Dirty, cynical politics corrupts the rule of law.
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A 2009 study by researchers from the University of Delaware and University of Nebraska determined that “voter-ID laws should have little to no effect on aggregate or individual-level turnout, particularly after considering political motivations for voting.”
And further: “At every level of analysis, and with multiple forms of data, we have consistently demonstrated that voter-identification laws appear to be a much smaller piece to the voting behavior puzzle than are factors such as the kinds of issues on a state ballot, the competitiveness of campaigns, the institutional structures of a particular election, socioeconomic factors, and individual-level motivational factors such as interest in politics.”
Indiana passed a Voter ID law in 2005 requiring photo ID for all voters. It was challenged in court and was decided by the Supreme Court in a 6-3 ruling (which included the former liberal lion John Paul Stevens writing the plurality opinion) upholding the law.
Stevens noted that “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of a State’s interest in counting only eligible voters’ votes. Finally, Indiana’s interest in protecting public confidence in elections, while closely related to its interest in preventing voter fraud, has independent significance, because such confidence encourages citizen participation in the democratic process.”
He added that the burden on eligible voters to get a Voter ID card, which the state provides for free, “does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burden of voting.”
According to the Delaware/Nebraska study, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) “estimates that the average visit time [to receive a free state-issued Voter ID card] to one of the 146 statewide BMV offices is eight minutes with the longest average visit time in the state at 14 minutes…. Therefore, the biggest impediment to acquiring identification is a trip to the BMV; a trip that is likely to be a bit further than the distance travelled to a polling place, but made only once every six years.”
Similarly, the Texas law allows voters to present one of seven different accepted forms of state- or federally-issued identification. It also allows someone who arrives at the polling place without ID to cast a provisional ballot and return to the registrar’s office with valid ID within six days to have the ballot counted. Furthermore, voters who are 65 and older, or sick or disabled, can vote by mail, which requires no ID, and the state will provide residents who do not have other valid ID with free voter identification cards for those who cannot afford the standard $16 fee ($5 for those 60 and over).
One question that opponents of Voter ID laws never broach is whether it is a bigger problem to exclude a legal voter (who did not meet the ID requirements) or include a fraudulent vote. The left would argue that the former is paramount, but they intentionally miss the point that most such exclusions could have been prevented by the voters themselves, but that casting a fraudulent ballot is and should be a serious crime.
Last year, former Congressman Artur Davis, a black Democrat from Alabama, wrote a mea culpa apologizing for his long-held opposition to Voter ID laws: “I’ve changed my mind on voter ID laws — I think Alabama did the right thing in passing one — and I wish I had gotten it right when I was in political office.”
He adds damning insight from his own experience: “Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally-impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights — that’s suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don’t; I’ve heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I’ve been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.”
Despite being on the wrong side of the data, of common sense, and of Supreme Court precedent, the Obama/Holder Justice Department is attempting to block Voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas using authority based on a 47-year-old law designed to address true voter suppression in the South in the middle of the 20th century.
Instead, the Obama administration, using bogus statistical arguments and baseless assumptions of a “discriminatory purpose” to block rational and popular (including among Hispanics) Voter ID laws, is protecting voter fraud and eroding the electoral bedrock of our republic, for the obvious purpose of benefiting Democrats at the polls. Never has Justice been less blind than under the hyper-partisan leadership of Eric Holder.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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