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Bryan Preston

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December 15, 2011 - 7:24 am

Meet 84-year-old Ruthelle Frank. She doesn’t like Wisconsin’s voter ID law. Neither do the MSM and the ACLU. So out of her fringey case, we get a story through which all three can bludgeon that voter ID law, which can’t speak for itself, and for which the MSM apparently could find no advocates. Three quarters of Americans support voter ID. Apparently either none live in Wisconsin, or the JSOnline didn’t bother to look for any.

The biggest opponent of the state’s new voter ID law just may be an 84-year-old woman who stands less than 5 feet tall, has lived in the same house nearly her entire life and has served on her Village Board since 1996.

Ruthelle Frank doesn’t have a driver’s license, doesn’t have a birth certificate and hasn’t been able to get a state identification card, which means that she could be out of luck the next time she tries to vote.

“The whole thing upsets me,” Frank said Wednesday. “You could live in the U.S. of A., live in the same house all these years and you don’t have the right to vote.”

You could also live in the U. S. of A, live in the same house all these years, and suddenly face the IRS jackboots to collect a steep fine because you haven’t bought the Obama-approved brand of health insurance. You’d be facing a fine or jail time for the crime of breathing. We’re unlikely to see a media hit piece about that.

In Ruthelle Frank’s case, $20 would probably fix the problem.

Frank said she tried to get a state identification card last month at a Division of Motor Vehicles office but was rebuffed when she couldn’t produce a birth certificate. She did have a notarized baptism certificate, as well as a Social Security card, Medicare statement and a checkbook.

“I was about in tears,” she said.

But she didn’t cry. She grew angry. And she called her local newspaper, the Wausau Daily Herald, which told her story.

According to the newspaper, a record of Frank’s birth does exist with the state register of deeds in Madison. She could get a birth certificate for a fee, $20. But Frank said that fee amounted to a poll tax.

There’s another problem. Frank’s maiden name of Wedepohl was misspelled by the physician who attended her home birth. To get the birth certificate amended, she could petition the court, a process that could take several weeks and cost at least $200, the newspaper said.

Shortly after the story hit the paper, Frank said, she was contacted by the ACLU.

Of course she was. The ACLU stands among those folks on the left who oppose election integrity. Frank’s case makes for a nice way to scream about the injustice of requiring people to prove that they’re who they say they are before they cast a vote. The inhumanity!

Frank’s case probably represents an infinitesimal number of voter ID difficulties — every one of which will get their day in the MSM sun before long. We can handle such cases without blowing up the entire and reasonable requirement to show valid ID before voting, so that we can cut down on and prevent election fraud.

And here’s where I segue into criticism of Newt Gingrich’s immigration policy. He tends to magnify the fringe cases at the expense of dealing with the more common ones, as a way of demagoging the notion that we should just secure the border and then deal with the vast majority of illegal aliens who haven’t been here for a full quarter century. The tactic, as also seen in the story above, is to play up the most difficult or heart-rending cases as a prelude to throwing up your hands, and then doing nothing. His local draft board idea will be susceptible to the same forces that want to grant illegal aliens the right to vote in some of America’s more lefty, daffy communities. Some towns have already done this, by the way. Entrust them to decide which illegal aliens get to stay or not, and they’ll hand out citizenship like trophies at those everybody-wins kiddie soccer leagues.

Gingrich’s policy mostly sounds good because he sounds smart saying it. But it’s not actually a very good policy.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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