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Why Americans Support Voter ID Laws

Why Americans Support Voter ID Laws

By Jack Kelly - December 27, 2011

The state chairman of Indiana's Democratic Party resigned recently as a probe of election fraud in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary widened.

State law requires a presidential candidate to gather 500 valid signatures in each county to qualify for the ballot. Barack Obama may not have met it. Investigators think 150 of the 534 signatures the Obama campaign turned in for St. Joseph County may have been forged.

Yet Democrats say that measures to guard against vote fraud are racist Republican plots to disenfranchise minority voters.

Republicans "want to literally drag us back to Jim Crow laws," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

The NAACP has asked the United Nations to intervene to block state voter ID laws. It may have an ulterior motive for opposing ballot security measures. An NAACP official was convicted on 10 counts of absentee voter fraud in Tunica County, Miss., in July.

Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, who is black, said vote fraud is rampant in African-American districts like his in Alabama.

"The most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African-American community is the wholesale manufacture of ballots at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt," Mr. Davis said. "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."

Laws requiring photo IDs suppress minority voting, Democrats charge. The facts say otherwise. In Georgia, black voter turnout for the midterm election in 2006 was 42.9 percent. After Georgia passed photo ID, black turnout in the 2010 midterm rose to 50.4 percent. Black turnout also rose in Indiana and Mississippi after photo IDs were required.

"Concerns about voter identification laws affecting turnout are much ado about nothing," concluded researchers at the universities of Delaware and Nebraska after examining election data from 2000 through 2006.

You need a photo ID to get on an airplane or an Amtrak train; to open a bank account, withdraw money from it, or cash a check; to pick up movie and concert tickets; to go into a federal building; to buy alcohol and to apply for food stamps.

Most Americans don't think it's a hardship to ask voters to produce one. A Rasmussen poll in June indicated 75 percent of respondents support photo ID requirements. Huge majorities of Hispanics support voter ID laws, according to a Resurgent Republic poll in September.

This year there have been investigations, indictments or convictions for vote fraud in California, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland. In all but one case, the alleged fraudsters were Democrats.

In none would the fraud alleged have altered a major election, Democrats note. But in the Illinois gubernatorial election in 1982, 100,000 votes cast in Chicago -- 10 percent of the total -- were fraudulent, the U.S. attorney there estimated.

Fraud of the magnitude which swings elections typically combines absentee ballot fraud and voter registration fraud. At least 55 employees or associates of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now have been convicted of registration fraud in 11 states, says Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center, who's written a book about ACORN.

Of 1.3 million new registrations ACORN turned in in 2008, election officials rejected 400,000.

"There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of a state's interest in counting only eligible voters' votes," wrote liberal Justice John Paul Stevens for a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court's 2008 decision upholding Indiana's ID law, the toughest in the nation.

In a speech Tuesday at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library at the University of Texas, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a full scale assault on the laws the Supreme Court said are constitutional and necessary.

Mr. Holder -- who apparently won't prosecute violations of the Voting Rights Act if the victims are white -- picked an appropriate venue for his attack on the integrity of the ballot. LBJ stole his first election to the Senate, according to one of his biographers.

A recent Gallup poll indicates why Mr. Holder is trying so hard to gut ballot security measures. Mr. Obama trails in all swing states. Democrats fear they can't win next year unless they cheat.

Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

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