Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Voter ID Laws

To take a brief break from New Hampshire for the moment, the Indiana Voter ID law is before the Supreme Court this week for oral arguments, with a decision expected to be handed down by June. I have written on this issue before and am today joined by articles in both the New York Times and the New Yorker. The law states that voters must have some form of state-issued ID in order to vote, something which is seen, at least by Democrats, as an attempt to keep minority voters without passports or driver's licenses from exercising their franchises. In a stunning example of arrogance, a lower court judge had written in his opinion upholding the Indiana law: “It is exceedingly difficult to maneuver in today’s America without a photo ID (try flying, or even entering a tall building such as the courthouse in which we sit, without one)."
Yes, you can't fly without a photo id, but many poor people can't afford to do a great deal of flying. And, as for entering tall buildings without photo ID---interesting phrasing, not short buildings?--was he talking about employee ID cards? These won't get you into the voting booth in Indiana.
As I have said before, this is an extremely bogus issue which is a blatant attempt to keep Democratic voters from the polls, and it will become extremely important if Barack Obama receives the Democratic nomination. Supposedly, such ID laws help stop voter fraud, but there is absolutely no studies that have shown that voter fraud where someone uses false ID to vote is at all prevalent today. According to Jeffrey Toobin's New Yorker piece: "The latest and most extensive examination of electoral irregularities, released in November by the nonpartisan research institute Demos, determined that voter fraud was “very rare,” and every other respectable study has reached the same conclusion. This is certainly true in Indiana, where legislators said they were aiming to stop “voter impersonation,” which was already a crime in the state; in the entire history of Indiana, the number of prosecutions for this offense has been zero. Nationwide, despite an attempt by the Bush Justice Department to crack down on voter fraud, there were only a hundred and twenty federal prosecutions and eighty-six convictions between 2002 and 2006—a period in which close to four hundred million votes were cast."
The largest amount of voter fraud that has occurred recently in a presidential election took place in Ohio in 2004, as I have blogged about in the past, where Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell went to extraordinary lengths to keep minority Democratic voters from the polls, using such techniques as cadging, forcing city voters to wait in long lines, and striking voters from the rolls on archaic technicalities.
If the Supreme Court upholds the Indiana ID Laws, voters beware.

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