published Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Georgia voter ID law OK’d — again

Again and again, courts at the federal and state levels have found voter ID laws in Georgia and other states to be constitutional, reasonable attempts to prevent voter fraud. The courts have dismissed the almost hysterical claims by critics that the laws are meant to disenfranchise the elderly and minorities.

Now, once again, a court has rejected a challenge to Georgia’s law, which sensibly requires voters to show photo ID when they cast ballots. In its 6-1 ruling, the Georgia Supreme Court found no proof that voters had been disenfranchised since the law took effect in 2006.

Isn’t that remarkable? For years, opponents of the law condemned it as a cynical effort to suppress the vote. Yet multiple courts have found “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,” noted Hans A. von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former civil rights staff member at the U.S. Justice Department.

Despite evidence that the law in Georgia and voter ID laws in other states protect the integrity of the ballot box without harming the right to vote, critics are now attacking a similar legislative proposal here in Tennessee. Again, they claim that requiring voter ID isn’t about preventing voter fraud but about preventing legitimate voters from casting ballots.

Those alarmist claims lack merit. Like Georgia, the Tennessee measure provides protections for people who cannot afford a state-issued photo ID, to ensure their right to vote.

Tennessee’s lawmakers should pass the voter ID bill, and Gov. Bill Haslam should sign it into law.

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