Governor Rick Perry signed legislation on Friday (May 27, 2011) making Texas the 12th state in the US that will require a photo ID from anyone that wishes to vote in an election. According to Reuters:
The measure was one of the Republican governor’s “emergency” legislative priorities for the session, and he’s not alone. Republicans across the country are pushing such legislation. This year, more than 30 states have considered adding or strengthening voter identification requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Photo ID requirements were signed into law in Wisconsin this week and in South Carolina earlier this month. Kansas also passed a photo ID measure this year that goes into effect January 1.
The requirement is already in place in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Thursday vetoed a photo identification bill.
Opponents of legislation such as this argue that any additional requirements, or extra sets of rules, only serves to suppress votes and impinge on the rights of those without any form of photo identification. The article states that “about 11 percent of American adults don’t have photo identification” and adds that legislation like this does nothing to make voting any easier for those folks.
Regardless the party affiliation any of us might identify ourselves with… or no affiliation at all… the idea that we’d rather have everyone “able” to vote, even if we don’t know who they are or whether they are even eligible to do so, just doesn’t make any sense to fair minded people of every stripe.
However true it may be that the right to vote is the fundamental expression of our freedom, laws such as these are intended to ensure that the American people as a Nation retain the right to know each elected official got into office fairly, without any illegal activity behind their victory, and according to the laws of the states.
No one can argue the fact that cheating has taken place during our history, and that elected officials have – from time to time – “stacked the odds in their favor” to pull off a win. Leveling the playing field and holding each of us, as voters, to the same standards (and responsibilities) is the least our elected officials can do to ensure everyone’s rights are being guaranteed. “You have the right to vote… I have the right to know you did so according to the same rules I had to follow.
Making it easier to GET photo identification is a far more effective, and a much more reasonable (and safe/secure) approach to the larger problem. Allowing 89% of us a greater opportunity for voter fraud in the name of not making it too difficult on the other 11% is just silly. Especially given the very low number of people in that 11% who actually DO go to the voting booth.