The Case For Voter ID

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Study: Voter ID Laws Don’t Stop People Voting.”

The article reports:

Strict voter ID laws do not suppress turnout, a new paper finds, regardless of sex, race, Hispanic identity, or party affiliation.

Requiring photo ID to vote is a hotly contested subject in American political discourse. Proponents argue that it is necessary to insure against fraud and preserve the integrity of the American electoral system. Opponents argue that it will disenfranchise otherwise eligible voters—many of whom would be poor and of color—who are unable to easily obtain ID.

In total, 10 states, ranging from Georgia to Wisconsin, require voters to show ID in order to vote. Seven of those states require a photo ID, and three do not. An additional 25 states “request” that voters display ID, but may still permit them to vote on a provision ballot if they cannot. The remaining states “use other methods to verify the identity of voters,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The new research, from an economics professor at the University of Bologna and another at Harvard Business School, indicates that “strict” voting laws of the type implemented in those ten states do not have a statistically significant effect on voter turnout.

A few years ago, North Carolina tested a voter ID system during a primary election. Turnout was higher than in previous primary elections. The voter ID requirement did not suppress the vote. The system allowed the poll workers to scan the voter’s driver’s license in order to print the correct ballot. Implementing that system allowed the lines to move quickly and resulted in more efficient voting for everyone. The idea that voter ID limits voters is a myth. You need an ID to do a lot of everyday things, so most people have an acceptable form of ID.

The article concludes:

At the same time, the study’s authors use the same data to examine the actual effect of strict voter ID laws on voter fraud itself, and similarly find no statistically significant effect. Using two datasets of voter fraud cases (which represent a cumulative 2,000 proven or hypothesized events over eight years), the study examines the relationship between laws and frequency of measured voter fraud, finding no evidence of a change after implementation.

This finding is naturally limited by the extremely small number of voter fraud cases actually identified: fewer than one per million people per year. It is possible that voter ID laws would be more effective suppressing fraud in a context where it was more evidently prevalent; as is, the authors estimate that the laws themselves only cover about 0.3 to 0.1 offenses per million people per year.

In total, then, the paper suggests that voter ID laws are not suppressive, but also that they do not have much of an impact on elections overall.

“Our results suggest that efforts both to safeguard electoral integrity and enfranchise more voters may be better served through other reforms,” it concludes.

Voter ID will not end voter fraud. It will, however, make it more difficult.

Common Sense Shows Up In A Courtroom

The Daily Signal is reporting today that Judge Scott Coogle, a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, has ruled that the Alabama voter ID law is constitutional.

The article reports:

A federal judge in Alabama has thrown out a lawsuit against the state’s voter ID law, finding that the law doesn’t prevent anyone from voting because “nearly the entire population of registered voters in Alabama already possess a photo ID that can be used for voting.”

For those who don’t, obtaining a qualifying ID can be done “with little to no effort and no cost.”

In 2011, the Alabama Legislature passed a photo ID requirement for both in-person and absentee voting. The law was enacted in an effort to strengthen voter confidence and to reduce the potential for voter fraud in the state.

The Alabama law accepts seven different types of ID, including an Alabama driver/non-driver’s license, a photo ID card issued by any state or the federal government, a U.S. passport, a student or employee ID, a military ID card, or a tribal ID card.

Voters can obtain a voter ID card from the state for free—something that as of fall of 2017, only 33 voters in the entire state had requested. And voters who need a birth or marriage certificate to get an ID can get those for free, too.

In addition, even if voters show up at a voting booth without an ID, they can still vote if two election officials at the polling place positively identify them.

Those voting absentee are required to include a photocopy of their photo ID (in a separate envelope) when they mail in their ballot. Individuals without an ID can vote by provisional ballot, and that ballot will be counted if they show the local county registrar an ID by the Friday after the election.

Unfortunately we live in a world where showing a photo ID has become a fact of life. When I go to the doctor’s office, I have to show a photo ID. If I board an airplane, I have to show a photo ID (and soon, as license requirements change in some states, a passport will be necessary). Anyone can easily get a photo ID, and states with photo ID requirements to vote will provide them to people at no cost.

This is a common sense ruling. Hopefully it will stand and set an example for the rest of the states.

Why This Election Is So Important

President Obama has been in office almost eight years. During that time he has appointed numerous judges. Needless to say, the judges he has appointed tend to be liberal judges who believe that the U.S. Constitution is a ‘living’ document that can be twisted in a variety of different ways. Those judges appointed by President Obama are already playing a role in the November election.

USA Today posted an article today explaining how the judges President Obama has appointed are influencing the vote.

The article explains:

Judges named by Obama to federal appellate and district courts overseeing North Carolina, Texas, Michigan and Wisconsin have in recent months voted to strike down restrictions on voting imposed by Republican legislatures. In Michigan and North Carolina, his Supreme Court nominees helped block efforts to restore the restrictions for this fall’s elections.

The rulings could help hundreds of thousands of voters — mostly minorities who vote Democratic — get to the polls in November by removing impediments such as photo IDs and making it easier to register and vote.

First of all, let’s deal with the spin in the article. In the March primary election in North Carolina, photo ID was required. USA Today reported in March:

North Carolina election officials also said their primary turnout was the second highest in the past 28 years. The turnout was about 35% on Tuesday. A record turnout of 37% was set in 2008.

There are a lot of activities that require photo ID. Requiring an ID to vote does not limit turnout–it limits fraud. Minorities are not stupid–they are perfectly capable of obtaining photo ID’s. In fact, if you are over eighteen and want to work, you need some form of identification to be put on the payroll, if you are on welfare, you need a photo ID to sign up or open a bank account. Requiring a photo ID neither suppresses voter turnout or puts an undue burden on voters. It does help prevent fraud.

Today’s article at USA Today reports the following:

But Nicholas Stephanopoulos, an assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School specializing in elections and voting rights, says judges tend to view the cases “through ideological and partisan prisms.”

At the federal appeals court level, those prisms have shifted left since Obama came to office. While only one federal circuit court had a majority of judges named by Democratic presidents in January 2009, nine do now. The percentage of appellate judges named by Democrats has risen from 39% to 55% during that period.

So far this year, judges nominated by Obama and Bill Clinton have sided with civil rights groups and Democratic lawyers every time. Those named by Republican presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have split their votes.

If you would like to see America governed according to the Constitution we were founded with, you need to vote for Republicans this November. Otherwise there is serious danger of America morphing into a country none of us will recognize.