Home Editorials Representative Bob Lynn Doubles Down on Anti-Democratic Voter ID Law

Representative Bob Lynn Doubles Down on Anti-Democratic Voter ID Law

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Voter ID laws were a popular topic this last election cycle, and for no good reason. The laws were not really needed because the kind of voter fraud they seek to prevent is so difficult that the risk versus reward makes [made] it not worth the effort.
Current Alaska law provides these guidelines for identifying yourself for the purpose of voting:
When entering your polling place, the election worker will ask you for a piece of identification. The following documents may be used for identification: signed voter ID card, driver’s license, state ID card, or military ID card; passport, hunting or fishing license; or other current or valid photo identification.
You may also present one of the following forms of identification if it includes your name and current address: current utility bill or pay check; government check or bank statement; or other government issued document.
I posted this to my Facebook on Election Day to remind people what they needed to bring, and to encourage them to vote. When a good election turnout is 60-ish percent, anything we can do to increase those numbers is a good thing. My pal mentioned he could walk into my house, pick up a copy of my water bill and use that to vote in my name. He could do that, yes he could. But when I showed up to the same polling place and tried to vote, both me and the poll worker would immediately know there was a problem.
What happens next would not be a good outcome for my pal. If he gets caught then he’s a felon. I know for sure I would make a big deal about it (Facebook material for sure!), news media would jump all over it and whoever my pal was trying to commit voter fraud for would have their name associated with voter fraud. Imagine the headlines “OBAMA SUPPORTER CAUGHT COMMITTING VOTER FRAUD!”

Did I mention my pal would be a felon? His hypothetical failed attempt to commit voter fraud accomplished nothing, and even if he had been successful, it would only be a single fraudulent vote. While recent elections have been pretty close, the risk versus reward isn’t worth it. Voter fraud of this type is unlikely for that reason.
Voter ID laws do seem to make sense on the surface. But they really do not accomplish anything mainly because it is not a problem. What they do accomplish is to actually suppress voting. I know most voters have photo IDs and so do I. If it’s not a problem for you it’s not a problem right? Wrong: Individual Constitutional rights are not subject to our whims. Your opinion on how easy it is to get photo ID, or your fears about non-existent voter fraud do not matter when it comes to ensuring citizens of America are able to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.
As a veteran Bob Lynn has protected our right to vote, as a legislator he strives to take it away. He recently announced plans to file another bill to enact a voter ID law in Alaska.
Representative Lynn admits he knows no cases of someone trying to commit voter fraud in Alaska, but said it was wise to take precautions. You know, like passing legislation that is not needed. A precaution is a measure which sets up a safeguard against a likely problem. This is not a precaution. It is a road block with a price tag.
Since when do small government conservatives push for legislation that increases the power of and grows the size of government? If his new legislation looks anything like his old one, HB 162, which would have the Division of Elections or possibly a new entity issue ID cards “free of charge” (line 08) to people who did not have them, then who pays for it? We all know “free” ID cards are not really free; we pay for it. Where does his legislative agenda for solving problems that don’t exist end? 
I’ll admit I have a stake in this game, and that one would be Alaska Native voters. Nowhere would this legislation hit voters harder than in rural Alaska, and a part of me wonders if that is not the intention of a voter ID law. We know it’s unnecessary and that voter fraud of that kind is very uncommon and we also know who this law would affect the most and that is folks who vote Democratic, particularly rural Alaskans. Now I’ll admit I’m a Democrat, albeit a moderate one, but I would never propose legislation that would limit democracy. Democracy doesn’t mean that people vote the way I want them to vote, nor does it mean I always get my way.
Apparently Bob Lynn doesn’t get this. Lets be honest, most people don’t. Everyone claims to love democracy until they don’t get their way. Despotism is nice if you are the despots. But this is America and we love democracy right?
Right?

1 COMMENT

  1. It’s important to have all the facts. Here is a story about actual voter fraud detected in the ’08 and ’10 elections in Arizona:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2012/12/30/arizona-nabs-double-voters/1799581/
    For *every* case discussed there it is true that:
    a) it would have gone *undetected* by any voter id law (but was detected by a different unrelated system that already exists)
    b) it involved mail-in ballots.
    As for numbers, we’re talking less than a dozen cases a year, out of 3,000,000 votes. And that’s not _good_, but meanwhile, AZ’s restrictive id requirements prevented as many as 600,000 votes from being counted:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/07/1158652/-More-than-600-000-AZ-votes-NOT-counted
    In other words, this “fix”, that is targeted at one vote in 250,000, wouldn’t actually stop any of those targeted votes, and actually manages to stop up to one in five *legitimate* votes.
    The numbers say: Bob Lynn isn’t just anti-Democratic; he’s anti-democracy.

  2. Thanks for writing this, Warren. What has always befuddled me about voter id issues is that we’re already requited to present proof of who we are in order to vote. Whether it be a drivers license or a voter card. Why is this still an issue?

    • Jeremiah: They want to require photo ID. Voter ID cards don’t have photos. And not everyone has a driver’s license. (Some stats say more than 1 in 10 don’t.)

    • ha! I appreciate the image. Bob Lynn does not seem like a bad guy but I get the impression he also does not do a lot of critical thinking about his positions on issues.