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Friday, January 28, 2022

Alaska Readies for Voter Photo ID Bill

Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, reportedly plans to introduce a voter photo ID requirement in the Alaska Legislature. He says this photo ID law isn’t based on the so-called “model statute” developed by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council, a national organization that promotes conservative model legislation. Even though Lynn is a member of ALEC.

In  state where village residents, who famously vote Democratic, don’t have or need a photo ID, this law will provoke a lawsuit before the ink is dry on Captain Zero’s signature.

It’s all about equal protection. If you have a photo ID, you get to vote; if you don’t, you’re SOL.

The Alaska Supreme Court has a pretty well-developed set of standards for equal protection tests. In Ross v. State, Department of Revenue, the court recently reaffirmed that test. Let’s see how it works on Rep. Lynn’s proposed voter photo ID law. [Note to lawyers reading this: yes, we are being a bit simplistic.] The court has held:

We have adopted a flexible “sliding scale” test for reviewing equal protection claims. First, we determine what weight should be afforded the constitutional interest impaired by the challenged enactment. The nature of this interest is the most important variable in fixing the appropriate level of review. Second, we examine the purposes served by a challenged statute. Depending on the level of review determined, the state may be required to show only that its objectives were legitimate, at the low end of the continuum, or, at the high end of the scale, that the legislation was motivated by a compelling state interest. Third, an evaluation of the state’s interest in the particular means employed to further its goals must be undertaken.

The right being impaired is the right to vote. It’s at or near the top of the most important rights. There can’t really be any serious argument about it.

The purposes served by the proposed statute? To defer fraud. But wait a minute, has there been an actual criminal case involving voter fraud? Director Elections Gail Fenumiai could only think of one, the illegal alien in Anchorage who used fake ID to get a job as an Anchorage policeman. Of course, he had a photo ID, so the Lynn’s law wouldn’t have worked on the only case of genuine voter fraud we know about. So this law wouldn’t address an existing problem; there is no existing problem. It purports to address a possible future problem. That might exist. Someday. Possibly. That not a very compelling state interest. WC suspects the court might even think that the goals and objectives were illegitimate.

Which leaves an analysis of the means chosen by the state to achieve its purported goal. And that would be to deny folks the right to exercise the right to vote because they don’t have a photo ID. At a time when, on the available evidence, the existing system is working just fine, thank you.

Impairment of a critical constitutional right for a dubious reason with an onerous requirement?

The Alaska Supreme Court will go blow through the Honorable Bob Lynn’s voter ID law like a hot ball bearing goes through runny butter. It doesn’t pass the red face test, let alone constitutional scrutiny.

And, just for icing, remember that a few Florida Republicans were silly enough to admit the real purpose of Florida’s burdensome voter ID law: inhibiting Democratic turnout.

Maybe we can just not have this fight? Maybe the Alaska Legislature can address real issues, rather than unconstitutional attempts to cling to power?

Nah. Too much to hope.


Rep. Bob Lynn of Anchorage



10 Responses to “Alaska Readies for Voter Photo ID Bill”
  1. ~in a small town... says:

    Too bad this kind of topic isn’t brought up more
    often, but with real ‘citizen interest’ at heart?

    Why is it, just when the special interests may be losing a public opinion battle on
    one front, they open up a new class warfare on another killing ground? More than
    a few politicians could take a loyalty oath to serve these United States, in honesty.
    Although they probably have a signature page to sign whilst doing so, to allay the
    fact they really don’t want to serve the United States because they want to kill it.

    What happens if we honest voters carry our AK Voting Registration Card only,
    and then when we are refused the right to vote in our town where we pay our
    bills, own a home, support our schools through property & sales taxes, etc,
    get the names of those persons working the polls & all others, then sue them?

    {sure they could put all the IDs into one little smart card, an RFID tag on your
    ear like a cow going into slaughter, too. That’s not above their mentality.}

    Perhaps we should be looking under rocks for a new form of intelligent life to
    represent us; or just directly hire a team of advisors from overseas, since we
    could ‘contractually hire managers’ from India or even Germany for less grief.
    We get cannery workers and fruit pickers who do a great enough job.

    And to encourage voter participation to a credible percentage in each
    election cycle, getting a Permanent Fund check should be contingent
    on the household members all being accountable before getting paid.

    I’ve said that before, in the daily news, and it caused a stir a few years ago.

