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Thread: If the Voter ID Laws are Found to be Descriminatory?

  1. #1
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    If the Voter ID Laws are Found to be Descriminatory?

    I have a curious question, perhaps one best answered by a legal mind such as Doggin, but I'm open to hearing all opinions.

    In many States at current, Voter ID Requirement Laws, which boil down to "to vote, must show a state-issued photo ID" are being challenged by the Federal Govt. as being "descriminatory against minorities", certainly a non-no under the Law and Constitution.

    What I'd like to know more about is this:

    IF such a requirement is found to be illegal because it descriminates against minorities, would such a ruling not apply to ALL State Services or Other State-Mandated ID Check Laws?

    For example: It would be illegal to ask for a photo ID to vote. Would it then also be illegal to ask for a Photo ID to buy alcohol, as such a State requirement would have been found to be a form of descrimination, and descrimination is not legal even for things like buyying alchohol (under the Law)?

    It seems this route of defense against ID Laws may, in a logical world, have a host of unintended consequences. If the State requiring and ID is descriminatory in one form, how could it then NOT be descriminatory in ALL such State forms, and hence all forms be declared illegal and barred?

    And going beyond that, the basis of teh argument that ID Checks are descriminatory is that minorities have less mobillity and less abillity to pay, hence any ID Check law is descriminatory against them. Would the same basis not apply to use of any public service or facillity, and hence eliminate ANY charges for such services and facillities? If the mere charge of $5.00 for an ID in a State is deemed to be descrimination along racial lines, would teh charges for other things, like say Park Entry or Parade Permitting, etc, also be descriminatory along the same lines that minorities have less abillity to get to permit offices or pay the fee, and hence having specific offices and fees is by default descrimination, and hence cannot be allowed?

    I'm very curious to see how this plays out.

  2. #2
    People without the mental capacity to acquire a free ID from their State, regardless of race, should not be allowed to vote. This issue reminds me of that firefighter test where a judge determined that testing basic reading comprehension is racist. The real racists are the folks that think minorities don't have the mental capacity to answer a simple multiple choice common sense question or go to the DMV to fill out form for a free ID card. `

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    I have a curious question, perhaps one best answered by a legal mind such as Doggin, but I'm open to hearing all opinions.

    In many States at current, Voter ID Requirement Laws, which boil down to "to vote, must show a state-issued photo ID" are being challenged by the Federal Govt. as being "descriminatory against minorities", certainly a non-no under the Law and Constitution.

    What I'd like to know more about is this:

    IF such a requirement is found to be illegal because it descriminates against minorities, would such a ruling not apply to ALL State Services or Other State-Mandated ID Check Laws?
    Possibly. It depends on the rationale of the decision. But I think that's unlikely (ftr, I also think it's unlikely that the voter ID laws will be struck down). The argument against voter ID laws is that voting is a fundamental right, and one in relation to which there has been, in the past, actual, no-doubt about it, outright discrimination against minorities, and attempts to suppress their vote. As such, laws which impact voting are subject to strict scrutiny - that is, the law must be:

    1) Justified by a compelling (i.e. extremely significant) governmental interest;

    2) Narrowly tailored to address that interest (meaning it can't have an impact beyond addressing the interest, and it can't be ineffective); and

    3) The least restrictive means of addressing that interest

    For example, take the government interest in preventing incitement to criminal activity (an orator standing on a platform and saying, for example, "go, my disciples, go and murder any women you find!"). The government would have a compelling interest in preventing such speech. But it couldn't address that interest by enacting a law preventing people from speaking in public, since that would both not be narrowly tailored (as it would also outlaw other forms of speech) or the least restrictive means (since there are other, less drastic ways of preventing incitement)

    With voter ID laws, the legal battle will focus on a few issues, IMO:

    1) Does the government have a compelling interest? States will argue that ensuring the voters are who they say they are is an obviously compelling interest. The plaintiffs will argue that may be true in theory, but "voter impersonation fraud" is, as a practical matter, so infrequent that voter ID laws are akin to killing a fly with a bazooka.

    I tend to think the states will have the better of that argument.

    and 2) Is it the least restrictive way of addressing that issue (I doubt there will be much argument over narrow tailoring). This will focus on some of the peripheral issues, like whether states with voter ID laws allow other useful forms of ID (arguments like "student IDs issued by a university should be good") or have costs associated with same-day identification (like Texas' fee for obtaining a copy of a birth certificate) that should be considered poll taxes.

    On this one, I think the fees issue is a non-starter, so long as the fees are no different on election day than any other (if you want a copy of your birth certificate, you need to pay this fee 365 days of the year - you shouldn't have the fee waived just because you waited until election day to ask for it). The "other forms of ID" argument may have legs; the states will argue those IDs are not reliable and easier to forge; the plaintiffs will argue that there should be standards indicating anti-forgery safeguards that would make alternative IDs viable as identification.

    Again, my gut is the states will win, but if there's a hook at all for the plaintiffs, it's the "other IDs" argument.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong, and that wasn't your question anyway


    For example: It would be illegal to ask for a photo ID to vote. Would it then also be illegal to ask for a Photo ID to buy alcohol, as such a State requirement would have been found to be a form of descrimination, and descrimination is not legal even for things like buyying alchohol (under the Law)?
    No. Buying alcohol isn't a fundamental right, just a liberty interest, and therefore laws that restrict it are subject to a much lower level of scrutiny - rational basis review. Under rational basis review, the government need only prove that the law it enacted was "a reasonable means to an end that government can legitimately pursue" - in other words, simply that it is an issue that government can be concerned about (not infringing a constitutionally protected right) and that a reasonable person would expect the law to lead to the result it was enacted to achieve.

    The same applies to your other examples (park use, etc.)

    The difference in the standards is why most of the "gay marriage" litigation focused on what level of scrutiny laws banning gay marriage ought to have applied to them; the difference between rational basis review and strict scrutiny is often the difference between winning and losing the case.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    No. Buying alcohol isn't a fundamental right, just a liberty interest, and therefore laws that restrict it are subject to a much lower level of scrutiny - rational basis review. Under rational basis review, the government need only prove that the law it enacted was "a reasonable means to an end that government can legitimately pursue" - in other words, simply that it is an issue that government can be concerned about (not infringing a constitutionally protected right) and that a reasonable person would expect the law to lead to the result it was enacted to achieve.

    The same applies to your other examples (park use, etc.)
    Then perhaps I should stick to other equal fundamental rights such as purchasing a gun, or assembling peacefully.

    In both cases today, the State requests (in many cases) both a Photo ID and a fee of some kind, and/or a permit of some kind that requires an ID/Fee.

    perhaps that would be a more equal comparison to voting.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Then perhaps I should stick to other equal fundamental rights such as purchasing a gun, or assembling peacefully.

    In both cases today, the State requests (in many cases) both a Photo ID and a fee of some kind, and/or a permit of some kind that requires an ID/Fee.

    perhaps that would be a more equal comparison to voting.
    Yep. There have already been cases challenging permit requirements for assemblies, and the courts have ruled that so long as they are reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, they are constitutionally viable. I think on gun purchases, you don't have the history of discrimination , there's no dispute about compelling governmental interests. There could be a "forms of ID accepted" argument, though

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