Breaking news: Canada not doomed
Posted by aogTuesday, 11 September 2007 at 13:42 TrackBack Ping URL

I have been meaning to write about disguised voters in Canada but Hot Air grabbed my thesis, which is that Dhimmi Watch, a normally level headed weblog, has over reacted.

What I noticed almost immediately is that there is little evidence that the Islamic community in Canada was pushing for this. As has frequently been the case in the UK, this dhimmitude is driven far more by self-guilting liberals who want to appear politically correct than anything else. It’s typical of their passive-aggresiveness. Passively letting people do what ever they want, but agressively deciding what those people want.

In addition, the decision is not as bizarre as it appears to Americans. The idea that voters should identify themselves is, in fact, a very recent change in Canada. According to the Canadian newpaper National Post

Up to and including the last federal election, it was unnecessary for voters to prove their identity when going to vote.

That puts rather a different face on the issue, doesn’t it?

I still think it’s a bad decision on the part of the Canadian elections board, because Canada has decided to start enforcing voter identity checks. What I don’t think, however, is that this is an example of anything other than the ridiculous extremes soft headed liberals will go for the sake of social standing. They clearly don’t care about the sanctity of elections nor any backlash they might generate against Muslims in Canada. Looking good to their friends at parties is far more important.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 16:51

Canadians didn’t have to prove their identity to vote? That way lies madness. Our little county has gone high tech and scanned our picture ID’s (driver’s license mostly), so we only need to present our faces.

Amusing aside, when I presented my driver’s license at a checkout counter recently, the teenage cashier looked at me and said, wow, that picture must be pretty old.

Luckily compared to the people who work at the polls, I’m just a kid.

David Cohen Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 19:49

We don’t have to present any i.d. to vote in Massachusetts, either. We go in, we tell the poll worker our address, he checks us off on his list and that’s it.

Michael Herdegen Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 20:29

In Colorado all you need is a voter’s registration card.

Peter Burnet Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 20:30

I’m a little surprised nobody up here or on any sites seems to have picked up on the funny side of this. Here we all are furrowing our brows and getting our knickers in a knot about the idea that those poor, oppressed, subjugated Muslim women are forced to veil when they go out to vote!

My city is full of Muslim immigrants and I think I’ve seen one veil in the past five years. Talk about a non-issue.

AOG, seeing as I’m here, I thought you might enjoy this. I had quite the chuckle when I got to the part about how you libertarians have this strange attraction to science fiction.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 21:16

Mr. Burnet;

No, the furrowing, such as it is, concerns the inability to identify the voter.

I would also note that it’s Canadians on the elections board who think there are enough veiled Muslim women to carve out an exception to the new identification requirements.

P.S. I thought it was interesting, although I couldn’t see myself in it — I have never driven a pick up truck.

Peter Burnet Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 04:48

Well, didn’t you yourself nail the delusions of those Canadians in the post?

I’m quite happy to listen to people who say the veil is incompatible with a lot of public life, and I sometimes agree with them, but I feel much better when there is a real issue behind it. I’ve heard lots of allegations of voter fraud in my days, but they normally relate to ballot box stuffing and unqualified names on the voter lists. I can’t recall too many cases of anyone alleging someone stole their vote. Given that simple photo ID’s are ridiculously easy to produce, just what fraud will be prevented by the untrained, volunteer poll clerk simply comparing a face to a photo?

When a police officer checks your driver’s license, he does so against a computer back-up that gives him a lot of info, and also a car registration and a lot of questions. When airline security checks your photo ID, it’s presumably to make sure you are the same person who checked in and passed through a vigorous and intrusive physical inspection and some tough questioning. How far down that road do you want to go on voting, remembering that no one says our freedom rests on the right to drive or fly?

You do understand that, if this is a real issue, what folks seem to want is for veiled Muslim women to lose their right to vote. Funny they would make such an issue of this in an age of fingerprinting and other biometric forms of ID. Why not just say that veiled voters have to provide a signature to compare against a voter registration card? Why is no one even thinking along such lines? Do you think it might be because voter fraud isn’t the real issue?

No pick-up truck? How deflating? I trust the movement has some crusty old geezers who like to complain at conventions that libertarianism lost its soul when everybody switched to SUVs.

Jeff Guinn Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 07:15

IIRC, Florida had something of a schlamozzle a couple years back about some Muslims women insisting they could have their driver’s license photos taken while in full veil.

How did that turn out?

erp Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 08:49

I don’t have a link or remember the exact details, but the ruling was that she couldn’t get a driver’s license without a picture of her face.

Re: ID’s for voting. It is easy to get an ID, but once your info, not only your picture, is scanned, it’s a lot harder for somebody else to vote in your stead.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 08:57

Mr. Burnet;

It’s not a matter of stealing someone’s vote, it’s that such a disguise facilitates ballot box stuffing. It means the same person can vote over and over under various unqualified names. Without a disguise, the odds of even a simple clerk recoginizing the same person are good. It is also a non-trivial amount of additional effort to produce all those photo IDs for the same person, raising the cost of fraud. There’s also the issue that if one person has a lot of photo IDs, there’s a good chance of him producing the wrong one at an inopportune moment. It’s not perfect, but empirically requiring ID does reduce such fraud. Otherwise, why would anyone check a photo ID for any purpose?

