The PJ Tatler

The Latest State to Consider Enacting Onerous, and Probably Racist, Photo ID Requirements is Massachusetts. Wait, What?

But don’t worry, it’s not for voting. Just for accessing welfare benefits. And Gov. Deval Patrick is uneasy even with that.

Photo identification would be required on electronic benefit transfer cards for most Massachusetts welfare recipients under a provision backed by state legislators Monday.

The measure was attached to a supplemental spending bill for the state fiscal year that ended Sunday. The House and Senate approved the bill on unanimous votes.

Unanimous? It’s going to be difficult for the overwhelmingly Democrat state to explain this one away.

Another provision would create a task force on welfare verification and eligibility that would include the state attorney general, state treasurer and inspector general, among others.

“It’s not my position to hurt poor people. That’s not what this is about,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo told reporters after leaving a House Democratic caucus. “What this is about is to stamp out fraud and abuse.”

What? A blue state machine that’s interested in stamping out fraud and waste in government spending? Don’t they know that’s going to hurt their ability to buy votes?

Maybe they think they’ve bought enough votes. I’m just at a loss to explain this.

Gov. Patrick is playing the Romney card to push back.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who disputed the scope of the auditor’s report, has said he would be open to requiring photos on the cards. But he also noted that former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney’s administration nixed the idea of photos when the cards were introduced in 2004 after determining that the benefits of photo IDs did not justify the expense involved in implementing the system.

Technology has changed nearly as much as Mitt Romney has in the intervening decade.