Dear Democrats: It isn’t a poll tax.


In a commentary published by New York magazine, Jonathan Chait equates voter-ID laws with a poll tax. He write the following:

During the Obama era, the Republican Party has made the modern revival of the poll tax a point of party dogma. Direct poll taxes have been illegal for 50 years, but the GOP has discovered a workaround. They have passed laws requiring photo identification, forcing prospective voters who lack them, who are disproportionately Democratic and nonwhite, to undergo the extra time and inconvenience of acquiring them.

What Chait fails to explain is why Democrats and non-whites wouldn’t already have photo identification, considering the fact that a person in the USA has to have some kind of photo ID in order to cash checks and to do any banking.

One oft-cited excuse is that poor people and non-whites don’t have the birth certificates needed in order to obtain photo identification.

If that is the case, then how do they obtain government services? In the USA, one has to have a birth certificate and/or photo ID in order to obtain government services.

According to Chait and the Democratic Party …

birth certificate brouhaha

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  • GarandFan

    It’s like ‘the war on women’. Does well in focus groups.

  • Mjolnir

    It amuses me that the left relies on conjecture, specters and phantasms of disenfranchisement even though we have had a number of states already go through elections with Voter ID requirements. Why don’t they show actual numbers, and bring us both data and anecdotal stories about how many poor minorities weren’t able to vote because they lacked ID.
    Where are these stories? There should be thousands of them, no?
    Otherwise, they are left with a narrative that has no substantiation in reality. I’m guessing that they have no supporting data. It reminds me of the leftist hysteria that relaxing concealed carry requirements results in “wild west shootouts” in the streets; an event that only existed in the fear-mongering delusions of liberal minds.

  • Joe_Miller

    It’s almost like the left doesn’t see voting as our most sacred civic act. Are they willing to approve of ANYTHING that would weed out people who aren’t supposed to vote?

  • JWH

    It qualifies as a poll tax if the proper identification is available only after paying a fee of some sort. If such identification is available without cost to the voter, then it isn’t a poll tax. It’s that simple. I have neither the time nor the inclination to research state-level voter ID laws and figure out which ones are poll taxes and which ones aren’t.

    • Jwb10001

      Do any of the current voter id laws not allow for free voter ids? I doubt very much that any voter id law would stand up in court without providing free voter ids (several have been tested in court already most have prevailed.)

      • JWH

        I honestly don’t know. As I said, I don’t have the time to research all of them, apart from what I come across incidentally. I figured I’d post the standard and leave it at that.

        And you’re right. If the statute doesn’t provide a way to get a free voter ID (no administrative fees, no application fees, etc.) then it isn’t going to hold up under the Constitution.

        • Jwb10001

          The only id law I’ve heard of having issues in court was the Texas law which the Supreme court has allowed for this cycle. It’s fair to be wary of elected officials writing laws, but it looks like the majority of these laws pass muster.

          • JWH

            I know the circuit court blessed Wisconsin’s law, but Posner had a cow on dissent.

          • Jwb10001

            That’s pretty standard for both sides. Liberal and conservative justices’ go after each other in disenting opions all the time, doesn’t mean they are right, right? Every time an ilegal vote is cast someone’s vote is nulified, it’s grossly unfair to legal citizens. If a non citizen conservative casts an illegal vote a liberal’s vote has been nulified, does that seem fair? Every time a conservative felon votes illegally a liberal’s vote is cancelled out, should that be happening? Interestingly it seems only conservatives are concerned about this why is that? I know the standard answer is it’s a non problem, the Washington Post has a different take.

          • JWH

            The legal community considered Posner’s dissent noteworthy for a few reasons:

            A) Ronald Reagan appointed Posner to the Seventh Circuit, and he is generally a conservative jurist;

            B) Legal scholars on BOTH sides of the political aisle (and I’m not talking about the cable news talking heads) consider Posner one of the most intelligent judges currently on the bench; and,

            C) Posner previously wrote one of the defining opinions in SUPPORT of voter ID laws.

          • Jwb10001

            Well all of that is very interesting but not very convincing given none of it has anything at all to do with the law. Since I don’t know the specifics of the law or the dissent I can’t speak to the details but I can say that just because a republican appointed a judge doesn’t mean his dissent is correct or that I would agree with him. On the other hand if he was as good as you seem to indicate why was he unable to convince the others to vote with him? I suspect this law will get another review and if it is indeed flawed it will be over turned and the legislative branch will have to readdress it. It clearly isn’t too far out of step since it has passed it’s first appeal so whatever Posner objected to must not be terribly meaningful.

          • JWH

            I, too, can’t speak to the merits of Posner’s dissent or to the Seventh Circuit’s decision to deny rehearing en banc. I simply brought it up as a point of interest.

      • Brucehenry


        • Jwb10001

          I said “most” have prevaild, and even Texas has been granted a stay. Have you seen the study that suggests that Minn Senate and NC presidential elections were swayed by illegal non citizen voters? It’s in the Washington Post. I think this is a real problem Bruce not a boogey man. The study by the way also said that id laws would not have had a significant impact on the practice as a high percentage of the non citizens that voted had IDs. If you shift your argument to ID laws not being effective I’ll sign on to support something better.

  • Hank_M

    Gotta love the left’s defense of illegal voting, that being that non-whites are just too damn stupid to get a photo ID. Conservatives disagree and for that they’re labeled racists.

  • westcoastwiser

    Don’t be confused. It’s the pole tax; you have to pay it to pole dance at a bar.