01 Mar 2012 Rejecting Voter ID Aids Those Who Want Election Fraud to Continue, by Sean Turner
I travel by plane on a weekly basis. While it is not the most pleasant experience these days, I’ve learned to deal with the scrutiny that is imposed on travelers in a post-9/11 America.
In reality, I don’t have much choice since flying is still the most convenient way to travel long distances.
Like every other mildly irritated — or extremely frustrated — traveler, I’m required to provide a valid photo ID before I am allowed to fly.
Of all the security measures that are imposed on us, including random pat-downs and full-body scans, the requirement that we present identification seems the easiest to endure. After all, it sounds logical to ask me to verify who I say I am — not only to help prevent more terrorists from boarding planes but also to prevent or deter fraud and other crimes.
When it comes to the electoral process, however, the logic of identity verification somehow gets lost.
Texas, where I live right now, is among 34 states that introduced or enacted new photo ID requirements for voting. This is drawing objections from both liberal political activists and the Obama Justice Department. The Justice Department has put enforcement on hold under its “preclearance” power under the Voting Rights Act, claiming that Texas’ Voter ID requirement would disfranchise hundreds of thousands of registered Hispanics.
Regardless of race, color or ethnicity, every American citizen over the age of 18 has the right to register to vote (with some exceptions for convicted criminals or persons deemed mentally incapacitated). This right is guaranteed by the 15th and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
In a perfect world, one could simply show up at their nearest polling location, or go online to cast a ballot, without fraud concerns. But no such utopia exists. There will always be those who seek to delegitimize an election.
Corruption, by the way, has no single political affiliation.
Voter ID requirements can help safeguard the electoral process and protect our votes from being stolen.
Opponents of voter ID laws often point to the lack of identification among certain minority groups and the elderly as a reason to reject these laws. This can be addressed through voluntary ID card programs that local police departments provide, such as the one in Palm Beach, Florida.
Given the availability of state-issued driver’s licenses, passports, military and student ID cards and police-issued voluntary ID cards, it’s difficult for me to believe that any citizen, regardless of their race or age, who values voting as a fundamental constitutional right cannot obtain valid identification to exercise that right.
Granted, no system of voter verification is perfect. There will always be someone who is determined to defraud the public by corrupting the process. This being said, rejecting a system that reduces the number of ineligible, imaginary or dead people who “cast ballots” aids those who want voter fraud to continue.
If merchants, banks, purveyors of alcoholic beverages, airlines, the Transportation Security Administration and others can require valid identification, then it’s surely not unreasonable to expect the same level of verification for the election of individuals who determine the fate of our cities, states and nation.
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Sean Turner, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, is a freelance writer whose commentaries have appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Washington Times and other newspapers. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.