If you want a spot-on refutation of the weak arguments against voter identification laws, seek out a copy of the latest print National Review, in which the Heritage Foundation’s Hans A. Von Spakovsky dropkicks the canards that cluttered North Carolina’s recent debate on the topic. (1:45 p.m. update: The article is posted here.)
Once you get past the race-baiting, you will find that opponents of voter ID generally rely on two arguments, equally specious: 1) There is no need for photo ID, because there is no voter fraud in the United States; 2) This is a deliberate effort to suppress the turnout of minority voters, who often don’t have photo ID. Liberals keep repeating these false claims despite the fact that they have been disproved both in the courtroom and at the polling place.
After devoting a full page of his article to documented examples of fraud, the author — a former member of the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department attorney — tackles argument No. 2.
The baseless claim that voter ID is a Republican plot to depress the votes of minorities, who disproportionately support Democrats, certainly isn’t made by those Democrats who overwhelmingly control the Rhode Island legislature that passed voter ID. State representative Jon Brien, a Democratic sponsor of the bill, said it was wrong for party leaders to “make this a Republican-versus-Democrat issue. It’s not. It’s simply a good-government issue.” Brien added that “we as representatives have a duty to the citizenry to ensure the integrity of our elections, and the requirement to show an ID will ensure that integrity.” State senator Harold Metts, a black Democrat whose support of Rhode Island’s voter-ID bill angered the ACLU and other leftist organizations, said he was “more interested in doing the right thing and stopping voter fraud.” And polling shows that the so-called leaders of the civil-rights establishment who oppose voter ID are actually out of touch with their constituents, who recognize that voter fraud often hits hardest in minority communities.