Patterico's Pontifications

1/16/2008

Contest: Fisk Adam Cohen

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:06 am

I don’t have time to fisk this piece of nonsense by Adam Cohen on the voter ID law case. So let’s make it an open-source project. See how many errors, distortions, and pieces of not-necessarily-true annoying liberal dogma you can find.

Here’s a sample to get you interested:

In recent years, however, with a conservative majority in place, the court has become increasingly hostile to voters. During the oral arguments in the Bush v. Gore case in 2000, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor showed disdain for voters who had trouble with Florida’s disastrous punch-card ballots. After insisting that the directions “couldn’t be clearer,” she suggested that the court ignore the ballots of voters who had failed to master the intricacies. That is precisely what it did, by a 5-4 vote.

And this:

It might seem that today’s court is simply judicially restrained, deferring to rules adopted by the democratically elected branches. Recently, however, the court struck down parts of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that limited “Swift boat” style attack ads on the eve of elections. It was perfectly willing to reverse a federal law when the political power of corporations and wealthy individuals was at stake.

It’s just chock-full of that kind of stuff.

Go forth and fisk. Best fisking wins a prize to be determined later — most likely, a virtual pat on the head.

49 Responses to “Contest: Fisk Adam Cohen”

  1. Asking for identification at the polls may sound reasonable, but an Indiana law disenfranchises large numbers of people without driver’s licenses, especially poor and minority voters.

    1. Driver’s licenses is not the requirement;
    2. “[L]arge numbers of people” is something he pulled out of his hat;
    3. “[P]oor … voters”, ditto;
    4. “[M]inority … voters, ditto.

    It’s always easier when you make things up.

    Ok, who’ll take up the next sentence?

    nk (95162d)

  2. Not having transportation to get to a polling site can be disenfranchising as well.

    To overcome this hardship, everyone should be entitled to have a polling station established in their garage in order to overcome this inconvenience.

    wls (67acee)

  3. Fourth paragraph from the bottom:
    Restrictions on voting are subject to heightened constitutional scrutiny…

    More that the Bill Rights?

    …and the state cannot justify the enormous burdens the law imposes.

    What is this unnamed “enormous” burden?

    There is no evidence that in-person vote fraud has ever occurred in the state, but there is considerable evidence that voters will be disenfranchised.

    Funny, Adam doesn’t present any evidence that voters will be disenfranchised, much less “considerable” evidence.

    Indiana could have deterred fraud in less harmful ways, including by accepting a wider range of ID’s.

    Doesn’t it make fraud easier by accepting a “wider” range of IDs?

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  4. I saw an interview last night with Ted Shaw, President of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, who was certain after the SC arguments last week that they would lose the case.

    He repeated the argument that the photo ID requirement would unnecessarily exclude eligible voters and disproportionately affect impoverished black communities, since many in these communities lack the necessary documentation to secure the required photo identification and must therefore pay various fees to obtain copies of these documents.

    Justice Kennedy reportedly asked, “You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it’s a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters?”

    I did find suspicious that this law was passed on a party line vote, and Shaw made the point that both parties are angling for any advantage in a closely divided electorate, implying that this was the point of the Republican passage of the law. But I’d wait until they could prove some actual discrimination, not theoretical arguments, before invalidating a law most of us feel is reasonable.

    Dubium (0a6237)

  5. it will be a sad new chapter in its abandonment of voters

    rhetorical prefiguring arguing and pattern not in evidence

    As long as there have been elections, there have been attempts to keep eligible people from voting. States and localities adopted poll taxes, literacy tests, “white primaries,”

    That’s right requiring that the person prove identity is the same as a poll tax (especially when the ID is free as in GA)

    Since Bush v. Gore, disdain for voters has become the norm (gives two examples)

    Come on at least try for three especially when one example hasn’t been decided

    The five conservative justices may like the fact that voter ID laws increase the odds that Republicans will hold on to the White House in 2008. Or they may have a disregard for poor and minority voters that transcends partisan politics

    I guess the word “may” keeps this from being slanderous (or is it libel?).

