Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Photo IDs and poll taxes

My piece on this subject, occasioned by a preliminary injunction handed down in this case, is posted at The American Enterprise Online, which is offering two or three new columns every day.

This is a clear case of political judging, with a Jimmy Carter-appointed federal judge siding with Democrats and a Democratic Secretary of State with gubernatorial ambitions against a Republican governor (up for reelection next year) and a Republican legislature. Carter himself has intervened in the dispute, despite the fact that his very own electoral reform commission has recommended photo ID’s. So we have Carter siding with his judge against his commission. When will the man pipe down?

Update: I learned from the AJC’s Jim Wooten that Harold Murphy, the judge in this case, is the cousin of long-time Democratic House Speaker Tom Murphy. As Wooten, the AJC’s lone conservative, puts it: "Often it’s true: You pick the judge, you pick the outcome. Appeal."

Discussions - 21 Comments seems to be down.

It’s really unfair to go after Carter for objecting to this measure. The details are critical.

what do you mean?


In this case, as in many others, Carter’s rhetoric is over the top. But that’s only a minor point. The big issue is the judge taking sides in an essentially political dispute, substituting his political judgment for that of the elected officials.

I don’t like the sound of this:

"...the mechanism the state has chosen to make photo IDs available to those who don’t have or can’t afford driver’s licenses—an affidavit stating that you can’t afford to pay the modest fee..."

It’s not the humiliation aspect that troubles me about that (although people generally must reveal their face anytime they go out in public, driving or not, while they don’t have to reveal personal financial info.) nearly as much as the government intrusiveness as to how the State intends to verify this claim. Will those who are willing to jump the hurdle of the affidavit be required to hand over their tax returns and bank statements, or even more?

But really why should anyone have to pay to vote?


The opinion is a pretty fair one. The judge spends a lot of time developing the facts so that the issue can be examined on appeal, and it’s hard to say that he was biased in his application of the rather demanding Supreme Court precedents in this area. Isn’t your quarrel really with those precedents, not with this particular judge?

Ashland Voter,

State officials are simply taking people’s word for it, no questions asked, if they say they can’t afford the photo ID fee. Obviously, anyone who already has a driver’s license or some other official ID can already prove his or her identity.


My quarrel is with both the precedents and the judge, who apparently gave short shrift to legislative intent and accepted at face value the statements of Cathy Cox, the Democratic Secretary of State (who is seeking the gubernatorial nomination). The balance he was allowed to strike under the more lenient of the two precedents amounts to a pure judgment call (one more properly left to a legislature), one that is all the more suspect, given his almost cavalier dismissal of legislative intent (he questions whether there’s a rational basis for the photo ID requirement).


I skimmed the opinion. I like how the plaintiffs found probably the only person in all of Georgia that does not have an id, cannot drive, etc in order to have standing to bring suit. I found that most amusing.

I think it fails the rational basis test because of the vote-at-home exception to the photo id rule. The legitimate state interest in this case is preventing voter fraud. I think it passes that portion of rational basis. The means (the bill) the legislature chose to accomplish is self defeating and therefore irrational. If the goal is to eliminate voter fraud, then why did the legislature expand at home voting, and not require at home voters to show photo id? I imagine the bill is substantially underinclusive, it only targets one potential class of voters that could fradulently vote, and it completly ignores another.

I think this bill would be equivalent to a State passing a highway bill stating the speed limit would be 55 mph in the entire state in the interests of public safety, except for a 10 mile stretch of road where people can do 1,000 miles an hour.

If States want to get serious about voter fraud, eliminate at home voting. Then I would think it would pass rational basis, though having to pay for a photo id might be a poll tax and run afoul of some federal statute, or constitutional amendment.

We don’t need unresponsible voters. We need voters that can THINK! I see no problem what so ever with the government sending registered voters a good, informitive publication such as National Review, and making them pass a quiz or a test - 2 pages perchance - to test them on what they know so that the test shows us what they know about how our government works and why America is the ideal that the rest of the world is trying to measure up to. I do’nt see why some welfare mother driving her 20 kids around in her Lincoln Navigador should be able to take money out of my pocket any longer and when she votes that is exactly what they are doing! Make these people get jobs and read some Sir William F Buckley (he’s royalty in MY book!) before they can cast a vote to ruin our good nation. These Georgia people are starting to remind me of those crazy people in New Orlaens. Does anyone else realize that New Orlaens is a city connected to France? That’s NOT just a coincetence I am sure of that much! Ok, I need to go back to work like you good gentlemen, so goodbye.

Does anyone still think "Mack Sandpaper" isn’t a parody? If so, his last comment should remove any doubts.

Haven’t we been over this before HH? I don’t appreciate your tone, buddy. If you have something interesting to say or, would like to debate me on the issue at hand, then please do so. Otherwise, zip it. Thank you very kindly.

Also a quick correction. In comment 10 , the word should have been spelled "coincidence’. Sorry.

Hal- why couldn’t Mack Sandpaper be a real person? SOMEONE besides the few dozen right-wing wonks at NLT had to vote Bush into office. I suspect that most Bush voters were a lot more like Mack than they were Steven Hayward, Peter Schramm and Knippy.

