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MURDOCK: American Photo ID Day
Dispensing IDs to all citizens would beat charging Jim Crow
Question of the Day
In order to stymie new and proposed requirements that voters present photo identification at the polls, top Democrats cry rivers over those who would become disenfranchised for lack of ID cards. If they really cared about these people - of whom there may be millions - Democrats would join Republicans to assure that such individuals received ID cards for everyday use.
Instead, leading Democrats use vicious racial rhetoric to hammer those who simply want voters to be who they say they are.
"Some people want to put their Confederate flags up again in Virginia," former NAACP Director Benjamin Chavis hissed. At a Jan. 31 rally in Richmond, Mr. Chavis accused state lawmakers of trying to "lynch democracy." Democratic Mayor Dwight C. Jones added: "The fact that there's a brother in the White House is just so unsettling to people." According to Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat, pro-photo-ID Republicans are "turning the clock back to the days of Jim Crow." Last July, former President Bill Clinton told Campus Progress' annual conclave in Washington, D.C.: "There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit a franchise that we see today."
These divisive Democrats seem concerned about those without ID cards only on Election Day. The other 364 days of the year, such men and women are undocumented citizens. Absent photo IDs, these disconnected Americans do not participate fully in the American experience.
Those without a photo ID cannot open bank accounts. They may not board passenger jets. They are not supposed to ride Amtrak trains. They may not purchase cough syrup containing ephedrine and other methamphetamine precursors. In Illinois, they may not buy Drano. In fact, they may not enter the Justice Department to denounce photo-ID rules without first showing a photo ID.
Race-baiting Democrats apparently couldn't care less about these undocumented citizens. If they did, they would lead a common-sense effort to provide photo ID cards to every American adult who needed one. By displaying new ID cards on Election Day, these politically enfranchised Americans would curb potential and actual ballot fraud and boost confidence in the voting system.
Beyond Election Day, these freshly documented citizens would be socially enfranchised. With photo ID cards, they could cash checks, fly, visit government buildings and do plenty more that documented citizens accomplish daily.
"It's perplexing how so many groups complaining about voter ID laws have the funds to register voters, educate voters and transport voters to the polls, but never budget anything to rectify ID problems," declared Deneen Borelli, a fellow advisory board member of Project 21, a network of market-oriented black thinkers.
Civil rights organizations and other groups that rail against photo ID rules "should dedicate their resources to help people get IDs rather than complain about laws that have passed," said J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department voting rights attorney and author of the legal-policy page-turner "Injustice." "That's what they did in 1964. But it's harder to raise funds off of accomplishments rather than complaints." Mr. Adams introduced me to the challenge of credentialing America's undocumented citizens.
This year should see the first American Photo ID Day. Local and state government offices should open on, say, the first Saturday after Labor Day, allowing citizens to secure free ID cards and even register to vote. Where necessary, the same volunteers for civic groups, unions, the Tea Party, the GOP and the Democrats who deliver voters to the polls in November should drive people without IDs to motor vehicle bureaus and other participating institutions. Thus, undocumented citizens will become identifiable voters - and documented citizens.
If Democrats care about these disengaged Americans, they will implement this idea. If Republicans do not embrace this perfect method to reduce voter fraud while boosting the life prospects of those with the least, then they truly are the Stupid Party.
Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with Stanford's Hoover Institution.
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