PolySciFi Blog

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Voter ID Amusement

Via QandO comes this story. In brief, Indiana has a voter ID law. It's being challenged by the usual suspects and the US Supreme Court has is hearing the case.

To challenge a law in the court system, you generally need an aggrieved party (someone who claims they've been wronged) and in this case it's Faye Buis-Ewing a 72-yr old woman who showed up to vote in Indiana in 2006, but was not allowed to vote because she did not have proper ID (though under the law she did get to vote provisionally). Here's the nut graphs from the article.

On the eve of a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Indiana Voter ID law has become a story with a twist: One of the individuals used by opponents to the law as an example of how the law hurts older Hoosiers is registered to vote in two states.

Faye Buis-Ewing, 72, who has been telling the media she is a 50-year
resident of Indiana, at one point in the past few years also claimed two states
as her primary residence and received a homestead exemption on her property
taxes in both states.

Monday night from her Florida home, Ewing said she and her husband Kenneth
“winter in Florida and summer in Indiana.” She admitted to registering to vote
in both states, but stressed that she¹s never voted in Florida. She also has a
Florida driver’s license, but when she tried to use it as her photo ID in the
Indiana elections in November 2006, poll workers wouldn’t accept it.


According to Ewing and Ann Nucatola, public information director for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Ewing surrendered her Indiana driver's license in 2000, when she moved to Florida and obtained her Florida license. Nucatola said that a driver must have a Florida address to obtain a Florida driver's license.

Ewing confirmed that she is registered in both states to vote, but at first said the Florida registration came automatically with her driver’s license. She repeatedly denied signing the oath on the Florida application. She also said Indiana mailed her an absentee ballot, but she didn’t use it or vote that year.

However, Heather Maddox, co-director of election registration in Tippecanoe County, said Ewing voted in Indiana in 2002, 2003 and 2004, before the Indiana ID law took effect in 2005. When informed that the Florida voter office said she’d registered personally in 2002 for a Florida voter card, and that this newspaper had a copy of her application, Ewing said, “Well, why did I do that? I'm confused. I can’t recall.” She reiterated that, even though she’s registered in two states, she only votes in Indiana, adding that she does have a car plated in Florida.


A check with Charlotte County, Fla.’s online property tax records shows that Ewing owns property there. One requirement in Florida to claim homestead [ed - this gives residents a break on property taxes] is to show a valid voter ID or sign an affidavit of residency – which she did when she applied for her voter card there. She claimed a homestead exemption on the Florida property in 2003 – the same time she was claiming a homestead exemption on property she owned in Indiana, according to Tippecanoe deputy auditor Heather Satler. Satler said that Ewing’s Indiana exemption began in 1994 and ended in 2004, when the exemption was removed because the state discovered she wasn't living there.

So in short, by requiring proper ID to vote, it was discovered that Faye was engaging in voter fraud (by simultaneously registering in two states) and tax fraud (by claiming to locations as her primary residence to receive tax benefits for two properties). I can't imagine a less sympathetic plaintiff and I can't believe the legal team didn't exclude her because she obliterates the argument that there's no compelling state interest for the law.


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