Oh, and I am NOT Mack Sandpaper, so please spare me that inevitable accusation.

Oh, and Mack, if you ARE real- "UNresponsible?" "New Orlaens?" Come on, buddy. No one’s perfect, but if you want to spout off about New Orleans, you should at least be able to spell it correctly. Presumably, if you KNOW enough about it to comment on it, then you’ve read something about it and would therefore have an idea of how to spell it.

I know Mack Sandpaper is a parody, because National Review is an erudite publication, and the kind of people who read it don’t use nonsense words like "unresponsible." I also doubt that NR readers watch "Home Improvement," which he’s recommended to us in the past. Now, if he were recommending that everyone read the Limbaugh Letter, then I might believe he’s the real thing.

I see your point, Hal, but notice that Mack does not actually claim to READ the National Review- he just calls it "a good, informative publication." This doesn’t mean that HE is actually informed by it. You may remember a moron who was posting regularly a few months back- a guy using the irritating "...." for a name. He seemed to be trying to come across as an intellectual, but gave himself away w/ his frequent grammar and spelling mistakes. Why couldn’t Mack be another "...." type?

Hal Holst seems to be obsessed with "outing" Mack as a parody with a single-minded passion that reminds me of a liberal gay trying to out one of the many anti-gay gay Republicans. Personally, I’d say that the odds that Mack is "fake" are about 50/50 - that is, pretty much the same as plenty of others here, including Hal himself. I swear, just about the only time I see Hal Holst comment here is subsequent to a Mack Sandpaper post. Perhaps they are one in the same? And by the way, Home Improvement, while an abysmal show, was immensely popular. To think that there were no No Left Turns readers among the unwashed masses of H.I. fans is not only wishful thinking, but elitist to boot. And seriously, read this again:

"Now, if he were recommending that everyone read the Limbaugh Letter, then I might believe he’s the real thing."

So, I know that conservatives have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for their "erudite" ($2 word!) cred these days, but the Limbaugh Letter?? THAT is the standard for "the real thing"?? I mean, hell, even this blog bests that, if only slightly! And Mack is clearly at least as much a regular here as Holst is. Thanks for the laughs, Hal!

Go back and re-read what I actually wrote, M.E.S. Maybe then you’ll see that I wasn’t holding that up the Limbaugh Letter as any kind of ideal conservative magazine. Far from it.

Oh, ok, Hal. I getcha. You were just making another inter-right snobbish distinction between The Elite Sages here at No Left Turns (including, presumably, commenters such as yourself) and the country bumpkin rednecks (or whatever you call them) whom you’re quite happy were Bush voters, but you really think of them as ignorant lessers who have good hearts but little upstairs. But I think the sharp line you’re apparently drawing between The Intellectual Right (such as NLT) and the Dumb-Who-Vote-Right is largely a feel-good fantasy. As Jerry Noles pointed out in a thread several months ago, Limbaugh has been honored by the Intellectual Right. Take for instance, (please, take it!) The Claremont Institute, an academic institute of a very similar nature to the Ashbrook Center. Claremont is mentioned, referred to or recommended by bloggers here (we’re often directed to Ken Masugi) fairly regularly. THEY gave their no-doubt prestigious Winston Churchill -yes, you heard right - Windston Churchill! WooHoo!! - Statesmanship Award to none other than Rush Limbaugh, a little less than a year ago. I bet more than one NoLeftTurns blogger - and they politicos they cheer on - would love to have that Churchill head on his or her mantle! Limbaugh in his boundless humility has the transcript of what San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos (??) said as he introduced Rush and gave him the award:

"The standard for The Claremont Institute’s statesmanship award is high. We honor only those who look up to strive for the noticeable principles of justice, right and liberty. Our guest of honor tonight also shares something in common with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Clarence Thomas, and William F. Buckley, each of whom has received The Claremont Institute’s statesmanship award. On behalf of its board of directors, fellow staff and thousands of supporters across the nation, I am proud to present the 2004 statesmanship award to my good friend, great friend, Rush Limbaugh! (Applause)"

(bold emphasis mine, applause noted by Limbaugh, of course) Wow, that’s some good company, eh? Like a No Left Turns Hall of Idols! So, Hal, I think you’re pretty delusional if you think that mailboxes that hold National Review are of a different, and mutually exclusive, caliber than those that get the Limbaugh Letter. I’m sure there’s some overlap there, and perhaps Mack, if he’s real, is in this category.

Hal, why did’nt you just zip it like I asked you to? You have nothing to say and you won’t debate me on any subject that is being talked about that is being of importance. Its pretty insulting the way you talk about me like I am a zoo animal and you are some kind of liberal college proffesor with a jacket with elbow patches! Not that its anyone business but mine own, but I do read National Review at my local library but I don’t read the Limbaugh Letter. I look at his website but so what? As the MES guy pointed out Limbaugh is a man that is and should be taken seriosly by the Right. And Im no redneck too. You disgust me Hal Holst. What a small man you must be!!! And why do you call unresponsible a "nonsense word’? It can be found in the dictionary, right here

Now who is the one full of NON-SENSE??

Also I do’nt need any help from any of you crazy bleeding heart liberals!

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