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Liam ‘Verses’ Policy: Hillary Clinton and Voting Rights
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Liam ‘Verses’ Policy: Hillary Clinton and Voting Rights

Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a series where Liam Verses analyses the policy proposals of presidential candidates, as well as their history with those policies.

Chapter 1—Policymaking institutions, the term stamped on my vocabulary list for U.S. Government.

“The branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. The U.S. Constitution established three policymaking institutions—the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. Today, the power of the bureaucracy is so great that most political scientists consider it a fourth policymaking institution.”

Every four years, we elect a President who influences the direction of the country through federal agencies, enforcement of laws, national security, and foreign diplomacy. Therefore, it is imperative for the American public to become educated on both sides of every issue and to realize the fallacies of logic in politicians’ rhetoric.

To help with this education, I hope to provide an analysis of the policies of our presidential candidates.

Hillary Clinton and Voting Rights

Hillary Clinton asserts that she will “restore the crucial provisions of the Voting Rights Act.” She further proclaims that “damage” was done to the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court. In Clinton’s eyes, there is a singular case that has caused so much damage: Shelby County v. Holder. However, I remain confused.

In a summary of the case, a county in Alabama sought to strike down sections 5 and 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act and obtain a permanent injunction against the enforcement of both:

“Section 5 prohibits eligible districts from enacting changes to their election laws and procedures without gaining official authorization. Section 4(b) defines the eligible districts as ones that had a voting test in place as of November 1, 1964 and less than 50% turnout for the 1964 presidential election. Such districts must prove to the Attorney General or a three-judge panel of a Washington, D.C. district court that the change ‘neither has the purpose nor will have the effect’ of negatively impacting any individual’s right to vote based on race or minority status.”

After being accepted by the Supreme Court, the Court ruled that Section 4(b) is unconstitutional. While 5 is not, as a consequence of the constitutionality of 4(b), it will remain never-again enforced according to dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Mrs. Clinton claims that this decision is targeting minorities. I would refute that statement by saying that the political and racial climate of 2016 is no longer the pervasive apartheid of 1964, and, therefore, stringent laws are no longer required. All outdated laws and sections of old statutes have managed to do is complicate the ever-entangled bureaucratic mess in Washington. Our government has the elasticity to meet the needs of changing times. While the turbulent 1960s and 70s necessitated a robust enforcement mechanism of the 15th amendment, sections of that law are no longer required for the safeguard of U.S. citizens.

Furthermore, there aren’t poll taxes anymore. There aren’t Grandfather Clauses. All Americans are guaranteed Constitutional protection, from the right to vote to the right to free speech to the right to remain silent.  There has been leaps and bounds in American public policy that should, without evidence to the contrary, negate any claim of racial discrimination by voter laws.

Kris Kobach, writing for The Washington Post, published an article entitled, “Voter ID laws are good protection against fraud.” In it, he rebuts a popular claim by those opposed to voter ID laws who argue that the number of incidents of voter fraud are “statistically insignificant,” or are “a small percentage of the total votes cast,” or are “few and far between.” No one can refute the claim that voter ID violations—the ones known, at least—are a minuscule number. However, the numbers are not insignificant when put into context.  Kobach notes two specific examples to support his assertion, one in which 341 felons cast their votes—illegally—in the Minnesota election back in 2008. 341 pales in comparison to the 2.7 million votes cast statewide, right? Well, it would if the margin of victory for Minnesota Senator Al Franken wasn’t 312 votes. Secondly, in Kansas City, Missouri, during a Democratic primary, J.J. Rizzo won the illegally cast vote of 50 Somalis, which was enough to push him above the vote tally of his challenger, Will Royster.

More elections than one might think can come down to a one percentage point or less difference in popular vote, and one percent is a lot closer in numeric vote total in statewide and local elections.  A few dozen illegal ballots or fraudulent votes can easily change the outcome of an election or primary, thus usurping democratic government.

What Mrs. Clinton is referring to when she says “harmful Republican efforts to restrict voting” are attempts to disenfranchise voters impersonating, casting, or fraudulently obtaining ballots in elections.

There are not uniform voter ID laws, and it follows that the ability to get an ID if required in elections should not be excessively difficult or inaccessible; the process should be easy for those who want it. The Texas DPS is a perfect example of an agency that made it not only easy but free for any person wishing to exercise their constitutional right to vote to obtain an ID card.

Therefore, why is it so reprehensible that we should require people, when voting for the leader of the free world, to provide proper identification?

Statistics can often be misleading, and that’s why Kris Kobach’s analysis into what those numbers actually mean is so important. While I understand the arguments Mrs. Clinton would pose in a debate, we cannot ignore these incidents of voter fraud.  Regardless of who is benefitting, Democrats, Republicans or third parties, voter fraud threatens the very bedrock of our government and the principles for which we stand.

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