TELL US: Should Massachusetts Pass a Voter ID Bill?

Let us know your thoughts on presenting government-issued ID when voting for the general election in 2012.

Recently, in helping to establish a non-binding ballot question in some of Bristol County's districts that aims to require the presentation of a government-issued identification in order to vote in Massachusetts.

The initiative will be on the November ballots in the first, fourth and sixth Bristol districts. The idea, according to Kozlowski, is designed to help minimize voter fraud.

Kozlowski worked with Peter Sacks at the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office to work on the language of the bill. The ultimate approval, even after possible support, would be up to the attorney general. And the ballot question will essentially put out feelers for support of the bill.

Last year, several supporters tried to get a full state proposition on the ballot for this November, but the Attorney General's Office rejected the bid to require government ID for voting in Massachusetts, saying the cost of procuring a legal photo identification disenfranchises many voters.

But what do you think? Should Massachusetts require voters to present ID when at the polls? Will this prevent voter fraud, or hinder the freedom of elections? 

Gretchen Robinson August 25, 2012 at 06:43 PM
requiring voter ID's is wrong... In PA, Republican defenders of voter ID laws couldn't find even one case of voter fraud, yet the right wingers have pushed a voter fraud policy into effect. In some states, mainly in the South, "voter vigilantes" (gangs of republican activists) go right into the polls and challenge black voters with impunity. This is not American, I think you will agree. Let the Republicans win fairly in places like FL. After all, Bush II was NOT elected but became president by fiat of the Republican controlled SCOTUS. Voter vigilantes have so far got the League of Women voters to stop registering Blacks and anyone who might vote Democratic. I know. I have a high school classmate who told me of all the shenanigans. I showed my ID when I first registered. That is enough. Voter Fraud is not a problem so don't make it one. Win elections fair and square without persecuting Americans who want to vote.
Buck Farack August 25, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Gretchen, you make outlandish, unsubstantiated claims and your only reference is that a classmate told you? Really?
Tisiphone August 25, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Gretchen, I know that temperate language has little flavor for you, but "GOP Voter Vigilantes"! Please! Should I use a term from another generation and refer to the League of Woman Vultures? Never having encountered "Voter Vigilantes" before, I decided to Google it. I came across a Seattle news story that reported "Of the 1,944 claims made of illegally registered voters, they’ve withdrawn more than 300. That’s an abysmally high error rate". "Abysmally high", when we accept a 5-6% error rate in polls, hardly. It seems to be a 16% error rate. For all of the umbrage taken, it is no where mentioned that they were 84% correct. Now, that is cause for concern.
Rick Booker August 25, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I'm surprised the Patch allows Mrs Robinson to get away with such unsubstantiated name calling. I think Mrs. Robinson is quite aware that at least two news agencies did a recount of the Florida ballots in 2001 and reported that George W. Bush need in fact win the vote there. I will ask this question again since you felt perfectly fine showing your ID to register what is the problem with showing it to vote? I'm pretty sure your ID can take the wear and tear of being taken from where ever you keep it to show to the polling official. Why are you so afraid that only legal voters are allowed to vote?
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) August 25, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Rick, which portion of Gretchen's post did you feel should have been deleted?
Tisiphone August 25, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Jonathan, I suspect Rick may have picked the wrong post. Still, I think it is common knowledge that most of Gretchen's posts are really tirades full of name calling and do not advance the discussion. She seems more a mouthpiece for various political points of view, which she supports with very thin facts. Her accusations about Bush may illustrate. She seems unaware that presidents are not elected by the popular vote, rather electoral votes (which of course was the question in Florida. although electoral votes are determined by popular vote). I have never heard her complain that Clinton never even approached 50% of the vote.
Rick Booker August 25, 2012 at 10:08 PM
"voter vigilantes" (gangs of republican activists) I don't care to be refereed to as a gang member. I thought you and Patch detested name calling or does it just depend on who's doing it? Her statement ""voter vigilantes" (gangs of republican activists) go right into the polls and challenge black voters with impunity." is implying republicans are racists and she throws this absurd statement out based on nothing factual. I thought this blog was intended to further the discussion. If we're all allow to throw bombs like Mrs Robinson is allowed to do this whole thing is pointless. I've been reading this blog for quite some time and it seems Mrs Robinson operates with impunity here.
