Voter ID laws block the vote

Will Berger, Staff Writer

Too often I write about what our government has been doing wrong lately.

Well, I have a bit of good news.  On Friday, Judge Bernard L. McGinley of Pennsylvania, a state whose motto is “yes, we know we have potholes,” struck down a requirement that nearly all of the state’s 8.2 million voters show photo identification at the polls – a law whose proponents claim targets voter fraud but in reality suppresses poor minority voters.

The Voter ID law addresses the barely present issue of voter fraud, while causing a much larger issue in reducing the fairness of elections.

Since 2000, 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases have shown that fraud occurs, but the rate is negligible.

In Pennsylvania there have been approximately five cases of known voter fraud since 2000. During the 2004 election, Ohio, a key battleground state, reported four incidences of fraud out of 9,078,728 voters.

Oh wow, that is a whopping .0000044% of the vote in Ohio.  You should run into your homes and lock the doors because this danger could be hiding anywhere.

In case you wanted more statistics, in Pennsylvania alone it is estimated that 750,000 voters would have been disenfranchised as a result of the Voter ID law.

Sometimes requiring an ID makes sense – after all, you need a government ID to obtain a driver’s license, and like driving, voting can be incredibly dangerous and some people are really not fit to do it.

However, it is evident that this is not the point that GOP lawmakers are arguing.

Many Democrat and minority politicians argue that the Republican Voter ID laws intend to exclude poor or minority voters who often tend to vote for liberal and  Democratic candidates.

On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh takes it a step further.  Limbaugh asked, “If people cannot even feed and clothe themselves, should they be allowed to vote?”

Yes Rush, I think we all remember the first time we heard Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream, but only for people who aren’t poor” speech.

Fortunately, Judge McGinley understands that this law “unreasonably burdens the right to vote.”  Wendy R. Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, said in The New York Times,

“Some of the past decisions have come without doing a real, close look at the impact. The issue is how they affect people in practice, not in theory.

And in practice, it turns out that a significant number of people can’t get the photo ID they need.”

Weiser makes a good point: why write a law that isn’t even practical?

So if Republicans really want to solve the immigration issue, maybe they should get immigrants to the voting booth.