Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Voting for Jim Crow

According to a Hot Dish Politics post by Jim Ragsdale, the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee is poised to vote on Scott Newman's photo voter ID bill tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15th; the committee is set to meet at 1:00 PM.

Aaron and I were at the initial hearing on the bill before the committee; we posted brief interviews about the effect of the amendment on immigrant citizens and the homeless. We also wrote about it, here and here. Many people, the elderly, minorities, the poor, the disabled, immigrant citizens, former military people, the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office, all testified against the amendment.

But it will all come for naught, because you see, the preening, sarcastic and dismissive chair of the committee, Ray Vanderveer and the Republicans on the committee don't give the tiniest rat's ass about all the people it will disenfranchise. In fact, disenfranchisement is the whole point of the exercise.

If you have the smallest doubt about that, you just had to watch Vanderveer hold the initial session open two hours so that Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority -- a self-description, by the way -- could sweep in and insult everybody who showed up on time by saying that he could only make it later because he had a job; the implication being that everyone else there was a mere layabout. And to witness the warm reception that Vanderveer gave McGrath.

This is the same Dan McGrath, by the way, who has been urging his slavering dogs to go to the League of Women Voters' programs about the disenfranchisement that will be wrought by the amendment, such as the one that will happen in Edina tomorrow (Wednesday) night, and to "confront and counter" the "propaganda" of the League. And the dogs obey.

Whatever shred of lingering doubt about the outcome you may still harbor will surely be erased by considering the remarks of Republican senators such as Carla Nelson from Rochester, so thoughtless or craven as to say, well, you need a photo ID to cash a check or get a library card. Let us hope she is merely ignorant of the fact that the right to vote is guaranteed as a constitutional right, as both a federal and a state matter; the right to cash a check or check books out of the library is not.

Or by considering the story that Nelson told about her dear old dad, who, on the outset of dementia, lost his driver's license; Nelson was told by dad's doctor to be sure to get an ID for him in case he wandered off. This, according to the choked-up Nelson, was the perfect metaphor for poor people; why, we'd be doing them a favor by making them get an ID!

It would be much easier to keep track of them, after all.

And so it will go, my friends, as this amendment winds its way through bilious Republican-controlled committee after committee, until it comes to rest as a blot on the entire Legislature -- and perhaps even our dear old Minnesota.

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