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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ind. Decisions - "Our view on improving elections: Photo ID to vote? Only if all who are eligible can get one"

So writes USAToday in its editorial on the Indiana voter ID case before the SCOTUS tomorrow. Here is a sample:

At first blush, requiring photo ID at the polls seems like a sensible way to deter fraud. The great majority of Americans have photo IDs and flash them all the time. Proving that you really are who you say you are when you vote seems every bit as important as proving your identity when you cash a check, buy a drink or get on an airplane.

At the same time, there are ample reasons for caution.

Voter ID laws raise ugly memories of poll taxes, literacy tests and other barriers once used to discourage blacks from voting. Critics contend that the laws are a thinly veiled effort to keep people without photo IDs — who tend to be poor, disabled or elderly, and tend to vote Democrat — away from the polls. Indiana's Marion County Board of Elections turned away at least 32 people in municipal elections last year for lack of photo ID. All of their signatures matched the signatures in the poll books, and 14 had voted in at least 10 prior elections.

There's also very little evidence that voter impersonation is a significant problem. Indiana authorities could cite no documented case. The Bush administration's aggressive crackdown on all types of voter fraud has resulted in only about 120 cases in five years, according to The New York Times, few of them this sort of in-person fraud.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 8, 2008 03:46 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions