Is Voting a Right or a Privilege?

Extremists or Mainstream?

Anyone reading this blog knows I don’t put much stock in conservative intelligence.  Oil and water, in my opinion.  A party that once upon a time you could at least respect has gone down with the shit.  And if you’re a thinking Republican and put up with it, you’re as much to blame as the mouth-breathing Tea Party idiots who have hijacked your formerly respectable party.  Shame on you.  The ruin of this nation falls on your shoulders as much as it does on the ignorant bigots you coddle.

So let’s take a look — a calm look — at the fuss over voter ID legislation.  If you want to see an example of American conservatism proving its faults, look no further than this petty campaign.  Here you see in perfect clarity the absolute  failure of conservative logic and common sense.  This shouldn’t be any surprise, though; the devolution of the American Republican Party is one that follows the habits of insecure playground bullies.  Remember bullies?

Let’s look at voter ID and ask the question, is voting a right or a privilege?

I hear Republicans argue that you need an ID to drive a car, get a prescription, board a plane, and on and on and on.  Fine.  But I am also told that driving a car is a privilege.  I haven’t needed an ID to pick up a prescription ever…besides I don’t think health care is a right in this country, especially if you’re of the Republican mindset.   You’re lucky if you have it.  And boarding a plane is neither a privilege nor necessarily a right I would pursue with earnest.  (Planes can be so unpleasant.  Can’t we row a boat to Italy?  Or do I need an ID for that, too?)

Sorry. No ID? You sure you don’t want to consider a third option?

In fact, for an extreme illustration of absurdity, an ever-growing number of conservatives think background checks prior to buying a gun — which requires more than presenting an ID — is an erosion of Constitutional rights.  The argument goes:  If I am an American citizen, it is my Constitutional right to own guns.  Background checks are a check on that right.  Am I right or am I wrong?  Isn’t that the argument?

(The frightened conservative arguing his Second Amendment rights might say, well, next we will be checking your ID to buy broccoli…or some other such absurdity.  And then you should ask, why not?  If you’re an American, you have an ID, what is the harm in presenting it?  Or do you have something to hide?)

So, back to reality, more or less…Is voting a right or a privilege?

Furthermore, how much of a problem is “voter fraud”?  We know what kind of problem we have with guns, but bloody massacres, if you’re a Republican, are irrelevant outcomes of individuals, not guns…and more importantly, not outcomes of rights.  How else can they stand before the world after a deadly mass murder and say the laws don’t apply?  If we didn’t have guns, obviously the paranoid schizophrenic would pic you and a dozen other people together with a plastic fork.  Do we want to regulate plastic forks?  No.  But we want regulate votes.

How much voter fraud do we have anyway?  (Ask a conservative, especially one pushing voter ID legislation.)

Well, most states, including Minnesota which has been marked by at least one dubious group as “Number One in Voter Fraud“, essentially has none.  There have been examples of disenfranchised citizens voting when they shouldn’t (i.e., felons), but we don’t want them to vote anyway because they are overwhelmingly poor, disadvantaged, and broke.  But straight up voter fraud — a bus of Norwegians voting for Jim Oberstar, for example — almost never happens.

We should then maybe way the cost of voter ID legislation.  Does it cause more harm than good or more good than harm?  In the end, does a voter ID program disenfranchise more voters than it prevents fraudulent voters from voting?

Use this as a model:  We used to have this idea in our justice system that the one was innocent until proven guilty because it was better to let a hundred guilty people go free than it was to wrongfully convict one innocent person.  That idea, unfortunately, is long gone.  Voter ID is simply a subtle application of that “guilty until proven innocent” logic.

Maybe we should talk to experts, people who know something about this stuff.  But we ain’t got no room for skool learnin here in the grand old god damn GOP, no.  That lead to thinking and thinkin’ lead to strayin’ and strayin’ mean you ain’t got no Lord the Savior in your heart, sinner…

(Sorry.)

Back again.

People who manage elections — experts — warn that voter ID will disenfranchise millions of voters, predominantly older, poorer, and less educated American citizens.  Unless you can show that millions of illegal votes are being cast, it is hard to make an argument for voter ID, is it not?  In fact it is hard to show even thousands of illegal votes.  So we will strip away the right to vote — turn it into a voter ID privilege — in order to prevent a random illegal vote here or there.  Anyone who has watched a recount knows we have more discrepancy in counts of valid votes than we have presumed illegal votes!

So I have to ask again:  What the hell is wrong with Republicans?  Are they stupid or evil.  The mainstream press tries to treat their positions as legitimate ones.  Pish posh.  These people are either too stupid to be in office or simply bad people.  Bring me the philosopher kings!  When people become this petty and uninformed — so uninformed that they subjectively choose rights from privileges — you no longer have a functioning democracy.  We cannot let America — and the rights of Americans — be lead and determined by the ignorant.

It might be too late for you and me, but think of your children and grandchildren…save America, save the future, and whatever you do don’t vote stupid.  Don’t vote GOP.

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4 thoughts on “Is Voting a Right or a Privilege?

  1. Pablo

    States have the right to revoke the “right” to vote under the 14th amendment. Voting is a privilege. I ALWAYS have to show ID when picking up medical RX. To buy a gun you must complete a police backgroud check which involves identifying yourself with two forms of ID. What about Chicago 1982 Gubernatorial elections? 100K fraudulent votes – says FBI? An INS investigation in 1996 into alleged Motor Voter fraud in California’s Forty-sixth Congressional District revealed that “4,023 illegal voters possibly cast ballots in the disputed election between Republican Robert Dornan and Democrat Loretta Sanchez.” & on & on & on & on…

    Reply
    1. Tour Guide Post author

      Pablo…Are you familiar with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I believe it states plainly that states shall not prohibit citizens the right to vote. The RIGHT to vote. It is not a privilege. States can revoke voting rights from felons because felons more or less lose the rights. They lose the right to own a gun, too, for example. By the way, the examples of voter fraud that you state are not examples of individuals casting illegal votes as you seem to suggest, but allegedly there have been questions about fraud in the counting and keeping of ballots. Examples of dead people voting, people being bribed, illegal aliens, etc…simply don’t happen in the numbers you suggest. Minnesota has one of the best records of policing clean elections and prosecutes only a handful of illegal votes, usually ineligible felons who have not had their voting rights restored. The problem simply does not exist anywhere near the scale organizations like the Heritage Fund suggest. Rumor doesn’t square with facts.

      And, for my part, I have never been asked for ID when picking up a prescription.

      Reply
  2. David Machado

    Voting is a right just like driving is a right.

    A privilege is easier to regulate than a right. Many people have evolved to accept for privilege what are actually rights just to maintain the legislative flow.

    In the interest of safety and accuracy some rules and regulations must be in place

    What is too much or too little requires careful consideration.

    Reply
    1. Tour Guide Post author

      No…that simply isn’t correct. Driving is not a right. And voting is not on par with driving. Voting rights appear in the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution and further defined in law by the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Driving, on the other hand, is a privilege for which one must apply and qualify to gain. States can revoke driving privileges for whatever reason their laws allow. Reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, multiple traffic offenses, etc.

      Voter ID laws present an obstacle to voting for those people who do not have the proper ID. The harm of this sort of legislation — disenfranchising citizens of their right to vote — outweighs any gain. We do not sacrifice the rights of innocent citizens to prevent a crime. Moreover, it is difficult to argue that widespread voter fraud exists. In the end more harm than good would come from this sort of legislation, but overall the Constitution exists to protect rights. The right of individuals, especially a minority against a majority, should prevail. We’re talking about laws that will interfere with individual voting rights. That is wrong.

      Reply

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