So These Ten Nuns Walk Into a . . .
Stop me if you heard this one. See, these 10 nuns walk into a polling station in Indiana and the guy in charge says, "Whoa, Sisters! What do think you're doing?"
"Voting," says Sister Mary.
"Well, not here, ladies; not without your ID!"
He demanded their driver's licenses, but the 10 quite elderly Sisters of the Holy Cross, including a 98-year-old, had long ago given up cruising.
"Scram, Sis!" said the man, and kicked their habits right out of the polling station.
I may not have gotten the dialogue exactly right, but I got the gist of it and the facts: the ten nuns who'd been voting at that station were booted out in 2008, just after the state of Indiana's Republican legislature imposed new voter ID laws.
The reason for nixing the nuns? To stop voter identity theft.
There wasn't exactly a voter identity crime wave. In fact, despite no photo ID requirement, there wasn't a single known case of false identity voting in the state in over 100 years.
About 400,000 voters (9 percent of Indiana's electorate) are African American. Nearly one in five (18.1 percent) lack the ID needed to vote, according to Matt Barreto of the University of Washington. That's twice the number of whites lacking ID.
Therefore, as many as 72,000 black voters will get the boot when they show up to vote this November.
Coincidentally, that's three times Barack Obama's victory margin in that state in 2008. Coincidentally.
And who are the white folk lacking ID? The elderly, like the sisters, and students like Angela Hiss and Allyson Miller, whose official state IDs don't list their dorm room addresses and so can't be used to vote.
Black folk, the elderly, students, poor whites blocked from registering and voting -- a federal judge didn't think it was all that coincidental. Justice Terence Evans could see a pattern: "The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."
But Supreme Court Justice is blind.
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