Tuesday, January 29, 2008

STATE OF THE UNION - A voter ID boondoggle that would make the KGB proud

voter fraud

Why aren't Republicans whining about voter fraud during the primaries? Down deep, do they know that there is actually little or no real problem with people showing up to vote who shouldn't be?

JURIST reported last year that a federal panel found the only voter fraud occurs with absentee ballots. (The fact that the report was completed in May but wasn't released until October also suggests the Republican administration didn't like the findings.)

Yet voter ID will undoubtedly be a big issue for Republicans this fall. (Karl Rove can be counted on to perpetuate the hoax.) Note that part of Bush's desultory State of the Union message last night talked about giving employers "the tools" they need to ensure their workers are not illegal immigrants. As BBC reporter Greg Palast blogs, that's code for a kajillion-dollar government giveaway to cronies to build a citizen ID database, preferably one that tracks our fingerprints, DNA and retinal scans (maybe even some face recognition?).

This bill of goods that will shred our Bill of Rights will be sold as a way to ensure none of those pesky illegal immigrants steal our jobs or dilute our votes. Right-wing radio will whip listeners into a frenzy at the thought that hordes of "illegals" will spill across the border straight into the polls to pull the lever for the (female or black) Democratic nominee this fall. The horror. The horror.

What the citizen ID program will really do, of course, is make it easier for the federal government to spy on us. And if you think the Dems will save us from such evils, keep an eye this Friday to see if the Democrats cave to Bush's demands that Congress pass legislation to indemnify the big telcos against lawsuits for the illegal spying on us that they have already done.

At least in Iraq, people who care get to vote. They even get the day off work to do so. Our system instead puts every possible obstacle in the way of people at the bottom of the economic pile. Applying for a new federal ID card is just the latest version of the old-fashioned poll test. Makes you wonder when and if democracy will ever become a priority here, too.

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