Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Matt Schultz vs. Republicans

Matt Schultz vs. Republicans

Yesterday I gave Haley Barbour's upcoming Friday visit to the Johnson County Republicans spaghetti supper a plug. But he's not even the top-billed speaker. No, they keynoter is Secretary of State Matt Schultz, taking his photo ID to vote show on the road.

And it seems that Republicans who know the most about conducting elections aren't on board:
Holly Fokkena, president of the state association of auditors (and) a Republican, said it's very rare for the Iowa Association of County Auditors to publicly oppose an elections bill. This one is worrisome because it would disenfranchise voters, she said.

"Some specific populations would struggle with this more than others," she said.
That opposition is bipartisan and unanimous. Dozens of GOP auditors knew a good thing when they had it and endorsed Democrat Mike Mauro last fall (another reason for the rift). You didn't see Terry Branstad dropping Schultz's name at every campaign stop, the way he did with Brenna Findley, and you're not seeing Branstad pushing hard for photo ID now. Heck, Branstad thought so highly of Mike Mauro that he gave him a job.

Schultz is a classic example of a guy who caught a wave, squeaking in with less than 50 percent of the vote, yet believes in all sincerity that he had something to do with it and has a mandate.

Photo ID makes for a good sound bite, but gets worse the closer you look at it. Iowa voters are already identified at registration time by driver's license or (partial) social security number, and election day registrants are already required to show ID. And the "inactive" status voters (that happens when mail gets returned as undeliverable) also have to show ID - a fact that any part time poll worker knows but Schultz apparently wasn't aware of.

So ID is a "solution" in search of a problem. Besides, if you're looking to swing an election, stealing votes one at a time isn't worth the effort. You need to do it in bulk.

Like, say, with an ID law aimed straight at your opponent's base demographics.

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