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The Politics and Realities of Voter ID

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of


In 2004, I authored the Prop 200: Arizona Taxpayers and Citizens Protection Act.   The law required  proof of citizenship to register to vote, a photo I.D. when voting, and proof of eligibility to receive non-federal mandated public benefits.  The Left and even many RINOs like John McCain screamed racism, but Arizona voters passed it by an overwhelming margin.

It seems like déjà vu, as States across the country are cracking down on voting fraud by passing voter ID laws.  The Obama administration led by Attorney General Eric Holder and the organized Left respond by claiming it will somehow disenfranchise the poor, elderly, and minorities.

James O’Keefe’s latest video, where he was able to claim to be Attorney General Eric Holder at the polling stating helped bring much needed ridicule to the idea that we do not need voter ID laws.  Later an associate of O’Keefe is turned away from the Justice Department for not having a photo ID.

There are many other examples of where a photo ID is necessary that fail to provoke the outrage of the Obama administration.  Last week, Obama’s home state of Illinois passed a law requiring government-issued photo identification for the purchase of industrial drain cleaners.   No one is organizing rallies or protests to lament any alleged victimization of the millions of elderly or minority plumbers, building managers or even home owners who won’t be able to unclog the hair from their drains because of this ageist, racist new law.

Don’t the elderly and minorities deserve unclogged drains?   You know as well as I that the over-the-counter drain cleaners sometimes just aren’t strong enough to get those really stubborn clogs.  And how about the poor who cannot afford to hire a plumber.

Where is the outrage?

The other day, I was at a large chain grocery store and I paid with my credit card. When the cashier asked for my photo ID, I was shocked.  Luckily I had brought my driver’s license, but what about the elderly and minorities who, according to the Obama Administration and the pundits and talking-heads of the Looney Left, have neither a photo ID nor the means to get one.

“Why do you discriminate against the elderly and minorities,” I asked the cashier. “That isn’t very Christian,” I explained to her, and said she should be on the lookout for the media trucks which I was certain would be arriving any moment.

“No, we get lots of seniors and our shoppers are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, you name it,” she assured me. “It’s 2012,” she said.  “Everyone has ID.”

The reality is, she was absolutely right.  Just about everyone does have ID:  citizens of every age, gender, ethnicity, and economic status.   There are states going out of their way these days to provide driver’s licenses and other forms of ID even to illegal aliens.  So who, exactly, doesn’t have ID?

“The only people who don’t have ID, generally, are the people who are trying to get away with something,” the cashier told me. “Like kids trying to buy something they shouldn’t, or adults trying to pay with someone else’s money.”

And there’s the rub.  Republicans, independents, conservatives and even a few free-thinking Democrats out there are all united behind the need for photo-ID at the polls because, generally, the only people who don’t have one, or who can’t get one, are the people who are trying to get away with something—the people who are trying to cast a vote they shouldn’t be casting.

And these are a varied and disparate group of people: illegal aliens voting, people trying to vote more than once, felons trying to vote, and generally Leftist groups trying to facilitate all of the above. 

After all, today, it isn’t just groceries and drain cleaner that require a photo-ID. Airplane travel requires a minimum of one piece of photo ID, usually backed up by a credit card or another piece of secondary identification.  If you want to write or cash a check, most banks and businesses will require a photo ID. Buying alcohol, applying for social services, purchasing a firearm, opening a bank account, renting an apartment, being admitted to a hospital, and getting a marriage license are all activities which require a photo ID.

Today, as we move toward e-Verify and protecting American jobs, getting a job will require photo ID, as does renting a hotel room, buying a bus ticket, applying to college, having your utilities turned on, picking up a package from USPS, UPS or FedEx, and picking up a doctor’s prescription.

But despite all these examples which are not protested by the Looney Left as being racist and ageist, President Obama and his cronies single out one activity they believe is, if you require photo-ID: voting.

But Mr. Obama has not proposed creating yet another Big Government program to provide the elderly, the poor, and minorities with free or subsidized photo-ID’s so they might participate in any or all of the activities I mentioned above. Instead, his solution to the voting issue is to recklessly resist improving ballot security by opposing efforts to implement and enforce photo-ID at the polls.

And that, of course, makes no sense whatsoever… unless he and his mafia-style political machine were counting on a vast majority of illegal ballots in 2012 being cast for him. In that case, doing everything in his power to stop voter-ID solutions in their tracks makes perfect, but terrible, sense.

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