Arguments in the state voter ID trial came to a close on Monday afternoon, with compelling arguments from both sides (see “Sides argue federalism and Jim Crow racism at stake in voter ID trial” on page 8).
It’s true that photo ID is required for many, many transactions in the world we live in: Using a credit card, renting or buying property, flying on an airplane, reserving a hotel room and probably a thousand more.
Proponents of the voter ID law now under litigation will not be swayed by the fact that people do need ID to register to vote, insisting that this is a commonsense measure against voter fraud.
And when you point out to the true believers that there have been just a few dozen suspected cases of voter fraud in the state so far this century, they stick to their guns.
It’s equally true that a goodly percentage of Americans don’t have ID, many who view even a $10 charge and $4 bus ride, let alone the time off work, as a deal-breaker in the procurement of one. And keeping these folks away from the polls gives one party an advantage.
There’s no reason to fear a Big Government national database because it’s already here.
It seems obvious to anyone without an agenda that we need to tailor our laws to the least among us, or at least recognize the very real struggle that’s happening in all our cities and counties.
And in the absence of evidence that there’s any impersonation fraud, there’s simply no reason to make it more difficult for people to vote — it’s anathema to the very idea of representative democracy. This is a transparent effort to deter and discourage voters who don’t tend to vote for Republican candidates. And they are not going to let it go.
There’s an easy solution, though: national ID cards.
We’ve needed them for a long time — our system of identification is cobbled together from federal Social Security numbers, state-issued drivers licenses and photo IDs, tax records, passports and other government documents.
There’s no reason to fear a Big Government national database — one of the arguments against a national ID system — because it’s already here. Between government paper trails, credit reports, cell-phone records and IP addresses, there already is one. The information is just spread over 10 documents instead of one that you keep in your wallet.
Of course, the national ID needs to be free for everyone, any time, on demand. Something this important to our everyday lives — which proponents of this bill have demonstrated — needs to be absolutely free and simple to obtain, like if you can’t get to the facility to have one made, someone should come to your house and make one there.
And even though everyone will have one, we shouldn’t make people show them at the polls. It’s just silly. Everyone knows real election fraud doesn’t happen in the voting booth. Absentee voting is the weak link — but the new law doesn’t require photo ID for that.