Voter ID has been the topic du-jour for the left-wing as an issue that will cause the end of voter freedom for millions of people. Well, maybe not millions, but quite a few. And all of those people have the absolute right to cast their ballots. Requiring that voters show valid identification is onerous, and discriminatory against the elderly, minorities, and the poor. It is right that Texas has been dragged into Federal Court to defend it’s Voter ID law, and Pennsylvania should face the same.
Whether or not the Federal Government has any business in determining the Constitutionality of States’ Voter ID laws in general is another matter. First, it is necessary to dispel misinformation on the Pennsylvania law itself.
When Governor Tom Corbett (PA) signed the Voter ID bill into law, he said one thing that seems to have been forgotten in all of this – “one man, one vote.” That is an ideal that theoretically should have been handed down to us from our Founders. In principle, this law is purely to preserve that ideal. In practice, it is to prevent voter fraud.
In Pennsylvania, both sides of the aisle concede that fraud isn’t considered a significant problem. However, we do have a problem with citizens that are not registered to vote showing up at the polls, and demanding to cast a ballot in particularly contentious races. Additionally, we are in the process of updating our voting systems throughout the Commonwealth. Many counties have stepped into the 20th century, and started using computerized systems, but there are still a few outposts where they rely on the old manual machines. While it’s not being mentioned by Corbett now, it is not unreasonable to assume that this law is part of a larger plan of creating a standardized modern system for voters in the future.
Voter registration has been attached to photo ID applications for some time now here in Pennsylvania. According to the FAQ on driver’s licenses and ID’s, people are asked if they want to register to vote when getting their pictures taken for their ID’s. They can also change their voter registration address via the online ID system.
If someone in the Commonwealth does not have photo ID, all is not lost. The procedure includes the completion of an “Oath/Affirmation Voter ID Form” at the polls. Once one has completed this form, that individual can obtain photo ID free of charge, since the normal $13.50 fee will be waived. As for what one needs to get a photo ID in the first place, the Commonwealth requires a Social Security Card, proof of citizenship, and proof of residency in the form of utility bills, lease or mortgage agreements, or tax statements. Now, that would exclude a very small percentage of the population, primarily individuals that could not prove citizenship or residency. In either case, those individuals’ right to vote in the first place would be in question.
While the timing of this law might be questionable, given the fact that it will cost the Commonwealth a fair amount of money to implement it, it is necessary. Contrary to what the left might want to make everyone think, this is not about denying legitimate voters the ability to cast a ballot. It is about preventing ineligible persons from stuffing the ballot box. What really lies under all of this is the desire on the left to grant voting privileges to non-citizens. That adage Corbett stated needs modernized as well – “one legal citizen, one vote.”