The Washington Post just published the results of a poll that falls neatly in line with every other poll taken on the subject: 74 percent of American adults favor voter ID laws. There isn???t much of a gender gap on the issue ??? 76 percent of men and 73 percent of women are in favor.
Note that this poll was taken among a random sampling of adults, not registered or likely voters. I wonder if they???d be even more likely to take the importance of properly identifying voters seriously.
An NBC News report on the Washington Post poll makes a hilarious effort to spin the results away by claiming voters don???t really understand what ???voter ID??? means, because they haven???t been sufficiently indoctrinated about the dangers of ???disenfranchisement.???
For example, get a load of this incredibly astute bit of news analysis: ???When a recent University of Delaware poll, for instance, presented laws as a way to stop voter fraud, there was more support than when the same measures were described as a possible form of discrimination.???
Shut up, really? People were less likely to support voter ID when a loaded poll question explicitly told them they would be embracing ???a possible form of discrimination???? Who could have seen that coming?
Even better was the NBC report???s quote from University of Delaware political science professor David Wilson:
Wilson said most people haven???t heard as much about disenfranchisement as they have about alleged voter fraud because the media does not report on voter disenfranchisement.
???Until they see specific media accounts of how these things can disenfranchise voters, people won???t know much about that argument,??? Wilson said.
(Emphasis mine.) I don???t know Professor Wilson, so I apologize for taking this seriously if he meant it as a joke. The NBC reporters don???t seem to have picked up on his subtle humor, either. Back here in the real world, the media bombards viewers incessantly with stories about voter disenfranchisement. It???s all they ever talk about when the subject of voter ID laws reaches the headlines.
And every one of these stories includes very specific, camera-ready, heart-tugging examples of ???disenfranchised??? victims, even when they???re not actually disenfranchised. In my home state of Florida, World War II veteran Bill Internicola was a media omnipresence, appearing before every camera in sight to complain about the unspeakable outrage of receiving a letter of inquiry from Florida???s Department of State during the supposedly awful ???voter purge??? a few months ago. Few of these hysterical media accounts, and absolutely none of the Democrat Party operatives using Internicola as a human shield to protect vote fraud, bothered to mention that he was never in danger of losing his voting rights ??? he easily verified his identity as the state requested. Rarely did anyone trouble to inform media consumers of the entirely logical reason he got his letter from the Department of State: the birth date on his drivers license disagreed with the birth date on his voter registration.
Every state that has attempted to take even the most basic measures to secure the integrity of its voting rolls has been carpet-bombed with breathless news reports of ???disenfranchisement,??? and they???re always careful to put some photogenic human faces on the story. It???s the other side of the argument that has logic and reason, but lacks individual sob stories to manipulate the emotions of media consumers. How do you isolate the specific individuals disenfranchised by fraudulent votes, and invite them to come before the cameras to tell their story of woe?
And yet, voter ID has strong majority support everywhere, from individual states to the nation at large. There???s nothing mysterious about the entirely sensible desire of Americans to give voting at least as much integrity as the purchase of alcohol, or the boarding of an aircraft. And they???re quite right to suspect that the vast majority of the people ???disenfranchised??? by dragging our electoral system into the 21st Century were never ???franchised??? to begin with. But this is apparently another one of those issues where the American people must be told what they need, instead of being asked what they want.