Poll: Many Blacks Undecided About Voter ID | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Poll: Many Blacks Undecided About Voter ID

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Nearly 40 percent of African American voters are unsure how they feel about a voter-identification initiative on the 2011 statewide ballot, a new poll shows. Speaking at Koinonia Coffee House's Friday Forum this morning, pollsters Pam Shaw and Brad Chism said that one of the more surprising findings from a series of polls they conducted in the first quarter of 2011 was the high degree of uncertainty about voter ID among younger African Americans.

Respondents older than 55 were overwhelmingly opposed to implementing a statewide voter ID requirement, perhaps because of their familiarity with overt voter discrimination in earlier decades, Chism said. That certainty disappeared among younger cohorts, though.

"The next generation's a bit more mixed," Chism said. "There's a huge age difference in that area."

Overall, 38 percent of AfricanAmericans are unsure of their position on the ballot initiative. The percentage of those opposed to voter ID has increased since late winter, however, from 6 percent to 29 percent.

Chism and Shaw shared aggregate results from a series of six telephone polls conducted between Jan. 17 and March 28. The poll, a project of Chism and Shaw's joint venture, Perspective LLC, reached a total of 600 African American voters in all four of the state's congressional districts and had a margin of error of 4 percent. Shaw said that the poll provided an opportunity for "brutally honest conversations" about the diversity of views within the African-American population, which many political analysts and pollsters tend to ignore or view as monolithic.

Shaw added that she was surprised at the degree of optimism among African American voters in the state. A consistent majority of respondents said that they believed Mississippi's best days were ahead and that their own personal financial situation would be better in the future.

"Do folks not know what I know?" Shaw said she initially wondered. She decided that "it's a cultural thing: As bad as things are, (we believe) they're got to get better."

Shaw and Chism also found a strong consensus on some budget issues. A combined 74 percent of respondents said that the state's top budget priority should be K-12 education or Medicaid, with 39 percent picking K-12 education and 35 percent selecting Medicaid. A slight plurality of 35 percent said that the state should use a combination of spending cuts, tax increases and reserve funds to fix the state budget.

Chism said that he expects some diversity of opinion, among AfricanAmerican voters, based on geography, education and income, but that he and Shaw were not able to analyze their data at those levels.

Previous Comments

ID
163091
Comment

Voter fraud is extremely rare. The chances of being struck by lightning is probably better than someone commiting voter fraud. Plus, it's an non-issue that the GOP is pushing as a way to create a wedge issue and to make it harder for some people to vote. It's believed that most people who don't have ID are those who would most likely vote Democratic. This is a matter of voter suppression for partisan political gain.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2011-04-11T12:20:12-06:00
ID
163094
Comment

Golden- I agree with you that voter fraud is rare, but someone in this day and time not having an id of some kind is rarer. How is it going to make it harder for someone to vote? Who's vote is it going to supress?

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-04-11T13:04:59-06:00
ID
163096
Comment

It supresses the votes of elderly and minority voters--those most likely not to have ID.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2011-04-11T13:46:44-06:00
ID
163100
Comment

Golden- surely you don't believe that? The elderly and minorities would most likely have a SS card, that's an id.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-04-11T16:18:21-06:00
ID
163104
Comment

We ain't really undecided Bubba, we know it's a GOP scheme of Mississippi Delta proportions to get and maintains their ways no matters the numbers, the law or morality. There may be a few black money-takers and gamers too willing to play ball with the enemy for personal gains. However, by and large, we know what time it is, Bubba. And indecision doesn't mean ready for the taking. We slo' but we sho'!

Author
Walt
Date
2011-04-11T17:38:52-06:00
ID
163113
Comment

" There may be a few black money-takers and gamers too willing to play ball with the enemy for personal gains" Does Walt publish the Jackson Advocate? Sounds like he would be an excellent person to continue to drive that ignorant mentality, if not.

Author
RobbieR
Date
2011-04-12T12:09:29-06:00
ID
163116
Comment

Do you have statistics to show that it rarely occurs? I'll go ahead and cut off one reply...I don't have stats to show how often it occurs. I haven't come across national or Mississippi states, but according to the Brennan Center,elections in Washington state and Ohio in 2004 show a .00009 fraud rate in Washington and .00004 in Ohio. A 2006 election in Minnesotashowed six cases of undocumented immigrants voting--six out of 2,202,937 votes cast or 0.000003 percent fraud rate. Remember when I said you're more likely to be struck by lightning than someone commiting fraud? I thought I was exaggerating, but read page 6 of this PDF file.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2011-04-12T14:16:44-06:00
ID
163117
Comment

Let me also add that while fraud does happen, it's not happening in robust numbers that the GOP and Fox News want you believe that it does.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2011-04-12T14:19:55-06:00
ID
163118
Comment

Justin, the difference between cashing a check and voting is that only of those things is an inalienable civil right. No one has a constitutional right to cash a check. Every citizen has a right to vote. It baffles me that many of the same people who moan and groan about how we have moved away from the Constitution want to introduce new requirements for voting. The founding fathers did not present ID when they voted. Given that voting fraud is far less common that vote suppression--that is, illegally preventing people from voting, or throwing out valid votes--why are you all so eager to fix the problem? I know why Republicans are in favor of the "fix."

