published Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Integrity of the ballot box

An important fact that the Georgia Supreme Court pointed out in its recent ruling upholding Georgia’s voter identification law was that the law evidently has not disenfranchised anybody since it took effect in 2006.

The law requires valid photo ID before someone casts a ballot. We can think of nothing more sensible than requiring those who vote to demonstrate that they are who they say they are. Fraudulent voting dilutes the votes of legitimate voters and creates public cynicism toward the political process. Maintaining the integrity of the ballot box is obviously an important thing for any state to do.

It is troubling, therefore, that 16 Democratic U.S. senators have claimed that voter ID laws in a number of states are an attempt to disqualify millions of voters. They are demanding an investigation of those laws by the Justice Department.

If the senators have actual evidence, rather than mere speculation, that legitimate voters are being disenfranchised by voter ID laws, they should present it.

In fact, the laws appear to be protecting the integrity of the ballot while not harming the rights of legitimate voters. There have been rulings from a number of courts around the country to support that.

“A key element in all of these cases: ... None of the plaintiffs could produce any voters who were actually unable to vote because of the ID requirements,” wrote Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former civil rights staff member at the Justice Department and a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

That strongly suggests that states are reasonable in establishing photo ID rules to prevent fraudulent voting.

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