There has been a lot of talk and activity concerning voting laws all over the country recently. And, in the history of America, that is not at all unusual.

But what is different is that this particularly flurry of legislative activism surrounding voter rights is not to make voting easier, but more difficult. It is not to increase the number of people who vote, but rather to reduce it. And most of the legislation proposed in red states across the country is not aimed at protecting the rights of individuals, but rather at protecting one particular political party or philosophy.

Of course, the authors of these new voting laws don’t frame them that way. They claim their proposed bills are actually an attempt to protect the integrity of your vote by trying to eliminate or reduce voter fraud and thus make sure the expressed will of the people is carried out according to how the majority actually voted.

But the facts show their arguments to be false and self-serving. They are trying to solve a problem that simply doesn’t exist, all while ignoring other, far more serious ones that clearly do.

How many times have you heard the argument that you have to show identification to cash a check (do people still do that anymore?) or rent a car or, in former President Trump’s world, at the grocery store (never could figure that one out), so why shouldn’t you have to show one when you vote?

Yet present the argument to many of those same folks that you have to go through rigorous procedures to register your automobile, but a national gun registry database is not a necessity, and you get a completely different response.

The new slew of voting laws is not about protecting the integrity of the vote. It is about gaining an advantage in elections. Let’s at least be honest about that.

Voting fraud exists, but at a very low level in America. Voting is run by the individual states, which can be both good and bad. But despite the loud whining and complaining by biggest loser of the last election and many of his supporters, there simply is no evidence of widespread, documented fraud. It truly is “The Big Lie.”

What little fraud has been documented is not tied to any type of racial lines, yet the “solutions” for the imaginary problems seem to target people of color. It is aimed at discouraging voting in areas where it has improved in recent years. It is difficult to interpret that in any way other than the largely Republican legislatures in those states don’t like the way their recent elections have been turning out.

Out here in our area, showing an ID when voting probably wouldn’t be much of a big deal. But in heavily urban, or very rural areas it can and will be.

If there was really a problem, some of these regulations might be reasonable solutions. But there isn’t, and they aren’t.

So in the meantime, you can’t bring Grandma a drink if she’s waiting in line to vote in Georgia. And right now, Texas is just warming up in the bullpen.

Bill Gouveia is a Sun Chronicle columnist and longtime local official. Reach him at and follow him @Billinsidelook.

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