Monday, May 12, 2014

Misguided editorial argues in favor of voter suppression

Voter suppression could weed out the ignorant - Columnists.  Charles Davenport Jr. certainly has an odd way of looking at things.  He clearly doesn't understand the Constitution because he argues there should be 1) voter ID and 2) history tests.  Both are a throwback to "Jim Crow" laws.  It is appalling someone would argue for more restrictions on voting and to do so in such an elitist way.

Davenport argues knowledge of American history should be a requirement to voting.  How does he define knowledge?  I guarantee you my knowledge of American history is far more extensive than his as I was a history major at UVA, went to law school and I read voraciously on the topic.  Does that mean I have any more right to vote than he does?  Of course not.  Subjectivity isn't a factor nor should it be.

Regarding voter ID, it is inherently discriminatory.  It targets elderly people, women, young people and minorities.  The Supreme Court has a test for this.  It is called the disparate impact test.  Here there is clearly a disparate impact because this law will disproportionately affect minorities and elderly people.  There is no countervailing government interest to necessitate the passage of such laws as there has never been a confirmed case of voter fraud.  Even if there were many cases, the Constitution is supposed to cut in favor of the right to vote.  Likewise, since it is the right to vote, guaranteed under the equal protection clause, the law must be given strict scrutiny.  This law doesn't pass that test, especially considering absentee ballots don't require ID, and the law isn't narrowly tailored to achieve any legitimate government interest.  It doesn't even pass a rational basis test.

I'm not surprised about what Davenport thinks as (sadly) many people probably think this way.  What surprises me is he would say these things in such a public way and with such sarcasm.

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