- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Once again, a major court has ruled that states have every right to fight voter fraud by requiring voters to show identification. The Obama Justice Department, however, is on the wrong side of the argument. Fortunately, the sanctity of the vote is being upheld against those undermining it.

In 2006, the Peach State passed a statute requiring voters to show one of six forms of government-issued photo identification. On Monday, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled the state’s law is “a minimal, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory restriction which is warranted by the important regulatory interests of preventing voter fraud.” To support that conclusion, the court cited not mere legal theory but the state’s actual experience of using the system during 15 elections in 2007 and 2008 without any suppression of voter turnout.

The Georgia justices ruled the state constitution in this regard tracks perfectly with the U.S. Constitution, rather than imposing some newfangled restriction on government’s ability to ensure clean elections. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already ruled that the Georgia law imposes only an “insignificant burden” on voters and does not violate the federal Constitution, and the Supreme Court unanimously declined to review the case.

In 2008, the U.S. high court ruled 6-3 in Crawford v. Marion County - with liberal Justice John Paul Stevens writing the decision - that an Indiana voter ID law even more stringent than Georgia’s was perfectly allowable. Even one of the dissenters in that case, the liberal Stephen G. Breyer, wrote that a photo ID requirement less burdensome than Indiana’s - such as Georgia’s - could pass constitutional muster.

Unfortunately, radicals manning the Obama Justice Department aren’t overly interested in electoral integrity. Julie Fernandes - the assistant deputy attorney general for civil rights who’s accused of telling her division not to enforce laws that block vote fraud - was caught on videotape telling the liberal American Constitution Society in 2007 that Georgia’s law is somehow discriminatory. “It’s not whether it makes sense or is rational for states to have voter ID laws,” she argued. Quite absurdly, she compared voter-ID laws to the poll tax, saying both discriminate against minorities. Ms. Fernandes also has objected to protecting white voters from being disenfranchised in Mississippi because, she claimed, “the law was written to protect black people.”

Ms. Fernandes is a small fry compared to President Obama. When he was a senator, Barack Obama put a hold on the Federal Elections Commission nomination of Hans von Spakovsky specifically because Mr. von Spakovsky advised the Bush Justice Department not to object to Georgia’s voter-ID law. Now that two state Supreme Courts, a federal court of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court have ruled that photo-ID requirements aren’t detrimentally burdensome, it’s time for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and this president to do their part to defend the integrity of U.S. elections.