New laws will make voting harder for about 5 million

The Brennan Center for Justice this morning published a depressing state-by-state overview of new state laws that make it harder to vote. The study’s bottom line: new laws, especially the drive to require a government issued photo-ID at the polling place, will hinder the ability of roughly five million potential qualified voters to vote in November of 2012.

That total does not include Minnesota (and Missouri and Mississippi) where referenda will be on the ballot in 2012 to require photo ID for voting. The five-million-voter estimate covers only states where photo ID laws or other laws that will reduce voting (a total of 19 laws and two executive actions that passed in 14 states during 2011.

As in Minnesota, such laws have mostly been a partisan deal, enacted where Republicans have taken control.

In a previous study, the Brennan Center (which is based at the NYU Law School) estimated that more than 21 million U.S. citizens – that’s about 11 percent of all eligible voters – do not currently possess a government-issued photo ID. (Of course, states that require photo-ID for voting do provide methods for eligible voters to acquire voter ID. The number of voters who might be deterred from voting by the hassle, versus those who would go to the extra trouble of acquiring such ID, is a matter of conjecture.)

It’s not all voter ID. Brennan also considered new state laws that make it harder to register to vote, eliminate same-day registration, reduce the ease of voting absentee, and make it harder for convicted felons who have completed their sentences to have their voting privileges restored.

Access to the full study is available here.

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Comments (48)

  1. Submitted by Tim Gadsden on 10/03/2011 - 09:59 am.

    The most important fact is that it makes it harder for 30 million ineligible voters to cast votes, and what 300 million dead people!

  2. Submitted by will lynott on 10/03/2011 - 12:37 pm.

    It’s class warfare, and the conservatives are winning.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/03/2011 - 01:16 pm.

    Unfortunately, no one has documented even a single case of an ineligible voter casting a ballot.
    And I’m not sure what 300 million dead people you’re talking about, unless your referring to brain dead individuals pushing these laws.

    In an ideal world, all voters would be required to be politically literate and well informed. Since this is not an ideal world, all citizens with the constitutional right to vote do not have equal opportunities for education, so this sort of test would be discriminatory.

    Of course, given the well known differences in educational level between people of different political persuasions, this might not be a bad idea.
    If we required people to demonstrate an accurate understanding of the Constitution in the context of 200 years of jurisprudence, the tenthers and TPers would lose their votes!

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/03/2011 - 01:46 pm.

    The efforts Eric cites as “making it harder” for people to register to vote are non-factors for people for whom voting is even marginally important.

    Voter ID doesn’t disenfranchise legally entitled voters; it keeps legally disenfranchised voters from nullifying legal votes.

    Those that don’t care enough to get off their duffs & meet the minimum criteria for safeguarding their, and our votes do themselves, and us a favor by staying home.

  5. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/03/2011 - 04:35 pm.

    Unfortunately for you, Swiftee, people are becoming aware of the dirty little secret:

    Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” source:

    Carry on with your disenfranchisement campaign.

  6. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/03/2011 - 05:00 pm.

    #2 Will:

    Conservatism is not a class.

    #4 Paul:

    Following the election of 2008, 47 people were charged with voter fraud in Hennepin County alone; charges were for things like being a convicted felon and for voting more than once. Yet, I continue to hear that there is not even one documented case of voter fraud. Keep saying it, and many will continue to believe it.

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/03/2011 - 05:39 pm.

    How many of those charged were convicted?
    There’s a difference.
    Did a court agree that fraud had been proven?

  8. Submitted by Ann Richards on 10/03/2011 - 07:48 pm.

    ah, Thomas, let me just try to open your narrow, world view just a tad: My 93 year old father has never missed an election. He gave up his drivers license a few years back and doesn’t have a picture ID. It takes 2 very able bodied people to get him out of the care facility where he lives and we do take him to church twice a month. Given that it is an 8 hour round trip you will of course understand that the trip is not weekly and we go up on the weekend. His county offices are some distance away and there is a limit to how long he can sit in the car. The care facility has said it is not their responsibility, and I wrote to the bill’s authors and asked what arrangements can be made for home bound people. Still 4 months later I am waiting for a reply. Now, given that he will cancel my vote, how many hoops should I jump through? Don’t tell my father to get off his duff. He wishes he could. How many veterans will this affect? I have 2 colleges in my community and every time students move to a different dorm they will have to get to the county seat 40 minutes away and get a new ID. (No public transportation and these are car-less campuses) How much is the state willing to pay for this solution in search of a problem? Re the convictions, I think we are up to 4- and this new law won’t catch the felons voting. What it should catch is voter impersonation. How much of that is there? Not one case in MN.

