Facts & context on the issue Voter ID

The issue of laws requiring a photo ID when voting has blossomed in the last few months and it is still an issue as the state of Alabama was just sued by the NAACP for implementing such a law. If you were reading about this on TheBlaze, a paleolibertarian magazine published by Glenn Beck, you might only think that this is the only issue since the article “Civil Rights Groups Sue Alabama Over ‘Discriminatory’ Voter ID Law” simply states that this is the case. The article cites the lawsuit that at least 280,000 people will disenfranchised because of the law and that this law is just one of a number of measures taken by the state in its long history of racial discrimination. It’s almost dismissive in tone and the short article makes it seem like this is something shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Had you read the article “New lawsuit challenges Alabama voter ID law” over on MSNBC however you would have gotten a heap of other relevant information. For instance that Alabama in September shuttered or reduced the hours of 31 DMV offices, many in counties with high black populations and that Alabama’s legislature passed the ID law in 2011 without getting federal approval which was required at the time, something that resulted in the law being on hold for two years. Alabama also passed measures that were deemed racially discriminatory during the 2011-2012 session: a racially charged redistricting and a strict anti-immigration law.

The two articles are very different just in the amount of information you get as a reader. TheBlaze only conveys parts of the information about the issue at hand while MSNBC gives a more comprehensive look, incorporating relevant information from other issues to give some more context. The result is that as a reader I would get a very skewed picture had I only read the TheBlaze article. Maybe this is by design from TheBlaze’s side as one can assume with Glenn Beck as a publisher that the slant is somewhat conservative, maybe it’s just a coincidence and they have other articles on the subject that further clarifies the issue. But I undoubtedly have to conclude that based on these two examples I would be way more informed by  the MSNBC article than by TheBlaze’s.

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Facts & context on the issue Voter ID

2 thoughts on “Facts & context on the issue Voter ID

  1. Interestingly, before reading the Blaze article, I expected the bias present to be extremely slanted towards Glen Beck’s infamous ideology. As you stated, the article is lacking far more in subsistence and information. Relative to the NAACP and Greater Birmingham Ministries suing the State of Alabama and the known effects of voter ID laws, the article at least focuses on minority disenfranchisement. However, the quality of information regarding its significance is minimal. Unlike the Blaze article, MSNBC not only addresses the nature of the lawsuit comprehensively, but excellently connects the issue’s structural concerns to personal outcomes.

    The issue of voter ID laws needs to be fully addressed in comparison to unjust, pre Voting Rights Act laws including poll taxes, literacy tests, published names and addresses of newly registered voters in newspapers, and voting vouchers. It is ironic, specifically in terms of Alabama, that such discriminatory regulations have been implemented. The stories of those who marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 to procure full, uninhibited voting rights do not differ greatly from MSNBC’s source’s current experiences.

    Many of the voter ID laws that have been passed, the strictest being in Texas, were not precleared by the Justice Department previous to implementation. Although Texas voter ID laws have been ruled unconstitutional by the 5th federal district court, it has since been sent back to a lower court meaning, it is still currently in effect. While long legal battles persist in multiple states, as the NAACP and Greater Birmingham Ministries’ lawsuit will as well, it is important alliances are made to challenge current and similar legislation. Like the MSNBC article, other outlets need to continue mentioning the number of those disenfranchised, the minority percentage of those experiencing disenfranchisement, and avid descriptions of the restraints voters experience.

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  2. As Haley mentioned in her comment regarding your articles, prior to even reading the article a preexisting bias about how the article would slant was present just purely based upon the ownership of TheBlaze. Of course, Glen Beck has worked very hard to establish his current ideological image, so it was not shocking to read his article and see the contrasting differences when compared to MSNBC. However, this preexisting bias is something that we need to be careful and something I discovered when I read the FoxNews.com version of this story. To my surprise, it was very straight forward and presented only facts and really didn’t seem to present much bias at all, if any. I kept waiting for some type of active voice that framed the Voter ID issue as a serious issue that the courts should not be challenging, but if I hadn’t known it was a Fox News story, I could have easily placed it as a CNN or NBC News type article.

    As for the actual issue of requiring ID’s for voting to prevent voter fraud is one that has been spun incredibly well for an issue that is statistically nonexistent. A study by News21 found that since 2000, there have only been 10…yes 10 actual provable voter fraud cases. As TheBlaze article cleverly tries to accomplish is create an issue that seems like it is rampant and can only be solved by having much stricter laws to prevent this problem. When in actuality, the Republican party is really only trying to keep voters away from the polls. This is a concept we discussed in class – It is much easier to win if your opponent can’t get people out to the polls to vote for them.

    These stricter laws are actually something that I am having to experience first hand. Being prior military, I had switched my residency during my time in. Now that I am out, when I returned to Texas I realized how difficult it was even for someone like me to get a Texas ID. Despite at the time having a valid Military ID and a Massachusetts Drivers License, I would still need to provide my original birth certificate and social security card in order to prove my identity. Another example was my mom who moved to Virginia. She went to go get her new state ID, and they refused her birth certificate because it had her maiden name on it, which did not match her ID’s (because she is obviously married). So she had to get a certified copy of her marriage certificate in order to prove that it was her. These states make it as hard as possible, and time consuming as possible to try and dissuade potential voters. Lets also not forget how long you have to wait at these offices, only to be told you don’t have the right documents or are missing documents and need to come back…

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