    Isn’t this the same case where the plaintiffs included a woman registered in two states? It would seem there is a demonstrable problem.

    Dr T (69c4b2)

  6. in its abandonment of voters” If anything, the Court has shown hostility to some voters, such as those who aren’t eligible to vote, those who can’t prove their eligibility to vote or those who are who dumb to understand the process of casting a vote… but ALL voters? Not even close.

    attempts to keep eligible people from voting (by) drawing district lines to give a small number of rural voters… ” Doing so diminishes the relative value of some votes, but doesn’t keep anyone from voting.

    steve sturm (40e5a6)

  7. Wls #2 just woke me up to Cohen’s implication by the use of the phrase “driver’s licenses” that you cannot vote unless you know how to drive.

    Forget Cohen. He’s not worth fisking. Let’s just plain insult him. I’ll start: He’s a lying jerk.

    nk (95162d)

  8. NK: he’s a jerk, not a lying one, as he (probably) believes what he is writing.

    steve sturm (40e5a6)

  9. Check this out

    The issue before the court is whether or not the law, in fact, actually disenfranchises anyone. However, Cohen states, as stone tablet truth, that the law does, in fact, disenfranchise people. This is a serious logical fallacy called “Begging the Question.” He states the conclusion of the argument as the premise that supports his conclusion.
    http://bluecrabboulevard.com/2008/01/15/logical-fallacy/

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  10. Asking for identification at the polls may sound reasonable, but an Indiana law disenfranchises large numbers of people without driver’s licenses, especially poor and minority voters.

    Then it is patently unfair for my bank to ask for photo ID to withdraw money or cash a check. Our local Home Depot is unfair since I have to show my photo ID when I use my credit card as does my grocery store. I can’t get on an airplane without a photo ID, enter the courthouse, or pick up my grandchildren at school without one. So then the poor and minorities of this country do not bank, have credit cards, drive, travel via air lines or do many of the other things that Americans do on a daily basis. Being snarky, I could say, how do they cash their welfare checks or use food stamps.

    It is obvious to me that the anti-photo ID for voting people want to protect voter fraud by the Democrats. I saw it 45 years ago in Philadelphia, up front and close, and I doubt that it is less now than then.

    amr (c36902)

  11. AMR #10: it may be unfair for banks and Home Depot to do so, but they can get away with more than is the case when it comes to voting.

    steve sturm (40e5a6)

  12. Steve strum, what are these stores/banks “getting away with” when they require ID?

    reff (bff229)

  13. The decision was 7-2, the 5-4 decision was against allowing Florida more time than their laws stated to do another recount. Right?

    This isn’t really fiskable, but it did make me laugh.
    “Swift boat” style attack ads on the eve of elections
    That was more correct than he thought, after all, true “Swift boat style attack ads” truthfully relate a candidate’s history. I’m not sure why he’s for regulating political speech.
    Oh wait, I get it. He works for a “news” paper, they can attack their enemies at will while avoiding McCain/Feingold.

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  14. I think Democrats hate the poor and minorities, since they won’t allow them photo ID, a requirement for an ever increasing number of vital social and economic activities.

    Where are the “No Child Without A Card” marches?

    “What do we want?
    PHOTO IDs!
    When do we want them?
    NOW!”

    “Cash That Check! Cash That Check! Cash That Check!”

    Techie (ed20d9)

  15. Asking for identification at the polls may sound reasonable, but an Indiana law disenfranchises large numbers of people without driver’s licenses, especially poor and minority voters.

    They can get an Indiana ID card in lieu of a driver’s license. It’s just $13 for six years.

    As long as there have been elections, there have been attempts to keep eligible people from voting.

    For example, slashing the tires of vans rented to take voters to the polls, or throwing away the voter registration cards for people registering for a certain party.

    During the oral arguments in the Bush v. Gore case in 2000, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor showed disdain for voters who had trouble with Florida’s disastrous punch-card ballots.

    Gee, Florida eight-year-olds were able to figure the ballot cards out. Can you say, “are you smarter than a second-grader?”

    The court rejected two successive challenges to gerrymandered Congressional districts. One was Tom DeLay’s brazen redrawing of the lines in Texas, which all but guaranteed a Republican victory and made the voters seem irrelevant.

    As opposed to when Texas DEMOCRATS gerrymandered the state in 1991?

    If I win, I’d like my blog (The Underground Conservative) added to your blogroll as my prize.

    :-)

    Frank C. (7bec86)

  16. Republicans are disenfranchising women, old people, and minorities. There, Cohen. I was able to distill your entire article down to 8 words.

    JD (8fd56a)

  17. Voter fraud disenfranchises legitimate voters. I can’t tell you how frustrated people from Central Pennsylvania get when they see Philadelphia register more votes than there are registered voters year after year. Makes people wonder why they bother to vote at all, which is probably part of the plan.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  18. Swift boaters mostly just aired John Kerry’s recorded voice from the 60s. Nothing they said was ever proven false, and a hell of a lot was proven true. They proved that Kerry lied, and raised serious questions about other possible lies.

    They were upfrotn and honest, and we know exactly who the accusers were. Why is this the wrong way to attack a politician? How is this not absolutely protected under the first amendment?

    Jem (9e390b)

  19. What do the Democrats want? Do they want those Mexican “Matricula” cards accepted as ID for voting?

    PCD (5c49b0)

  20. Can I reject the premise right off the bat? Cohen says:

    Asking for identification at the polls may sound reasonable, but an Indiana law disenfranchises large numbers of people without driver’s licenses, especially poor and minority voters.

    Here’s the Indiana Secretary of State’s website:
    http://www.in.gov/sos/photoid/index.html

    Under “What kinds of ID are acceptable?” it lists: Driver’s Licenses, Passports, Military IDs, and Indiana Photo IDs. The Indiana Photo ID is available FREE OF CHARGE if you present a birth certificate and another of a vast array of documents (http://www.in.gov/sos/photoid/checklist.html) to prove your residence.

    But what if you don’t have a residence? There’s also a procedure (this is the 17 mile reference) for “indigent” people. It’s under the ID exceptions link. You can file a provisional vote then travel “the 17 miles” to the clerk’s office to explain that you’re homeless.

    Does the law prevent people without a driver’s license from voting? No – just have another form of ID. Homeless and can’t get an ID? Just show up in person at the clerk’s office to justify your claim.

    This law doesn’t disenfranchise anyone that wants to vote.

    Steven Powell (0de2e7)

  21. back for some more:

    “… DeLay’s brazen redrawing of the lines in Texas, which all but guaranteed a Republican victory ” NO, it all but guaranteed a Republican majority of the Texas Congressional delegation (19 GOP out of 32 seats). And if by ‘victory’, he was referring to a GOP capture of the Presidential electors, surely he isn’t stupid enough to not know that those are awarded on the basis of the statewide vote and thus aren’t affected by any gerrymandering?

    “… and made the voters seem irrelevant No, keeping the lines as they were, with Congressional districts that favored the Democrats (17-15 edge in 2002), would have made Texas voters irrelevant. At worst, the decision made Democratic voters somewhat less relevant, not all voters.

    steve sturm (40e5a6)

  22. Not entering the contest, but I have been an election judge in many elections where paper ballots were used, and if you can’t or won’t follow the instructions, your vote is in great danger of being either discarded or wrongly counted.

    How using a machine can change that fact of the world I do not understand. We are election judges, not mindreaders.

    htom (412a17)

  23. if you can’t or won’t follow the instructions, your vote is in great danger of being either discarded or wrongly counted

    That is a pretty lax standard. If you can’t or won’t follow the instructions, your vote should be discarded, and never counted.

    JD (75f5c3)

  24. steve_strum

    NK: he’s a jerk, not a lying one, as he (probably) believes what he is writing.

    OK, he’s a deluded jerk.

    Isn’t this the same case where the plaintiffs included a woman registered in two states? It would seem there is a demonstrable problem.

    Yes, thereby demonstrating the fraud that the law is designed to detect.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  25. Actually, in the ’90’s I served as an election inspector. On one occasion, I watched a woman attempt to vote in a precinct I was visiting in the morning. She kept trying to guess a name on the election roll but could not supply the address. The clerk asked her if she had something with her address on it to compare to the roll but she didn’t. She then voted provisionally.

    I saw the same woman appear at another precinct that afternoon and do it again. We found several ballots with her handwriting in the provisional ballot stack and do not know if she succeeded in convincing another precinct to let her vote non-provisionally in that election.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. JD said —
    That is a pretty lax standard. If you can’t or won’t follow the instructions, your vote should be discarded, and never counted.

    Well, that’s what we tried to do. Sometimes you look at the ballot and you can understand it, even if it’s not letter-perfect correct (someone draws a tiny x in the lower left corner of the box, or uses little checkmarks, or draws outside the box, or marks several and then scratches through all of the boxes and writes in a candidate); that you can understand, even if the directions show a large centered X).

    Punches were really easier, we reminded folk to be sure and remove all of the hangers before putting them in the box. If there was a hanger or a dimpled, all of those were assumed to be damage by the machine, not the voter.

    htom (412a17)

  27. As long as there have been elections, there have been attempts to keep eligible people from voting. States and localities adopted poll taxes, literacy tests, “white primaries,” “malapportionment” — drawing district lines to give a small number of rural voters the same representation as a large number of urban voters — and restrictions on student voting. In recent decades, the Supreme Court has rejected all of them.

    I recall a SCotUS case last year regarding Colorado and redistricting…

    The People go fucked by the state court, in violation of state law and state constitution, and it got chucked.

    Really, it’s almost painful to read this guy’s idiocy…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  28. I did find suspicious that this law was passed on a party line vote, and Shaw made the point that both parties are angling for any advantage in a closely divided electorate, implying that this was the point of the Republican passage of the law. But I’d wait until they could prove some actual discrimination, not theoretical arguments, before invalidating a law most of us feel is reasonable.

    The SC has long held that simply because it was a decicive vote does not mean it was a BAD vote.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  29. NK: he’s a jerk, not a lying one, as he (probably) believes what he is writing.

    And the hobo on the corner thinks he’s jesus…

    Does mean he isn’t lying when he makes his claim…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  30. surely he isn’t stupid enough

    False assumption #1, Sturm…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  31. “What do we want?
    PHOTO IDs!
    When do we want them?
    NOW!”

    ¡Sí, Se Puede!

    Pablo (99243e)

  32. Patterico, how can anyone fisk this? It is beyond parody.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  33. #27 Scott – “The SC has long held that simply because it was a decicive vote does not mean it was a BAD vote.”

    Yes, Scott, I don’t have a problem with party line votes per se. It’s just a question here of whether there’s a legitimate problem of voter fraud in Indiana that needs a fix, or whether the impetus for the law was to make it more difficult for legitimate Democratic voters to vote.

    I always have a problem with restrictions on people voting when they are legitimate voters. But, as I said, this may turn out to be a case of “no harm, no foul,” and my opinion is we should wait to see if the law has an actual discriminatory effect in practice, not just in theory.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  34. Comsdering it is democrats that often benifit from fraudulent votes, I would hardly expect any of them to vote in favor of anything that might limit that benifit…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  35. jayhub – That is a complete strawman. A state does not have to wait until there is a serious problem before addressing it. Indiana, where I live, does not have to wait until the thousands of illegals start voting until it passes legislation to address it. They do not have to wait until ACORN comes through and fraudulently registers voters like they did in OH and MO, and various places hither and yon. IN supplies people with free ID cards. The idea that it is some kind of cumbersome burden to provide proof of who you are is laughable. You have to do that do work for a company, buy cigarettes, booze (all State required), cash a check, return stuff to Target, and countless other routine activities of daily living. The idea that proving you are who you are and you live in the district where you are trying to vote is some kind of onerous burden is simply laughable.

    JD (3cdc37)

  36. Patterico – Thanks for pointing this out. He is consistently one of the most over-the-top Leftist media folks out there. He can give the Gleens, Krugman, and Dalia a run for their money any day of the week.

    JD (3cdc37)

  37. “swift boat style ads”

    These guys should learn that they’ll be more convincing with the other side if they use phrases like “borking” rather than “swift-boating.”

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  38. If someone can check archives for the Anderson, IN newspaper, three or four years ago, they arrested the former county chairman for one of the major parties and one of his relatives for voter fraud. If a person in Indiana needs to go to a license branch, or the polls on election day, they can call their party headquarters, and they will be furnished transportation.

    hazy (56a0a8)

  39. hazy, here’s an article about Democrats committing voter fraud in Anderson, IN in 2004. I assume that’s what you referred to.

    Antimedia (1285f5)

  40. Horrifying.

    And not a link in the whole piece, so readers can check his sources. He’s just spouting off his own uninformed biases. Just what you’d expect from a ranting crab grass blogger. Good thing we have reputable papers like the New York Times that tell the truth.

    What was that? You mean to tell me . . .?

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  41. JD, I don’t personally know anyone as poor as the people it is argued could be impacted by this, so I can’t tell if it’s a strawman, but two arguments I heard in opposition were that homeless people have not lost the right to vote but don’t have the routine activities of daily living you describe, and a story of an 87 year old Indiana woman, born in Georgia, but where there was no record of her birth. She has always voted, but now faces a hurdle in getting an Indiana ID.

    I’m not opposing the law, but think we should determine its actual effect over time. Ultimately, I’m in favor of those who have the right to vote having no trouble voting and those who don’t have the right to vote not voting. Since as many have pointed out, the issue has political consequences, I don’t trust either party in this argument. They both have to much too gain or lose. I would be much happier with a non-partisan commission investigating and then determining the remedy. The same way I’d like to see redistricting handled by some non-partisan body rather than a legislature in which the main objective is to gather and protect power. Don’t these violations of the democratic process bother you?

    JayHub (0a6237)

  42. #41 In the case of the 87 year old lady, I imagine that cases like this are few. I would suggest that a voting record for her could be obtained from the local registrar to be used as verification and that an IN id based on that, her lease, rental agreement, property deed, etc. could be used to establish residency. Long documented history in the community would go a long way to establish legitimacy. If needed, a procedure to validate identity could be established to take care of all these cases. Common sense being the guiding principle here.

    I agree on the redistricting. I would like to see districts that make sense. I would like to see districts setup so that every district is in play every election. Not sure how to make that happen other than single term limits. 😎

    Jay Curtis (8f6541)

  43. The justices also seem poised… to uphold New York’s undemocratic process for selecting state court judges.”

    Yes, they did so yesterday, and unanimously. It sure undercuts his assertion that conservative justices are out to screw ‘voters’ when even the liberal Justices vote against him, doesn’t it?

    FWIW, I was surprised that the liberals on the Court knew, per as Stevens and Souter, that “The Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from enacting stupid laws”.

    steve sturm (40e5a6)

  44. Don’t these violations of the democratic process bother you?

    I am not willing to make that kind of blanket assumption that this is a violation of the democratic process.

    JD (75f5c3)

  45. Just a general observation.

    If you look at the number of registered voters in a state and compare it to the number of people eligible to register it is unlikely that identification is the burden controlling that activity.

    Then look at the voter participation out of those who are registered and the case gets even weaker.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  46. Mexico issues every citizen a voter ID card with picture and thumb print. One thing they do right. Funny, the opposition won an election for the first time in 60+ years after these IDs went in to effect.

    BKB (14b830)

  47. Ha Ha! Claro Si, we should not have good ID in california. Why, then the domestic version of the PRI (aka the California Democratic party) could suffer defeat – cannot have that, can we? And the spector of victory would scare the republicans too – they may actually have to have state representatives with IQ’s in the double digits, to actually capture votes instead of “inheriting” seats.

    Californio (901620)

  48. ¡Californio!

    ¡We miss you at the Festering Swamp!

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)


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