  9. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/03/2011 - 07:55 pm.

    Voter-impersonation fraud is rare. However, the minimal impact voter-impersonation fraud has on an election does not justify the spending necessary to distribute information about the new laws and to ensure every registered voter has a government issued ID.

    Once again well-intended legislation has costs that outweigh the benefits.

  10. Submitted by David Greene on 10/03/2011 - 09:12 pm.

    We must defeat the Voter Suppression amendment sure to come next session. It is positively immoral to pass laws that only serve to disenfranchise voters. This is not what Minnesota is about.

  11. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/03/2011 - 09:24 pm.

    Paul #7:

    MinnPost story from October of last year: “Felon voters in Hennepin County: 7 convictions, 40 cases pending”.

    Paul quote from above, “Unfortunately, no one has documented even a single case of an ineligible voter casting a ballot.”

    Unfortunately, your statement is truth-challenged.

  12. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/03/2011 - 09:25 pm.

    When you consider everything in this society that requires a government-issued ID, including driving a car, opening a bank account, cashing a check, or getting on an airplane, that anyone who could function in this society without having an ID has to be so disengaged or so incapacitated that they shouldn’t allowed to participate in deciding its leadership anyway.

  13. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/03/2011 - 09:54 pm.

    Whatever their intent, these laws impose significant costs on states. Nationally, around 11% of registered voters lack government-issued photo IDs. States cannot charge for IDs required to vote (that would be a de facto poll tax). They must spend time and money ensuring that voters know about the new requirements and can get their IDs easily.

  14. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/03/2011 - 10:30 pm.

    Point taken, but 7 =/= 47.

  15. Submitted by Patrick McManus on 10/03/2011 - 11:03 pm.


    That’s a convenient argument. I thought conservatives wanted to protect the Constitution and freedom. In November 2009, 2,107,021 votes were cast for Minnesota governor. If there were 47 lawsuits, that means 0.000022306374734755846 percent of all votes cast were potentially illegal (only 7 guilty according to someone else). Essentially, 99.998% of votes cast were legitimate with .002% in question. I don’t know what else you can find something to be 99.998% effective.

    So, you would make voting much more burdensome in order to account for .002% error? Your burdens would prevent thousands of people from voting, meaning you’re removing thousands of legal votes in order to get rid of a few dozen. So, it’s more important in a free society to eliminate thousands of votes (millions nationwide) in order to eradicate a rounding error?

    You wish to create burdensome regulations on a constitutional right to vote for citizens of this country in order to eliminate an insignificant few felonious votes? You’d choose burdening millions of Minnesotans’ constitutional rights and effectively prevent thousands of Minnesotans from voting in order to deal with a couple dozen people? That doesn’t sound like a very efficient regulation nor does it sound like a regulation that promotes freedom. Shouldn’t voting markets be left unregulated?

    Call my cynical (realistic), but the only reason any conservative supports these laws is because they know it will further their agenda. Shameless.

  16. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/03/2011 - 11:15 pm.

    And the next voter requirement?…

    I suppose next, the state will require the tattooing of everyone’s I.D. on one’s wrist. The reason being to simplify and better secure the voting process.

    And with fear capturing the nation’s mindset, tighter security at the polls will be demanded by surveillance militia who will efficiently direct some to the left and others to the right, eh?

    It’s been done before elsewhere…but that nation lost a number of legitimate voters in the process…

  17. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/03/2011 - 11:18 pm.

    Did you read #9, Mr. Tester?

