While presidential and congressional candidates take to the stump to win votes, a lower-profile battle is raging over who will cast them. With fewer than 40 days to go before the 2012 election, access to the voting booth could determine the outcome on Nov. 6. It ought to be simple: If you’re an American citizen eligible to vote and can prove it with identification, you should be allowed to cast a ballot. If you can’t, you shouldn’t. It’s really not that complicated.
That hasn’t stopped Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and fellow Democrats from recasting the straightforward requirement that voters confirm who they are into an attempt to bar minorities, the poor and the elderly from voting. Never mind that Mr. Holder’s own department provides thousands of dollars in grant money encouraging local governments to set up drunk-driving checkpoints in which drivers are randomly stopped and forced to show their drivers’ licenses. Apparently, that’s not racist.
The issue of voter integrity gathered steam during the 2008 presidential election. Employees for ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) were caught submitting fraudulent voter applications in Nevada, a crime for which they were convicted in 2011. ACORN had to partially disband as a result, and the number of states requiring ID to vote mushroomed to 33. Mr. Holder’s department has launched legal action to prevent the statutes from taking effect. In August, Justice convinced courts in Florida and Texas to block new voter ID laws. Similar lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin and Iowa are pending.
Reports of qualified voters being turned away from polling places are scant, but instances of polling place fraud continue to mount. In one high-profile example, Democrat Wendy Rosen dropped out of the race for Maryland’s First Congressional District on Sept. 10 after admitting she had voted in both Maryland and Florida in several elections. On Sept. 21, two Canadians and one Mexican were charged with election misconduct in Iowa for casting votes in 2010 and 2011. Mr. Holder himself was embarrassed in April when an activist demonstrated the potential for election fraud by posing as the attorney general and obtaining his ballot in the District of Columbia, where photo ID is not required.
There’s no doubt some argue anecdotal evidence of election fraud does not prove widespread abuse. However, the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States issued a report in February estimating 24 million U.S. voter registrations, or 13 percent, are invalid. When voter rolls are inaccurate to such a degree, our election process is ripe for fraud. We shouldn’t let unscrupulous people exploit the system by voting multiple times.
This is why voter ID laws are essential: They verify that an individual showing up to vote is who he says he is. It ensures the integrity of the “one man, one vote” principle. Voter ID is a simple means to cleaner elections, and that’s something that all Americans should agree on.
The Washington Times