I've long been warning about Republicans crafting a federal Jim Crow voting law in the wake of the annihilated Voting Rights Act, and it looks like that proposal will take the form of federal background checks before being allowed to vote in this country.
President Donald Trump’s controversial voting commission will weigh a proposal Tuesday about requiring a background check before a person can register to vote — similar to buying a gun.
John Lott, the president of the Pennsylvania-based Crime Prevention Research Center, will present the concept when the commission holds its second meeting of the year in New Hampshire.
Lott’s PowerPoint, which was posted on the White House’s website in advance of the meeting, includes a slide titled “How to check if the right people are voting.”
He notes that Republicans worry that ineligible people are voting, while Democrats contend “that Republicans are just imagining things.” Lott proposes applying the federal background check system for gun purchases, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, to voter registrations.
Lott said in a phone call that the background check system, which was established under President Bill Clinton, checks whether a person is a non-citizen and whether they have a felony conviction among other pieces of information to determine their eligibility to own a gun.
Pretty slick move, and it comes with its own strawman: How can stoopid libtards be against background checks for voting when they are the exact arguments they make for background checks for guns?
Lott, who last year published a book called “The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies,” said that Democrats have praised using background checks for guns and questioned why they would oppose using the same system for voting when it’s already up and running.
“They say it does not impinge on people’s right to self-defense… It shouldn’t be any harm in their eyes to check whether people are eligible to vote,” he said.
“It just seems like if they believe what they’re saying it seems like a win-win.”
Dale Ho, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project, said in an email that only four states permanently ban people from voting for felony convictions.
“For example, in Kansas, you can register to vote after finishing your sentence (including parole); but the rules on firearms are much more complicated, and have different waiting periods for different kinds of crimes,” Ho said.
“So it’s not obvious why this would be a helpful idea for voting at all — even if you leave aside questions about practicality and possible burden on voters. Seems more like an attempted (and nonsensical) ‘gotcha’ for liberals rather than a serious suggestion,” he said.
Of course it's a gotcha nonsense argument. But our entire government in 2017 is built on those, and expect this to become the battle cry of the right on "voter background checks" for a very long time.
The reality though is that this allows the right to frame the argument while Pence and Kobach and company come up with the real proposals that won't get attention until it's far too late. It's a "win-win" alright...for the GOP.