    My sister is pretty much in the same situation. She is a kind and compassionate person and deserves the opportunity to vote. You’d stop these folks?

    Yessirree, the land of the free and the home of the brave. We used to be proud of our high percentage of voter participation in Minnesota. But the Koch brothers and people like you would like that to change.

    For shame.

  18. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/04/2011 - 05:43 am.

    Ann (#9): Surely, your father would not be denied a request for an absentee ballot.

    My elderly next door neighbor died about a month before the 2010 election. I might have been tempted to use his vote, but someone else got there first.

    When I was in college, I registered to vote with my current address. College only lasts a few years, it is not a big deal to manage your own voter registration.

    I mentioned above prosecuted cases of voter fraud in Hennepin County. Like any fraud, only a fraction of the cases get prosecuted, as any insurance company will tell you.

  19. Submitted by Max Hailperin on 10/04/2011 - 06:48 am.

    Let’s put aside Dennis Tester (#13) wanting to decide who is too “disengaged” or “incapacitated” to be allowed to vote. Instead, let’s just focus on whether he’s got the facts straight. He claims that a government issued ID is required to cash a check or get on an airplane. Both are false.

    I routinely cash checks without showing ID, because the people who cash them know me. Under the proposed law, no corresponding discretion would exist for election judges; no matter how well they know the voter, they would be required to demand the ID. See also the 2008 case of the 12 elderly Indiana nuns turned away for lack of ID; the election judge in that case was Sister Julie McGuire, who knew the other sisters full well.

    Much less well known is that government-issued photo ID isn’t actually required to fly in the US. The TSA web site says it is required, but then goes on to describe the alternative, non-government-issued and non-photographic ID documents they can accept as well. And, though the TSA site doesn’t mention this, they can and do allow people to fly even without any documents at all. Twice now I’ve traveled with someone who had no documentation at all with him. Each time, the TSA agents took him aside and questioned him, checking his information against information in a database. Each time he was then allowed to fly. (You can find similar stories on web.)

    So what we’ve got is a proposal to set up a more inflexible barrier to exercising a fundamental right than exists for exercising a privilege.

  20. Submitted by Ann Richards on 10/04/2011 - 09:21 am.

    Dennis, your arrogance is really mind-boggling. Please, for your own developing of a bit of compassion or humanity- go work one evening in a soup kitchen or home-less shelter. See the families who have lost homes through this economic downturn. See people who do work, but don’t earn enough to set themselves up in a permanent address. Today those folks can register to vote. This new law will not allow them to vote. So you want to bring this down to ‘incapacitated or disengaged’ and just who should decide that? The Koch brothers? Go to any senior center and ask for a show of picture IDs then tell them they are incapacitated or disengaged (by your definition). They will tell you to buzz off, then they will tell you they got their checking account years ago before they gave up their driving license. Most don’t have a passport. I know plenty of people who will have no problem getting a voter ID: they have cars and can drive to their county office, and they currently have a drivers license. They are disengaged and it is debatable as to their incapacity. You would give them the blessing to vote but deny the returned veteran or the person on hard times, the student, or the senior citizen because they live a bit differently from you. God save us from our ignorance.

    You get a passport with a birth certificate, but you don’t get a voter ID with a passport.

  21. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/04/2011 - 09:38 am.

    Patrick (#16):

    “Call my cynical (realistic), but the only reason any conservative supports these laws is because they know it will further their agenda. Shameless.”

    The only reason that liberals oppose measures to reduce voter fraud is to further their agenda. Shameful.

    Paul (#15):

    I understand that convictions do not equal prosecutions. That number of prosecutions is a year old. If interested, you can search out the current grand total. The point of my comment was to disabuse people of the notion that “no one has documented even a single case of an ineligible voter casting a ballot.” It just is not true.

  22. Submitted by Ann Richards on 10/04/2011 - 09:38 am.

    Steve: the proposed absentee ballot will work this way: on the form you write in your voter id # and your drivers license #- so you have to have your new ID to use an absentee ballot.

