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View Diary: The GOP's lose-lose dilemma on immigration (107 comments)

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  •  Rhode Island did this (1+ / 0-)
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    until the 1930s by keeping naturalized citizens from voting. A malapportioned state senate also helped. It took what is literally known as the Bloodless Revolution to change that:

    It involved refusing to allow two Republican senators to be seated, and impeaching and removing from office the entire state supreme court.

    •  They probably wouldn't be that open about it (0+ / 0-)

      I doubt that they would go for an overt franchise exclusion based openly on source of citizenship, any more than they would go for one based overtly on wealth or property ownership.  

      Both would probably pass Constitutional muster, unless a SCOTUS majority was willing to find racial discrimination behind these bars to voting.  At one time, many states allowed only people whose property exceeded a certain value to vote, so to original intention enthusiasts, a property restriction would be as Constitutional as church on Sunday.

      But I suspect that either sort of overt exclusion would cause them to lose their majorities, even among the new restricted electorate, in states like PA and OH and VA and FL.  They control the state govt in such states, and so could pass exclusions, and want to pass exclusions because these states tend to go blue in national elections, but they can't risk being too overtly radical in these swing states.  They can do what they want in UT or MI without fear of a backlash, but they don't need exclusions in those states that are solid red anyway.

      As the sort of exception that proves the rule, I could imagine AZ passing a restriction that would deny the vote to people whose citizenship derives from their ancestors' undocumented entry, in a "fruit of the forbidden tree" sort of analogy.  But I don't think that would fly in PA or VA.

      But they might be able to get to an effective property restriction covertly.  I would expect them to present it as a fraud protection scheme, and this might be why they went with voter ID this cycle.  The "threat" that voter ID addresses is the theoretical potential for fraud created by the fact that the voter rolls are not purged in a timely manner of the names of the recently deceased, and you have to rely on impersonating the recently deceased to be at all safe when you try to vote as somebody you're not.  If they ain't dead, they might have voted before you got a chance to vote in their name, and then you're in trouble when you pretend to be them.

      Well, compared to the numbers of recently dead still in the voter rolls, the numbers of inaccuracies due to recent address changes is much larger.  But, of course, it's the working poor and the young who change address most often, have the most transient housing.  So a prolonged waiting period after a change of address, or onerous verification requirements that it is your address, while it could be presented as necessary for fraud prevention, would have the effect of throwing a barrier in the way of apartment dwellers to keep them from voting.  To keep from upsetting the home-owners who they want to vote, they could provide automatic verification of address for title or mortgage holders, but require apartment renters or condo owners to jump through hoops, and perhaps pay hefty user fees, to be allowed to register to vote.

      They don't need to categorically exclude non-home-owners from voting, just create even more and more difficult barriers to add to the many we already have that make it difficult to vote, and thus favor the wealthier.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:56:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  13th-14th amendment problem (0+ / 0-)

      constitution gives the same rights to persons "born or naturalized" -- except running for President.

      In the 1930s, there wasn't as robust a tradition of legal challenges to voting rights infringements. I think today there'd be a federal court injunction in a heartbeat.

      •  Voting rights aren't a part of US citizenship (0+ / 0-)

        The simplest way to see that, is that it was thought that we needed the 15th, that the 14th's grant of US citizenship and all its privileges and immunities to all persons born or naturalized in the US, was not thought to cover the franchise.  That needed the 15th, and the 15th did not extend the franchise to all citizens, it merely prohibited states from exercising their control over who gets to vote to deny the franchise on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

        A state could still have a property qualification for voting after the 14th, as the 15th didn't prohibit discrimination based on wealth.  That property qualification isn't an abridgment of citizenship, it's merely a qualification a citizen must possess in addition to being a ctiizen before he or she is allowed to perform the function of voting.  A state can demand the proof of visual ability up to a certain standard as a qualification for driving, and it does not thereby abridge a privilege or immunity of the blind citizen it refuses the driver's license to.

        A state could not have a prohibition on naturalized citizens voting if that ban were judged to be actually a ban on certain ethnic groups voting.  That's more likely to be the legal difficulty that the old RI denial of the franchise to immigrants would face more recently than 1932.  Well, more recently than 1932, right up to the Roberts court.  That doesn't seem such a sure bet now, that the Court would see racial animus in a ban on naturalized citizens voting.

        The steeper barrier would be public opinion.  I think that's the main reason we won't see an overt ban on immigrants voting, or an overt property qualification.  But I'm not so sure the other side couldn't come up with rationalizations and cover stories that would float an effective property qualification past the courts and past public opinion.

        We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

        by gtomkins on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 10:25:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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