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calendar   Monday - April 28, 2008

SCOTUS gets one right

Supreme Court Upholds Law Requiring Indiana Voters to Produce Photo IDs

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.

In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana’s strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to deter fraud.

It was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush.

The law “is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting ‘the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,”’ Justice John Paul Stevens said in an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy.

Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas also agreed with the outcome, but wrote separately.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter dissented.

More than 20 states require some form of identification at the polls. Courts have upheld voter ID laws in Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, but struck down Missouri’s. Monday’s decision comes a week before Indiana’s presidential primary.

The case concerned a state law, passed in 2005, that was backed by Republicans as a way to deter voter fraud. Democrats and civil rights groups opposed the law as unconstitutional and called it a thinly veiled effort to discourage elderly, poor and minority voters — those most likely to lack proper ID and who tend to vote for Democrats.

Well there you go. You want to use a check in the grocery store you have to show ID. You want to sign up for a credit card you have to show ID. You want to get onto a military base you sure as hell have to show ID. You get pulled over by the cops you better be able to produce the right kind of ID for yourself AND your car. What’s the big deal about showing ID for voting? Especially when the ID doesn’t cost you anything to procure.

I wish we had more stringent voter ID here in NJ. All I have to do is sign my name in a book, and have my signature verified by a little old lady who’s nearly blind. I didn’t even have to show a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate when I registered. Ok, maybe I’m an exception, because the person who registered me is the lady who lives downstairs, and I do handyman work for the nearly blind old lady from time to time ...

Getting a NJ driver’s license is now an involved ID process that makes you come up with “7 points” worth of ID - a passport is not enough, and your old license doesn’t help at all. Not only do you have to prove you’re an American, you also need to provide several kinds of proof that you live at the address you put on the form. And that’s Ok. But voter IDs, especially those with a photo, aren’t Ok? Nonsense. Done properly, a photo voter ID is almost a national ID. While I am against a National ID card, it’s pretty much a moot point. The government already knows who I am, where I live, what I do, where I went to school, who I’m married to, where I work, how much I earn, right down to the color of my car ... and what they don’t know about me the credit card companies do: what I buy, where I shop, how often I travel, etc. And because of gun control laws my fingerprints are on a government record already. Most law abiding, non pistol packing people don’t have their prints on file.

Without voter ID you get illegals voting. Without voter ID you get the dead voting. Early and often. Without voter ID you get people voting multiple times in different areas. Would we still get these things with a photo based voter ID? Well, that depends on the processes in place. If you make absentee voting more difficult - eg, fill out the form a month or so ahead of election day, then hand it over to the government and they’ll check your ID then - the system will be fairly clean. If you keep the voter database up to date, and remove the dead people frequently, that will help too. If the Change of Address form you fill out at the post office also goes to the voting record keepers that would also be a help. There are lots of ways to keep the records accurate.

There are too many holes in the voting system. Plug the holes and you make the results more honest, so that “make every vote count” becomes more like “make every legal vote count”, which actually gives MORE power to the legal voters. The voter registration process can be made more exacting without making it onerous. Just prove that you are an American, and prove where you live. That isn’t hard at all.

Oh, and SCOTUS’ 6-3 split? Hardly surprising is it? The lefty judges took the path of less responsibility. Does this decision show that the court is now Conservatively biased? Maybe, maybe not. It shows me that at least 6 of these people can figure out the difference between right and wrong. SCOTUSblog covers more of the details than you’ll get from the news blurbs, and relates that “Court was ruling on the law only as written” which means this decision says only that Indiana’s process if Ok: it is not a blanket approval of all voter ID laws.

The actual ruling for Crawford v. Marion County Election Board can be found here, where you can also read the dissenting opinions too, starting on page 31. Mainly they boil down to the arguments that 1) getting a copy of your birth certificate costs up to $12, and going to the DMV every 4 years to get a renewed non-driver ID is “onerous” for those who don’t drive; and 2) homeless people have to go to the county clerk after voting and sign and affidavit that they are homeless. Each time they vote. And that’s an “excessive burden”. Uh no, it isn’t.  And that $12 - or even $100 as Souter tries to twist it - is not a burdensome expense, nor can it be considered a poll tax. 


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/28/2008 at 02:30 PM   
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