SIMMONS: Democracy worthy of an ID to prevent voter fraud

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As states jockey for influential positions in the 2012 presidential primaries, civil-rights advocates are shifting into high gear to fight new laws that require voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls.

Opponents should look no further than D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who recently learned a textbook lesson on how not to look stupid.

Mr. Gray appointed a woman named Andrea Pringle as his deputy chief of staff on Aug. 30, but a week later she resigned after news broke that she was a Maryland resident for more than a year but had voted in the District in September 2010.

The voter fraud, uncovered by Dorothy Brizill and exposed on her website D.C. Watch, occurred because D.C. voters do not have to produce identification to cast a vote.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

All you have to do is give a name and address and you are handed the requisite voting materials.

But are D.C. officials combating voter fraud? No.

Instead, they have positioned voters to lend an early voice in the presidential primaries, pushing up the date from September to April.

Theres plenty of time to take the leap and follow 34 states that introduced measures this year that mandate voters show government-issued photo ID cards at the polls and six states that already have passed such laws.

Like many of you, Im personally steeped enough in history to appreciate why blacks, Hispanics and other people of color are reluctant to take the photo-ID road. But American democracy is worth it, and we shouldn’t let anyone thumb their nose at it.

We’ve shed enough blood already.

Place your bets: The Internet gambling legislation that would give D.C. first-in-the-nation status is set for a monthlong round of hearings that begin this week.

On Thursday, residents will get to see, hear and query city officials on the iGaming law, which established online gambling rules.

The meeting will be held in Ward 5, where residents already are concerned about a potential red-light district.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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