The Lady Doth Make Much Ado about Nothing

panderbear.jpgOver at Red County today, Matt Cunningham (Jubal) has posted a press release from Mimi Walters. I won’t waste electrons by quoting it here, but you can read the whole thing on Matt’s site. In summary, “Assemblywoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel)” has proposed a new law that will “require voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote.”

I remember reading a comment recently on one of the local blogs about another proposed piece of legislation. Unfortunately I don’t remember what the issue was, but the commenter’s statement was to the effect that the proposed law was unnecessary — there was no evidence it solved a problem that really exists. I thought that was an excellent point.

What problem does Walters’ proposed law address? I know many Republicans believe there’s a significant number of folks who register and vote illegally, but belief isn’t evidence. Do any of California’s ROVs believe it’s a problem that needs a new law? Has Neal Kelley, the ROV in Mimi’s home district, asked Mimi to prepare this legislation? Has the Assemblywoman or one of her staff even talked to Kelley about the issue? Is there any significant cost to society in having what may only be a miniscule number of people improperly registered and voting?

Or is Mimi just pandering?

Nearly every new law passed by our legislatures increases the size and cost of government by some amount, and this law would be no exception. It would require county ROVs to coordinate with additional state or Federal agencies and do more work when checking each voter registration form.

It’s Republicans, not Democrats, who are known for wanting to keep government small, but in my experience this desire is frequently hypocritical. Republicans want to keep government out of what they want it out of and limit its size where they want it limited.

I don’t see how this new law solves a significant problem or benefits society in any way, and I challenge Assemblywoman Walters to show how it does and to demonstrate how its cost will be justifiable.

But she won’t. The bill will be voted down in the Assembly, and she’ll use its blockage to complain that (cue scary voice) “liberalswant illegal immigrants to vote.

Panda Bears in zoos often get cute names like “Zhen Zhen” or “Tian Tian.” If the Prentiss Park Zoo is ever lucky enough to obtain a Panda Bear, I submit it should be named “Mi Mi.”


  1. To anyone who plans to trash Matt over his post, please note that he posted the piece without comment. He may agree with the proposed law, but he didn’t give an opinion one way or the other.

  2. LOL!!!!! Mi Mi the Pander Bear. Gotta love it.

    Next step for the Pander Bears will be a bill requring a DNA sample to be sent in with your Vote By Mail ballot.

  3. Thank you, Gila.

    I haven’t formed an opinion about Mimi’s bill. I didn’t know anything about it until the e-mail hit my inbox.

    My initial reaction was uncertainty over how something like this would even be implemented, especially with mail-in registration. Or if it is compatible with Motor Voter. I favor requiring the providing identification at the polling station in order to vote, but I’m not sure how you set-up a workable system of requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, or whether it’s warranted.

    It’s basically a moot point, however, since it has zero chance of passing a Democratic Legislature.

  4. One would hope that such a silly bill would have no chance of passing even a Republican legislature.

    I spoke with one of my gurus today, who told me the reason Assemblywoman Walters introduced the bill. It seems that some people in the northern part of the 33rd Senate District believe that folks in the southern part of the district have no idea how bad “the Mexican problem” is in their area. In introducing a bill such as this one, my guru says, Mimi is trying to look tough on illegal immigrants.

    Mimi probably doesn’t care whether the bill passes or not. But now that she’s introduced it she can use it in advertisements in her primary race against Harry Sidhu.

    Coming soon to a mailbox near you. You heard it here first.

  5. Jubal — absolutely correct. Red meat and all that.

    While I wouldn’t advocate shrinking government down to the size of a postage stamp, in general I agree with the Republican idea of limited government. What I find, though, is that Reeps tend to follow this principle only when it suits them. The most notorious example of this inconsistency that comes to mind is “No Child Left Behind.”

    IMO Mimi’s proposed legislation, for whatever reason she is bringing it forth, is another horrendous Republican instance of “limited government when it suits us.” And the main point of my post is to call Bullshit on it.

  6. The most notorious example of this inconsistency that comes to mind is “No Child Left Behind.”

    I totally agree. NCLB is an example of how eight years of George W. Bush have deracinated traditional GOP philosophy. I want the federal government out of the education business, not dictating testing and achievement standards to every school district across the land.

    But to say a word in defense of Mimi’s bill, I don’t think it does violence to adherence to limited government. State governments are perfectly within their rights to enact laws enhancing the security of the ballot. The practicality of such measures is another discussion.

    And recall that Nativo Lopez — when he still ran HMN — was engaged in the wholesale registering of non-citizens to vote. Hundreds of them. It wasn’t enough to account for all of Loretta Sanchez’s margin of victory, but it illustrated the vulnerability of our honor-based voter registration to such schemes and their potential for harm.

    Is there enough of that to warrant legislation like what Mimi proposes? Is her bill even workable? I don’t know.

  7. thesunkenroad:

    I can’t reel off examples for you off the top of my head, although I’m pretty sure some time spent researching would turn up plenty.

    I just don’t think it is too much to ask then when someone shows up at the polls and says “I’m so-and-so” they ought to be required to pull out some identification establishing that fact. Americans provide proof of identity on a continual basis, so asking them to do so in order to exercise their franchise isn’t a burden.

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