- Extra-time goal gives Germany World Cup title over Argentina
- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
Tough ID laws could block thousands of 2012 votes
Question of the Day
When Edward and Mary Weidenbener went to vote in Indiana’s primary in May, they didn’t realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver’s license or passport.
The husband and wife, both approaching 90 years old, had to use a temporary ballot that would be verified later, even though they knew the people working the polling site that day. Unaware that Indiana law obligated them to follow up with the county election board, the Weidenbeners ultimately had their votes rejected — news to them until informed recently by an Associated Press reporter.
Edward Weidenbener, a World War II veteran who had voted for Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential contest, said he was surprised by the rules and the consequences.
“A lot of people don’t have a photo ID. They’ll be automatically disenfranchised,” he said.
As more states put in place strict voter ID rules, an AP review of temporary ballots from Indiana and Georgia, which first adopted the most stringent standards, found that more than 1,200 such votes were tossed during the 2008 general election.
During sparsely attended primaries this year in Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee, the states implementing the toughest laws, hundreds more ballots were blocked.
The numbers suggest that the legitimate votes rejected by the laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent. Thousands more votes could be in jeopardy for this November, when more states with larger populations are looking to have similar rules in place.
More than two dozen states have some form of ID requirement, and 11 of those passed new rules over the past two years largely at the urging of Republicans who say they want to prevent fraud.
Democrats and voting rights groups fear that ID laws could suppress votes among people who may not typically have a driver’s license, and disproportionately affect the elderly, poor and minorities. While the number of votes is a small percentage of the overall total, they have the potential to sway a close election. Remember that the 2000 presidential race was decided by a 537-vote margin in Florida.
A Republican leader in Pennsylvania said recently that the state’s new ID law would allow Romney to win the state over President Barack Obama.
Supporters of the laws cite anecdotal cases of fraud as a reason that states need to do more to secure elections, but fraud appears to be rare. As part of its effort to build support for voter ID laws, the Republican National Lawyers Association last year published a report that identified some 400 election fraud prosecutions over a decade across the entire country. That’s not even one per state per year.
ID laws would not have prevented many of those cases because they involved vote-buying schemes in local elections or people who falsified voter registrations.
Election administrators and academics who monitor the issue said in-person fraud is rare because someone would have to impersonate a registered voter and risk arrest. A 2008 Supreme Court case drew detailed briefs from the federal government, 10 states and other groups that identified only nine potential impersonation cases over the span of several years, according to a tally by the Brennan Center at New York University.
Michael Thielen, executive director of the Republican lawyers group, said its survey was not comprehensive and he believes vote fraud is a serious problem.
“Most of it goes unreported and unprosecuted,” he said.
TWT Video Picks
By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
- DOJ investigates Nebraska parade float critical of Obama
- Violent gang MS-13 taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- A 'new Cold War': China's top paper warns of 'slippery slope' towards conflict with U.S.
- 9-year-old girl dies from brain-eating amoeba
- New York City creates ID card so 500K illegal immigrants can get services
- CURL: The hypocrisy of Obama's 15-day Vineyard vacation
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi formerly a U.S. captive
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Germany wins World Cup title on Mario Goetze goal in extra time
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs