Yet the DOJ is on tenuous ground. In April of 2009, the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that an Indiana voter-identification law was not unconstitutional, that the state had “valid interest” in improving election procedures and/or deterring fraud, and that the ID requirement imposes no “undue burden” on the aged, the poor or minorities. Writing for the majority, liberal Justice John Paul Stevens concluded that “there is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the state’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters.”
At the time, Indiana’s law was considered the strictest in the country. Currently 31 states have voter ID laws, passed by legislatures under both Democrat and Republican control. Moreover, the Justice Department itself “pre-cleared” a Georgia voter ID law in 2005. Ironically, that law resulted in an increase in minority turnout at the polls. Hispanic and black turnout in the 2008 election was 140 percent and 42 percent higher, respectively, than it was in the 2004 election.
Since those decisions undercut both the legality and credibility of the DOJ’s efforts in both South Carolina and Texas, one is left with progressive politics as the prime mover here. Thus, the reactions by those on the left are predictable. “Texas’s voter ID law would prevent countless Latinos, African Americans, elderly citizens and others from casting their ballot,” said Katie O’Connor, a staff lawyer with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “We’re pleased the Department of Justice has recognized the harms this discriminatory law would have on people’s fundamental right to vote.” NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous echoed that sentiment, contending that “the integrity of our election process remains intact.”
Such notions of “integrity” get a big thumbs down from the American public. A Rasmussen poll reveals that 75 percent of Americans are in favor requiring voters to present a photo-ID prior to casting a ballot. That reality likely reflects the realization that photo-ID has become a prerequisite for conducting a substantial number of transactions in modern-day America, most of which are far less critical than choosing elected representatives. Yet progressives such as DNC Chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz continue to liken such a common sense provision to Jim Crow segregation laws, and Attorney General Holder contends that “in jurisdictions across the country–both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common–and have not yet been relegated to the pages of history.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry undercuts such odious contentions. “Texas has a responsibility to ensure elections are fair, beyond reproach and accurately reflect the will of voters,” he said in a released statement. “The DOJ has no valid reason for rejecting this important law, which requires nothing more extensive than the type of photo identification necessary to receive a library card or board an airplane. Their denial is yet another example of the Obama Administration’s continuing and pervasive federal overreach.”
The latest video from conservative gadfly James O’Keefe undercuts the other progressive shibboleth: the contention that voter fraud is virtually non-existent. An agent for the film-maker showed up at various voting centers in Vermont, giving workers a different name at each location. In each location, he is given a ballot without showing an ID. A previously released O’Keefe video revealed voter fraud in New Hampshire–fraud that may have been the catalyst for the state senate passing a voter ID law, currently awaiting approval in the state’s House of Representatives. “Voters are rightly outraged by the reports of voter fraud during our First-in-the-Nation Primary,” said Wayne MacDonald, chairman of the Republican State Committee. State Sen. Ray White (R-Bedford), who supports the bill, went further. “Voting is a precious commodity,” he said. “People get excited to vote when they know their vote counts. People get discouraged if they think voter fraud will cancel their vote.”
Unfortunately, the voters of Texas and South Carolina will likely be facing discouragement in November. Regardless of the way the U.S. District Court in Washington rules, it is virtually certain the losing side will file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. As the Wall Street Journal sarcastically notes, when one “crosses lawyers with statisticians” an “endless morass” is produced. A morass that will almost certainly make a final ruling in both this case and the one from South Carolina impossible to reach before the 2012 election.
Given the Supreme Court’s clear-cut decision in the Indiana case, it is precisely this delay that may be the most compelling factor for the DOJ. For progressives in general, their arguments against voter ID illuminate the utter bankruptcy of an ideology where something as intrinsically commonsensical as protecting the integrity of elections for everyone, takes a back seat to the contemptible urge to win by an election means necessary. If a bedrock principle of our democratic republic is undermined in the process? The ends justify the means.
For Attorney General Eric Holder, who long ago abandoned any pretense of constitutional fealty or racial even-handedness, it is nothing more than business–Chicago-style–as usual.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
Pages: 1 2