Rick Booker August 25, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Tisiphone: No I didn't pick the wrong post. I replied to Gretchen Robinson's post implying anyone who is for Voter ID is a racist.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) August 25, 2012 at 10:12 PM
I do not like direct attacks from poster to poster. Gretchen's post did not do that. Some of Gretchen's post have been deleted in the past. This does not qualify as one that needs to be deleted.
deb of see-attleboro August 25, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Keep on doin' what you're doin' Jonathan. Mrs Robinson is speaking for Democrats. I like to read what she has to say. It gives us unenrolled/independents insight into what the party is all about.
Steve Hopkins August 25, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Yes, it should be a requirement. Just an article in the Providence Journal about voter fraud, re: Gemma and Cicilline, and some guy who can't speak English submitting bunch of absentee ballots! Geez...this has to stop. And thinking that some will stop voting because they have a little difficulty getting to a place to get an ID....that's a bunch of bull! Why not have ID registration at local senior centers and make sure sure there are some evening and Sat hours so those that work 2 jobs can get there.
Steve Hopkins August 25, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Now that's a pretty wild assumption! Jim, read the recent article in the Prov Journal about suspected fraud concerning Mr Gemma and Mr. Cicilline! And if you might think Providence is the only city with this going on, you are really out of the information loop!
Steve Hopkins August 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Joanne - what group and what insurmountable obstacles are you alluding to? If you are a citizen you get to vote. If not, then stay away from our voting booths. Your argument is just soooo ludicrous!
Steve Hopkins August 25, 2012 at 11:25 PM
If you should die, and the voter lists are not updated, then someone else could use you name and vote! someone already mentioned that these lists of registered votes are not kept up to date. Get with it!
David McKinnon August 26, 2012 at 12:52 AM
There is a compelling reason for unbiased information on this topic. Before we go to the polls and vote yea or nay for voter ID's let's have real data from an authoritative source(s) demonstrating the level of voter fraud within Massachusetts. I have been a registered voter in Massachusetts for more than 35 years and have never been required to produce an ID, except to register. Why start now? I am not convinced there is compelling evidence of voter fraud in Massachusetts that necessitates a new law requiring voter ID's at the polling booth.
Rick Booker August 26, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Tisiphone August 26, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Being a one party state,at the present time there is probably little impetus for voter fraud. Back in the day, when Massachusetts was switching from a Republicn bastion to a Democratic stronghold (1930-1960) there was more voter fraud suspected. Politicians are reluctant demand investigation of voter fraud, so frequently "suspected voter fraud" remains a suspicion. As pointed out here, it is pathetically simple to compare a list of the recently deceased to recent voters. This is rarely done. A Google search will show that as recently as two weeks ago the Attorney General began investigation of voter fraud in East Longmeadow. Since that case involves actual personation of living voters switching their party afilliation it seems particularly bold. Such boldness may imply a knowledge of how easy it is.
deb of see-attleboro August 26, 2012 at 11:03 AM
I am not convinced that producing an ID would be burdensome to any qualified voter. And if that is the case, the responsible thing for a compassionate society to do would be to bring those people out of the shadows they must be living in. I can't imagine what such a life must be like.
Peter Hoogerzeil August 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM
Gretchen mentioned no cases of voter fraud in Penbsylvania. Really? What about the Philadelphia machine that is not held accountable by the liberal Inquirer?
David McKinnon August 26, 2012 at 12:08 PM
The East Long Meadow case involves a republican candidate in collusion with a town employee switching some 450 registered democrats to republican so as to use absentee ballot votes for the republican candidate. Voter ID's will not prevent that type of voter fraud.
