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ScissorTales: Voter turnout statistics hurt anti-voter ID arguments

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: May 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm •  Published: May 11, 2013

STATISTICS keep getting in the way of Democrats' arguments that voter identification laws place an unfair burden on minorities.

The Census Bureau reported this week that nationally, blacks voted at a higher rate than whites in the 2012 election. It's the first time that's happened since the bureau began tracking voting data by race in 1968. Indeed the number of black and Hispanic voters increased from 2008 to 2012, while the number of non-Hispanic white voters fell, which the bureau said “indicates that the 2012 voting population expansion came primarily from minority voters.”

This news is especially ironic because the administration of Barack Obama, our first black president, spent so much time last year working to roll back voter ID laws. Attorney General Eric Holder even likened some of these laws to the poll taxes of the Jim Crow days.

The census data shouldn't come as a great surprise. In 2008, minority turnout in Georgia and Indiana increased dramatically, as did the turnout of Democrats in general, and those states have the strictest voter ID laws in the country.

Asking for identification at the ballot box is constitutional — so says the U.S. Supreme Court — and as the data shows, it's no more onerous than asking the same to enter a building or board an airplane or write a check.

Et tu, public sector?

Like others, we've noted that Obamacare's insurance mandates, which kick in for employees working 30 hours or more per week, actually encourage businesses to reduce workers' hours, making it harder for people to get ahead financially. It turns out government workers aren't immune from this fiscal reality. The Wall Street Journal reports the city of Brunswick, Ohio, has maxed the hours for about 100 employees at 28 per week. The state of Virginia has started implementing a 29-hour cap for about 37,000 employees, including college adjunct faculty. And the Iowa Association of School Boards reports that some schools even considered a 29-hour weekly max for bus drivers, cooks and student learning aides. Although Sara Redding Wilson, director of the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management, explains this trend succinctly, we suspect many liberals will still be baffled: “Some people don't like it, and I get that, but we couldn't afford it.”

Help for victims

The effectiveness of victim protective orders is debatable — someone intent on harming another isn't likely to be deterred by a piece of paper. On the other hand, a person seeking a VPO shouldn't have to do handstands to get one. A bill signed recently by Gov. Mary Fallin should improve the process. House Bill 1912, by Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, allows a victim to seek a protective order without first filing a criminal or legal complaint against the other person. It also lets courts consider the safety of a victim before setting bond for an alleged violation of a protective order. And it releases victims from having to attend any kind of victim/offender counseling as a requirement of a protective order. “We cannot ignore victims of domestic violence and pretend that the current law is sufficient to protect them; it clearly is not,” Shannon said. He's to be commended for trying to change that.

Hope springs eternal

In a news release this week announcing the election of their leadership team for 2015-2016, state House Democrats noted that Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, would be their designee for House Speaker pro tem “should the partisan makeup of the House change after the 2014 elections.” Given that House Democrats are outnumbered 72-29, a dramatic shift of 22 House seats in a single election is required to flip control back to Democrats. Republicans numbers last totaled 29 or fewer in 1984. It took them 20 years to pick up enough additional seats to win control of the House, so the Democrats' one-year goal may be a tad optimistic. Still, recent experience shows dramatic political changes can occur over a relatively short amount of time. Between 2002 and 2012, Republicans gained 24 House seats. This shows that a daunting, long-range political goal isn't necessarily an impossible one.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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