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HB63 - Unfunded Mandate, GOP Style

by: mooncat

Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 19:41:48 PM CST

Remember when Republicans were the ones railing against "unfunded mandates" that put new, costly requirements on local governments without providing any money to pay for them.  As I skimmed the prefiled bills for the legislative session that kicks off tomorrow, I noticed HB63 -- mandating a government-issued photo ID for all voters -- is a perfect example of an unfunded mandate. 

The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment.

They know it will cost already cash-strapped local governments more, but there is not even a fig leaf toward helping them pay for it.  And the costs are not trivial -- to include providing a new state photo ID for everyone without one, increased election costs, costs for voter education, and of course, litigation.  An analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies found that ...

...a voter ID bill proposed by North Carolina Republicans could cost the state $20 million or more over the next three years ...

From a recent report on the costs of voter id laws (bold mine):

A fiscal note prepared in conjunction with aproposed photo ID law in Missouri estimated a cost of $6 million for the first year in which the law was to be in effect, followed by recurring costs of approximately $4 million per year.


Although the costs will vary from state to state, they will likely run into the millions of dollars per state per year and dramatically increase the cost of administering elections.  Even if a state incurs these costs, its photo ID requirements may still be vulnerable tosuccessful constitutional challenges; and a state that does not allocate sufficient funds to cover these costs will likely see its law struck down.  States should therefore consider whether, in these difficult budgetary times, it is worth the dent in their budgets to introduce a new and controversial election procedure that has not been shown to improve election security.

Photo ID for voters has been on the conservative wish list for years, even though there is no evidence a photo ID law would prevent any significant voter fraud.  To be charitable, this is a solution looking for a problem -- to be less charitable it's an opportunity to suppress certain voters.  Either way, this is where Republican authoritarian ideals come up against their supposed fiscal restraint ideals.  We'll see which one wins. 

The "as introduced" version of HB63 is below the fold.

mooncat :: HB63 - Unfunded Mandate, GOP Style
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It's voter suppression, all right. . . . (4.00 / 1)
Spot on that voter fraud prevention is a solution looking for a problem.  Remember when David Iglesias got fired because he couldn't find any? Would someone remind Rep. Hammon, please.
As Greg Palast noted about AZ's SB1070 last year, it's not about catching undocumented immigrants, it's about reducing the "Brown" vote (which Jan Brewer did in 2004-5, blocking 100,000 citizens mostly Hispanics  from voting. http://bit.ly/dUMAEV )
These photo-ID bills are being challenged because they pre-empt federal law.  In the Arizona case, an Amicus brief by the League of Women Voters argues that the purpose of the National Voting Rights Act was to increase the number of registered voters and that restrictive state requirements have interfered with that goal.  http://bit.ly/eKfMiX

Kris Kobach, always one to cost local governments money, got a bill through the Kansas Legislature.  South Carolina has one, Texas,  too. 

And then there's that Republican standby, voter caging, http://bit.ly/ifc9t4 latest one from Wisconsin.

It's widespread this year (0.00 / 0)

Missouri, North Carolina, West Virginia ... all across the country Republicans were swept into office by virtue of the poor economy and now they're using their power to pursue these political sandbox issues -- voter id laws, criminalization of abortion (or miscarriage!), union-busting -- that have nothing to do with creating jobs.

We've seen the polls out of Wisconsin that show buyer's remorse, but unless Republicans straighten out and tend to jobs first, other states will be feeling the same regret about voting these folks in.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
rankest hypocrisy (4.00 / 1)

masquerading as Responsible Government. Will people EVER catch on?????? The voters in this state, especially Democrats, have just been subjected to the most massive instance of Voter Fraud I ever saw -perpetrated by the GOP. They elected Democrats (they thought). They got GOP.

Now that same bunch, while stirring the sheep with cries of 'Obama is a Big Government Socialist!' propose to take the last dime out of our impoverished treasury to institute an odious tracking device for those same voters.

I can't even laugh. I can't even be nice about it. When are People going to say, "Enough!" and Kick their asses back to whatever rock they crawled out from under for GOOD???


A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. -Churchill

There's one born every minute (0.00 / 0)
It's easy to fall for a slick sales pitch.  You kick yourself afterward, but your money is gone.  Republicans have raised the art of snake oil sale to new heights.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
Another Voter ID bill (0.00 / 0)

House Bill 19, sponsored by Kerry Rich (R, HD26) does pretty much the same thing as HB63, but isn't nearly as carefully written.

House Bill 19 - Voter ID                                                            

Work harder and work smarter!



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