Michael Kreyssig August 26, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Voter fraud is incredibly easy to pull off, especially now that we have groups running around doing mass voter registrations. These groups are not the town clerk or an RMV employee, but volunteers who go around and seek out people to register who may not even being asking for ID when they enroll people. Furthermore, in the State of Massachusetts you can register to vote by mail without having to show and ID (since 2002), but you are expected to show I.D. the first time you vote in a federal election (who knows if that even happens). After that (and this applies to all MA voters) you never have to show I.D. again, even if you re-register because you move. But let's look at this logically. Every state has a law that you must show Photo ID when you register. Therefore every person who has properly registered to vote has a Photo I.D. Simple as that.
Tisiphone August 26, 2012 at 01:18 PM
True, I offered it to counter the argument that voter fraud is non-existent. I suggest that if a plan of this boldness exists, people "in the know" are aware of how easy voter fraud is.
paul August 26, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Everyone 18yrs & up should have an I.D. and if you don't have one, who are you? That being said, it would take a huge conspiracy to sway an election and a motive. Casting a vote still involves a citizen going to the polls and we have small turn outs at almost every election around here, unless it's for a casino.
David McKinnon August 26, 2012 at 02:18 PM
"Federal law requires that any person registering to vote by mail for the first time, or for the first time in a new state, must provide identification. Mail-in registration forms ask for either a Massachusetts driver’s license number or the last four digits of your social security number, and registrants are encouraged to enclose a copy of their identification with the form. First-time voters in Massachusetts should also bring some type of identification to their polling place when they go to vote. This does not need to be a photo identification card. Acceptable forms of identification include: a Massachusetts driver’s license or state ID card; a utility bill; a government-issued check; a paycheck or paystub; or any other official document bearing the voter’s name and address. Please not that passports, birth certificates, naturalization papers, and student IDs without addresses are not acceptable forms of identification. Many students get letters from their schools listing their student address for such purposes." For more information on voter registration and voting requirements please check the Massachusetts Secretary of State Office. The following link is for the quoted material above. http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elestudents/studentsidx.htm
Tisiphone August 26, 2012 at 10:46 PM
"huge conspiracy" try this one "Circuit Court Judge Thomas Kluczynski, a Daley machine loyalist, dismissed Republican lawsuits, for which Kennedy rewarded him by appointment to the federal bench. Recounts were generally blocked by Daley cronies, but special prosecutor (a Democrat!) Morris Wexler found that the simultaneous IL Attorney General race had been massively corrupted to defeat Adamowski (8875 extra Adamowski votes were found during a partial recount, i.e. exceeding the Kennedy-Nixon margin) and embarked on 667 prosecutions, but the Daley machine trumped that by getting a judge to dismiss all the charges en masse, and game over. During the 1960 election, 176 out of 180 positions on the Board of Election Commissioners were Daley Democrats. In 1962, after an election judge confessed to witnessing vote tampering in Chicago's 28th ward, three precinct workers pled guilty and served short jail terms. Reporter Earl Mazo, visiting the Chicago address where 56 Kennedy voters "lived," found an abandoned demolished house. He also found a cemetary where all the tombstone names were registered voters. In Ward 27, Precinct 27, the 376 voters cast 397 votes; In the 15th precinct of ward 2, Kennedy beat Nixon 74-to-3 but only 22 people were registered to vote.
paul August 27, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Make sure they know who you are so they can use you for jury duty every 3 years, and that is a huge conspiracy, if you don't show up you get arrested and have your whole name posted in the patch. Go ahead and try to vote twice all you paranoid birthers. Do any of these politicians deserve your vote even once?
Jerry Chase September 12, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Voter ID is unfortunately necessary to protect the real minority in Massachusetts: Republicans. After all, what good is a de facto one-party "system"? No good.
Jerry Chase September 12, 2012 at 07:31 PM
David, Are you aware that some states do not keep track of what one declares oneself to be in terms of party or political leanings? According to those states, you are merely a registered voter----not a registered voter who happens to be a "Dem" or "Repub" or otherwise. What business is it of a state to know your political persuasions or ideology, anyway?
Jerry Chase September 12, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Disagree! In some cities, it is a fact---period.
Tisiphone September 12, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I'm registered as a Republican. I have noticed that my voter registration (not party registration) has gotten mixed up more times than I can simply ascribe to happanstance.


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