The Jim Bohannon Show

November 9, 2012

On The Jim Bohannon Show… 

The right to vote is one of our most cherished, even if too many Americans don’t exercise that right nearly enough. Too many elections for important positions, such as county council members or school board officials, have turnouts that are far too small. Turnout for major races is better, and this year’s Presidential election is sure to bring out significant numbers of voters (and it already has, in terms of early voters). But with higher turnout comes another problem: are the people coming to the polls truly eligible to vote? Our country has a history – a bi-partisan history – of people trying to fraudulently affect elections. While it’s unclear exactly how many people are trying to ‘game’ the system, 33 states have passed some form of voter identification law, the most strict of them demanding government-issued I.D. cards with photographs and expiration dates, such as a driver’s license or many states’ Non-Driver’s I.D. cards. Critics of the effort point out that many students, the elderly, and poor urban residents do not have proper identification. Also, many of the new voter I.D. laws were passed so close to the coming election that states haven’t had the necessary time to process the I.D. requests. This has led many courts to postpone enforcement of these laws until the problems can be resolved. Just how big of a risk is voter fraud this coming Tuesday? We’ll ask a return guest: John Fund, columnist for the National Review and co-author (with Hans von Spakovsky) of the book "Who’s Counting: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote At Risk" (in paperback from Encounter Books). 

Free Speech is enshrined in our Constitution and is a prized right of every American citizen, even if we frequently forget that it’s really a protection against government intrusion and has some important limits. Still, the basic concept is sound – even brilliant. Allow people to say what they want, exposing their ideas and views to the light of day so they can be reviewed, critiqued, and judged. Good ideas gain support, bad ones do not. Most importantly, hate speech is exposed for what it is, so it can be summarily rejected. However, free speech has been taking its hits lately, especially in a place where it should not: on our nation’s college and university campuses. Our guest tonight says higher education is failing at one of its most important tasks – maybe its most important: teaching students how to think critically. First Amendment attorney Greg Lukianoff has written the book "Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate" (published by Encounter Books). If this continues, he believes, we as a culture could lose the ability to discuss and debate issues intelligently.