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2011-04-12T15:46:08-06:00
ID
163120
Comment

Brian- So your saying any right we are giving by the Constitution should have no requirements, so you would be ok with doing away with all the gun laws? You know it says we have the right to keep and bare arms, so we don't need any laws for them. Right? How common is voter suppression? Haven't heard of any cases of voter suppression in years. I still don't see ya'lls problem with voter id. It won't suppress anyones vote and will stop the rare voter fraud. Sounds like a good thing to do. Requiring voter id is not moving away from the Constitution,if anything it is re-enforcing it. Making sure someone who shouldn't be voting isn't. Oh and why do Republicans favor the "fix"?

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-04-12T16:06:54-06:00
ID
163121
Comment

Robbie I'm not going to get into a competition with you concerning ignorance, you are far too familiar and advanced in the subject matter. The Jackson Advocate is a glorious paper that was once the greatest truth-teller and proponent of racial Justice in Jackson. The Clarion Ledger and Jackson Daily News, your favorite wedge papers, were the polar opposite yet I have never heard you criticize either. Lots of black folks agree with my assessment that you have a problem with. Don't blame the messenger! Good to hear from you again. What else you got? I miss your comedy.

Author
Walt
Date
2011-04-12T16:43:13-06:00
ID
163123
Comment

Bubba, I will defend to the bitter end your right to bare your arms.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-04-12T17:52:25-06:00
ID
163124
Comment

I would like to hear just one cogent and current reason why voter ID cannot be implemented. Don't give me stuff about 50+ years ago. Our entire voting system has been tinkered with from a mechanistic standpoint to enforce accuracy. It stands to reason that accuracy on the human side of the election process can only be enhanced because of a 1:1 voter/vote ratio. I can think of no honest reason why presenting a valid ID should not be a requirement to undertake one of the most fundamental rights in our constitution.

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-04-12T18:10:55-06:00
ID
163125
Comment

Donna- I knew you would. :) I just don't get the arguement that voter id would violate someone's Constitutional right to vote.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-04-12T18:17:04-06:00
ID
163127
Comment

I would like to hear just one cogent and current reason why voter ID cannot be implemented. I would like to hear just one cogent and current reason why voter ID should be implemented. Especially from you conservative types who do not want to see the government up in our business, even on issues like gun control. Like many of you say you do (but perhaps with forked tongues, I don't believe that the government should regulate an individual's constitutional rights -- unless a compelling reason can be shown that is needed. That has not happened with voter ID. Why the inconsistency on your guv'mint-out-of-our-business mantra?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-04-12T18:43:49-06:00
ID
163134
Comment

BubbaT write: I still don't see ya'lls problem with voter id. It won't suppress anyones vote and will stop the rare voter fraud. Sounds like a good thing to do. Requiring voter id is not moving away from the Constitution,if anything it is re-enforcing it. Making sure someone who shouldn't be voting isn't. Copy and paste this to start: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=3260836&jid=PSC&volumeId=42&issueId=01&aid=3260828 And then this one: http://faculty.washington.edu/mbarreto/papers/PS_VoterID.pdf Pretty compelling evidence in those pieces, if you want to read them.

Author
gwhiz
Date
2011-04-13T17:32:23-06:00
ID
163135
Comment

Here is a reminder of why we should be concerned about any restrictions that would disproportionately affect black voters. The story is worth it for the photograph of Ross Barnett dressed as a Confederate General, if nothing else. Also, it is written by a Millsaps professor.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2011-04-14T07:00:33-06:00
ID
163137
Comment

But of course, this isn't really about things that happened 50 years ago. Voter suppression is alive and well today. Note that the Bush administration's five-year, multimillion dollar war on voter fraud produced only a paltry 86 convictions out of about 196 million votes cast. When U.S. attorneys refused to bring charges for voter fraud because no such fraud existed, they were fired. And we all know how well that worked out for Alberto Gonzalez. But this isn't simply a matter of the shenanigans of the Bush administration. About 10 percent of eligible voters do not have the required ID, according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. Many of these voters are senior citizens or members of minority groups. For example, 36 percent of Georgians over the age of 75 do not have a valid driver's license. Only about 22 percent of African American men aged 18 to 24 have a valid driver's license. This page on voter suppression incidents in 2008 lists more than I can recount here. Suffice it to say that efforts to "prevent voter fraud" have prevented thousands of citizens from casting legitimate votes. When the cure is worse than the disease, why would anyone support the cure? Surely it has nothing to do with all those black people--who racists have taken to calling Democrats--who don't have ID.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2011-04-14T09:13:18-06:00
ID
163153
Comment

