Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Card-Carrying Voters Ensure Fair Elections

The Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006, which requires all voters in federal elections to provide photo identification starting in 2010, is garnering opposition from many liberals. Perhaps they feel that ensuring the identity of people seeking to vote is less important than for those who’d like to drink a beer or cash a check.

Since Democrats in America are increasingly unable to win elections without committing crimes, it’s not surprising that they would be opposed to such a commonsense measure. A complete list of Democrat-sponsored voter fraud would be longer than Bill Clinton’s (SFS `68) autobiography, but let’s not forget California Democratic congressional candidate Francine Busby, who encouraged illegal aliens in California’s 50th district last June: “You don’t need papers for voting.”

By requiring voters to present identification at the polls and to send in a copy of it in order to receive an absentee ballot, we can significantly cut down the amount of voter fraud in our country. The federal government has the duty to ensure fair elections, and passing this bill is a great way to do so.

Seven states currently require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot, and 17 other states require forms of identification, which may or may not contain a photo.

To allay concerns that some people might not have identification or be able to afford getting it, voter ID laws mandate that free state voter ID cards be given to all who require one. Many states already offer ID cards to folks who do not wish to obtain a driver’s license, so making these cards compulsory is not a big deal.

Some people have called for the establishment of a national ID card after hearing about the proposed voter ID legislation. It is not necessary, however, to add another layer of bureaucracy to an admittedly wide-reaching bill. A national ID card would have to be funded, designed, implemented, etc., and is unnecessary thanks to the availability of state ID cards.

Courts have recently struck down two state voter ID laws in Georgia and Missouri, doing so partially because of concerns that are legitimate and partially because of concerns that are not. Although the ID cards themselves were free in Missouri, the paperwork required to obtain a card was not. This is obviously an unacceptable condition; no one should have to pay anything to vote.

But further complaints of burdens and intangible costs related to ID cards are not valid. Why is it supposedly a burden to obtain an ID card, but not to figure out the right time and place to vote? Complaints are shouted about ID cards asking too much of potential voters, but complicated absentee ballot procedures do not result in such complaints? Should the government be responsible for your gas money, ink cartridges and stamps if you’re not going to be there on Election Day? Of course not.

Voting is a right, and like any civil right, it is subject to reasonable limitations. Most felons cannot vote, for example. This is a fine restriction, every bit as legitimate as forbidding people from yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Democrats should not be up in arms over a procedure that yes, is less convenient than having election workers come to your house like the mailman does, but is essential to preventing voter fraud. Having an ID card is absolutely not an unreasonable burden in today’s society, and if some people do not already have one, providing them with one for free will have benefits beyond the ballot box.

The U.S. House passed the Act as H.R. 4844 last Wednesday. The U.S. Senate must take up this important legislation quickly before their fall recess, and do so for the benefit of our country’s democratic process. Individual states should also take up companion legislation that will keep elections secure and try to prevent Jimmy Carter from popping up in the news every time the Democrats lose a close election.

I will admit, however, that requiring ID will probably depress voter turnout in some regions – particularly the cemeteries.

Eric Rodawig is a senior in the College and can be reached at rodawigthehoya.com. THOUGHTCRIME appears every Friday.

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