Note that according to those articles in the Canadian press such fraud has become a serious problem in Canada, hence the change to requiring indentification. So I think that voter fraud is, in fact, the issue. Humans are astonishingly good at recognizing faces and it’s also a skill that almost everyone has. That makes it a very inexpensive, easy to deploy, and effective identify system, as compared to things like biometrics (expensive) and signature comparison (less reliable, training expenses). It’s a very standard, common sort of identification system, it wasn’t thought up just recently to disenfranchise veiled Muslim women.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 08:58

Mr. Guinn;

Veil denied.

Peter Burnet Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 12:39

Yes, it’s hard to understand how democracy survived those hundreds of years before photo ID.

“Oh my goodness, Honey, look. The Islamists just took Delaware!”

pj Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 12:55

Peter - How democracy survived without photo id: small communities where everyone knew everyone else … and purple finger paint.

Peter Burnet Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 13:11


From everything I’ve read about 19th century elections, everybody knowing everybody was the problem.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 13:16

Mr. Burnet;

You keep asserting / implying that it’s about Islamists, but it’s not. It turns out to inconvenience Islamists, but I think they need to live with it. Further, as I noted in the original post, it doesn’t seem to be Muslims who see a problem here, but the elections board.

Yes, it’s hard to understand how democracy survived those hundreds of years before photo ID.

I see. If something isn’t a system destroying problem, it’s pointless to try and improve it. I.e., if voter fraud hasn’t already destroyed our democracy, it’s silly to make any effort to combat it. Well, that’s certainly a conservative point of view.

Peter Burnet Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 13:57

As we seem to agree this is an overblown non-issue, I assume we are arguing in theory.

I can think of twenty good reasons why drivers licenses should have photos. Ergo, no photo, no driving. But I can’t get my head around how photo ID is going to be so super effective at combatting electoral fraud and so superior to every other option that we can’t put our heads together to even consider a reasonable alternative for the tiniest portion of the population imaginable that has been here since before the new rules were implemented. This kind of stuff happens all the time. New rules, minority religious, dietary, medical objection nobody thought of, uh-oh, strike a committee, find a compromise everybody can live with.

BTW, just what happens when the untrained volunteer polling clerk assigned by one of the parties tells you she doesn’t think you look like the picture (too thin, beardless, where’s the tattoo, where did you get this card, whatever) and therefore she won’t let you vote?

Presumably you would understand and be reasonably sympathetic if the Amish or Orthodox Jews objected to some rule that obliged them to do something they thought embarassing or offensive, particularly if you saw a reasonably low-hassle alternative. So why is is “Tough Nougies” for embarassed Muslims?

pj Thursday, 13 September 2007 at 10:03

Peter - The places where everyone didn’t know everyone else — e.g. New York under Tammany — were notably corrupt.

Of course there are many ways to combat voter fraud, but photo ids are highly effective at limiting certain kinds of fraud. The fact is that vile activities flourish in the dark, but in the light of day, even the wicked behave well. More transparency improves behavior.

As for your last objection, obviously there must be processes available to protect the innocent. Your scenario of a legitimate voter being excluded because of a change in appearance just hasn’t occurred over thousands of elections with millions of ballots in states that require photo id.

As for the Muslims, I would be happy to give them some alternative method to photo id — e.g. fingerprint-bassed voter registration and voter validation at the polling place. But we shouldn’t do away with id checking just because a few Muslims don’t want to show their face.

Peter Burnet Thursday, 13 September 2007 at 10:44


Agreed 100%. We have plenty of good reasons to be wary of a lot of the whines thrown at us in their name and to stand up to them. Our tolerance should flow from who we are, not from how loudly they scream. But we also have some pretty good reasons to calm down and reflect with open-minded confidence in the face of this kind of stuff, especially when we are dealing with co-citizens, as we are by definition in this example. It is depressing to see how many modern “conservatives” have come to think that the highest expression of Western values lies in sticking it to them on principle.

Actually, on that score, I don’t understand at all how so many people seem able to combine dismissive, hostile views about Muslims with support for President Bush.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 13 September 2007 at 11:25

Mr. Burnet;

I am not aware of any one here advocating “sticking it to them [Muslims] on principle”. The voter identification debate has been going on a lot longer than the recent flare up with Caliphascism in the Long War.

As for photo identification, you would be hard pressed to find a more efficient mechanism for combatting voter fraud. There are more effective ones, and cheaper ones, but not really any with a higher effect to cost ratio. There is no superior or even near equivalent alternative.

You brought up the Amish. I would bring up that the Amish were forced to put garish reflectors on their buggies, despite their religious objections, in order to conform with traffic laws.

erp Thursday, 13 September 2007 at 11:36

Peter, You may disagree with President Bush’s policies and whether or not we should have done things differently in the Middle East, but the basic fact, to me, remains, there has been no repeat of 9/11. It happens I support him and believe he’s done a Herculean job in the face of treachery both home and abroad.

That being said, haven’t encountered a dismissive or hostile attitude towards Moslems along my travels. Americans are the most the open and trusting of people, but even we get freaked out and wary about the apparent lack of remorse in the Moslem community for the terrorism being done in the name of their God and what I’ve encountered is fear that the ridiculous politically correct attitudes toward them in the MAL will cause us to lower our guard and imperil the security of our homeland.

I care little for anyone’s hurt feelings and care a lot about the safety of my grandchildren.

Peter Burnet Thursday, 13 September 2007 at 12:04

Sorry, I was speaking generally. No dig at anyone here was meant.

Peter Burnet Thursday, 13 September 2007 at 12:06

erp, I support him too.

erp Thursday, 13 September 2007 at 13:09

So then, Virgos aka great minds, do think alike.

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