    ~ in a small town…
    kenai mountains, ak.

  2. Mo says:

    Sent an email inquiry to Rep. Lynn:

    Representative Lynn:

    Please explain how you feel your proposed legislation remedies an actual identified issue and does not reflect ALEC influence or deliberate Republican obstruction of the voting process.

    Thank you.
    [my name]

    “A lot of us are campaign officials — or campaign professionals — and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines — whatever it may be.” [Scott Tranter, GOP consultant]

    “Do you dream of resorts and 5-star hotels? Get yourself elected to your state legislature and outfits like the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC) will pick up the tab for all manner of exotic destinations. All you have to do in turn is exactly what they tell you to do including introducing their model legislation or variations thereof.”

  3. Zyxomma says:

    The only thing resembling voter fraud that goes on in this country is voter suppression, which is overwhelmingly Republican. We progressives have a clear mandate: VOTE the bums out! That may not work in so-called red states, but we must try.

    Those of us who vote in every election, no matter how small or insignificant, must convince our friends, neighbors, and co-workers that voting is NOT something we do every four years, or even every two years (when we vote for Congress), but each and every year. This is what democracy looks like.

    Thanks, WC, for the article.

  4. Mo says:

    And why do leggers like Bob Lynn do stuff like this? Because they don’t care what you, the voter, think. They care what their paymasters think.

    Do you dream of resorts and 5-star hotels? Get yourself elected to your state legislature and outfits like the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC) will pick up the tab for all manner of exotic destinations. All you have to do in turn is exactly what they tell you to do including introducing their model legislation or variations thereof.

  5. simple mind says:

    “So this law wouldn’t address an existing problem; there is no existing problem. It purports to address a possible future problem. That might exist. Someday. Possibly. ”

    Please add that not only is there no “voter impersonation” problem in Alaska, there has been none found anywhere else in the United States – anywhere. So, what do we have? The only effect of Lynn’s proposed law is to make it harder for people to vote, said people who happen to be overwhelmingly Native and who happen to overwhelmingly vote Democratic. Call this what it is – racist and political.

  6. Tektonak says:

    YES. We should do away will all IDs for everything since its oppressive to anyone without one. No need for IDs when buying alcohol, guns (also constitutional), tobacco, driving cars or anything else.

    • Carol says:

      I hope you’re being sarcastic here. Alaskans have multiple forms of identification valid for voting. I tend to use my voter’s registration card (no photo) but could also be identified by PK – personally known by the poll worker. My next door neighbor did that for me once, she was thrilled to be able to check that.
      Switching to photo id required won’t fix any voter fraud issue – because we don’t have any, this article addressed that quite well.

  7. Alaska Pi says:

    Thank you WC !
    While we wait to see what form Mr Lynn’s proposed bill takes ( I pity the poor Legislative Affairs attorney assigned with trying to write this one for him) I have a question for him.
    What happens to Lake and Peninsula Borough’s by-mail-only election form?
    Are we going to pay to send machines , materials, and train election workers in the borough’s 18 communities strung over an area almost the size of West Virginia so we can check the picture IDs of barely over 1000 voters?
    It is a dumb idea on the back side too, Mr Lynn.
    Oregon shifted to all by mail voting over the last 15 years and it has increased “turnout” dramatically with high approval ratings across both parties. It also costs significantly less to run elections- something I’d like to see us address here. ( Didn’t WA state recently change to by-mail-only voting too?)
    Jeez- maybe we could dump this whole phony voter ID dealie and go for an all mail method- which actually encourages voters to participate?
    Also, too, as Cap’n Zero has joined the suit against the VRA
    doesn’t this become the poster-child proposal of why we are not ready/eligible to opt out given the barriers rural citizens have with getting photo ID? Rural citizens who are predominantly Native? Hmmm?

  8. Beaglemom says:

    One of the fears used by those who are so anxious to suppress the vote that they have been scurrying around passing suppressive legislation in every state possible is that “illegal aliens” try to vote. I cannot think of anything more absurd. People who are here illegally are smart enough NEVER to try to vote. So it has nothing to do with keeping illegals or terrorists from our polling places, it has everything to do with trying to keep American citizens who are not of clear European ancestry away from the polls. It should simply be unconstitutional. Photo id, shmoter id.c

  9. goI3ig says:

    Let the games begin.