The Indiana law does provide a voter the chance to obtain an ID from government offices. The average voter's distance to the office is 17 miles. By definition, the folks who need the ID don't drive. And the 98-year-old is pretty darn slow in her walker.
A lawyer for Indiana voters told me that the average bus trip back and forth, requiring two changes, takes an entire work day. They tested it. But Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ruled that the law was fair and provided "equal protection" to all voters because "seventeen miles is seventeen miles for the rich and the poor."
Our investigative team decided to check that assumption. Justice Scalia drives a black BMW. No kidding. What he meant to say is that whether a poor person or a rich person is driving a BMW, it takes the same time. And whether the BMW is black or white doesn't matter either.
With Supreme Court blessings, voter ID laws are taking the nation by storm, or storm troops.
Apparently, the idea came to Karl Rove while buying his pampers. He told the Republican National Lawyers Association, "I go the grocery store and I want to cash a check to pay for my groceries, I have to show a little bit of ID. [So, why not when] it comes to the most sacred thing in our democracy?"
(Actually, Karl, you don't have to show ID to swallow the Eucharist or matzo. But if by "most sacred thing" in our democracy you mean making donations to American Crossroads, you don't need ID for that anymore either. If you mean voting is sacred, then it shouldn't be dependent on taking a driving test, should it?)
Santiago Juarez sees some truth in Rove's remarks. I met with Santiago in Espanola, New Mexico, where he was running a registration drive among low-riders, the young Mexican Americans who cruise the street in hopping, bopping, neon-lit Chevys.
He says, "And who's going to give these kids a credit card?" Of course, you can always get ID from a state office . . . if you already have ID."
Voting-rights lawyer John Boyd, who works for both parties, is alarmed by the "thousands and thousands" of poor people in each state who will lose their vote because of new ID laws.
"I don't have any doubt this could decide the election," he told me. "People don't understand the enormity of this."
People don't. But Karl does.
And so does the Brennan Center. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School brings together America's most prestigious scholars in the field of voting rights who are widely ignored because of their unquestioned expertise. The Brennan Center reports that the ID laws are racist, ageist, classist, and the stupidest way to stop "fraud."
Here's the Brennan Center breakdown of those without government photo ID:
_ 6.0 million seniors;
_5.5 million African Americans;
_8.1 million Hispanics;
_ 4.5 million 18-to-24-year olds;