This item about the complete lack of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania reminded me of a conversation I had recently.
I’m taking a beginning Spanish class offered by the wonderful Tennessee Foreign Languages Institute. I should clarify: it’s a very beginning Spanish class, as in, the most rudimentary basics. For instance, did you know that both the adjectives and the nouns have to agree in regards to gender and singular or plural? Like, there’s a masculine and feminine “blue”? That’s so weird to me. But I digress.
Our Spanish teacher is a very nice older lady from Chile who has told us several really hilarious stories. We all like her a lot. Last week she mentioned her difficulty getting a voter ID — she renewed her license online and since she’s over 60, the state of Tennessee automatically sent her one without a photo. See, this has been the problem with Tennessee’s new Voter ID law: as a convenience to senior citizens, the state allows them to renew a driver’s license online. But what you get in the mail can’t be used to vote because it lacks a photo. When my teacher went to the driver’s license center to correct the problem, she said the wait was four hours long.
I was happy to tell her that as long as her expired ID had a photo, it could be used for voting (the state has done a really crappy job of teling people that.) She was thrilled. Then I said, “getting a picture ID has been difficult for so many people.” To which she replied, “yes but all of those Mexicans voting illegally is such a big problem.”
I was kind of stunned. Really? Mexicans are voting illegally in Tennessee? Whatever for? Why would anyone in the country illegally run the risk of being caught and deported by showing up at an official polling place and voting? This makes sense to people?
And here’s something else I don’t get. Voter turnout in U.S. presidential elections — always the highest turnout of any election — has hovered around 50%for the past 30 years. Granted the past two presidential elections have seen a small uptick, but it’s still less than 60% of the voting age population. We trail the world in voter turnout — though Poland is a close second. It’s so bad that some people have discussed making voting compulsory in the U.S., as they do it in Australia. In fact, it’s an idea Rep. Jim Cooper mentioned at our blogger meetup back in the spring.
I just have to say: if we can’t compel 40% of the eligible public to show up on election day and vote, why does anyone think there are just oodles of people eager to do it illegally? And in such numbers that they could throw an election?
Again: this makes sense to people?