    College students: their voter id will have to have their room number on it and every time they move to a new dorm room they have to reapply for a new card. Why do you think colleges are so concerned about this? How do you get thousands of car-less students to the county seat when there is no public transportation, and do it every semester? So, yes, you were allowed to vote when you were a student because you used the ID you currently had. That was then, and this is now. Now they will have to have a voter ID card just for voting. Think also of some of those big MN counties when the county seat is a great distance from where one lives.

    Those of you who think this is no big deal, please get more familiar with the details of the amendment. Attend a public forum on it.

  23. Submitted by David Greene on 10/04/2011 - 09:58 am.

    Most people don’t know that the proposed Minnesota Voter Suppression legislation required a special ID just for elections. You could not vote with a driver’s license. So this isn’t just about culling the “disengaged or incapacitated” as Dennis articulated so well. It is about taking YOU off of the voter rolls.

  24. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/04/2011 - 10:02 am.

    Paul Weyrich, who (as Bill Gleason, #5) notes above, said “I don’t want everybody to vote.”

    He founded the Heritage Foundation to help spread the Right’s gospel and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The anti-voter (that is, anti poor, minority and student populations who tend to vote for Democrats constitutional amendment we will see on the ballot in 2012 are among the 800-plus boilerplate pieces of hoped-for law created by ALEC’s corporations and members of state legislatures.

    ALEC is now funded in large part by the Koch brothers, whose money goes not just to the destruction of our democracy by distorting the democratic process but to philanthrophy to maintain their reputations as good guys.

    About 30 members of the Minnesota state legislature belong to ALEC. Several of them traveled to ALEC’s last bill-writing session to cooperate in the task of removing protections from American voters and the “protection” of marriage.

  25. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/04/2011 - 10:15 am.

    Ann (#23):

    A single trip to get an ID seems like less of an ordeal for an elderly citizen than a trip to the polls every election day.

    Most college students don’t move every semester nor do they vote in an election every semester.

    College students can either vote absentee or they can register to vote where they are living. I recall carrying a blue voter registration card with me to the poll. It wasn’t that hard.

  26. Submitted by Patrick McManus on 10/04/2011 - 10:47 am.


    No, Steve.

    I don’t support it the right for people to vote because it helps a particular party.

    I support our fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. You see, I’m a freedom lover, it’s hard for conservatives to believe a lefty loves freedom I know.

    A democracy is healthiest when all citizens are able to participate and have their voices heard. I’d rather see 100% of the people vote, and then elect a Republican than see 80% of the people vote and then elect a Democrat.

    You see Steve, the Republican party is made up of overwhelmingly white voters. Unfortunately for the GOP, whites constitute less and less of the overall electorate with each passing year. So, instead of competing with Democrats for minority votes in order to win elections, the GOP would rather prevent as many minority voters from voting in order to win elections. That’s why we’re seeing an explosion of voter ID laws across the country as this point in our history.

    It’s funny how the GOP ignored election fraud for decades, Jim Crow excluded, but now they embrace it and the exact point in time when the demographics of the country threaten the ability of the GOP to control power. It’s pathetic that they would disenfranchise people in order to maintain power.

    Please keep trying America into a Banana Republic GOP, it’s a losing strategy in the long run.

  27. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/04/2011 - 11:33 am.

    Steve (#22)–

    I didn’t find anything on the Hennepin fraud cases less than a year old.
    It’s possible that the cases are still in the Appeals process; I’d have to dig through court records to find out.

    BTW — Merriam-Webster defines ‘fraud’ as:
    “intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.”

    So while those individuals may have been guilty of voting fraud as legally defined, it’s not clear that their actions would meet the more general definition. Questions of intention (I believe that at least in some cases they believed that they still had their constitutional right to vote, which may have been why most of the prosecutions did not lead to convictions) and of whether their actions deprived someone else of something of value or of a legal right.

    So it’s a question of whether this sort of murky situation justifies making it more difficult for many more people to vote.

  28. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/04/2011 - 11:38 am.

    A good review of the Minnesota voting fraud issue at:

  29. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/04/2011 - 12:26 pm.

    Patrick (#27):

    I am familiar with the freedom loving veneer with which liberals are laminating their anti-voter ID position. If it were a little thicker, it would not be so transparent.

