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EDITORIAL: All states should require photo ID to vote

When it comes to voter ID, Democrats love to stoke the fire with claims of massive disenfranchisement at the hands of voter-suppressing Republicans. The trouble is, the public doesn’t quite buy the arguments that identification laws suppress voter turnout or that election fraud simply doesn’t happen enough to justify photo ID requirements.

According to a recent report in the Huffington Post, eight of the 16 states that had held primaries or caucuses through early March had also implemented new voter ID or other restrictive voting laws since 2010. Democratic turnout has dropped by 37 percent overall in those states.

“To put it another way,” the article states, “Democratic voter turnout was 285 percent worse in states with new voter ID laws.”

The article goes on to say that Democratic turnout has dropped by just 13 percent in the states without new voter restrictions. As Thomas Lifson pointed out in a recent blog post for the American Thinker, however, the Huffington Post piece fails to mention that Republican turnout is at record numbers “despite the ‘burden’ of obtaining voter ID.”

As we’ve previously noted, voter identification laws have broad support among voters of all stripes, who are overwhelmingly comfortable reaching into their wallets to prove their identity for business far less important than voting.

Americans have to furnish photo identification to use a credit card at many businesses. We have to show photo identification to get on an airplane, and we have to show a photo ID to buy alcohol — even if we have some gray hairs. Americans want similar security measures to protect the integrity of elections, too, and photo identification is largely settled law.

A March 2014 Rasmussen Reports poll found that 78 percent of Americans support showing identification before voting. A 2013 Marist/McClatchy poll found 83 percent of Americans — including 72 percent of Democrats, 83 percent of nonwhite adults and 84 percent of households earning less than $50,000 per year — support showing ID. A 2012 Washington Post poll found 74 percent of Americans favor of a photo ID requirement for voters.

Nevada’s Legislature, with Republican control of both the Senate and the Assembly, blew an opportunity to enact a photo voter ID law last year. So there’s nothing that can be done ahead of the 2016 election. But as the above statistics show, and as Indiana’s toughest-in-the-nation photo ID standard proved in passing Supreme Court muster on a 6-3 decision, requiring photo ID to vote has broad bipartisan support. Even liberal Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an opinion in favor of the measure, saying that such a requirement is not “excessively burdensome.”

Nevadans and citizens across the country are used to showing photo ID for myriad other reasons. Lawmakers in Nevada and other state legislatures lacking a photo ID law should get to the business of enacting such a requirement, and make sure poll workers start asking for photo ID.

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