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Friday, November 30, 2007

Ind. Decisions - Voter ID - What's at Stake?

PENNumbra, "A project of the University of Penneslyvania uniting the public and the legal acadamy," presents this 21-page debate between two law profs on Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. Here is the summary:

Professor Smith finds no reason for the Court to tinker with Indiana’s voter ID laws, and leads off the debate by invoking the “broken windows” theory of Kelling and Wilson. He intuits that “to most Americans . . . a requirement that a voter demonstrate that he is who he claims to be is considered a most minimal intrusion.” He continues, even if it is true “that a voter ID law prevents very little fraud in a direct sense, . . . like fixing broken windows and cleaning up litter and graffiti, such a basic procedure may prevent fraud from growing. It sends a message that voting is serious . . . .”

Professor Foley agrees that voting is a serious matter—so serious, in fact, that “[e]qual voting rights are a prerequisite to democratic fairness not only for their instrumental value . . . but also . . . for the additional symbolic . . . reason that they signify the equality of citizenship upon which democratic fairness depends.” Professor Foley sees Indiana’s law as unnecessarily draconian and argues that “a fair effort to introduce modernity and rationality to th[e] authentication process would use a form of public-spirited . . . reasoning that attempted to consider the interests of all citizens equally, rather than to select a more onerous than necessary method of authentication because it would promote a partisan advantage.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 30, 2007 05:07 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions