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
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.
Bob Hall, director of Democracy North Carolina says that our legislature hasn’t even defined voter fraud. If this is true they should and will when the photo ID bill is passed. I would think that the definition of voter
fraud is simple. It’s when someone, who is not eligible, tries to vote or if someone tries to vote multiple times.
Allison Riggs, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Justice (a Durham group), seems to be
working on the need for a lawsuit by saying, that North Carolina’s constitution requires that “all elections shall be free” and if voters are required to go to the expense of acquiring photo ID that would be unconstitutional. Of course the state of N.C. has already said that photo IDs will be provided free to those who don’t already have one.
Our constitution states that “all elections shall be free”, but how can they be free if voter fraud is
The N.C. Democratic Party pointed out those who voted for Democrats were most likely to be
affected by a voter ID law. Wow! Are they saying Democratic party voters are more likely to be
crooked than those who vote forRepublicans? No I’m not a Republican; I’m registered
Independent (Unaffiliated in N.C.)
The N.C. legislature passed a voter ID bill in 2011, but it was
vetoed by Gov. Bev Perdue. That’s the governor who was so unpopular she didn’t run for reelection. Others still yell that a voter ID bill has to be unconstitutional. But, it has been pointed out that Indiana, which has the most restrictive voter photo law in the country, had its law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in an opinion written by then Justice John Paul Stevens, who is considered one of the court’s most liberal. In my mind it is tantamount to stealing if someone who is unqualified is allowed to vote or if someone manages to vote numerous times. They are stealing from the rest of us who vote legally. They are granted more influence than the rest of us. Let’s do the right thing and put in force a voter photo ID law and give those who don’t already have a photo ID a free one. It’s the really fair thing to do.
(Bob Harper is a Tarboro resident who writes a column of general interest.)