Before we get to the poll itself there are two stories related to voter I.D. laws worth revisiting today. Guy brought you the first one last week; we learned from a local NBC News affiliate in Florida that voter fraud is alive and well in the Sunshine State. The video is breathtaking:
Perhaps reports like this -- and others like it -- is why a federal judge ruled last week that the Federal Election Assistance Commission could not prevent Kansas and Arizona from strengthening their proof-of-citizenship requirements:
Federal officials must help Kansas and Arizona enforce laws requiring new voters to document their U.S. citizenship, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, in a decision that could encourage other Republican-led states to consider similar policies.
U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita, Kan., ordered the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to immediately modify a national voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about their states' proof-of-citizenship requirements.
Both require new voters to provide a birth certificate, passport or other documentation to prove their U.S. citizenship to election officials. The federal registration form requires only that prospective voters sign a statement declaring they are citizens.
Kansas and Arizona asked the federal agency for state-specific modifications, but it refused. The states and their top elected officials — Secretaries of State Kris Kobach of Kansas and Ken Bennett of Arizona, both conservative Republicans — sued the agency last year.
Essentially, the judge argued, this is a states’ rights issue: states should have the ability to control their own voting requirements. That is, if a state wants to require residents to furnish photo I.D.’s before they cast ballots -- such as a driver’s license or passport -- they should have that authority. The purpose, of course, is to cut down on voter fraud, thus ensuring the integrity and fairness of local, state, and national elections.
Which brings us to the Rasmussen poll released today: fully 78 percent of respondents support proof-of-citizenship requirements.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 78% of Likely U.S. Voters believe everyone should be required to prove his or her citizenship before being allowed to register to vote. That’s up from 71% a year ago. Just 19% oppose that requirement. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Thus, the argument that Republicans are racists and bigoted for championing voter ID laws (or something similar) is ludicrous; most of the country supports these common sense requirements. And based on what we saw in Florida, these types of anti-fraud measures are increasingly necessary, too.