Nothing is more sacred in politics than the right to cast a valid and legal vote in an election. Nothing is more sinister in politics than someone who takes away the right of legal and valid voters by casting an illegal vote. Every illegal vote cast is an attack upon the heart of democracy.
For that reason, the Republicans chose to stand up and contend for photo identification to protect the rights of legal South Carolina voters. After all, in nearly every other important endeavor in life, photo identification is needed. Try to get any government benefits or open a bank account without one. Trying buying an airplane ticket without proper identification. For that matter, if you look under 35, try buying a six pack of beer or a pack of cigarettes without proper photo identification.
It seems as common sense that if you have to have photo identification to buy beer, you would need it to cast a vote. That vote you cast was paid for by men and women who killed and died for it. After their sacrifice, it seems unthinkable that people would not have the gumption to have photo identification to vote. And, the left and good ole boys who contend that voters in South Carolina are unable to do so insult those voters. People have the sense to get photo identification.
But, that is politics. Especially on the left, and amongst the good ole boys, activists who cry that they are for voting rights are really after getting votes any way that they can. People who have a religious like zeal for their political agenda have no problem with flouting the spirit of the law if can get them another vote. Suppose an older person is in a nursing home, and unable really to grasp what is going on. Yet, they are registered to vote. To some political advocates, that voter registration card need not go to waste. Indeed, they will make sure someone who works for their organization gets the card and presents it to cast a vote on behalf of the older person in the nursing home. If you doubt that, work an election day. There will be a number of eighty year old voters who show up at polls looking thirty or forty. Perhaps the votes cast can be challenged, but the challenge has no legal teeth.
President Obama even recognizes that people distrust their elected officials and the integrity of our system of governments. Insuring the rights of legal voters via photo identification would be a big step towards repairing that trust.
Yet, we in South Carolina might not ever get that. There was a much talked about compromise in the State Senate on voter identification this past week. However, it was no big win for democracy. The Senate Democrats filibuster, (that is feel a Buster in SC Senate language), resulted in a watered down bill that actually helps those left wing organizations. The bill allows for early voting before an election, which brings back memories of all those shopping mall voters being coaxed in North Carolina back in 2008. That will happen in 2010. Voter identification will happen in 2012, if there is money for it.
Democrats do not have all the blame for this fiasco of legal voters’ rights. Republican state senators Knotts, Leatherman, O’Dell and Rankin gave tacit support to the Democratic filibuster. O’Dell especially comes to mind. He won re-election as a Democrat back in the 1990s amongst controversy from Republican activists at the time. O’Dell also tried to get a convicted drug dealer appointed as a magistrate, but Mark Sanford correctly shot that notion down. (Granted that convict got a recent pardon and is popular with some right wingers in O'Dell's district.) VUI is not shocked to see him on the wrong side of real reform.
Good ole boy politics is okay at some level. There have been some good ole boys that got some things done that mattered. However, when the good ole boys work together to keep us from protecting the rights of legal voters, it is time to say enough. That said the good ole boys rolled the reformers on voter identification.