Liberals have long enjoyed tossing around the straw man argument that “voter ID laws are designed to suppress minorities” and “help elect Republicans.” (Thankfully, these scare tactics didn’t stop Arkansas from passing a strong voter ID law earlier this year.) You would think that a recent Wisconsin appellate court’s ruling would have torpedoed the false narrative that these laws create new requirements for voting (in fact, the laws simply require proof that voters meet existing requirements to vote). But Max Brantley has never been one to let facts get in the way of a good mudslinging!
Max’s latest conspiracy theory at the ArkTimes is that Republicans have now admitted that Pennsylvania’s voter ID law had the allegedly desired effect of suppressing Democratic turnout in 2012. Conveniently, Brantley fails to mention that Pennsylvania has a long history of fraud — in fact, both state and federal legislators have been convicted of vote fraud in recent history. Weirdly, Brantley glides over the fact that the Pennsylvania voter ID was not in effect during the 2012 election, per a court ruling. That destroys the argument that implementation of voter ID was responsible for a lower Democratic turnout in 2012.
You know what’s even more shocking? Brantley himself reported on the court ruling that delayed the voter ID law’s implementation on the day it happened, October 2, 2012.
So we can now say definitively that 1. The voter ID law was not in effect in 2012 and therefore could not have suppressed any Democratic votes and 2. Max Brantley should have remembered this, but for some reason it escaped his mind. Isn’t professional journalism fun?
In that October 2 post, Brantley said the court injunction was “good news for Democrats.” Imagine if I said the law would be “good for Republicans.” If current trends hold, Brantley would conspiratorially inform his readers that I want the law only to help Republicans by suppressing minority voters. Using that logic, I could easily infer then that Brantley thinks the delay of the voter ID law is good for Democrats because Democrats commit voter fraud — and that therefore, Brantley wants the law delayed so Democrats can steal more votes and try to win elections. But this attempt at telepathy by the ArkTimes should not be mimicked by people of good will. Perhaps we would all be better off if we could just speak about voter ID honestly: voter ID is good for everyone who opposes election fraud.
In his recent post, Brantley also insists that supporters of voter ID in Arkansas can’t cite a single example of voter fraud here in the state. Despite the fact that there are scores of examples from around the country, this claim is also untrue: in 2008, former state Senator Jack Crumbly was re-elected in a “fraudulent manner,” according to one of his Democratic colleagues. “The corruption and voter fraud was almost unbelievable,” John Paul Capps (D-Searcy) said. But these facts don’t fit Brantley’s narrative, so he chooses to ignore them.
Empirical evidence is hard to overcome, although Max Brantley often tries. States with voter ID laws have seen higher minority voting turnout and higher turnout overall. Voter ID laws instil confidence in voters who want to be assured that their vote is going to count. More confidence in the system means more voting. That’s good for everyone.