The Rant

| March 22, 2012
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I wish that in real life people's heads could spin all the way around and around like the demonically possessed character Linda Blair played in the movie The Exorcist. I wish this because it would be great to grab hold of some of these Tennessee lawmakers and twist their heads around a few times and then screw them back in the right direction, kind of like shutting down and then rebooting a computer, to see if maybe they would rethink the racist, elitist, crooked, backward, Tea Party-favored voter ID laws and let the current bill to repeal it pass on through so that Tennessee (as well as the other few states that passed the law) will not set voting rights back 50 years. It is so obviously a way to keep a large group of people from voting to reelect President Obama it might as well be stamped on their foreheads. Now let me tell you what I really think about it.

Let's say you are 80 years old, poor, have no car or driver's license, live in a small town with no DMV, and you have some physical trouble getting around. You, my friend, have just hit the jackpot of being denied the right to vote. What, you don't have a passport? Not a world traveler? You have the hospital copy of your birth certificate but not a certified copy that costs money to obtain? What kind of record keeper are you? You don't have a valid military ID? What kind of patriot are you, anyway? You can't find a way to get to the big city so you can stand or sit in line for about six hours to get an ID after producing every kind of documentation possible save for having your corneas scanned to prove you are the same voter you have been for decades? You really don't have a chauffeur? How sad, you little person. You mean you're just an ordinary, law-abiding, standup citizen who volunteers for your church and who has voted all of your life with no problems and now you are whining because the GOP has made it impossible for you to cast your vote this fall in one of the most important presidential elections in history? Don't you know this is the American way? Sigh. Maybe if you called them and told them you plan to vote for the Republican candidate they might cut you some slack and come get you and take you to the DMV and get you a place in the front of the line. They have that kind of power.

All this mess in Tennessee seems to be based on the three — yeah, count 'em, three — Shelby County poll workers who admitted to voter fraud way back seven years ago in 2005. Hmm. Why then is it that, as President Obama enters his last year in office with reelection for another term likely for 2012-2016, has the law been passed? And it's not just in Tennessee, of course. The conspiracy was proposed in 30 states, despite the fact that there were only 86 convictions of voter fraud in the entire country between 2002 and 2006, during which time approximately 400 million votes were cast. Maybe that's why most of the states had the good sense to blow it off. Only eight states passed it and in two of those the governors vetoed it. Tennessee GOP lawmakers, does that not resonate with you in any way? Does that not tell you that the majority of the United States doesn't believe in setting back voting rights 50 years? You obviously know this is going to impact African Americans at a much higher rate than anyone else and does that not at least make your conscience cringe just one little teeny tiny itsy bitsy bit? Just a shred?

One of the things that drives me crazy about this is that the new bill to repeal the law is tied up "in committee." Why not just let the people vote on it? Oh, I forgot. Too many of them can't vote any more. Silly me.

You'd think the GOP would be in favor of voter fraud. How else would George W. Bush have gotten elected? Seems they don't mind when it works in their favor like that. But not now. Not with the looming possibility of Barack Obama spending another four years in office and ending wars and killing the world's most-wanted terrorist and improving the economy so we didn't go into a real depression after the crash that happened shortly before he took office. I have nothing personal against any of the GOP lawmakers. I've met a bunch of them and never met one I didn't like on a personal level. They are nice folks. But this desperate move to make the right to vote as difficult as possible for millions of voters who might vote to reelect the president is just sad. I wish the three — yeah, count 'em, three — Shelby County poll workers who admitted to fraud seven years ago had been able to predict the future.

Comments (18)

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Well said, Mr. Sampson!

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Posted by Pamela Cate on 03/22/2012 at 9:09 AM

You dumbass. Tennessee already is solid red when it comes to the Presidential election so this isn't a ploy to get your boy out of office.

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Posted by Grizzman on 03/24/2012 at 3:52 PM

So, I guess that those laws requiring ID to buy guns, ammo, tobacco and alcohol, or cold medicine, must really rake you the wrong way as well. Perhaps next you'll rant that having to show ID to cash a check, buy insurance, or a house, all that just makes you want to "twist".

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Posted by ESAU on 03/24/2012 at 4:55 PM

Q: Let's say we have a 100 year old man living in a cave in Millington who has never seen another human being in his life. How is he going to vote?

The Rant: Who cares? He is obviously a rugged individual, not a wimpy progressive, so he would vote Republican. Find us a Democrat and we'll talk.

