By Scott Wilhite
It’s Saturday morning, Oct. 18, 2014, and I’ve just heard the news; the Supreme Court has decided to allow Texas to use a strict and controversial law that will require voters to show an approved ID card in order to vote on Election Day- Nov. 4, 2014.
One thing that most everyone agrees with about this law is that it helps Republican candidates because virtually all of the people who don’t have the required ID to vote are poor and/or black and that those people mostly vote for Democrats.
According to the emergency appeal filed by the opponents of the law, there have been a total of two cases of in-person illegal votes that have been prosecuted between 2003 and 2013 and that there could be as many as 600,000 legally registered voters who do not have the required ID cards and that those people could be prevented from voting if the law is upheld.
Before I show my full bias (if I haven’t already), I should disclose, in the here and now, that is 2014 and with all things considered, I am very much against this requirement.
That is not to say that I am OK with voter fraud, because I am not. But the practical reality of requiring something like this is not the way to go right now.
However, there are a lot of people (mostly Republicans) who are in favor of this law and claim it’s needed for the purpose of preventing voter fraud.
As I understand it, their argument is not so much that there is a measurable epidemic of fraudulent votes in Texas, but more about proactively preventing voter fraud from happening with the use of this law.
This is where they lose me. As a critical thinker, I know that there is not a real problem at this time and that regardless of what anyone says or claims as an argument in favor of this law, I am insulted when someone tries to convince me it is only about preventing voter fraud and not about winning elections.
Their argument would carry a lot more weight if they would file emergency bills, or whatever it took, in order to put in place safeguards that protect those 600,000 patriots who want to vote but don’t have what’s required to do so, instead of filing emergency appeals to the Supreme Court a week before early voting takes place that has no safeguards in place to protect legal voters.
In our system of justice in this country, we mostly agree with what’s known as Blackstone’s formulaic theory, which basically says it’s better to let ten guilty go free than wrongly convict one innocent.
This current law does not follow that doctrine in any way.
As students, this issue is a great one to plug into that political/critical thinking scenario tool on your shoulders and come up with an informed opinion.
For me, I like to reduce things down to its simplest terms and plug that into Aristotle’s syllogistic theory of inference.
Thanks to Professor Weatherford’s Humanities 1301 class, I am now armed with this homespun (but very historically significant) logic.
Another way to put it is- if it… and it… then it… Insert “duck” after those statements and the output is, that’s right, a duck. If the practical result to requiring an ID is to prevent two cases of in-person fraud – and the potential is the silencing of as many as 600,000 legal (mostly democrat) votes – then?
That is for you to decide.