Voter ID and the Secretary of State race
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 10:00 PM
One of the most important elements of a free society is a free and fair election process. Election integrity ensures it is easy for citizens to vote, but hard to cheat. The Indiana Secretary of State is responsible for enforcing election integrity. Therefore when we voters go to the polls on November 4th, who we choose for Secretary of State is vitally important, especially this year when we consider the candidates and their support (or lack-thereof) for Indiana's voter photo ID law. The Republican incumbent, Connie Lawson, strongly supports it and other safeguards against voter fraud. Democrat Beth White, and the Indiana Democratic Party in general, seem more interested in making unsubstantiated claims against these safeguards, without providing any alternative solutions for preventing voter fraud.
Our Constitution requires that only citizens of the United States are allowed to vote, and that elections must be free and equal. So, each citizen must be given equal influence over who is elected (one person one vote), and must not be deprived of his or her right to cast a ballot. But if voter fraud happens, such as if a non-citizen is able to vote or one person casts more than one vote, it's like counterfeiting. Every fraudulent vote dilutes the influence of a legitimate vote. This is why election integrity is so important. Voter fraud disenfranchises legitimate voters, and destroys our free and an equal election process.
The threat of voter fraud is very real. For example, in 2008 the liberal activist group ACORN (Association for Community Organizers for Reform Now) filed thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms all at once and at the last minute in Lake County, Indiana. Fraudulent voter registration sets the stage for voter impersonation at the polls. The voter photo ID requirement will prevent people like this from casting fraudulent ballots when they try to go vote. Also, thanks to the efforts of Republican Connie Lawson, we now have a new voter registration form which must be turned in within 10 days. This will prevent a group like ACORN from saving their registration forms until the last minute in their effort to overwhelm a County Voter Registration office (in order to make it harder for the office to detect fraudulent registrations in the mix).
I was shocked to read in their recent newspaper article that the League of Women Voters actually opposes both the voter photo ID law and the new registration form. This is an organization that claims their goal is to safeguard democracy. It makes one question their true motives if they are so willing to open the door to voter fraud, and by doing so disenfranchise the legitimate votes of U.S. citizens. And then they go further by spreading the myth that the voter ID law somehow results in voter suppression, but strangely no one can produce any actual evidence to back up that claim.
For many years groups like this have made these claims, apparently to inflame minority fears, and then file frivolous lawsuits against voter ID laws. But in every case, the plaintiffs could not find anyone who had been unable to vote as a result of the photo ID requirement. For example, the federal court in Indiana concluded: "Despite apocalyptic assertions of wholesale voter disenfranchisement, Plaintiffs have produced not a single piece of evidence of any identifiable registered voter who would be prevented from voting pursuant to [the photo ID law] because of his or her ability to obtain the necessary photo identification. Similarly, Plaintiffs have failed to produce any evidence of any individual, registered or unregistered, who would have to obtain photo identification in order to vote, let alone anyone who would undergo any appreciable hardship to obtain photo identification in order to be qualified to vote."
Actually, numerous studies show the exact opposite is true. A University of Missouri study showed that voter turnout increased by 2% in Indiana in the first election after the introduction of our voter ID law. Another study by the University of Delaware and University of Nebraska concluded there has been no reduction in voter turnout among blacks, Hispanics, women, the elderly, or anyone else as a result of voter photo ID laws. An American University survey of voters in Indiana, Maryland, and Mississippi concluded that, "showing a photo ID as a requirement of voting does not appear to be a serious problem in any of the states" because "almost all registered voters have an acceptable form of photo ID."
When confronted with the facts, Beth White, the Indiana Democratic Party leadership, and League of Women Voters have some explaining to do about their true motivation behind opposing Indiana's voter ID law. And they seem to betray their Democratic base who still believe in civil liberties. If more philosophically-faithful Democrats can't bring themselves to vote for the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, then fine. But at least vote for Karl Tatgenhorst, the Libertarian candidate, who also supports the voter ID law. Anything but Beth White. The integrity of our election system depends on it.
John Pickerill is the chair of the Republican Party in Montgomery County.