“Voting rights are under attack in America” declared Georgia Representative John Lewis, a black veteran of the Civil Rights era.
What is he talking about?
Representative Lewis is talking about voters being required to present photo ID when voting, which he says is a horrible injustice.
Lewis and other Democrats are unhappy that more and more states are tightening up their voter registration laws, some even requiring—gasp!—photo ID.
For the best source on current voter ID law nationwide, check out this page here, on the National Conference of State Legislatures website.
Currently, 31 states require some sort of identification in order to vote. Which means the other 19 don’t.
Of those 31 states, 8 states require photo ID. But even those states allow a prospective voter without it to vote on a provisional ballot, which is counted if he returns within a few days with photo ID. The number of states in this category jumped from 2 to 8 in this year (2011).
And then there are 7 states that request photo ID but accept other means of demonstrating eligibility.
And there are 16 states which require ID but not photo ID.
The year 2011 has seen great strides in the adoption of photo ID laws. As ABC reported recently:
“It is almost one year to the day that Americans will head to the polls for the 2012 election, but for residents in seven states, casting those ballots could be a bit more difficult than in the last go-round.”
“New laws requiring voters to show photo identification are set to take effect in Kansas, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. And Democrats, who as a party are staunchly opposed to voter ID laws, are already ramping up their efforts to combat the new laws.”
[States with Strict Voter Photo ID Laws More than Tripled in 2011 [by Amy Bingham, ABC, November 7, 2011. My emphasis.]
Hmm, now why are Democrats “staunchly opposed to voter ID laws”? Why on earth could that be?
I mean, who could possibly object to verification of voters’ citizenship and identity?
Well…what if your party benefits from ineligible voters at the polls?
The Democrats have been laying it on thick and heavy, against photo ID or any method to make our registration system more secure. It’s all an evil Republican plot, you see, to disenfranchise voters.
Here’s some of the rhetoric that’s recently been unleashed against the horrible injustice of requiring photo ID:
- “This is the greatest assault on voting rights, happening right now, that we have seen since the dawn of Jim Crow.” Benjamin Todd Jealous , NAACP president
- “This is about putting up obstacles to legal voters being able to exercise the franchise. That is the scheme that the Republicans have concocted on this.” Scot Ross, director of One Wisconsin Now.
- “I lose sleep over voter suppression, I lose sleep over the fact that the Republicans have said and they are embarked on a strategy that could deny millions of voters their right to go to the polls and actually vote for a candidate.” Rep. Steve Israel, D-NY
- “Democracy’s at stake,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
- [Photo ID] “deliberate plot by conservatives and Republicans to suppress votes” Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat, New York
And, of course, there’s more from Representative John Lewis:
“People were beaten, arrested and even killed trying to defend the right to vote. We must not go back. We want to move forward. That`s why we can`t be silent now.“
In fact, there is a coalition of groups, including the NAACP, The United Federation of Teachers, the Asian-American Legal Defense Fund, Local 1199 of the SEIU (health workers union), and of course, the Razistas of the National Council of La Raza.
The pro-vote-fraud coalition is planning a big nationwide protest on December 10. And they plan to protest in the South in the weeks following. [Voter ID Laws Draw Nationwide Protests From NAACP, Labor Groups , by Samantha Gross, Huffington Post, November 8, 2011].
The Democrats’ alleged beef with photo ID: everybody doesn’t have a photo ID. Therefore they are being discriminated against!
Of course, there’s an obvious solution to this injustice: the state should provide official photo ID to any (eligible) voter who needs it. You know—like food stamps!
But would that really placate the critics?
In Wisconsin, as in several other states enacting such laws, the state does provide, free of charge, a photo ID for any voter. But the aforementioned Scot Ross, [Email him]who runs One Wisconsin Now, an organization fighting secure vote ID, is still against it. According to NPR:
“Ross says tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters lack the photo ID that will now be required in that state. He says many of them will also have difficulty traveling to motor vehicle offices to get free ID cards available under the law.”
[The Politics Behind New Voter ID Laws, by Pam Fessler, NPR, July 18, 2011]
Hmm. If Ross feels so strongly about it, why doesn’t he drive these deprived voters himself to get their IDs?
Another argument against photo ID and other measures: it’s simply not necessary. Vote fraud is simply not a problem in our country.
However, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach makes the case that yes, it is a problem:
“Voter fraud is a well-documented reality in American elections. To offer a few examples, a 2010 state representative race in Kansas City, Mo. was stolen when one candidate, J.J. Rizzo, allegedly received more than 50 votes illegally cast by citizens of Somalia. The Somalis, who didn`t speak English, were coached to vote for Mr. Rizzo by an interpreter at the polling place. The margin of victory? One vote.
“In Kansas, 221 incidents of voter fraud were reported between 1997 and 2010. The crimes included absentee-ballot fraud, impersonation of another voter, and a host of other violations. Because voter fraud is extremely difficult to detect and is usually not reported, the cases that we know about likely represent a small fraction of the total.
“My office already has found 67 aliens illegally registered to vote in Kansas, but when the total number is calculated, it will likely be in the hundreds. In Colorado, the Secretary of State`s office recently identified 11,805 aliens illegally registered to vote in the state, of whom 4,947 cast a ballot in the 2010 elections.
“Evidence of voter fraud is present in all 50 states, and public confidence in the integrity of elections is at an all-time low. In the Cooperative “Congressional Election Study of 2008, 62% of American voters thought that voter fraud was very common or somewhat common.”
[The Case for Voter ID , By Kris W. Kobach, May 23, 2011]
So, yes, we do have a problem. And there is nothing wrong with our states tightening up voter registration laws in order to determine the eligibility of voters.
It’s not too much to ask to have a voter prove his (1) identity and (2) U.S. citizenship. I don’t mind having to prove mine.
And there’s this great paradox about Voter ID: for a good example of how another country has handled the problem, we need to look no farther than our neighbor to the south—the source of maybe half of our illegal alien population— Mexico!!
I have previously dealt with this subject in my article Why is Mexico’s Voter Registration System Better Than Ours?
In Mexico, every registered Mexican voter has a Voter ID card, supplied by the government, complete with photograph, fingerprint, and a holographic image to prevent counterfeiting.
But it’s not just the card. At the Mexican polling station, there is a book containing the photograph of every voter in the precinct. This book is available to the poll workers and observers from various parties. If there`s a doubt as to someone’s identity, the poll workers can simply look up the person`s name and see if the photo matches up.
The Mexican voter`s thumb is smudged with ink. That way, if he shows up at another polling site to vote, they know he`s already voted elsewhere. (The ink wears off after a few days.)
Why would American liberals object to this system? Are they anti-Mexican?
Having a secure registration system is important to protect our voting process. Despite all the hysteria, it’s actually very easy for a voter to prove his citizenship. And given today’s inexpensive photographic technology, it’s certainly not a technical problem.
Furthermore, supplying photo ID free of charge to eligible voters removes the last supposed objection.
Not only is photo ID for voters good for our country, it’s a winning issue politically. According to a 2010 Rasmussen poll, an overwhelming 82% of Americans are in favor of laws mandating photo ID.
Politicians should be jumping on that bandwagon!
Here at VDARE.COM, we can’t endorse candidates. But isn’t it obvious that a vigorous and outspoken defense of photo ID for voters would be advantageous for any Republican candidate?
How about it?
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.