Brian Hull received his Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is Senior Consultant with the leading research and strategy firm on U.S. inner city economies. Professionally, he is lead advisor to municipalities and county governments on key trends impacting inner city economies and businesses, works on urban-based economic development projects for organizations and institutions across the country, identifies how large institutions can better provide local economic opportunities for low-income urban residents, and explores innovative workforce development systems to create a more productive local labor force.

18 responses to “Rep. Lima to Introduce Voter ID Repeal Legislation”

  1. AS Daily News Roundup: Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Advocacy Solutions

    [...] ProJo: Ed Fitzpatrick: R.I. to get on board with online fiscal notes (A1) By Edward Fitzpatrick It’s exactly the kind of list we don’t want to be on. On Jan. 11, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report saying Rhode Island is one of seven states that fail to provide the public with online access to fiscal notes. ProJo Letter to the Editor: In agony without pot (B7) By Stuart Smith Governor Chafee has stated repeatedly that he supports the use of medicinal marijuana. Unfortunately, he has failed to translate his words into effective action. The General Assembly approved professionally-run, state-regulated, non-profit centers. The governor chose not to let these centers open. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← AS Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 [...]

  2. Craig OConnor

    Isn’t there also a huge loophole?  I was under impression that the new law also made it a lot easier to vote by mail, in which case voter fraud has been made much EASIER by this law.  I may be wrong about this provision, but if it’s true, then the bill is silly not only in that it is a voting barrier that purports to solve a problem that barely exists, but also doesn’t solve the problem and possibly makes it much worse.

  3. Chris Barnett

    Voter ID simply restores the public’s faith in the integrity of our elections. We respect the fact that not everyone is in favor of Voter ID, but nearly 85 percent of RI’s registered voters say they are. That’s as strong an endorsement from the people as you’ll ever get.
    PS: RI’s Voter ID bill did not address mail ballots. An unrelated bill reduced the number of reasons voters could give for requesting a mail ballot from nine to four — including one for voters who believe it is unlikely they will be able get to their polling place on the day of the election.

  4. Jake Paris

    What an extremely disingenuous description that I’m sure most news agencies picked up.

    As Brian says, I just can’t imagine a world in which the words “illegal voting” weren’t construed as to make the bill seem more effective (that direct opposite response to “illegal”) than it actually is.

    They could have even said “voting reform”, and I would have been interested in the response difference.

  5. RightToWork

    Brian – Your point is a good one, but not the counterexample you chose. On the merits, nobody can rightfully deny that VoterID is intended to prevent “illegal voting.” There are other ways of framing the idea, but even opponents would have to admit that it is technically factually accurate. Your hypothetical differs in that it supplies your own conclusion about the scope of the problem. Simply using the word “illegal” in a question is not some egregious manipulation of perception.

    With regard to the source article, I’ve never heard that elderly voters are “underrepresented” before. That’s a new one. The traditional understanding of political campaigners has been that the elderly are the most coveted demographic because they are hugely overrepresented in voting.

  6. rmoreira

    W need voter ID laws that are even stronger. I don’t buy that immigrants and elder don’t have photo ID’s. I’m an immigrant and I have an ID, my father is is not only an immigrant he is 79 Years and has ID’s with photo. This is just a simple bunch of excuses for not cleaning up the system. In RI the most represented group is the elderly population, simply look who keeps getting voted in; are you kidding me? Let’s not use what happened in South Carolina because all it means is that the law is not strong enough and doesn’t go far enough. 

    1. PinkHatLib

      “I don’t buy that immigrants and elder don’t have photo ID’s.”

      But the facts aren’t with you on that.

      “Citizens Without Proof:  A survey of americans’ possession of documentary proof of citizenship and photo identification”

      As many as 11 percent of United States citizens – more than 21 million individuals – do not have government-issued photo identification. Eleven percent of the American citizens surveyed responded that they do not have current, unexpired government-issued identification with a photograph, such as a driver’s license or military ID.8 Using 2000 census calculations of the citizen voting-age population, this translates to more than 21 million American adult citizens nationwide who do not possess valid government photo ID.

      Elderly citizens are less likely to possess government-issued photo identification. Survey results indicate that seniors disproportionately lack photo identification. Eighteen percent of American citizens age 65 and above do not have current government-issued photo ID.9 Using 2005 census estimates, this amounts to more than 6 million senior citizens.

