Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Indiana Voter ID law

Indiana’s Voter ID law has now been upheld by the Supreme Court, and much hooting and hollering has come from the left as a result. One example of such is this opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune, Indiana voters shut out for no rational reason by Steny Hoyer and Chris Dodd. Hoyer & Dodd speak of the requirement that voters who registered before 2007 (if you registered after, you can get the FREE ID on the spot) show some form of photo ID before voting as “…a high hurdle in front of their right to vote—the most fundamental right in a democracy.” They use as their example the case of a dozen nuns who were turned away at the poll in this last election as proof.

Of course when one reads the story, ( Indiana nuns lacking ID denied at poll by fellow sister ), one might well come to another conclusion- especially if one adds a couple details known because one lives here. Point: They had three full years since the law was passed to prepare for this election. Point: The ID is FREE. Point: Even without ID, you’re allowed to cast a provisional ballot and are then given another whole week to present some form of ID. These nuns did none of these things- evidently, because they depended on the poll worker, another nun, to let them in anyway. Unfortunately for them, she obeyed the law.

Hoyer & Dodd claim this law will “…place a disproportionate burden on the thousands who are too poor, too elderly or too disabled to meet rigid ID laws.” Really? Hmm… the law accepts any dated, government issued photo ID- which includes the ID’s issued to almost all recipients of government assistance such as WIC, AFDC, Section 8 housing vouchers, SSI, VA benefits, etc. So the “too poor, too elderly or too disabled” who would have this “disproportionate burden “ would have to be someone who has never driven, never served in the military, never received government assistance, and is just mobile enough to get to a license branch to register to vote, but cannot stay long enough to get his picture taken for the free ID to be issued. That’s a pretty narrow window- so narrow that the first judge to hear the case asked those seeking to strike down the law to give him a single name, a single person in a state of six million who would be so affected… and they couldn’t.

The Democrats opposing this law (and the opposition has been 100% Democratic so far) say that their only motivation is fear that somebody, somewhere might be disenfranchised. Curious… last year, right here in Marion County, Indiana, the new County Clerk botched an election so badly that hundreds of polling places opened hours late, and a dozen never opened at all. This was genuine disenfranchisement- you can’t even cast a provisional ballot if the poll never opens. And not one of these Democratic champions of Voter’s Rights filed a suit, issued a statement, or wrote an op-ed denouncing this clerk for disenfranchising thousands of voters. So what’s the real story, guys?

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