Without some form of identification, you can’t do business with a bank. You can’t board an airplane, legally drive an automobile or cash a check. You can’t use a credit card in some places and you can’t rent movies at the local Blockbuster.
You can’t even sign up to play on a municipal softball team.
Yet somehow, it triggers great distress among many liberals when states demand that potential voters produce identification at the polls.
The U.S. Supreme Court will reconvene on Oct. 1. On Tuesday, the justices announced that in the coming months they will hear a challenge to laws requiring voters to identify themselves before they may exercise their franchise.
The case arises out of Indiana, where Democratic Party officials have fought the ID mandate as an obstacle to poor and minority voters. The state of Indiana counters that the requirement is an important aspect of ensuring electoral integrity.
Before the law was passed in 2005, Indiana voters — like those in Nevada — had only to sign a book at the polling place. Workers would attempt to match an individual’s signature with the one on file.
The 2005 law was upheld by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “The purpose of the Indiana law is to reduce voting fraud, and voting fraud impairs the right of legitimate voters to vote by diluting their votes,” Judge Richard Posner said in his majority opinion.
Federal judges have upheld similar laws in Arizona, Michigan and Georgia. In Missouri, a judge struck down that state’s voter ID law.
There is no mistaking the politics at play here. Democrats believe that the type of voters who might be discouraged from casting a ballot if they had to identify themselves are more likely to favor their candidates. Fine. As part of any Democratic get-out-the-vote drive, they should educate such voters about this simple, common-sense mandate and how to comply with it.
In fact, the ID requirement is no more of a roadblock to a citizen seeking to exercise his or her right to vote than is the fact that many people must also find transportation to the polls in order to participate.
Encouraging voter turnout is all well and good, but it matters little if the democratic process is susceptible to manipulation and fraud. Voter ID laws represent an extremely minimal intrusion, at worst. Let’s hope the Supreme Court agrees.