With a recent decision in Alabama to close 31 DMV offices, the predictable howls of outrage form the Radical Left have come out – “Voter disenfranchisement!’ “Jim Crow!” “Taking away our right to vote!” Expect to hear a lot more of this as we lead up to the 2016 election. PJTV’s Christopher Coates responds to Contributor at The Nation Ari Berman’s new book on voting rights with “Give Us the Ballot”. Unsurprisingly, Berman’s research leaves out some key facts, like this gem:
Another serious omission is Berman’s failure to discuss the controversies surrounding lawsuits brought during the George W. Bush administration against a black Mississippi Democratic official, Ike Brown, and against the New Black Panther Party. Those two VRA cases were the first — and to date, the only — cases ever brought by the DOJ against black Americans for discriminating against white voters and candidates.
In the Brown case, the district court found blatant discrimination by the black defendants, a ruling affirmed unanimously by the Fifth Circuit. In the New Black Panther case, government attorneys were on the verge of obtaining a default judgment against the Panthers for their intimidation and threats when Obama administration officials demanded that the case against three of four defendants be dismissed and that only limited relief be obtained against one defendant.
These cases and the ugly response to them by DOJ employees raised serious questions about the willingness of career attorneys and officials in the Obama administration to enforce the VRA in a racial-neutral manner, and whether they are only willing to enforce federal voting laws for the benefit of certain racial minorities.
Back to the Alabama story, Brentin Mock at Citylab gives a pretty balanced look at both sides of the story. But in the following paragraphs that are dispersed throughout the post it becomes apparent that the decision to close these offices is not as sinister as Radical Left would have us believe:
The Brennan Center reported in 2012 that almost a third of Alabama’s voting-age population lived more than 10 miles away from the nearest license-issuing office that was open more than two days per week.
Those numbers have not budged today—even with the 31 drivers license offices that have closed. That’s because almost all of the offices that were closed down were only open one day a week, none of them on weekends, and many of them for only a half-day. And they weren’t actually “offices.” Rather, they were “supplemental services” from state government “examiners” who were dispatched to satellite locations to primarily administer drivers licenses to new teen drivers.
Alabama officials have been keen to remind the public that there are other options for people to get photo ID. People can obtain free voter ID cards at county registrar offices, which are open in all of Alabama’s counties and for longer hours throughout the week. The state is also providing mobile services, sending crews out to various locations on certain dates and by request to dispense voter identification cards.
It’s worth noting that under federal law, DMV offices are required to offer voter registration services. The DMV closings will reduce opportunities for that to happen—though, again, given how rarely those offices were open, it’s hard to know whether those reductions are really significant. The number of transactions in general performed at the closed offices came to less than five percent of all drivers-license transactions (about 2,000)—and that’s for all 31 closed stations combined in 2014.
But setting the record straight regarding Alabama (and voter ID laws in general) this isn’t why I’m writing this post. One fairly subtle part from Mock’s piece really grabbed my attention:
African Americans are more likely to not have licenses or state-issued ID—in no small part because a lot of folks in the elderly black population don’t have birth certificates. (Many black women in the South weren’t served by hospitals during the Jim Crow era, so they gave birth at home or at non-medical facilities, their children born off the books.)
Did anyone else catch the problem with that last statement? The article points out that many births in the South took place during the Jim Crow era, which Wikipedia says ended around 1965. That means that many of these voters are over the age of fifty, and have been of voting age for over three decades. And that brings up the big question:
Why has nobody on the left lifted a finger to actually help these people get ID’s? I thought when I tried googling the subject I’d find at least some small left wing groups undertaking efforts to help voters obtain photo ID, but the best my search could find was a page with a guide with advice on obtaining an ID in North Carolina. For all of the money and energy that’s spent in putting up legal challenges, testifying about the horrors that preventing people from voting twice entail, and otherwise expending considerable resources into telling many citizens that they’re victims, wouldn’t it be more constructive to actually… help them?
And that last part is exactly the point. A leftist would rather see somebody as a victim and in need of a leftist version of assistance. Of course that wouldn’t be direct or charitable help – the leftist version of charity is reaching into someone else’s wallet to create a new government agency. Keep in mind these are the same folks who think it’s better to be a victim of a violent crime rather than defend oneself – remember Colorado Democrat Evie Hudak telling a rape victim that she’d probably just hurt herself if she had tried defending herself with a gun against her attacker and the national uproar there was in the press? Yeah, me neither. Back to my main point, opposing voter ID laws are just another illustration of how the left would rather expend it’s energy in keeping someone a victim rather than help them actually escape victimhood.
Of course, fair turnabout would be to ask Republicans why they’re not putting any resources into helping voters obtain IDs to vote. Most sane people agree that people should only be allowed to vote once, that voting should be restricted to people who are actually alive, and US citizens. Want to silence those idiotic cries of voter suppression? Get out and actually help those supposed victims. Yes, I know that the black vote reliably goes 90% toward the Democrats, but Republicans keep grousing how they need to make an inroad with black voters – what better way than to tell someone that even though you know that the person you’re helping is likely to vote against you you’re doing it anyway because you’d rather see them as a fellow citizen than a victim? That certainly is not the message of the Democratic party, and this issue is one of many ways that message can get out.
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog