A Call for Voter ID by labeling Colin Powell a ‘Schmuck’ and ‘Idiot’ by “Conservatives?”

To many it is positive but to others negative that many issues for which one might desire a simple answer is in fact too complex for a definitive, let alone a viable undemanding solution.

If only quick fixes and the one size fits all were always applicable?

Would that be utopia or would it be dystopia?

If you become the victim of identity theft, most likely your state is a dystopian reality but even without that fear or intrusion do you truly experience all to be perfect and ideal?

To apply that simple fix, that mere Band-Aid to a deep seeping wound not be curative just as sutures would be excessive for a typical paper cut.

As election time nears, the topic of voter fraud is once again circulating throughout the blogosphere. The other day, I came across this opinion.  “Colin Powell is such a schmuck. He’s still harping on what he calls the ‘intolerance’ in the Republican Party and suggests voter ID laws are an example of it. He cites the reverse effect these laws had in Florida, though, and says ‘you’re not going to stop us’:  What an idiot. The fact that there was more minority voting is proof that these laws don’t suppress the vote at all.”

Now the writer of that remark and the 120+ individuals or alias screen names who commented mostly in agreement have the right to their opinions. The “proof” does not stand up to any rational reasoning in my opinion because there is no distinction between correlations and causations in assessing what is designated as “fact” or associated with the term “suppress.” It appears, however, that the goal of the writer is merely to “tell people what they want to hear” as the chorus of acclamations illustrate.

What bothers me is that in the 84 second clip provided, the opinion of Colin Powell is not viewed as an individual’s right to his opinion but as an affront or attack on those who disagree which illustrates the “intolerance” the General is suggesting.

Voter ID

It appears that the “solution” for those who agree with writer(s) of this blog in reference to Colin Powell believe that a simple requirement that all voters must show a photo ID before casting their vote is the answer. Anyone who argues otherwise is employing the “race card” according to what I read.

Let’s keep emotions and explosive issues out and just ask what constitutes as a valid photo ID?  Do my faculty IDs count or my old student IDs?  How about my other employer and civilian and military IDs? I’ve never been outside the continental United States, so I do not have a passport, but I have been issued a driver’s license by every individual state where I have resided for more than 1 year since the age of 16.

Many people appear to think that either a state issued driver’s license or ID card if one does not drive is sufficient proof to bring to the voting precinct.

Sounds reasonable but…

How difficult does anyone think it is to forge a state issued identification card? Watch practically any of the popular television shows in the last century and one episode will likely involve someone underage trying to purchase alcohol or like a Happy Days episode enter a strip club. In some places it is probably easier and more convenient to obtain fraudulent identification versus official.

Seriously, I’ve waited in some DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or their equivalents known by other names for periods of time where I could have run a 10 K, held a crawfish boil for family and friends, washed, waxed, and detailed my truck, and sat back and read the New Testament all in probably less time than it took to take a little eye test, check the I WANT TO BE AN ORGAN DONOR space, ink my John Hancock with a stylus within a space limitation where my signature might actually be read as John Hancock, have a bad photo taken which looks nothing like me, wait for a small laminated card to shove in my wallet, and pull out the cash while I wait in another line to pay for that card.

Idiot You Can’t Fake IDs Anymore

Look I’m not questioning the credentials of the poll workers. I’ve even served as a poll worker and served as a poll watcher for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents for whom I worked in some capacity on their campaigns. Such a visual inspection by either the worker or a watcher of that worker would not be capable of determining fake from legitimately issued identification cards. I’m also familiar with REAL ID and how smoothly that has worked out with the individual states, and if it solved anything why are people still making the same ID requirement arguments for voting.

The Actual ID Problem

We have outdated and inefficient personal identification systems in the United States. On the Federal level much of our present day identification is still linked to a system which began in 1936 and was intended for another purpose.

Issuing photo identification cards and maintaining records are the responsibilities of the individual states and local level governments within those states. A Constitutional argument on the legitimacy of that procedure is valid in my opinion.  The standards, however, are not equal when going from location to location. All the patches both before and after the REAL ID Act of 2005 have not made the process more efficient.

My image is that of a tow chain. All it takes is a single weak link and instead of pulling a vehicle out of the mud, someone is severely injured from either the projectile of that weak link or the whip from the remainder of the chain, or hopefully in the best case scenario you only have some dents or scratches in your truck. (NOTE:  Please have all bystanders take cover when using a winch or trying to tow something because accidents can be tragic).

Enough or Excess?

There is a potential solution, biometrics which are authentication techniques that rely on measurable physical characteristics for identification. You can read a quick listing of different biometric schemes such as retina or iris scanning here.

Since 2007, passports in the United States have contained chips which allow biometric usage of facial recognitions, so the technology has and is being used.

About one year ago the Editorial Board at the Washington Post presented a case for a National ID in response to some immigration arguments.

Forbes countered with a piece arguing that while the Post presentation had merit, the oversimplification in that presentation created another problem where the author addressed some of the same issues I mentioned above with the Actual ID problem. He continued with statements in support of biometrics.

Excess or Enough?

There are obvious technical concerns with a biometric identification card. Some are paranoid about government and government spying. My opinion is that some of that fear is warranted while part is beyond a possibility.

Would the information be safe?  Technology has advanced enough for one to believe that the information is locked away from others with a reasonable degree of assurance. Still, it does not take much to change that storage container from locked to unlocked.

Did Target willing release all of its data? How many similar breaches have gone undiscovered or undisclosed in other private businesses? Again, one weak link makes the strongest chain only as strong as that weak link.

Here is an example of how the state of Florida is dealing with biometrics and fraud, not with voting but in lunch.

Requiring a photo ID at the time and place of casting a vote will not stop voter fraud. Such simplistic arguments only fan emotions and divert attention from discovering solutions. Biometrics could be that solution, but for many with a current state issued photo ID those extra steps necessary for them to obtain a new ID which could prove their identity with the greatest degree of certainty current technology can offer would be argued as an imposition upon them or a usurpation of their rights.

The Charade

Last October, I wrote the following which relates forms and degrees of voting fraud from the historical and ideological perspectives

In practically every election, fraudulent votes are cast. Also, individuals who would cast legitimate votes are kept from submitting their ballot in different manners. No political ideology has a monopoly on intimidation and suppression even here in the United States. If one truly wanted to change the results of an election illegally, one would need to influence either the registration or tallying process and not focus resources at the ballot box.

The problem with voting is apathy. Fewer and fewer vote.

Voter ID solves nothing.

Of course I told nobody what they wanted to hear, so I do not expect rousing endorsements.

How many stitches does it take to close up a paper cut? Perhaps for some it is best to keep stretching that cut so that one has an excuse to cry out without putting their lives on the line for this country and its people whether you agree or disagree with their ideology.

Why is status quo acceptable when a change might impact someone positively but cause you to make an extra effort? Why is change acceptable when it’s that other person who needs to change and not me? Why and how did these 86 seconds by Colin Powell become a scathing attack necessitating a total lack of respect? Where again is the “intolerance?”