Scott Walker, Asshole of the Day for October 15, 2014
Voter ID laws sound like they are common sense attempts to keep the integrity of voting. However, they target an area in which there is almost no fraud at all under non-Voter ID laws. And when I say almost no fraud, I mean no documented instances in the last two decades in which a close election would have swung based on that amount of fraud. None at all. And even Judge Posner, who once ruled in favor of Voter ID laws, has now come to the conclusion that Voter ID laws are not about fraud, but about eroding minority voting.
And yet Republicans persist in pushing these laws and defending them. Here’s Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defending his law:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ® defended his state’s voter ID law during a gubernatorial debate against Democratic nominee Mary Burke on Friday, saying that the number of would-be fraudulent voters the law stops doesn’t matter.
“It doesn’t matter if there’s one, 100, or 1,000,” Walker said during the debate. His comments were flagged by Politico. “Amongst us, who would be that one person who would like to have our vote canceled out by a vote that was cast illegally?”
“It doesn’t matter if there’s one or 1000.” And if it’s only one, then I’m guessing zero doesn’t matter either. Because his argument is that if even one vote is canceled out, or one vote might be canceled, then that’s too much.
Of course the odds are that no votes are being canceled out. And the whole canceled out is just a weak argument anyways, based on a simplification of voting– the idea that if I vote one way and you vote the other, then our votes cancel out. Perhaps, but a fraudulent vote doesn’t cancel any one person’s vote; it is part of a large pool of votes. In a pool of 10,000 votes, one fraudulent vote cancels not one person’s vote, but everyone’s in a very tiny way– 1/9,999th.
Now maybe you say but any fraud is too much. But what’s the balance here? Because the GAO found that Voter ID laws cut the youth and minority vote by 2-3%. 2-3% of completely legitimate voters not getting to cast a vote versus 0.00001% of votes that might be in-person voter fraud that could be solved by Voter ID laws. Is that an acceptable balance? No. Not unless your real goal is to diminish voting by minorities and youth.
And it’s funny to that a guy like Walker who’s running for reelection to be saying that it doesn’t matter if this policy works or if its results come down to only one isolated vote. Would Walker say it doesn’t matter if his economic policies created one job, one thousand jobs, or one hundred thousand jobs? I think not.
And vote fraud is a crime, so let’s compare it to other crimes. What governor would defend a law that stopped only one crime from being committed while inconveniencing 2-3% of his state’s citizens? Why is voting special to Scott Walker, if not because he wants fewer minorities and youth to exercise their completely legitimate right to vote?
So, yes, Scott Walker it does matter whether it’s one or one hundred or one thousand. It matters because in the balance are completely legitimate votes that won’t be cast. And voting matters, so please stop pretending you care about voting if you’re making it hard for people to do it. So, for continuing to defend a law that does more harm than good by only focusing on the theoretical situation where it does good, Scott Walker is Asshole of the Day.
It is Scott Walker’s fourth time being named Asshole of the Day. His previous wins were for
- signing a bill restricting the rights of women IN SECRET
- claiming that giving gay citizens some rights but not all of the rights that other citizens enjoy is a “healthy balance”
- suggesting parents donate to his campaign instead of giving Christmas gifts to their children
Full story: Talking Points Memo.
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