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Posted by GWCarver on 03/24/2012 at 5:17 PM

ESAU, all of the things you mentioned are not rights, guaranteed by the constitution. Voting is a fundamental right and should not be at the whims of whoever, gop or dem, in power.

Tennessee may be red now, however, all politics makes a circle.

In spite of the gop efforts, Obama will still be re-elected.

By the way, because Tennessee is a red state anyway, that is why you have not seen a challenge to the voter ID Law. The states that really matter, the voter Id laws have been put on hold by state judges. The constitution list the qualifications for voting, and having a state issued id is not one of them. Thru state court, the law could very well be struck down. Don't believe me, just take a look at the Tennessee Constitution.

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 03/24/2012 at 7:21 PM

More Sampson less Branston!!

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Posted by Coke Zero on 03/24/2012 at 7:45 PM

Nobody is being denied the right to vote. Just carry the ID that is required of you to drive a vehicle, open a bank account, cash a check, rent or buy a home, get a job, buy cigarettes or alcohol, board an airplane, hooking up utilities for your home and entering a government building.

If you don't have an ID, it is impossible to be a functioning member of society. Yet, that same ID that allows you to function in society is a racist conspiracy to keep blacks from voting?

Listen to yourselves. Damn fools.

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Posted by bjc123 on 03/24/2012 at 8:49 PM

Well said, bjc123. That was pretty much what I was going to say.
I mean, if your solid citizen of 80 hasn't cashed a check, bought cigarettes or alcohol, driven a car, or even gotten Federal Aid, it's fairly unlikely that he's voting, either. Besides, no one is saying that there can't be some way of making it possible for anyone who needs a photo ID to get one. Technology these days is quite advanced. And it's not like fake ID isn't easy enough to come by, should everything else fail.
Thing is, times have changed. Back in the day, you didn't 'need' a cell phone, either. People wrote letters if they wanted to communicate, and if news took six months to reach you, it took six months. Now we've got problems we didn't have in the 1930's, or the 1530's ... although thank goodness, we also don't have some of the problems we did have then.

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Posted by MMSands on 03/24/2012 at 9:14 PM

Could I just add one final thought? If you want a prime example of conspiracy theorist, fear mongering, hate speech, Tim's Rant this week is the place to find it. I mean, it's positively classic. There is innuendo, confabulation, and insinuation aplenty, but not one piece of corroborative evidence that I could find. Bigotry is alive and well in Tennessee. It shows. And Mr. Sampson is one of its fearless leaders. Or should I say, "fearful leaders"?

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Posted by MMSands on 03/24/2012 at 10:14 PM

Bjc and MM Sands, all of the things that you mentioned, driving, opening a bank account, cashing a check, etc is fine, however, you don't have to have any of it. The U. S. Constitution bans a national ID. An elderly person receiving SS, pension, etc get their money on a debit card issued through the federal government. A lot of people don't drive. When you have been living in a community for years, there are plenty of places that will cash a check without a state issued id. So, saying, generally, that a person cannot function in this modern society is false.

For the elderly especially, it is the supporting documents that you have to have to get the photo state id. It cost money, which really amounts to a backdoor poll tax.

The provisions for voting listed in the state constitution list the qualifications for voting. It is inviolate. Why do you think it is state courts that have struck down voter id laws? Those respective states have the same caluse in their constitution that Tennessee has.

Fraud, there is none that is rampant nor has there been. In Tennessee, 5 people were indicted for voting irregularities, none of which involved voter impersonation, in the last 5 years. That is out of over 10 million votes cast. Btw, those five were poll workers, not voters. There is no compelling need to impair the fundamental rights, under the state constitution that necessitates having a state issued id. I challenge anyone to, back up, with facts this rampant voting fraud. You won't be able to because it does not exist. Nationally, there has been 86 cases of voter fraud out of over 400 million votes cast. Where is the widespread voter fraud?

It is simple why people accuse these states of racism. Studies have should that a good portion of minorities lack those papers to get a state issued id. That is a documented fact. Take Georgia, for instance. You can use a student id from Georgia State Universities, howevr you can't use a student id from traditionally black colleges like, the prestigious Spellman and others. Why?

The election of Barack Obma, along with the declining numbers of registered republicans brought this all about. If you could have swung a hundred thousand votes or eliminated them, John Mcain would be president today. States with sizeable minorities in urban centers can tip a close election to Obama again. Look at Nc, Va., Oh, NM, Nv, etc. Potentially look at Ms, where 36.1% of the population is black. Yes, you get the picture. So, one can only assume that these voter id laws, at this point in time, are racist.

