California GOP to pursue a voter ID initiative

The California Republican Party is rolling out a push for a voter ID initiative in California, chairman Tom Del Beccaro announced this morning.

To kick off that push for the next election cycle, the party has added a new speaker to the schedule for its upcoming fall convention, Aug. 10-12 in Burbank: conservative columnist John Fund, co-author of the forthcoming book, “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.”

California is one of 20 states without any law requiring voters to show identification at polling places, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There’s a hot national debate afoot about whether there’s any significant fraud to merit enacting such laws, or whether the laws are intended to make it harder to vote and so suppress voter turnout – usually to Republican advantage.

Fund – national affairs columnist for the National Review, senior editor for the American Spectator, and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and Fox News – worked as a research analyst for the California Legislature in Sacramento before beginning his journalism career.

Del Beccaro said Fund’s new book “focuses on the problems that weaken our election processes, from voter fraud to a slipshod system of vote counting … And it proposes solutions.”

“While Americans frequently demand fair play in other countries’ elections, we often are blind to the need to scrutinize our own,” Del Beccaro said. “We may pay the consequences in November, if a close race leads to pitched partisan battles, and court fights that could dwarf the Bush-Gore recount wars.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JohnW

    All the GOP needs to do is shave a couple of points in battleground states or swing districts to change both Congressional and presidential elections. That’s what this is all about. If this had noble intentions, laws passed this year would not be scheduled to go into effect until after the 2012 election cycle and would be accompanied by all kinds of special effort to identify people most likely to be affected and to help them get everything together.

    These voter ID laws are aimed not just at minorities but also college students and the lower income elderly — i.e., the ones least likely to vote for Republicans. Little evidence of measurable voter fraud, especially the intentional organized kind that would be designed to influence the outcome of elections in a particular jurisdiction. In Texas, a gun permit photo ID qualifies, but a University of Texas student photo ID doesn’t. Hmmm!

    It doesn’t take much in the way of red tape — e.g., the initiative, time and money involved in securing a birth certificate from the state where you were born so that you can then wait in long lines at DMV to get a photo ID — to discourage people from voting.

    In the Civil Rights era deep South, Voter ID alone would have kept most blacks from voting, as it was rather common for them to have neither driver’s license nor birth certificate. In the Grapes of Wrath era, it probably would have kept many of the Okies who migrated to California from voting. It doesn’t take much to discourage otherwise legally qualified people from going to the effort of voting. It’s hard enough to get people who already have the documents to register and vote.

  • Edwina Reed

    California will not allow these folks to disenfranchise its voters in any way–we are NOT the South. And considering all the heads were in place to ensure the vote counting was stopped and the courts ruled for and appointed Bush president, I’m surprised they would even mention the Bush-Gore recount wars?

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    America needs its uneducated, ignorant, undocumented and imprisoned voters to make their voices heard! After all, why let the middle classes run everything?

  • Andrew Kubik

    Well, if ‘ya can’t beat ’em, SUPPRESS ’em ! Good old Republican Party; always on the forefront of fascism !

  • chico

    I hope it includes a provision that fines Political Parties that pay Voter Bounties to Contractors who change peoples party on their completed Reg Forms

  • Stephen L Weir

    “Del Beccaro said Fund’s new book “focuses on the problems that weaken our election processes, from voter fraud to a slipshod system of vote counting … And it proposes solutions.”

    How amazingly offensive…oh wait, is this the party that sued Contra Costa 20 months ago (aka political publicity stunt) over challenging legitimate voters who voted by mail, and quietly dropped their high profile law suit when the County filed for summary judgement to stop their nonsense?

    You have both parties in Congress to thank, and President Bush for signing the “Help America Vote Act” in 2002 for today’s voting systems. Not perfect, but certainly not a slipshot voting system, neither in Contra Costa nor in California.

    p.s., voter registration fraud is squarely in the hands of the political parties who pay bounties for voter registration, how about knocking that proven fraudulent prone system out?

    Stephen L. Weir, Registrar of Voters, Contra Costa County.

  • Joe Smith

    Never mind the fact you need an ID to:
    buy alcohol, purchase insurance, drive a car, buy or rent a home, enter many offices and govt buildings, travel by plane, sign up and receive social security, medicare, food stamps, and other government programs, enter the country (legally), etc… The list goes on and on.

    The only who oppose having an ID are those who abuse the system. 70% of the public supports having an ID and this policy will win.

    Thank God someone actually wants to allow a benefit to those who follow the law instaed of the those who continue to benefit by breaking them.

  • Stephen Montgomery

    Voter ID laws are a solution looking for a problem.

  • Steve Weir

    Read the back of your California Driver’s License:

    “This License is issued as a license to drive a motor vehicle. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration,or public benefits.”

    Ironically, you are required to provide your Driver License number when you register. We check your voter registration against DMV records. If you do not have a Calif. ID, you must provide your last for digits on your SSA card and we check your info. against SSA. If you have neither, the State issues you a unique identifier. This allows the statewide voter registration database to track you in all 58 counties. If you are a first time voter and have not provided any of the ID required information, you must show ID at the polls.

  • JohnW

    Steve Montgomery is mistaken in saying Voter ID laws are a solution looking for a problem. That would be like passing a law against spitting on the sidewalk. This is intentional, carefully crafted voter suppression designed to change the outcome of close elections.

    My understanding is that there are roughly 800 thousand legally qualified voters (not first time voters) in Pennsylvania who do not have the photo ID that would be required. Naturally, those voters are heavily concentrated in Philadelphia, which leans heavily Democratic. Imagine showing up at the polling place where you have faithfully voted for years, where everybody knows who you are and being told now you can’t vote.

    ACLU and others have filed suit. And it is reported today that the defenders have stipulated that there have been no investigations, let alone actual charges regarding voter fraud.

  • Elwood

    “there are roughly 800 thousand legally qualified voters (not first time voters) in Pennsylvania who do not have the photo ID that would be required.”

    It would be fascinating to see how they arrived at that number.

    It sounds to me like somebody pulled it out of his ***.

  • JohnW

    Re: #11

    Elwood, the numbers come from the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth (like CA Sec. of State), from a comparison of the data base of the state’s 8.2 million voters and the PennDot ID data base. The numbers are NOT exact, because the Secretary stated that “up to” 758 thousand voters (9.2%) lacked PennDot ID.

    A similar comparison for just Philadelphia indicated that up to 186,830 registered voters (18%) lacked PennDot ID there. They noted that about 50,000 of those are not active voters, so 18% is on the high side if you base the analysis on active voters, not just registered voters. But the numbers are still big, even if you leave inactives out of the analysis. That’s why the state GOP chairman boasted on video that passing the Voter ID law would enable Romney to win the state and the White House.

    DOJ has requested all these data bases so that further analysis can be performed.

  • Elwood

    “up to” includes any number from 0 to 758k.

    “DOJ has requested all these data bases so that further analysis can be performed.”

    I will sleep better knowing that Eric Holder will protect the black vote, including voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers.

  • JohnW

    Re: 13

    Would you like to place a wager that the number is closer to 0 than to 758K? If the number is 379k or lower, you win. 380k or higher I win. To quote Mitt Romney, “I’ll bet you ten thousand dollars on that.”