The battle over requiring voter identification is heating up around the country, especially in battle ground states where candidates often win by slim margins.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), five states including Kansas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Georgia have implemented a “strict photo” voter ID law. Another six states including Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, South Dakota, Hawaii and Idaho have “photo” voter ID laws. NCSL explains the difference between “strict photo” and “photo” laws on its web site. “In the ‘strict’ states, a voter cannot cast a valid ballot without first presenting ID. Voters who are unable to show ID at the polls are given a provisional ballot. Those provisional ballots are kept separate from the regular ballots. If the voter returns to election officials within a short period of time after the election (generally a few days) and presents acceptable ID, the provisional ballot is counted. If the voter does not come back to show ID, that provisional ballot is never counted.” An additional 19 states have some form of ID requirement for voters, including the swing states of Ohio, Virginia, Missouri and Colorado.
If you believe voter fraud is a myth, check out the web site of the Republican National Lawyers Association, which catalogues voter fraud attempts. The site lists dozens of organized and individual attempts at voter fraud that have taken place just this year. That’s quite a few given that election day is still months away. For a longer list of voter fraud incidents that the RNLA has catalogued over the last decade, click here.
In Florida, Governor Rick Scott is taking a proactive approach to combat voter fraud. The state is famous for its close presidential vote in 2000 that led to a Supreme Court battle over recounting. With margins so tight, it is imperative that illegal voting be flushed out and eliminated. After initially denying Florida access to the Systematic Verification for Entitlement Program database, the federal government has relented. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner will now proceed with the state’s attempt to confirm the identities of some questionably registered voters.
Vote fraud, even on a small scale, harms Americans by diluting their most powerful right. It must be prevented.