Darrin Bell isn't the only commentator on the efforts to keep minorities, students and the poor away from the polls, but he's made a more specific point here than you see in most critical cartoons.
When Southern states used poll taxes and bogus literacy exams to disenfranchise voters, it was done with an all-but-open contempt for fairness that was, in its twisted way, honest.
Jim Crow in general was that way: In order to accept it, you had to accept that excluding people from the mainstream was acceptable. But if you could do that, then it was okay. It was the way things were.
Under the current system, we cloak these manuevers in plausible deniability, asking you to accept that voter fraud is not only a bad thing, but a bad thing that exists to an extent that it demands to be addressed.
Voter fraud is, indeed, a bad thing.
But nobody has come up with a credible example of voter fraud in numbers that call for corrective action, and certainly not to the extent that calls for corrective action with side effects that suppress legitimate efforts to vote.
(Oh, yes, please do show me how many times Fred Flintstone was actually, legally put on the registration rolls, not just on a sign-up sheet. And then show me how often he showed up on Election Day and cast a ballot.)
The real fraud in our voting system is in appealing to people with no sense of empathy for others and with no idea of How The Other Half Lives for help in suppressing the vote.
It may well be hopeless to try to make people understand how some segments of the population are simply intimidated by authority either by years of suppression under those now-departed Jim Crow laws, or by simple lack of education and inexperience with opportunity.
They should know that people on the lowest rungs of the ladder can't always take a day off during the week to go pick up all the needed documentation even for a "free" voter ID and then stand in line for the ID itself.
But maybe they truly don't understand that.
Maybe they're allowed to show up at their jobs whenever they like and to wander away for a few hours if the spirit moves them. And why not? After all, it's the poor who lack a responsible work ethic, not them.
In today's cartoon, however, Bell notes even more of the specific issues that belie the myth of the "free" voter ID.
Even if you can get the time, it isn't free. It's a poll tax in sheep's clothing.
And getting there -- not getting the time, but getting to the space itself -- can, indeed, be half the fun and far from free.
F'rinstance, here in New Hampshire, you used to be able to get a driver's license (and hence a non-driving state ID) in pretty much any town of any size, but budget cuts have eliminated DMV offices a lot of places. I get plates for my car at my local town hall, but I have to go 35 miles for a new driver's license, and that distance can go up to 60 miles or more depending on where you live.
The actual mileage is irrelevant after a point, because anything you can't walk to is out of reach for people without cars in a rural area with little to no public transit.
My particular community has bus service within the immediate vicinity, but you simply cannot get to the nearest DMV from here except by car.
So, if I didn't drive, I'd need someone to take me the 70 mile round trip and hang around with me in line at the DMV, and now that means two of us have to get a day off.
You don't have to have an ounce of understanding of the aged or the poor or the racially beaten-down to see that "free" isn't free. Add in the lack of documentation some people may have and you've gone a long way to suppressing votes.
Fact: There is no significant voter fraud.
Fact: As Bell points out, "free" IDs are not free.
I think I liked it better in the Jim Crow days, when they didn't pile the bullshit quite so deep.
Meanwhile, in local news ...
I noted yesterday that South African cartoonists have done some great work but on issues people in other places wouldn't understand.
Here are a pair of good cartoons from American artists on local issues.
Pat Bagley is taking on a case in which a woman who was scheduled to speak at Utah State faced a death threat over her critical views of misogynism in video games. Specifically, the threat was of a "Montreal massacre style attack."
She asked for metal detectors at the site to keep people from bringing in firearms, but Utah State authorities told her that, under the law, they could not keep people with concealed-carry permits from packing heat on campus, so she cancelled her appearance.
A clear sign, to some, of the degree to which feminazis are determined to destroy the Second Amendment.
Meanwhile, in the Lone Star State, Nick Anderson notes a hypocritical response to an ad accusing a politician of being hypocritical. This one has gotten more mainstream attention than the Utah case, but mostly over the outrage, not over the issue.
The campaign of gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis aired an ad criticizing her opponent, current Attorney General Greg Abbott, who sued when he himself was partially disabled in an accident, but since then has blocked and opposed attempts by other victims to obtain compensation through the courts.
Abbott uses a wheelchair, however, and so, rather than address the issues of tort reform and damage suits, Davis's opponents attacked her for using a wheelchair in the ad.
I guess the key is the nuanced difference between "pity" and "compassion."
We can wring our hands and pity the disabled, but giving them compensation for their injuries is out of the question, as is, at least in Abbott's case, giving them the respect of holding them accountable.
He is, as the song goes, more to be pitied than censured.
And fergodsake don't mention the eel-whay air-chay.
Unless you are endorsing him because of his inspiring courage rather than his actual record, and because, while his party is responsible for the state's lamentable swing to the right and Davis is equally qualified for the governorship, her opponents don't seem to like her very much and would be sad if she won.
Hey, I just provide the links. I don't supply the logic.