After a couple days of criticizing liberals, it is about time to take a swipe at conservatives for advocating nonsensical things.
As the title suggests, I am going to call out conservatives for pushing restrictive voting laws in the name of fighting voter fraud. Now if voter fraud was a problem that was undermining American democracy, I would support measures such as voter IDs and other conservative policies being pushed in red states. But studies into the matter show that voter fraud is a minuscule problem that exists only in trace amounts, and therefore pose no real risk to our democracy.
But perhaps we should strive for elections with even less fraud (which is always good), and so things like voter ID laws are still good. The problem is that the relatively little voter fraud that exists today does not happen at the “in person” ballot box. Most fraud happens with absentee ballots, which photo IDs would not help much in stopping because there is no face to face interaction with an election official, and because some people (especially minorities) do not have IDs, they would be at a disadvantage to vote (I know in many red states that have ID laws the state will furnish you an ID free of charge and even drive you to the office necessary to receive the ID, but getting an ID is still a hurdle to jump, even if it is free).
Others may still say “You need an ID to buy cold medicine and do other day to day things in society, so why not require an ID to vote?”
This is an odd argument, especially from people who claim to be small-government conservatives. As noted before voter IDs, at best, do very little good, and at worst do harm to minority voters. Therefore requiring IDs to vote seems to be an arbitrary and pointless government interference in the rights of it people. It makes it harder to vote, and provides no real benefit in exchange. Furthermore, just because the government restricts our freedom and makes it harder to purchase cold medicine (this may be a good policy, but that is not the point) does not mean it should have the right to restrict our freedom in similar tasks when there is no benefit to doing it.
So why do conservatives still push restrictive voter laws? In my opinion it is all politics. I don’t think that requiring IDs would prevent so many minorities from voting that it would change elections (the areas where IDs are being pushed are solidly red states anyway). Instead, the ID laws work to rile up the conservative base, they are conservative “red meat”.
I’ll make a comparison that will hit close to home with conservatives: requiring IDs is loosely similar to banning “assault weapons” based on their cosmetic features, it riles up the political base without doing anything to really benefit America. It is an arbitrary infringement on liberty, done in the name of politics.
That being said, I think it is shameful the way Democrats compare these laws to Jim Crow (or if you’re Joe Biden, tell blacks that Republicans want to “Put ya’ll back in chains”). What we are talking about today are petty election politics trying to rile up a political base. To compare that to the deep seated racism of JIm Crow, with segregation and lynchings, is irresponsible and damaging to our society. Drawing these parallels waters down the legacies of great men like Martin Luther King, by comparing what he was fighting against to something much less sinister. It is like complaining to a starving child that your country club is serving crap instead of lobster (I know this comparison is exaggerated, but I wanted to make sure the point got across).