Is the ACLU Supporting Double Voting?

Published Thu, Jan 5 2012 9:35 AM


The ACLU has filed a lawsuit, which tries unsuccessfully to craft sympathetic tales about how certain individuals claim to be unable to get voter ID cards in Wisconsin.   Six of the plaintiffs listed (Anne Shea, Matthew Dearing, Max Kligman, Samantha Meszaros, Steve Kvasnicka and Sarah Lahti) in the ACLU’s lawsuit don’t want to surrender their drivers’ license from another state. 

Another state’s ID actually may be a license to commit vote fraud in a place you don’t reside.  If you recall, in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, the League of Women Voters’ amicus brief claimed to find evidence of voter suppression.  It didn’t.  In reality, the woman prevented from casting a ballot in Indiana had a Florida’s drivers’ license and claimed residency in Florida (by filing for a homestead exemption).  What happened at the polls was not voter suppression.  What happened is what voter ID is supposed to do: prevent people from voting in states where they do not reside and from double voting.

First of all, you shouldn’t be able to vote in more than one state. In fact, it’s a crime.  Double voting is illegal according to federal law.

Second of all, it’s not fair to those who are not wealthy enough to afford multiple homes. Do you even want to be resident in a state where you want to vote if you are keeping a license in another state?  Remember wealthy former U.S. Senate Democrat Majority Leader Tom Daschle?  His wife claimed a homestead exemption (legally claiming their residency in one jurisdiction) for D.C. while Daschle had a South Dakota license.  That was wrong for the Democrat to claim to be a resident of more than one state (or a state and DC) at the same time.  Homestead exemptions are programs of the states and D.C. to benefit their own residents, not politically opportunist Senators.  And the people of South Dakota agreed. It was one of the reasons that South Dakota voters refused to continue to allow Daschle to represent them in Washington, D.C.  They concluded that he was not one of them because you can’t call D.C. and South Dakota both home. 

You shouldn’t be able to play games with the law and vote in a place where you don’t actually reside.  Remember the wealthy former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro?  She owned two homes and voted in both places.  The wealthy politician was wrong to vote in more than one precinct when other people with less means only have the income to afford to live in one place all the time and thereby vote in only one place.

The six plaintiffs with an old license had the opportunity to move between precincts and attempting to vote there.  What about the voter who cannot afford to do so and has lived in the same jurisdiction all his or her life and can only vote in one place?  Why should his vote mean less because he cannot vote where he might want to vote for politically advantageous reasons?

These six plaintiffs don’t want to surrender their licenses.  It’s not that they can’t surrender it.  You don’t have a right to hold a drivers’ license for a state where you don’t reside. In fact, states like Massachusetts actually require that you do surrender that old license.  It’s not a severe and undue burden on the constitutional right to vote if you have a real option but, at best, you just don’t want to bother and at the worst, you are committing vote fraud.

This is about equal justice under law, for the rich and the poor.  I thought the ACLU was concerned about the injustice of inequality of wealth.  Apparently not.


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