My colleague Susan Myrick has outlined the flaws in the State Board of Elections (SBOE) analysis claiming that almost 10 percent of voters may not have a state issued driver’s license or state-issued ID card. The N&O reported that the new analysis compared Division of Motor Vehicles records to state voter lists and 612,955 voters’ names, etc. could did not match the DMV records.
As a sometime journalist and so forth, I just want to point out a few hidden aspects. First, who knows how up-to-date and accurate the DMV records are? We all know how bad the SBOE’s records are — maybe the above comparison just matches one batch of faulty records with another.
Second, there’s the word “may.” Journalists, lawyers, flacks and others making arguments love the word “may.” This afternoon a flying saucer may land outside the state Capitol and Elvis may walk out of it and start singing “Hound Dog.”
There may be 612,955 people in NC without ID. There may be 10 million. (The census may have missed them.) There may be 612. There may be none. So what is behind this claim?
Third, journalists and everyone else in the political process ought to be skeptics. That starts with common sense. Here’s a story every journalist ought to know: In “All the President’s Men,” Robert Woodward recalled a college paper in which he analyzed the historical claim that Emperor Henry IV waited barefoot in the snow for three days seeking forgiveness from the pope. In the paper, Woodward said the story must be true, as the sources agreed. His professor flunked him: Common sense and the facts of biology say that no human being could endure such treatment.
Common sense tells us there aren’t 612,000 people in North Carolina who don’t have some form of ID. Here’s why: Everyone needs ID. You’ll need it to get into the state Capitol, to get into the Democratic National Convention, to go to the doctor’s office or pick up a prescription and on and on. Even the poor need some form of ID to be in the social services system.
People who don’t have ID must be either seriously ill or gravely destitute. By all means, let’s help them. But if there were 612,000, we’d see them all over.
One proof of that: if so many people were in so dire a plight they didn’t even have ID, liberal media and groups would be hollering from the rooftops that we must go out and gather these hundreds of thousands of people and make sure they have ID so they can be gathered into the social safety net.
But in fact what you normally hear from liberals about the terrible plight of those without ID is this.
Except when it comes to voter ID. So liberals don’t care about people, except when their votes are needed.
In short, the obvious facts tell us there can’t be so many people without ID.
Those truly interested in the facts would then turn from looking at NC to other states, those laboratories of democracy. Susan talked about Georgia. I like Indiana’s experience: liberals challenged that state’s voter ID law. But when the case came to trial, they could not produce one person — not one single person — who would testify that he or she would not be able to meet the law’s requirements.
I’d suggest that there is a difference between what people will say when they have to testify under the threat of perjury, and what bureaucrats can gin up to bolster their own ideology. Reports from state bureaucrats must be subject to the same skepticism we should apply to emails from the crown prince of Nigeria claiming that he will wire us $612,000, if only we will send him our bank account number.