      Minority citizens are less likely to possess government-issued photo identification. According to the survey, African-American citizens also disproportionately lack photo identification. Twenty-five percent of African-American voting-age citizens have no current government-issued photo ID, compared to eight percent of white voting-age citizens.10 Using 2000 census figures, this amounts to more than 5.5 million adult African-American citizens without photo identification. Our survey also indicated that sixteen percent of Hispanic voting-age citizens have no current government-issued photo ID, but due to a low sample size, the results did not achieve statistical significance.11

      Citizens with comparatively low incomes are less likely to possess photo identification. Citizens earning less than $35,000 per year are more than twice as likely to lack current government-issued photo identification as those earning more than $35,000. Indeed, the survey indicates that at least 15 percent of voting-age American citizens earning less than $35,000 per year do not have a valid government-issued photo ID.12

      Photo identification often does not reflect current information. For many of those who possess current, valid government-issued photo ID, the documentation does not reflect their current information. For example, survey results show that ten percent of voting-age citizens who have current photo ID do not have photo ID with both their current address and their current legal name. The rate is higher among younger citizens: as many as 18 percent of citizens aged 18-24 do not have photo ID with current address and name; using 2004 census tallies, that amounts to almost 4.5 million American citizens.13

      1. RightToWork

        But isn’t the whole progressive schtick that rights aren’t unlimited and therefore “reasonable” restraints should be placed on them through the political process? I don’t see how obtaining a free piece of plastic, to which any citizen of the United States is entitled, is any kind of a meaningful burden if a citizen wants to vote. The risk or even perception of noncitizens voting is something that undermines our entire political process.

        1. PinkHatLib

          Technically there is constitutionally protected right to vote. Perhaps there should be. For now, it’s just a question of whether we chose a system that enfranchises the poor. minorities, and the elderly or we don’t.

          “I don’t see how obtaining a free piece of plastic, to which any citizen of the United States is entitled, is any kind of a meaningful burden if a citizen wants to vote.”

          And what about those that don’t have a birth certiifcate or have a birth certificate with information different than their current legal name? Granted in RI you can just show a bogus health club id and get a fake ID card, no problem. The law here doesn’t do much to stop actual fraud (not that there was much if any to stop anyway). Unfortunately many legitimate voters are sure to get caught up in this.

          1. PinkHatLib

            Er, technically there is NO constitutionally,,,

            1. RightToWork

              You have a Constitutional right to vote. The right is recognized in the 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, and 25th Amendments and mountains of case law. It is, however, subject to reasonable restrictions.

              I’m just not convinced by these “racism” or “ageism” arguments. VoterID is a neutral law of general applicability and it doesn’t burden any class of citizens beyond obtaining a free piece of plastic from the government, to which they are legally entitled. Nothing you describe is a significant obstacle to doing so.

              These arguments also don’t strike me as principled and seem to be entirely outcome-driven, which I’ve already pointed out is a troubling pattern with progressive politics. Progressives are usually unpersuaded by overinclusiveness and underinclusiveness arguments against highly flawed policies they happen to support, such as affirmative action.

              1. PinkHatLib

                “VoterID is a neutral law of general applicability and it doesn’t burden any class of citizens beyond obtaining a free piece of plastic from the government…”

                No burden and yet so many people don’t have a valid picture ID.

                Notably you don’t dispute that the RI law is a farce with regard to stopping those actually intent on commiting voter fraud (reminds me of “The Jerk” – OK, as long as you have a voucher! Anything else, Mrs. Nussbaum?). But tighten those rules, and I think the courts would see the law as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

                1. RightToWork

                  I’m an agnostic on the question of how many illegal votes such a law would stop. I think only a delusional person would claim that it never happens, but putting aside the extent of the problem for a moment, I support the requirement because it’s such a miniscule burden and it would go a long way to restoring the perception of integrity of our voting process, which has greatly eroded in recent years.

                  Corruption is a similar issue in some respects. It’s not that there are a ton of politicians out there taking cash bribes, but when it does happen, it does so much damage to the public perception of our government that it’s worth prosecuting at huge legal expense. From a short-term cost-benefit perspective, prosecuting Chuck Turner for a $1000 bribe isn’t worth it, but it’s important to ensuring the perception of integrity of our government.

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