Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Voter ID Gets Broad Support

In a recent poll, the concept of voters showing an ID before being allowed to vote gathered lots of support, as reported by The Washington Times. Coming on the heels of recent Supreme Court hearing on an Indiana voter ID law challenge, the results show not only strong support, but bipartisan support and support across racial and ethnic groups as well.
Overall, 67 percent said they support requiring photo identification, and that support ran high across all demographic groups. More than three-fourths of Republicans supported showing identification, as did 63 percent of Democrats and independents. And 58 percent of blacks, 69 percent of whites and 66 percent of other ethnic or racial minorities backed the concept.

The question was: "Should voters be required to prove their identity by showing a government issued photo ID before they're allowed to vote?"
Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 adults on a number of issues, including the economy, gas taxes and whether people would vote for Martin Luther King, Jr. were he alive and running for president.

But the biggest surprise was the voter ID question. When nearly 2 out of 3 Democrats support the idea, it may be time for the Democratic party to stop and get a clue. The need for govnerment ID cards has never been more prevalent. You need an ID card to board a plane, enter most buildings, including some public buildings, and a whole host of other normal, everyday activities. That most Americans see a voter ID requirement as a good thing only goes to show that most Americans are pragmatic about the matter and don't see it as an imposition on the poor or minorities.

The Democratic argument that a voter ID requirement might cause some people to not come to the polls is spurious at best. Government IDs are issued for a relatively nominal fee and could be issued for free if the person is truly indigent. Requiring the production of an ID can accomplish many things at once. First, it can verify indentification. Second, it could speed up the checking in process at the polls since most government ID cards come with a magnetic strip that can be swiped to produce identity information and could quickly match up to a voter database. Third, it can help those individuals that move between elections to update their voter registration on site, without having to do much other than go and update their ID card.

The Supreme Court will probably issue the Indiana voter ID case in late spring of this year.

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