A total of 35 states in the US have some form of voter ID law either requesting or requiring voters to present a form of identification at the polls to reduce fraud and protect the validity of outcomes. The rules for entry surrounding the straw poll of Elk County in 2019 was no different. The petitioner argues that her right to vote was infringed upon by the Elk County Socialist Squad through their ID rule and membership fee. However, the members of the Socialist Squad, by requiring members to show a form of ID before voting, were simply trying to keep results honest especially because, due to the large size of the group, it had to be conducted in a public restaurant.
Their ID rule kept those that weren’t members of the club from voting and therefore affecting poll results. And, by requiring members to pay a fee to join the club, they ensured that only those who truly felt strongly about the Socialist Squad would join and vote in the poll. I am here today to argue for the appealment of the Elk County Socialist Squad on terms that they did not violate the petitioner’s right to vote. I intend to prove that the Squad was conducting a straw poll with just regulations that is within their rights as a private association. The petitioner argues 3 different ways in which the Socialist Squad violated her rights as a voting citizen.
Her first claim comes under the 15th Amendment that the Squad denied her a ballot as a voter. However, the 15th Amendment states only that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race. The reason she was not allowed to vote was not due to the fact that she was African American. Similar to the United States vs. Reese (1870) conclusion that the 15th Amendment, and any legislation under it, only covers voters who have been disenfranchised based on their race, the petitioner’s inability to produce a valid ID before the clerk is the sole reason for her vote being abridged (Oyez, United States vs. Reese). Since the Squad’s rule that one must present a valid form of ID before voting applied to everyone and didn’t have any discriminatory language in it (eg. that this ID rule shall only apply to those of African American race), her claim that her 15th Amendment right was infringed upon is null. The petitioner also argues that the Squad violated her 14th Amendment Equal Protection Rights as a citizen by pre-determining the election outcome.
However, the Equal Protection Clause only applies to States and organizations associated with them, as decided in the Grovey vs. Townsend (1935) case when the Court stated that since the Democratic Party was no longer in direct association with the state, (as it had been in previous cases) it was not subject to the provisions of the Equal Protections Clause under the 14th Amendment (Oyez, Grovey vs. Townsend). Since the Socialist Squad is a private association and not a part of the state, it is similarly not subject to the Equal Protection Clause. This also refutes her overall claim that the Squad is an arm of the state due to its ability to control the outcome of the primary election. It would be a different story if the State had created the Squad or if the State endorsed it in some way, like in the Nixon vs. Condon (1932) case, but since this is not true, the petitioner’s argument under the 14th Amendment falls short of application here (Oyez, Nixon vs. Condon).
Additionally, there is no way to prove that this straw vote would actually sway the elections a certain way, as it doesn’t comprise the full Democratic party of Elk County and members could vote differently from the Squad’s consensus under the Australian ballot anonymously. Third, the petitioner argues that the Squad violated her 24th Amendment rights by requiring her to pay a membership fee to vote. However, this Amendment is only to protect the rights of citizens in voting in the election of President, Vice President, or Congressmember– not commissioner. And, even if it was so, the straw poll being done at the Squad’s meeting is still informal and not a primary or any kind of determining election for office.
The results of this election do not fully determine the outcome of the primary going on later in the year; this is simply, as the definition states, a way to find out the majority opinion of the group. Since the Socialist Squad’s informal straw poll is not for any of the higher positions, her claim is therefore false. As you can see from my argument, the points above were all nullified on the terms that the provisions of each Amendment did not fully apply to these terms.
While the 15th Amendment would ensure the petitioner a vote if the reason she was turned away was due to her race, this was not the case and instead her failing to present a valid ID was the reason for her inability to vote. Additionally, the 14th Amendment does not apply to private organizations such as the Socialist Squad of Elk County, but instead to the state and organizations of such, so her claim under that clause fails to be relevant. Her other claim under the 14th Amendment that the straw poll pre-determines the election outcome is also falsified by the Australian ballot which ensures that each person will have the ability to vote anonymously even if it is against the consensus of the Socialist Squad.
Lastly, her 24th Amendment claim concerning the membership fee she had to pay before joining the club and voting in the straw poll is null because this amendment only applies to elections for certain Federal positions, not local elections such as county commissioner. Furthermore, the straw poll was informal and did not determine the outcome of any primary or other election, so, here too, her claim is not relevant in said case. Predominantly, the petitioner’s only real argument to be made here is that she was not allowed to vote based on her lack of ID present.
But, as stated at the beginning, ID laws for states are common today, so having a private organization with one as well should come as no surprise and should not be an issue, as many of these ID laws have been upheld in court cases as well. While the petitioner’s claim is clear, her points made through the vehicle of the Constitution all fall short of application and therefore her argument is void. As we can see, the Socialist Squad of Elk County was simply trying to maintain the exclusivity of its straw poll to members only in a public place and the way they decided to do so was to require members to present ID that proves who they are. While it is true that it stopped her from being able to vote in the straw poll, the petitioner’s inability to do so was a price that had to be paid in order to ensure that non-members or malintented voters wouldn’t unfairly skew election results.