January 08, 2008
Question: What issue would
such powerful special interest groups
such as the
American Jewish Committee,
Law Student Associations and the
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund?
Answer: The defense of the status quo in America`s
inefficient and inaccurate election system—which
raw political power
to America`s underclass of
Today, Wednesday January 9, the U.S. Supreme Court is
to hear oral arguments in the Indiana Democratic
Party v. Todd Rokita
and William Crawford v.
Marion County Election Board
voter ID laws fuel debate
December 19, 2007] The debate centers on the state of
Indiana`s attempts to protect its elections by requiring
voters to show photo identification at the polls.
Laws protecting voters against fraud are fast being
put in place—26 states have some sort of Election Day
proof of identity conditions and at least eight states
have established tough voter ID laws in the last five
years. However, this
common sense proof of identity
(you and I do so
every time we cash a check or
board an airplane
) is being challenged by an army of
special interest groups.
In the last two years, photo ID laws in Indiana,
have been upheld in lower courts, while a
Missouri law was blocked from taking effect. [Supreme
Court to hear voter ID case
, By David G. Savage,
Los Angeles Times,
September 26, 2007]. By
agreeing to hear an appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court
indicated that it wanted this dispute resolved before
go to the polls this November.
The photo ID issue has united and incited into action
many of those who have yet to get over the 2000
Bush-versus-Gore election controversy. "Many accused
the Supreme Court of partisanship in deciding Bush v.
Gore, and some voting rights advocates fear that the
court could make things worse,"
warned Loyola Law
Richard L. Hasen
Voting Test for the High Court , Washington Post
September 19, 2007]. Hasen also noted, "there`s more
than a little bit of irony in going to the Supreme Court
and asking them to rise above
partisan politics in election cases."
Court to weigh in on voter ID laws
, by Mark
Sherman, USA Today
, December 30, 2007}
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN
to serve in Congress and part of the gang of
usual suspects filing Amici
Indiana, alleges "the photo identification
requirement would present barriers to voting."
. Signing onto Mr. Ellison`s brief was the entire
Congressional Black Caucus as well as—Senator
voters have "unfettered access to the
polls in every state."
Donna Brazile, chairwoman of the
Voting Rights Institute
and Al Gore`s
2000 campaign manager
, asserts "the Supreme Court
will have an opportunity to right a wrong perpetrated by
. She claims, "unjust and highly
restrictive voter ID laws"
are part of "a
reprehensible partisan scheme to
suppress voter turnout."
Court will hear voter ID case,
By David G.
Savage, Los Angeles Times,
January 7, 2008].
Of course, the real problem isn`t a Republican
conspiracy to suppress
—it`s the continuing campaign to
America`s Exhibit Number One: an article in the
which begins, "voter turnout
among Democrats improved slightly last year in Indiana,
despite a new law requiring voters to show photo
identification at the polls ..."
It goes on to
describe a University of Missouri report that found
Indiana`s voter turnout increased about two percentage
points, with the highest percentage of Democrats. [Photo
ID law didn`t hurt turnout in Indiana
Dinan, November 27, 2007]
America`s Exhibit Number Two: the American Unity
Legal Defense Fund
in support of Indiana, which cites many court
- in Gonzalez v. Arizona,
485 F.3d 1041 (9 Cir., 2007), the Ninth Circuit
noted that the record in the case "indicates
that, between 1996 and the present, as many as 232
non-citizens tried to register to vote and that the
State prosecuted ten of those 232 alleged
- In United States v. Knight,
490 F.3d 1268, 1270 (11 Cir, 2007), the Eleventh
Circuit upheld the conviction of a Jamaican citizen
who voted in the 2000 Presidential election
- in Simmons v. Jones,
838 S.W.2d 298, 299 (Tex. App. 1992), a Texas Court
of Appeals reported in a close local election
"Simmons lost one vote because one person voted for
him who was not a citizen of the United States."
You may also wish to refer to any number of Amici
briefs in support of Indiana, including the one filed
collectively by the Attorneys General of Texas, Alabama,
Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Nebraska, Puerto
Rico, and South Dakota which discusses the need to
and the various approaches that states
have taken to this end.
Then there is someone who could be considered an
Bradley A. Smith
, former chairman of the Federal
Election Commission. He said Indiana`s challengers
"made a mistake in bringing this case on such a thin
Finally, there is an exhaustive analysis issued by
the Heritage Foundation:
New Analysis Shows Voter Identification Laws Do Not
Proof of eligibility to vote appears to be the core
issue in the Indiana case. But the larger question is
addressing a widespread malaise that undermines the U.S.
In a similar case (Purcell
2006) the Supreme Court
Arizona`s voter ID law with this
"Confidence in the
electoral process is essential to the functioning of our
participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest
citizens out of the democratic process ... Voters who
fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by
fraudulent votes will feel disenfranchised."
But voters have long held doubts about the fairness
of elections. A Rasmussen Research poll taken just
before the controversial November 2004 elections found
that 58% of Americans believed that there was a lot or
some fraud in American elections. [PDF
Pollster John Zogby reported in 2006: "Nearly two
years into the second term of his presidency, less than
half of those polled think that the 2004 election
victory was `fair and square.`"
Zogby—Voters Question Outcome Of `04 Election
And although Election Day
and corruption have made news headlines in
recent years, the under-reported angle
growing voting number of voting scams by non-citizens
and illegal aliens.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
(MALDEF), defensively arguing against Indiana in its
claims voter identification laws are "schemes,"
which are "racially motivated"
. MALDEF makes the
fantastic allegation that in-person voter impersonation
fraud "does not exist."
