Voter ID Matters
posted at 8:40 pm on May 3, 2012 by Patrick Ishmael
At the Show-Me Institute, we don’t often wade into the waters of election policy, but frankly, election policy is intimately related to the free-market objectives we promote. