Victory for clean elections

Victory for clean elections

May 26th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Among other accomplishments in the Tennessee General Assembly's recently completed session was the passage of a bill to protect the integrity of elections.

If the measure is approved by Gov. Bill Haslam, voters will be required to present valid photo identification when they show up to cast ballots.

Democrat critics of the bill claim that it was designed to disenfranchise the poor, the elderly or others who may not have photo ID.

But the bill has provisions that exempt from the ID requirement those who live in nursing homes or group homes. In addition, those who show up without their ID will be able to vote by provisional ballot, and those who cannot afford an ID may swear an "oath of identity" and still vote.

Sadly, there is no question that voter fraud is a problem in Tennessee.

In 2006, a state Senate election in Memphis was so steeped in fraud that its results had to be thrown out. Dead people were among those shown to have "voted." Plus, the state has found hundreds of cases of ineligible felons casting ballots.

That dilutes the voting power of legitimate voters and destroys confidence in the voting system itself.

The General Assembly was right to take steps to prevent voter fraud.