Monday, April 28, 2008

Sanity at the Supreme Court = Voter ID upheld

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 today that Indiana's law requiring voters to show photo ID before casting an in-person vote is constitutional. Three justices ruled that a photo ID requirement is minimally burdensome and justified (Scalia, Alito, Thomas); the judgment of the Court, and its primary opinion by Justice Stevens, held that the law in question imposed only a minimal burden on voters' rights because it had universal application in Indiana.

To show just how bad George H.W. Bush screwed up his first Supreme Court pick (and to think, Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit came in second), David Souter dissented claiming that the burden for rural, poor and elderly voters to just go to a motor vehicle department office and obtain a license would be overly burdensome. That claim is patently ridiculous -- after all any poor, old or rural voter has to use a photo ID to cash a check.

This ruling gives the states considering voter ID laws the impetus to enact reasonable ones. Only 25 of the 50 states even have voter ID laws, only 7 of those have PHOTO requirements, and in some the consequences of not having an ID are relatively meaningless. Look at Florida, for example, where a voter without an ID who is just lying anyway can simply fill out an affidavit and vote. Similarly in Arkansas, the precinct monitor merely notes that the voter did not have ID but does not prohibit a vote or relegate the vote to a provisional ballot. Even more distressing is that some states known for rampant voter fraud (Illinois, New York, Wisconsin) have no ID law.

I'm registered at my precinct, I have my voter card and my ID, and I vote ONCE per election. My state, and every other in the nation, should take reasonable steps to ensure that my vote is counted and, more importantly, not diluted by a fraudulent voter. The Supreme Court's decision just helped the states protect their legitimate voters if they so choose.

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