The hue and cry from some over the recent slate of Voter ID laws passing in key swing states is telling, especially when it comes to how much these critics really care about integrity at the polls. For all the outcry of voter fraud allegations in 2000 and 2004, and even in the recent Wisconsin recall election, it seems voter fraud is all of a sudden a bogeyman the Republicans are using to suppress turnout of voters who generally vote Democrat. But the reality is that 1) voter fraud does exist; 2) it is all too easy to commit without these laws; and 3) opponents have little to stand on except empty rhetoric and race baiting.
Voting is among our most cherished rights, and the protection of the rights of eligible voters is among the duties of the states. So is it logical and reasonable to ensure that the voting process is safe from fraud and abuse by requiring a photo identification at the polls? Yes, said Justice Stevens in the landmark Supreme Court case of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board in 2006. Justice Stevens, at the time the most liberal of the Supreme Court Justices, said “the United States has a long history of voter fraud that has been documented by historians and journalists.” Stevens concluded states have a duty to protect eligible voters from being disenfranchised by fraudulent ballots. This common sense reasoning has opponents crying foul.
Opponents like to highlight the absence of voter fraud cases, yet ignore cases such as in Mississippi, where an NAACP executive is in prison on 10 counts of voter fraud. In West Virginia, a county official has been charged with lying to federal investigators in a voter fraud probe; In Virginia, thousands of voter registration forms have been sent to ineligible voters such as pets, deceased persons, and convicted felons (without the need for photo ID, someone can easily register and vote as these ineligible voters).
Even if you want to discount these and several other recent instances of voter fraud as trivial, the fact remains that it is all too easy to commit voter fraud in several states, as James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has highlighted. Whatever your views are on O’Keefe and his past ventures, his group has shown just how absurdly easy it is for a young white man to vote on behalf of Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C. — the top crusader against Voter ID laws — and have little chance of getting apprehended.