    And the race card, I am familiar with that too. I think you need to dig a little deeper in the playbook. Could we set that aside for a moment, and pursue the color-blind society that Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned? No, I didn’t think so; it was just a thought …

  30. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/04/2011 - 12:45 pm.

    Once again, color blind is great on a level playing field. It’s bumpy (minorities occasionally do get an advantage, particularly in the public sector) but by and large the white majority does better.

  31. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/04/2011 - 06:07 pm.

    It’s amusing and instructive to see how furiously the Left will fight efforts to prevent dead people and illegals from voting.

    If only eligible voters were allowed to vote, and vote once, the democrats would never win another election. And we all know it.

  32. Submitted by Patrick McManus on 10/04/2011 - 07:05 pm.



    Please tell me how I played the race card. I simply stated true, factual statements regarding the demographics of the two major parties in the country.

    Also Steve, please feel free to rebut any of the statistics I threw out in my first post and rebut the voting demographics that I assert regarding the GOP.

    You’re great at trying to attack people Steve, but I have yet to see you attack the facts with a reasonable argument.

  33. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/05/2011 - 07:47 am.


    I have attacked no one. If you disagree, quote me.

    I reviewed the calculations in your first post. The math looks correct, but show a slip on the grasp of the concept of significant digits.

    In Coleman v. Franken, Coleman led by 215 votes, following the initial count. After the final count, Franken led by 225 votes. As we have seen repeatedly in Minnesota, elections can be decided by a small number of votes.

    Voter fraud is hard to detect, and the charges certainly are a fraction of the incidence.

    The race card? Your words, “The GOP would rather prevent as many minority voters from voting in order to win.” elections.” This is the DFL pandering to their base; stick it to the man!

  34. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/05/2011 - 09:45 am.

    Can you say ‘Gore v. Bush’?

  35. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/05/2011 - 10:06 am.

    Couple things. I went to a debate between Mary Kiffmeyer (the voter I.D. sponsor and former secretary of state) and Steve Simon on this issue a few months ago and several things become apparent when you listen to Kiffmeyer’s arguments. First, it’s not just voter I.D. that’s at issue, absentee ballots, vouching, and same day registration are also targets. Kiffmeyer has yet to explain how absentee ballots for military personnel would work with a photo I.D. requirement, so absentee ballots appear to be ruled out by default. So yes, Ann #9 you father wold be disenfranchised. Second, the proposed voter I.D. law doesn’t allow for vouching of any kind in the absence of a photo I.D. so vouching is out. This would make voting impossible for anyone without a current I.D. with current address- i.e. students, people who have recently moved or married etc. It would also affect seniors without I.D. living in group settings, battered women staying in shelters, just to name a few. And third, obviously same day voting registration is severely hampered because even with an I.D. registration would require additional verification that can’t be done in one day. The effect of all this will be thousands of disenfranchised voters. Kiffmeyer is also real dodgy about how much this is going to cost. And finally, if you think this is simple to implement, just think about the I.D.s at the airport. Be prepared for huge fights over what is a valid photo I.D. and tons of confusion at the polls as to who has one or not.

    Now about these felons that voted illegally, regardless of the numbers. Voter I.D. would not have prevented these guys from voting since most of them had valid I.D.s. The legislature did pass a bill that would have allowed the secretary of states access to the department of corrections data base so they could cross check voters. Most of the felons that voted did so by accident, the didn’t know they weren’t supposed to vote (which is why you’ll see a discrepancy between charges and convictions- fraud required intent) At any rate, with access to the data base these folks would have been prevented from voting, and it would cost a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what a voter I.D. law will cost… and it would actually work. This bill passed by the way only 6 votes against it. Pawlenty vetoed it. So the felon problem would have been solved and you wouldn’t even have had the 47 or so instances. This would leave us exactly zero cases of voter fraud in MN in the last election, and almost no disenfranchised voters.

    The conservative agenda is to roll back the 20th century. Universal suffrage is one of the main accomplishments of the 20th century, and it’s always been opposed by conservatives who frankly, don’t really believe in democracy and would rather have a theocracy, plutocracy, or even dictatorship of some kind.

