Three states have begun debating the need for better identification at polling places during elections, especially after seeing the voting debacles in Washington and Wisconsin. Seeing how a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID has become necessary for almost any business transaction in modern life, one might expect such a mundane requirement to attract little passion, let alone serious opposition. However, lawmakers in two of the three states — Indiana and Georgia — walked off the job and out of the debate in protest, and Wisconsin’s governor again threatened to veto any legislation requiring identification at the polls:
Legislation that would require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots has touched off fierce debate in three states, with opponents complaining the measures represent a return to the days of poll taxes and Jim Crow.
Lawmakers in Georgia and Indiana walked off the job to protest the proposals, which they say would deprive the poor, the elderly and minorities of the right to vote. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, has already vetoed a similar measure and has vowed to do so again. …
Georgia’s proposal, for example, would allow people without photo IDs to cast provisional ballots but require them to return within 48 hours with a picture ID.
State Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat, said that amounts to “an updated form of Jim Crow,” referring to segregation-era laws that kept blacks from voting. About 100 people rallied outside the Georgia Capitol last week to protest the legislation, which passed the state Senate on Tuesday and now goes to the House.
Can anyone tell me what Jim Crow has to do with proper identification at the polls? Nothing. The argument typifies the usual Democratic response to anything that threatens their ability to exploit the shamefully lax methods we use to secure the vote for eligible citizens across the nation. When that ability is threatened in any way, the Democrats squeal about racism and classism, and in this case drag out the homeless as well.
Excuse me for injecting a little common sense into this argument, but voting has its responsibilities as well as its rights. The voter should be responsible for properly registering in advance for an election. People who want to ensure that their votes count properly should welcome better polling security. After all, voter fraud dilutes the impact of legitimate votes. Just ask the people of Milwaukee, or the non-felons in Washington.
Getting a photo ID in advance of an election should not present a difficult task for anyone with an address. For the homeless, a serious question of eligibility exists. If they do not have a residence, in which precinct and district should they vote? That isn’t just a flippant question. Often, local initiatives are decided by a handful of votes in a community, and having transients vote with no stake in the result skews the democratic process. If states want to offer the homeless an option for voting by having them register using government buildings for addresses, why not simply allow them to get state photo IDs (not drivers’ licenses) at those same addresses?
Calling a requirement for proper identification to ensure the elimination of fraud from our basic democratic process a new form of Jim Crow demonstrates demagoguery at its worst. The injustices of Jim Crow were much too profound for these empty suits to hijack them just to protect their back-door method of ballot stuffing. The legislators who walked out rather than defend an intellectually and morally bankrupt position showed cowardice, not principle. This display clearly marks the Democrats as the party of hysteria and race-baiting, and voters should chastise them where it counts: at the polls.