The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Opinion

March 20, 2013

Voter ID causing great flap

TARBORO — There seems to be some controversy about whether someone going to the polls to vote should be required to show a photo voter ID or not? My opinion is “Darn right they should.” Voting is a right and a privilege; in fact I think it’s a duty. However, one should be qualified to vote and not vote multiply times.

Some say, there’s no problem, but that’s just their opinion, or wishful thinking. I remember seeing a woman on TV who admitted that she had voted twice and didn’t see anything wrong with it. On another occasion several college students tested the system and managed to vote seven times. Some creative college students can accomplish a lot, as can some clever criminals. And yes I believe someone who votes illegally has committed a crime.

I know of a number of times, almost weekly, when I’m called on to show a photo ID, and I have no problem with it. At this time 15 states require a photo ID, and N.C. is moving in that direction. Some states require the voter to sign a Personal Identification Affidavit. If someone signs a false affidavit they can be in real

trouble. But, what about those who don’t have a photo ID? In most states one will be provided for the

voter at no cost to them, and that’s what is proposed in North Carolina. Keesha Gaskins, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, a New York think tank, that has opposed voter ID laws says, “There is no evidence of coordinated or systemic voter fraud anywhere in the country.” Of course she hasn’t looked for

any evidence.

It is also claimed, by those who don’t want voter photo IDs, that if a photo ID were required it would discourage voters from going to the polls to vote. I don’t see how

it would if they’re legal and have a proper ID. This is supported by the tougher ID laws in Indiana

and Georgia. There was no decline of voting in these states when voter photo IDs was required. In fact voter participation increased, including more minorities going to the polls and voting.

In Georgia and Indiana, the African-American has actually continued to vote stronger than

the national average since the passage of voter ID laws in 2005 and 2006. Actually, since Georgia

passed a voter photo ID the number of African-Americans voting in presidential elections increased

from 834,000 in 2004 to 1.2 million in 2008.

The state of Georgia is about the same size as North Carolina and they have provided almost

30,000 free voter photo ID cards since 2006, according to the secretary of state’s office. And yet,

the anti-voter photo ID advocates claimed that hundreds of thousands of North Carolina voters could be disenfranchised if a photo ID bill is passed.

Back many years ago most precinct workers knew most of the voters when they came to the polls to vote. This is no longer true. Population growth and population movement has changed all this. Also the use of one-stop voting sites has increased the need for voter security.

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