  36. Submitted by Patrick McManus on 10/05/2011 - 10:51 am.


    Well, you can call that the race card all you want, (I didn’t know minority counted as a race), but the fact of the matter is that the effects of the law will lower the total vote count of minorities and the poor substantially.

    This isn’t a Minnesota issue either, but a national one. Colorado votes by mail in ballot. For the last five elections in Colorado the secretary of state has mailed ballots to all registered voters, even if they didn’t vote in the last election. The new secretary of state refuses to send out ballots to registered voters, only people who voted in 2010. Guess what, there was massive Republican turnout in 2010. Furthermore, one segment of the population of registered voters was significantly more inactive than any other: Mexican-Americans who vote for Democrats 2-1 in Colorado (Uh-oh, was that the race card or just a true statement). Additionally, troops overseas who didn’t vote will not receive a ballot. He’s doing this in order to “save money.” Does this sound legitimate to anyone? Coincidentally, the Colorado Secretary of State is a Republican who first took office in 2010, who would’ve guessed another 2010 Republican would look to place obstacles on voter rights.

    Call whatever you wish Steve, but the GOP is placing hurdles on minority and poor voters on a national level in order to suppress turnout in order to more easily win elections under the guise of voter fraud or cost-effectiveness.

    And yes, I am sorry, I misread what you said in another post, you in fact attacked no one. My mistake.

  37. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/05/2011 - 11:13 am.


    I was starting to think about some of the things that you were saying, some which I had not heard before.

    Then, I got to your last paragraph, and read, “conservatives who frankly, don’t really believe in democracy and would rather have a theocracy, plutocracy, or even dictatorship of some kind.”

    Your last sentence discredited all the ones before it, and I stopped thinking about what had previously seemed to be some cogent thoughts.

  38. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/06/2011 - 07:26 am.

    Steve, it’s never a good idea to stop thinking, for any reason.

  39. Submitted by Ann Richards on 10/06/2011 - 07:57 am.

    #26 Steve- If I key slowly, perhaps this time you will get it. Forget absentee voting, there will be very little of that because you still will have to have the voter id card first.

    seniors: the county seat is 30 miles away, the polling place is 3 blocks- gee, which is easier to do? Granted students don’t move every semester. The admin knows there is enough movement from dorm to dorm or dorm to apt that this will be very difficult for students to keep updating their card, and no they cannot vote back in their own state without first having an id from there. You must not be aware of how many states are passing this legislation – most written exactly the same way. How do you propose that the military will vote, students overseas, anyone overseas for that matter? It won’t be absentee unless they first get their voter ID card.

    You talk about carrying your little blue card- get out of the past. If you still carry that card, you won’t vote until you get your new voter ID.

    White men have always had the right to vote. Women worked hard for many generations to get that same right. My mother was the first generation female in her family to vote. To now disenfranchise all the women in senior centers, housing, day care, shelters, plus all the others previous posts indicate seems like a crime to me. You don’t like race card, to me this is a gender card issue. When I say it is a poverty and disenfranchisement issue my GOP friends don’t get it. When I say it is a gender issue- they understand.

  40. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/06/2011 - 09:12 am.

    Paul (#39):

    If you reread my post, you might understand that I was only stopping thinking about what you had to say.

    Ann (#40):

    You are still keying too fast. Where did you get this notion of a voter ID card? The amendment (and the bill Dayton vetoed) call for a Minnesota picture ID, such as a driver’s license or a state ID. Most Minnesotans already have one. I present mine at the polling place each time I vote. Other Minnesotans can get a Minnesota picture ID, if they care to vote.

  41. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/06/2011 - 09:18 pm.


  42. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/07/2011 - 05:13 am.


    Mark Ritchie is a sharp dresser. What else should I glean from this link?

  43. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/07/2011 - 07:28 am.

