularly on this site?

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