Time to speak out

Georgia purges its voter rolls of anyone without a picture ID.

The Justice Department has just given Georgia the go-ahead to disenfranchise anyone who doesn’t have a driver’s license. The law is supposedly intended to deter fraud, but no one has come up with an actual examples of voting-by-impersonation, and the law specifically exempts absentee voting.

The true purpose of the law, and its certain effect, is to reduce the number of poor, elderly, black and otherwise Democratic-leaning voters.

Georgia has 159 counties, but only 56 places to get a driver’s license, none of which is in Atlanta or in any of the six counties with the highest proportions of African-Americans in their population. Under the Clinton Administration, the Justice Department rejected a less restrictive law.

Under the Reagan Administration, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department was widely referred to as the “State’s Rights Division.” That ugly tradition seems to have been revived.

I’d like to see Congressional Democrats react to this with an appropriate degree of outrage. And I’d like to hear some complaint about it from conservatives, too: the ones who always react with shocked horror when Democrats accuse Republicans of pandering to, and wilfuly benefiting from, racial prejudice.

No, I don’t pretend the authority to dictate what other people say or write. But qui tacet, consentit. Do you consent to this, or not? If not, let’s hear about it.

Hat tip: the indispensible Progressive Blogs Digest

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com