@Donna Ladd 6:43pm... In deference to your well-used tactics, I shall also: I would like to hear just one cogent and current reason why voter ID should be implemented. Typical. Don't supply a good reason, just back up and blow chaff. Especially from you conservative types who do not want to see the government up in our business, even on issues like gun control. I want government to regulate gun control. I want them to be strict as hell on who can obtain them. And be even more strict on those who obtain them illegally. That said, with my properly obtained gun I will blow whoever approaches me/my property in a threatening manner. Like many of you say you do (but perhaps with forked tongues, I don't believe that the government should regulate an individual's constitutional rights -- unless a compelling reason can be shown that is needed. That has not happened with voter ID. I missed the closing parenthesis but I assume it was after "tongues,". Government is not to regulate constitutional rights. I believe that it is our government's responsibility to enforce our constitution when it applies to an individual. It is not an infringement on an individual to produce a government-issued identification to allow someone to vote. If you are so far off-the-grid as to not even have some form of identification, well, then perhaps you shouldn't have a say in who forms our government. Why the inconsistency on your guv'mint-out-of-our-business mantra? I don't have a mantra, but thanks anyway for the assumption.

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-04-15T14:43:16-06:00
ID
163162
Comment

Typical. Don't supply a good reason, just back up and blow chaff. Nope, Darryl. This one is simple. We should not regulate people's actions or requiring identification unless proponents can show a documented and factual need. That is what I call supporting limited government. Don't regulate unless and until you need to. And a whole lot of Americans believe and preach that, too. So the burden is on y'all to show that voter ID is needed regulation and provide evidence. Otherwise, you're blowing smoke for reasons that are entirely unclear and inconsistent.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-04-15T17:17:51-06:00
ID
163163
Comment

Darryl, who are you to say that 10 percent of citizens do not deserve to vote because they lack photo ID? I'll tell you who you are. No one special. I'm still waiting for you proponents to make more than a "why not?" argument, if it's not an "infringement" to ask.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2011-04-15T20:02:49-06:00
ID
163171
Comment

Brian, neither are you...

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-04-17T12:55:40-06:00
ID
163174
Comment

The pollisters, Brad and Chism, reported that they were suprised at the uncertainty of "YOUG BLACK VOTERS" on voter ID. This should be of no suprise since most of the younger blacks were probably more informed and are from a generation of people who have to have social security cards and most drive cars; therefore, they would have a form of ID. The population most hurt by such a law would be elderly blacks and also a lot of whites. The question here is WHY? Why is it necessary to do this? What has happened or what is the feared event that would encourage such a law? I am African-American and when I hear issues like this, the first thing I think of is the racist,unfair and humiliating experiences my parents faced in Vicksburg, MS when they tried to register to vote in the late 50s. They had to pay poll taxes, interperet a section of the constitution and my father's name was then sent to his employer. My father was finally allowed to register; however, it took years for my mother to become registered because she was asked, "How man bubbles are there in a bar of soap?" She reported being talked down to and feared going back for several years. So, just add my number to the survey as one who knows first hand that this is a bunch of crap and the intentional outcome is that in the reduction of African-American voters in this state who are now in the majority in many of MS's counties. Think about it!

Author
justjess
Date
2011-04-17T20:35:01-06:00
ID
163178
Comment

Thanks, Tom Head. I appreciate your understanding and concern about this age old problem of voter disenfranchisement. I celebrate your youth and sincerely hope that "Father Time" will ensure yours and the lives of many others to witness the tides turn on such a tragic movement.

Author
justjess
Date
2011-04-18T12:30:28-06:00
ID
163182
Comment

You are quite right that I am no one special, Darryl. The difference between us is that I made a factual argument supported by citations. That argument outlines in some detail that there would be considerable negative consequences to requiring voters to present photo ID. Because the evidence shows that voter fraud is extraordinarily rare, it is clear that the negative consequences of changing voting laws far outweigh the good they might do. You have not made any kind of factual argument. All you have done is tell us that you believe it's no "infringement" to require voters to present photo ID. But Darryl, no one cares what you believe. You can go on making pronouncements on what is reasonable as if you were a king. But unless you make a factual argument, you're not really engaging in debate.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2011-04-18T15:05:54-06:00

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