    Steve, I read your post. Frankly the fact that you refuse to think about anything liberals say has been obvious long before my post, and that’s your problem. This notion that the truth can only come from people you already agree with is one hallmark of the ideologue, as if world is flat if liberals say it’s round but round if a Republican says it’s round. So you stop thinking once you recognize a liberal, especially a well dressed one like Mark Richie. I repeat, it’s never a good idea to stop thinking, for any reason- except maybe to get some sleep.

  44. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/07/2011 - 07:52 am.


    Thank you for identifying my problem. All this time, I thought I was engaging in high school debate.

    Your comments on MinnPost provided me an easy case study, which I used in the instruction of a young man whom I am mentoring. I gave him the assignment to search MinnPost for “Paul Udstrand” “high school debate”, and count the results. I didn’t know the answer, but did know that the tally would fill some pages (turned out to be three pages).

    While on the surface, these charges of “high school debate tactics” and “high school debate mode” appear to be attacking the argument, a closer look reveals that the messenger is the target. Having not participated in nor been a spectator of high school debate, I don’t fully understand the reference. However, it does seem to condescend; to be a charge of immaturity. A charge of “high school debate” is certainly not sufficiently specific to be meaningful.

    In reading long posts on comment boards, I instructed him to read the last paragraph first. The conclusion of a thoughtful post can summarize the post, ask a provocative question, provide some comic relief, or be a vent. If it vents, don’t bother to read the post. Post #39 is a case study for this concept.

  45. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/07/2011 - 10:39 am.

    As one who HAS watched many high school debates, I suspect that Paul U’s point is that high school debates are about scoring points (can you say ‘squirrel killers’) rather than being correct.

  46. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/09/2011 - 10:42 am.

    Steve, no one said you can only have ONE problem you know.

  47. Submitted by Bruce Morlan on 11/03/2011 - 12:18 pm.

    This appears to be a flawed study used by a pundit to inflame passions. For better understanding I refer the interested student to

    The Effect of Voter Identification Laws on Turnout.
    R. Michael Alvarez Delia Bailey Jonathan N. Katz
    California Institute of Technology: SOCIAL SCIENCE WORKING PAPER 1267R
    October 2007
    Revised January 2008

    found at

    I find that that this paper used a random effects model (a modeling technology that I use in my work). Their discussion section states:

    * (quote) In particular, we use a multilevel model – also referred to as a random effects model – to assess how voter identification requirements affect participation by registered voters, using data from four years of recent CPS Voter Supplement data. While multilevel models have seen many applications in fields outside of political science, only in relatively recent years have we seen the use of multilevel models in political science applications and journals (e.g., Steenbergen and Jones 2002; Raudenbush and Bryk 2002; Western 1998).11 The multilevel model allows us to control for the constant factors that cause turnout rates to vary within states and for the cyclical changes in turnout over time.

    This study concludes, after looking at all states, over extended time, controlling for race, demographics, socio-economic class, etc., that

    * (quote) We find no evidence that voter identification requirements reduce participation at the aggregate level. At the individual level, voter identification requirements of the strictest forms – combination requirements of presenting identification and matching signatures, as well as photo identification requirements – have a negative impact on voter participation relative to the weakest requirement of stating one’s name. In general, there does not seem to be a discriminatory impact of the requirements for some subgroups, such as non-White registered voters. However, we do find that for registered voters with lower levels of educational attainment or lower income, stricter voter identification requirements do lead to lower turnout, for voters of all races.

    So, extracting from the figures in the paper:

    * (quote) no evidence that voter identification requirements reduce participation at the aggregate level

    ** (my comment) From Figure 5 this looks to be about 1.5% reduction between the very lax “state your name” and the more restrictive”show photo ID”

    * (quote) there does not seem to be a discriminatory impact of the requirements for some subgroups, such as non-White registered voters

    ** (my comment) The trend lines in Figure 6 would have allowed them to say “while there is no statistically significant conclusion, the data do suggest that the impact on voting rates is stronger (negatively) among White voters”

    * (quote) for registered voters with lower levels of educational attainment or lower income, stricter voter identification requirements do lead to lower turnout, for voters of all races.

    ** (mycomment) Simple merging of the two populations that were split out in Figure 6.

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