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On Changing Pointless Provisions of Photo ID Law

(Note: This is a Sunday column, written for the News Sentinel.)
The photo ID flap has gone off on an interesting tangent in Mississippi, while in Tennessee Democrats are denouncing the idea as a voter suppression plot and Republicans are striving to justify it as a defense against election thieves.
Mississippi is putting the issue to a statewide vote this November. An Associated Press report says Republican strategists think this will boost conservative turnout, helping their guys win big in the gubernatorial race and otherwise.
But bear in mind that no photo ID will be required for the election and, if they’re right about the rampant voter fraud afoot, the thieves could carry the day. A guess is that they’re right about arousing conservative rage with fraud fears but wrong about any rampant voter fraud.
In Tennessee, where the issue has already been decided by the Republican Legislature, the GOP has no fear of vote thievery to boost turnout. Indeed, some of the claims of concern about voter fraud are, well, at least debatable.
Last week, for example, Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron held a news conference to declare he had found a convicted felon to be voting in Rutherford County — and a declared Democrat at that. This proves the law is needed, he said.
But it doesn’t. The fellow in question, it seems, was convicted of robbing a convenience store in 1984 and was still on probation when he registered to vote in 1992, though he apparently checked “yes” on the form where it asks if you have ever been convicted of a felony.

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