Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


"Every Valid Vote?"

Kip Esquire continues his coverage in “ACLU Sues to Block Georgia Voter ID Law,” and closes, like he did a comment on my last post on the subject:

Always remember, it’s not about “making every vote count,” but rather “making every valid vote count.”

I don’t think this works as a requirements statement. First, it feels tautological. Second, within that ‘every valid vote’ is a great deal of wiggle room. I know Kip doesn’t mean this, but his definition doesn’t exclude Jim Crow laws and ‘how many bubbles are in a bar of soap’ questions. Every valid vote was counted. The elections held under those rules disenfranchised blacks. Not what we want. Most importantly, the rule feels narrow and disconnected from the real purpose of an election, which is to facilitate a peaceful transfer of legitimate power by gauging the will of the people.

5 comments on ""Every Valid Vote?""

  • KipEsquire says:

    In politics, it’s often necessary to be tautological. 😉

  • Adam says:

    “Politics, n, from the Greek, poly, meaning many, and ticks, a small, bloodsucking animal”

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m with Adam on this one. Voting is an act for which even the smallest barrier must be examined very closely. Witness the massive storm the ADA lobby has been kicking up in favor of electronic voting systems that make voting easier for the disabled. There is ample evidence that these IDs are fairly hard to get. By definition, one must not be able to drive legally in order to need one, and the centers are not easily and centrally located. Kip dismisses a law that “law that happens to disproportionately affect people based on race” as not illegal discrimination. I can’t speak to the legality, but it certainly does treat a specific class (racial and economic) differently, and imposes a barrier to make the most fundamental citizen’s right more difficult. That’s discrimination in my book when imposed by the government.
    Is there ANY evidence of the alleged fraud that necessitates this law?

  • John Kelsey says:

    I don’t know about the relative merits of ID requirements vs. other things. But there’s a long history of vote fraud based on having one person vote multiple times under different names, or trucking people in from outside the county to have them vote, or whatever. It really does matter for voting security that you know whether the people voting are allowed to vote.

  • Adam says:

    As I mentioned Tuesday ( there are other solutions to people voting multiple times, such as inking fingers.

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