The only reason Tennessee has not had a challenge to the voter id law is, Tennessee doesn't matter electorally. That is also a fact.

Come on, take the challenge. show me the widespread corruption and voter fraud in Tennessee?

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 03/25/2012 at 6:41 AM

Why will the GOP push this, but do everything possible to stop the replacement of the current voting machines that are all electronic and do not provide a paper back up? There just might be a conspiracy after all MMSands.

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Posted by mad_merc on 03/25/2012 at 9:49 AM

Don't you have to have an ID to get a voter registeration card in the first place?

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Posted by Rdoug52 on 03/25/2012 at 4:45 PM

Rdoug52, yes you do, however it does not have to be a state issued id. That is the republican trick, they wrote the law to only let you use state issued id, which, in turn has to be backed up by a birth certificate, passport, military id. A lot of older people didn't even have their births recorded. Some are divorced and have never had a name. Some names were incorrectly listed on their original birth certificate, mispelling of name, etc. You either have to pay for the birth certificate, pay to and wait for a census search or go to court to change your name to reflect what is on your birth record. All of that takes time and money. A lot of poor, especially elderly people don't have the time nor the money for that.

In other words, they have set requirements higher than it takes to get certain federal benefits. I wonder why, especially in Tennessee, there has only been 5 indictments of voter irregularity, none involving voter impersonation, in the last 4 years out of 12 million votes cast.

Smells Fishy, doesn't it?

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 03/25/2012 at 8:08 PM

"The new law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote applies only to those voting at polling places. It does not apply to those casting absentee ballots under state law, including those age 65 or older who wish to vote absentee or those voting at licensed nursing homes." That would seem to take care of Tim's theoretical 80 year old.

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Posted by BartlettVol on 03/25/2012 at 8:17 PM

Article 1. Declaration of Rights.

Section 5. Elections and Suffrage

"The elections shall be free and equal, and the right of suffrage, as hereinafter declared, shall never be denied to any person, entitled thereto, except upon conviction by a jury of some infamous crime, previously ascertained and declared by law, and judgement thereon by court of competent jurisdiction."

Now, will someone show me where this mandates or that any legislation can mandate state issued voter id? Now there is a small grey area as to who is entitled, however, the cost of getting any documents required to get a state issued id is the same as paying to vote.

Like I have said, Tennessee doesn't matter in the presidential electoral college enough to warrant a challenge. I suspect though you will see a challenge to this voter id law in state court pretty soon.

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 03/25/2012 at 9:10 PM

I will answer that question for you, Mad_Merc.

The Republic party is incapable of doing something dirty and just keeping their mouths shut. They ALWAYS accuse other people of doing what they, themselves, are doing. They are doing all of this about ID's because they KNOW they, themselves, are gaming elections by using the electronic voting machines that leave no paper trails. Since the Republic party members know they are cheating, they assume everyone else must be doing the same. It's called projecting. Anytime you want to know what the Republics are doing, just listen to what they're saying someone else is doing.

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Posted by Big Baby Jesus on 03/25/2012 at 11:18 PM

As Tom Humphrey recently pointed out, the Tennessee Constitution only allows one class of people to be denied the right to vote:

"Article IV, Section 1 of the constitution establishes the qualifications for voting in Tennessee: age, U.S. citizenship, state residency and registration. The section's first paragraph concludes that "there shall be no other qualification attached to the right of suffrage."

Requiring people to present an ID to vote places another qualification on the right to vote; therefore, the Tennessee voter ID law is unconstitutional and must be overturned.

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/humphrey/election-laws/

If the judges aren't too afraid to do their jobs, the Republic party in Tennessee will have to ask the citizens to amend the state constitution before the can pass a valid voter ID law. Not that I think the citizens of Tennessee will fail to oblige the Republic party; a majority of Tennessee voters, sadly, already proved a few years ago they are in favor of constitutionalizing discrimination.

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Posted by Big Baby Jesus on 03/25/2012 at 11:29 PM

@ Big Baby Jesus, the Republicans in Nashville have repeatedly shown themselves to be nothing more than contemptuous, fascist thugs. Every piece of legislation advanced by these knuckle-dragging neanderthals propels Tennessee further into a time-warp of redneck stupidity and fear.

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Posted by beeswax on 03/26/2012 at 12:01 AM
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