Claims that students will be disenfranchised by Voter ID laws are “silly,” says election law expert and Heritage Foundation legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky.
Von Spakovsky, who was at Heritage with The American Spectator’s John Fund on Tuesday to promote their new book Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, dismissed claims by liberal organizations like The Brennan Center for Justice that legislation aimed at reducing voter fraud will keep students from fulfilling their right to vote.
“I think most people know that that’s silly,” he said, adding that “we know it’s not true” based on data from states that have had long had laws requiring voters to show a government issued photo ID at the polls.
Data from Georgia and Indiana, which have had Voter ID laws in place since 2006, shows that in those states the participation of minorities and other voting blocks that are allegedly being ‘suppressed’ has gone up, not down, since the legislation took effect, he stated.
“So the idea that this has somehow depressed turnout we know is not true,” Von Spakovsky said. “The only turnout it is going to depress is that of people who are bogus voters or are ineligible voters who shouldn’t be voting in the first place.”
Fund pointed out the incompatibility between liberals’ complaints that states are keeping students from using student IDs to vote and demands that illegal immigrants be able to attend United States universities.
“The same people who complain that student ID, for example, is sometimes not a valid form of ID to vote are the same people who support the DREAM Act and other measures which advocate that non-citizens be able to attend U.S. universities at in state tuition rates,” he said. “Texas is a perfect example of this.”
In Texas part of the reason students cannot use their student IDs to vote is because the state allows non-citizens to attend its universities, he explained. Thus, allowing students to use their student IDs to vote would open up Texas, which has the second highest number of electoral votes, to increased risk for voter fraud.
“So it makes precious little sense to have as a perfectly acceptable form of ID,” he said, stating that there are “at least a dozen” other forms of ID that students could use to vote. “It is not that hard.”
But for those who argue that obtaining a photo ID is difficult those without transportation, he pointed to South Carolina, where the states picks people up from their homes for free and take them to the DMV to obtain an ID, which the state provides also provides free of charge.
“In the year that they have had their Voter ID law in place, they have had 23 takers statewide,” Fund said, leading him to conclude that few people are burdened by the state’s Voter ID law.
“So, yes, there are some people with out ID,” he admitted, “but that’s why I say let’s go and get them one.”