In the New York Times article “Kansas Voter ID Law Sets Off a New Battle Over Registration,” Julie Bosman not only frames voter ID laws in warlike terms, but hardly covers both sides of this war equally. While Bosman does interview strict voting rule advocate Kris Kobach and allow him to have his say, his is the only conservative voice in the entire article.
The article begins with the personal story of a high school senior unable to vote due to the new Kansas voter registration laws. Bosman further notes that this senior believes these voter registration laws are “ridiculous and restrictive” due to these experiences; this senior, Bosman tells us, is an American teenager just like any other who is unable to vote thanks to “Republicans who dominate elected offices in Kansas.” Bosman’s choice of the word “dominate” already seems iffy; it brings to mind patriarchal, dictatorial overlords instead of elected politicians. And indeed, when she interviews Kobach, she makes sure to state that everything he says regarding voter registration laws are his own assertions. When she interviews Douglas Bonney, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, she doesn’t phrase his assertions as assertions; they’re merely facts.
Bosman also seems to pick and choose her evidence regarding Bonney and Kobach’s assertions. Bosman hardly looks at voter fraud, shooting down the idea that these voter registration laws prevent it in a mere two sentences. Instead, she looks at the idea that these laws are deliberately designed to prevent those who would vote for Democrats from voting, specifically looking at how hard the law hits young people; she pulls numbers from several polls to back up her claim that this is the case. Although Bosman frames her article as covering both sides of the “battle,” closer examination shows that Bosman is really biased toward the Democrats’ view of these laws.