To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Showing ID to Vote

Today's Washington Post has a great article on a controversial case the Supreme Court will be deciding in the new year: is it unconstitutional for states to require people to show government-issued IDs to vote?
"It is exceedingly difficult to maneuver in today's America without a photo ID (try flying, or even entering a tall building such as the courthouse in which we sit, without one)," Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote in deciding that Indiana's strictest-in-the-nation law is not burdensome enough to violate constitutional protections.

His colleague on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Bill Clinton appointee Terence T. Evans, was equally frank in dissent. "Let's not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic," Evans wrote.

While I generally am offended when asked to show an ID, the one exception is when I'm being asked to prove who I say I am. Not only do I think it's OK for states to require people to prove who they are when they're voting, I think every state should. Not because I'm worried about widespread voter fraud but because it's just commonsense. To those who worry that people without ID won't be able to vote I say, "so". It's not that hard to get an ID, and if you don't have one you're probably not that involved in your community anyway.

Of course, a radical libertarian might argue that people shouldn't be required to get government-issued IDs and/or you shouldn't have the burden of proving you are who you say you are. I think that makes sense in lots of instances, like a police encounter. But in instances where you're saying you're a specific person - someone registered to vote, someone who has an electronic ticket for a flight, someone who is claiming they're the person listed on a credit card - it makes sense to require people to prove who they are. What are people's thoughts on this issue?

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