Hans von Spakovsky accurately describes it as “the biggest and most-ignored non-story” to emerge from last week’s primary elections:
Mississippi’s new voter ID law got its first run in the June 3 primary, and the sky did not fall. Despite the tiresome and disproven claims by opponents that such laws cause wholesale voter disenfranchisement and are intended to suppress votes, Mississippi “sailed through” its first test of the new ID requirements, according to The Clarion Ledger, the newspaper of Jackson, Miss.
Aside from being able to use any form of government-issued photo ID, like every other state with ID requirements, Mississippi provides a free ID for anyone who does not already have a government-issued photo ID. Contrary to the claims of those who say large numbers of Americans don’t have an ID, Mississippi estimated that only 0.8 percent of Mississippians lacked an ID. In fact, even that may have been an overestimate since the state had to issue only about 1,000 voter ID cards. All those who forgot their ID on Tuesday also could vote by an affidavit as long as they returned and showed an ID within five days.
The Clarion Ledger piece linked to by Spakovsky contains but a single tale of woe, caused by one poll worker making a mistake:
A Pike County poll worker mistakenly told a person he couldn’t cast a ballot without an ID, said county Election Commissioner Trudy Berger.
“It was a misunderstanding,” Berger said. “We trained on it that nobody is ever told they can’t vote, period. As soon as we heard that had happened, we sent an election commissioner down there to solve the problem.”
I presume the commissioner was able to solve that problem, which would appear to leave the number of people “disenfranchised” by voter ID in Mississippi at zero. (Doubtless we’ll soon read angry editorials about the hypothetical number of people who were so intimidated by racist voter ID laws that they didn’t even try to vote, and were even terrorized out of running to one of the hundred media outlets that couldn’t wait to tell their stories.) The other responses to the new law quoted by the Clarion Ledger include phrases like “hassle-free” and “painless.”
As further evidence of how things worked, notice that many local and national news outlets ran dramatic stories about the first test of Mississippi’s new system before the election, but virtually none of them, aside from the Clarion Ledger, published a follow-up story written after the election. In fact, I couldn’t find any other hard news stories on the topic at all – just a few editorials written by either highly satisfied supporters of Voter ID, or hysterical rants from loons who insist on pretending the clock in Mississippi has been turned back to 1964, because the whole idea of voter ID is either personally offensive or politically inconvenient to them. The actual experience of the people who sailed through the system, even more smoothly than its supporters predicted, means nothing to the ideologues.
Also, the Obama Administration didn’t even bother sending Justice Department monitors to observe the election, which speaks volumes about how much of an obstacle they really think voter ID laws represent. That won’t stop Attorney General Eric Holder from ranting against it during his next turn at the podium, of course.
The simple truth of ballot security is that most actual people – honest voters from every walk of life, rather than political operatives – find these measures entirely reasonable, and have no difficulty complying with them. The few people who run into trouble producing the necessary identification are easily assisted by state election operations, which are frankly working far better than just about any division of the federal government you could point at these days. State after state has implemented voter ID procedures with scarcely a hitch, which is far more than you can say for what happened when Washington grabbed a billion dollars and set out to build a website for ObamaCare.
I suspect we are approaching, or may have already passed, the tipping point where theoretical complaints and whining about the alleged “hidden motives” behind ballot security measures are completely trumped by the reality of what actually happens when they are implemented.