[Brief For Petitioners
In the real world, there is prima facie
evidence of voting fraud by illegal aliens:
- The Wall Street Journal
reported that "the man who in 1994
assassinated Mexican presidential candidate
Luis Donaldo Colosio in Tijuana had registered
to vote at least twice in the U.S. although he was
not a citizen." [Testimony
By Mr. Patrick Rogers, Committee On House
Administration, Hearing on non-citizen voting June
- California`s Secretary of
State discovered that at least 440 illegal aliens
(and perhaps as many as 784) fraudulently cast votes
in a single 1996 Congressional District election. [Engage—The
Journal of the Federalist Society Practice Groups,
February 2007 (PDF)
"Today we march; tomorrow we vote!"
- The Honolulu Advertiser
reported that election officials there
identified 543 Oahu residents who were not citizens
but were registered voters.
chant led by militants and political agitators at
rallies where protestors demand "rights"
illegal aliens. [Illegal
Immigrants Say Boycotts Aren`t The End to Reform
, May 02, 2006]
MALDEF actually declares in its amicus brief [PDF
that the Indiana law and other practical measures to
protect voter rights are "racially motivated"
"substantially burden the voting rights of minority
This is absurd, of course, since Indiana
and most states provide picture IDs free of charge, and
photo identification is
as a practical and legitimate
means of preventing fraud.
Despite minimal media attention, the sexy part of the
Indiana voter ID case is not what
Judge Terence Evans
, a Clinton appointee,
in dissenting from the Seventh Circuit Court`s
majority ruling: "Let`s not beat around the bush, the
Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled
attempt to discourage Election Day turnout by certain
This contention conflicts with the
recommendations of the 2005 Commission on Federal
Election Reform, co-chaired by former President Jimmy
Carter and former U.S. Secretary of State James A.
Baker, III. Their report maintains: "Voters in nearly
100 democracies use a photo identification card without
fear of infringement on their rights."
hot about the Indiana case is the
underlying problem of voters who fear their legitimate
votes will be outweighed by non-citizen fraud. Or, as
the Supremes said in the
Gonzalez v. Arizona
case cited above, "Voters ... feel
And, not to put too fine a point on the issue, in
Gonzalez v. Arizona,
the Ninth District Circuit
Court found that more than 230 illegals voted in that
Voter disenchantment is based on their day-to-day
observation of the lack of immigration law enforcement.
The threat posed by non-citizens to the election process
is growing for a variety of reasons—or example, illegal
immigrants use voting records as evidence of employment
eligibility, encouraging identity theft crimes in
Add to the non-economic incentive illegals have to
defraud election-related activities—increased
in hopes of
achieving immigration law change
s—and you have a
volatile mix of special interests.
Indiana`s Secretary of State, Todd Rokita, filed a
"Brief of State Respondents"
Hoosier`s state voter ID law with the Supreme Court.
Mr. Rokita identifies yet another sharp angle on the
Indiana case:"In addition to protecting against voter fraud,
the photo ID law promotes security in the modern day
Rokita states. "Since it was
enacted in 2005, six Indiana elections have demonstrated
that the photo ID law is well crafted,"
light of such widespread demands for ...
government-issued photo identification, it is almost
shocking that in late 2007 Indiana can be characterized
as even unusual in requiring it at the polls."
of Indiana Files Brief in United States Supreme Court
, Muncie Free Press
, December 3,
Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner, in his majority
opinion upholding the law requiring voters to carry ID,
said that voter identification is not a burden
considering that "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."
Identity theft is a popular crime that impacts
everything from banks to ballot boxes. In 2005,
legislative audit bureau attempted to
undertake a systematic study of illegal immigrants who
had obtained state identification cards—either driver`s
license or state identification cards—and suspected that
383 illegal immigrants were registered to vote. Utah
asked ICE to review these registered voters to confirm
if they were U.S. citizens. ICE examined 135 cases as a
sample and determined that one person was a permanent
legal resident, five were naturalized citizens, 20 were
and the other 109 had no record and
were likely in the United States illegally. But fourteen
of the 383 individuals in question voted in a Utah
license rules hit illegal immigrants
, By Daniel
C. Vock, Stateline.org
, August 24, 2007]
The common sense of voter IDs rings true with
A poll taken in 2006 by Rasmussen
Reports found 77% of likely voters across the country
believe that displaying a photo ID should be required to
cast a vote. Rasmussen conducted a survey of Georgia
voters last summer and found that 84% of that state`s
[Supreme Court to Hear Case Requiring Photo ID to Vote,
77% of Voters Favor Requirement,
Reports, September 25, 2007]
In 2004, polls in New Mexico also showed a 77% margin
in support of voter ID, including 66% of self-identified
Where does the issue go from here? The Supreme Court
is expected to decide the Indiana case in the spring.
whatever it decides
, the entire election system in
the U.S. will undoubtedly remain flawed and vulnerable.
American voters might be more secure if we adopted
Mexico`s election system (see Allan Wall`s
Voter registration—Texas vs. Mexico
Why Is Mexico`s Voter Registration System Better Than
A sensible approach are the initiatives taken by many
state and local jurisdictions, such as Kansas (see KTUL-TV
Moving Out Of Oklahoma Before New Law Takes Effect"
Prince William County, Virginia
, or Supreme Court opinion
will bring comprehensive relief from the burden of
Only an educated and motivated grass roots coalition—"Middle
as the late pundit
would say—will ensure all three branches
of government are on our side in the America`s
Great Patriotic War
.Peter B. Gemma
him], a columnist with
Middle American News,
has written more than
100 commentaries for
and for such publications as the
SHOTS FIRED: Sam Francis on America`s Culture War,
a collection of the work of
published last year.