Texas state senator Mario Gallegos says that voting without identification is a right that must not be taken away:
Every nonpartisan, academic study on the impact of voter ID laws in other states shows they suppress voter turnout among the elderly, low-income citizens, Hispanics, African-Americans and the disabled. But I don’t need a study to know why voter ID proposals like House Bill 218 are bad; I just have to think about my grandmother.
My grandmother came from Mexico, played by the rules, became a citizen and earned her right to vote. She didn’t have a driver’s license, but she had her voter registration card, went to the polls where the workers knew her, and voted. If the voter ID law were in effect, I’m not sure she or others like her could have voted.
I’m sure that his grandmother was a wonderful person. Whose grandmother isn’t? Yet that has nothing to do with ensuring the value of American citizens’ votes.
Every election there are cries of voter fraud from both sides of the aisle. In 2000, George Bush won the presidency after capturing Florida’s electoral college delegates by only a few hundred votes.
So why is there such a rancorous debate over requiring a photo ID at polling places? Gallegos notes:
Voter ID laws passed in Georgia and Missouri were struck down by the courts, which concluded that the cost of obtaining the ID and necessary documents amounts to a 21st century poll tax.
This is another inane ruling by the court system. Liberals claim it’s their voters who would be excluded more often because they’re more likely to be unable to prove their identities. Yet one cannot drive or write a check in this country without a photo ID. Why is voting, the most important duty a citizen has, not subject at least the same requirement as buying non-prescription allergy medicines? It’s completely ridiculous to call identifying oneself a tax.
Gallegos also says that a broad investigation of voter fraud has resulted in only a couple dozen convictions. I don’t have the numbers to contradict that statement, but the Gateway Pundit says that 16 Dems were convicted of voter fraud in St. Louis alone in 2005 while ThinkProgress says that only 13 convictions were made out of a mere 38 charges of voter fraud. Something doesn’t add up.
Personally I buy the argument that voter fraud is very low. That’s a reasonable argument to make. But do the exact numbers even matter? To invert the Dems’ 2000 Florida logic, even one invalid vote is too many because it dilutes the value of every legitimate voter’s ballot.
Presenting a picture ID card is not too much to ask, particularly in a society where every vote counts.