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The Uproar Over Voter-ID Laws

Posted By Mike Brownfield On August 29, 2011 @ 5:13 pm In Legal | Comments Disabled

The left is in an uproar over new voter-ID laws passed by states including Texas, Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island. Their complaint? That requiring someone to authenticate his or her identity at the polling place amounts to racial discrimination.

The Heritage Foundation’s Hans Von Spakovsky writes in this week’s National Review [1] that, in truth, the vast majority of Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds support voter-ID laws. And he breaks apart liberals’ arguments against the requirements:

Once you get past the race-baiting, you will find that opponents of voter ID generally rely on two arguments, equally specious: 1) There is no need for photo ID, because there is no voter fraud in the United States; 2) This is a deliberate effort to suppress the turnout of minority voters, who often don’t have photo ID. Liberals keep repeating these false claims despite the fact that they have been disproved both in the courtroom and at the polling place.

The claim that there is no voter fraud in the U.S. is patently ridiculous, given our rich and unfortunate history of it. As the U.S. Supreme Court said when it upheld Indiana’s photo-ID law in 2008, “Flagrant examples of such fraud . . . have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists.” The liberal groups that fought Indiana’s law didn’t have much luck with liberal justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the 6–3 decision. Before being named to the Supreme Court, Justice Stevens practiced law in Chicago, a hotbed of electoral malfeasance . . .

Election data in Georgia demonstrate that concern about a negative effect on the Democratic or minority vote is baseless. Turnout there increased more dramatically in 2008 — the first presidential election held after the state’s photo-ID law went into effect — than it did in states without photo ID. Georgia had a record turnout in 2008, the largest in its history — nearly 4 million voters. And Democratic turnout was up an astonishing 6.1 percentage points from the 2004 election, the fourth-largest increase of any state. The black share of the statewide vote increased from 25 percent in 2004 to 30 percent in 2008, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. According to Census Bureau surveys, 65 percent of the black voting-age population voted in the 2008 election, compared with only 54.4 percent in 2004, an increase of more than ten percentage points.

Read more of Hans Von Spakovsky’s “Not a Race Card” [1] at NationalReview.com [1].


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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/08/29/the-uproar-over-voter-id-laws/

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[1] this week’s National Review: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/275069/not-race-card-hans-von-spakovsky?page=1

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