On Monday the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s strict voter ID law. The most direct and accurate analysis of this decision was by Representative Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee). She said that the decision was ‘an unconstitutional solution in search of a problem.’ This is such a good statement because it is accurate and gets directly to the heart of the matter.
There is simply no widespread voter fraud problem in Wisconsin, Indiana or in the country as a whole. An exhaustive study was done on the slew of allegations made by Republicans in the 2004 presidential election and the vast majority was found to be totally without merit. In fact, in giving an example of significant voter fraud, one of the concurring justices in Monday’s decision had to reach all the way back to 140 years ago. Not even the State of Indiana was able to present evidence of the type of voter fraud that the law was supposedly devised to deter.
A voter ID requirement’s impact on specific segments of our population is indisputable. A UW-Milwaukee study found that fewer than half of African-American and Latino adults had ID. The situation was even worse for young adults ages 18-24, with only 26 percent of African-Americans and 34 percent of Latinos possessing a valid license, compared to 71 percent of young white adults. The same study found that an estimated 23 percent of persons aged 65 and over do not have a Wisconsin driver’s license or a photo ID. These are all groups that largely vote for Democrats, while the restrictive voter ID laws are constantly being pushed by Republicans.
So let’s review the facts (for the umpteenth time):
There is no widespread voter fraud problem
Republicans want to pass laws that require voter ID’s
There are specific segments of people that do not have ID’s
Those specific segments of people tend to vote for Democrats
In today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, voter ID proponent Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) declared voter ID ‘a partisan issue.’ One might have thought that he was caught in a rare moment of honesty on the subject. Unfortunately, in true Rovian fashion, he was actually talking about his political opponents. While there is no widespread voter fraud problem, Leibham is right, there is a big partisan one. Unfortunately, it involves our most basic right and he is right at the center of that problem.