Voter fraud measure reasonable
The Texas Senate has adopted a change in its rules that may require a voter identification for citizens to vote.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, sent a letter Wednesday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. In it, he asked that a representative give counsel concerning this ‘dangerous’ legislation.
Republicans claim changes are needed to stop ballot fraud, while Democrats say the GOP wants to keep voters away from the polls in order to stay in power.
According to Ellis’ Web site, ‘a lower voter turnout would perhaps be justified if there truly were an epidemic of voter impersonation at the polls. Fortunately, there is no epidemic.”
Ellis reinforced the words of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ decision during Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, which confirmed that requiring IDs of voters is not in violation of the Constitution.’
‘The only kind of voter fraud that (a photo ID requirement) addresses is in-person voter impersonation at polling places. The record contains no evidence of such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history,’ Stevens said in his decision regarding Indiana’s voter photo ID law.
On the flipside, Republicans say the bill is meant to enhance the integrity of Texas’ voting process. According to Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, it will ensure that noncitizens, and others who aren’t eligible to vote, do not influence elections.
‘No one is going to be denied the right to vote,’ Fraser said. ‘All we’re asking is that people verify that they are eligible, living, legal citizens and have the right to vote.’
Ellis calls the issue ‘the phantom menace,’ implying that it does not exist. Citing the hotly contested Texas House race in 2004, he claims fellow Texans can see the supposed frivolity of this issue.’
In 2004, every vote in question was scrutinized. But in the end, out of 41,000 votes, only 105 were deemed fraudulent. Of those, 96 were by people voting in the wrong precinct.
Texans are already required to show either a voter registration card or some other form of identification. Republicans want to add the requirement of a photo ID or alternative forms of identification. The bill is to be considered by all senators early next week.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the states of Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana and Michigan require a photo ID at election time.
‘It’s the principled thing to do,’ Cathie Adams, a Texas member of the Republican National Committee and leader of the conservative Texas Eagle Forum.
She said voter identification requirements will benefit both Republicans and Democrats by deterring fraud.
Regardless of whether this issue is a ‘phantom menace’ or a pressing one, valid ID is required for far less important things: to withdraw money from the bank, to buy tobacco or alcohol and sometimes even just to use a credit card. Though it may not be the general consensus of our state, voting is more important than those things. So why not show ID?