By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Elections: The Supreme Court got it right Monday in ruling 6-3 (with even liberal John Paul Stevens agreeing) that states are free to require voters to produce photo identification at the polls.
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Everyone in the country should be pleased with the news. But, of course, not everyone is. It’s almost as if some are disturbed that the ruling will make it harder to commit voter fraud.
The American Civil Liberties Union, for instance. It was the ACLU’s suit against the state of Indiana over its requirement that voters need to produce a photo ID at the polls that led to the Supreme Court case.
Ken Falk, the organization’s Indiana legal director, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the decision. It is the position of the ACLU that ID laws place a burden on voters, and the right to vote, Falk says, “is the most important right.”
The right to vote cannot be found in the Constitution, so we’re not sure from what source Falk is drawing his legal opinion. Best we can tell, voting is a privilege. Important, yes, but it’s far more important that our elections are free — or as free as possible — of fraud.
Democrats still nursing their wounds from the 2000 presidential election mess — which they engineered when they brought in the lawyers — should be the first ones demanding legitimate elections. But they’re not.
Democrats across the board are against laws requiring photo IDs at the polls, even if a voter without an ID is free to cast a provisional ballot that’s counted if the voter returns within 10 days and shows either proper identification or demonstrates that one of the law’s exemptions applies, as is the policy in Indiana.
Their objections are so bitter that it looks like they’re inviting — or perhaps are accustomed to relying on — voter fraud.
It’s baffling that anyone could actually oppose such a minimum and entirely reasonable standard. What could possibly be wrong with voters, in a day when identity theft is common, having to prove that they are who they say they are?
The only rational response is “nothing.” Yet it’s not hard to find someone who will argue that the requirement places too great a burden on Americans to acquire a photo ID with which to vote.
But as the Democrats’ own expert witness noted when testifying during the federal trial phase of the Indiana case, 99% of the state’s voting-age residents already have the necessary ID.
We have no reason to think that the percentage would be much different in any other state. There’s nothing unique about Indiana that makes its people more likely than those in other states to have the proper ID for voting.
For anyone worried about the disenfranchisement of that 1%, consider that photo IDs are not hard to get. In Georgia, for one example, a resident who does not have a driver’s license can get a free photo ID from the state.
As the case wended its way through the justice system, the Indiana law was often called the strictest of its kind in the nation. If that’s the case, then our elections are far too vulnerable to fraud.
How many more rancid elections — such as the 2004 Washington gubernatorial race, in which 1,678 illegal votes were cast and at least eight dead people “voted” in King County — will have to happen before all 50 states get serious about cheating?
At least with Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, states that are interested in protecting the legitimacy of elections now have a clear template to follow.
The path should be open as well with the ACLU. Having been told that its tolerance of voter fraud does not inspire confidence in our system, it has lost its ability on this issue to block sensible laws.