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EDITORIAL: Shooting down voter IDs

The left has it backward on the ease of voting and buying a gun

- - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Addressing the gathering on the Mall last week marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Bill Clinton compared the issues of guns and voting rights. "A great democracy," said the former president, "does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon."

If only that were true. In many jurisdictions, it's far too difficult for the honest to buy a gun (liberals will call any ordinary gun an "assault weapon" if it has a scary appearance). Our Washington Times colleague Emily Miller just published a 280-page book documenting how difficult it is to obtain a legally registered gun in Washington, D.C., titled "Emily Gets Her Gun ... But Obama Wants to Take Yours." States like Illinois won't let anyone buy a gun unless they first obtain a special photo-ID card. All states require potential buyers to produce identification and submit to a background check to weed out those ineligible to buy a gun. No such care is taken over the selection of America's leaders.

The lack of an ID requirement makes it a piece of cake for the dishonest to vote multiple times or engage in other forms of electoral shenanigans. Think "Landslide" Lyndon Johnson's Texas Democratic Senate primary win in 1948, JFK in West Virginia and Illinois in 1960, or more recently, Sen. Al Franken's hotly contested "win" in Minnesota in 2008.

Mr. Clinton wasn't the only one at last week's event affixing the "racist" label to any attempt to limit voter fraud. "Today, there are no white sheets," said Melanie Campbell, CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, "but there are judges in black robes in the U.S. Supreme Court who struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, opening the floodgates in many states to pass more voter-ID laws to block people of color and young people from voting." She then darkly ascribed the motive for such laws, which are in effect in 34 states, as being aimed at "ensuring we never see another black man elected president."

Flashing a driver's license is a prerequisite for boarding an airplane, applying for most any sort of permit, opening a bank account, cashing a check, buying a six-pack, driving a car or even purchasing certain types of cough syrup. Go ahead and try to enter the Justice Department headquarters, the White House or any other federal building without displaying an ID. None of the speakers at the event would ever call President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder racist for imposing such a requirement. Perhaps the solution that would please all sides is to allow voting only inside federal buildings.