SCOTUS Holds The Line On Voter Fraud In Indiana

The Supreme Court handed down a good (in our opinion) decision this week by affirming the Indiana Voter ID law which was under attack by the ACLU. In a 6 to 3 decision, the high court blasted the “facial challenge” (the litigants claimed the Indiana law was unconstitutional on it’s face, or that it was in any given circumstance unconstitutional). Other claims that it was “unfair to Democrats” were roundly derided by the court as irrelevant.

According to the New York Times article:

Brian C. Bosma, who was speaker of the Indiana House when the law was enacted and is now the House’s Republican leader, dismissed the Democrats’ complaints. “This is only a burden for those who want to vote more than once,” Mr. Bosma said in a telephone interview from Indianapolis. “It protects everyone.”

Which is the nuts and bolts of why this is good law, and a good decision by the court. Voter fraud is likely quite common, and it doesn’t take much to gather a list of people in a particular neighborhood, herd in people from outside the precinct and run them through the voting process before anyone gets a chance to show up at the polls. If a defrauded voter shows up later and challenges their right to vote, they may get it, but the fraudulent votes are already in and counted in most places.

The most laughable argument I’ve heard so far is that there have been few cases of voter fraud prosecuted in the country. Someone has got to tell me how anyone can possibly prosecute for voter fraud without recording every person that comes through to vote. Impossible. And it assumes that the defrauded voter actually tries to vote and complains.

In order to vote in states where an ID is not required, you don’t even need to register to vote. You just show up, tell them you are someone who has registered (you need to know their name and address), sign a card and you get to vote!

On the face of it, I can’t see how anyone can think this is wrong. I don’t buy that it disenfranchises anyone… the poor, elderly and handicapped can be accommodated… we already accommodate them in other ways, this one seems rather trivial.

Don’t count on this kind of law eliminating voter fraud, but it certainly puts poll workers in a better position to validate and challenge people’s right to vote more effectively.

I’m not in favor of denying anyone their right to vote, and I only think Democrats are negatively impacted because they cannot run their ballot stuffing machine when such a law exists. However, I think if we can find a legitimate case of voter disenfranchisement and bring it to the courts, it would be valuable in helping all be certain that the right course is in place. The Carpetbagger Report presents some staggering numbers from a study done in Indiana regarding voter access to photo IDs. More analysis of this data would be useful. It amazes me that, according to these stats, more that 15% of all Indiana voters (this was the lower rate for whites) do not have access to a photo ID. That just baffles me. That said, this theoretically represents people that don’t drive, but aren’t necessarily prevented from acquiring a state photo ID despite that fact. My surprise would be that included in this 15% (more importantly, 21.8% of African Americans) are interested in voting, care enough to have done what they needed to register, but not enough to get the necessary identification that should be as easy to get as the registration (of course, the parties do go out and canvas to help people register… perhaps they could help get them IDs as well?).

The entire story at the NY Times is good. I liked this part:

But, as Justice Stevens noted, there have been flagrant examples of voter fraud in American history. He cited the 1868 New York City elections, in which a local tough who worked for Tammany’s William (Boss) Tweed explained why he liked voters to have whiskers: “When you’ve voted ’em with their whiskers on, you take ’em to a barber and scrape off the chin fringe. Then you vote ’em again with the side lilacs and a mustache. Then to a barber again, off comes the sides and you vote ’em a third time with the mustache. If that ain’t enough and the box can stand a few more ballots, clean off the mustache and vote ’em plain face.”

Plenty of conversation on this topic and worth reading: Sister Toldjah, SCOTUSblog, Outside The Beltway, McQ, The New Republic (with some thought provoking comments on how this could be considered a Poll Tax), The Carpetbagger Report has a well written opposing opinion, as does Daily Kos.

About the Author

Mr. Smith is the Publisher of The Conservative Reader. He is Partner/Owner of Ambrosia Web Technology as well as a Systems Architect for Wells Fargo. Art hold a degree in Computer Science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a political blogger at the Des Moines Register. Art's views are purely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo.

 

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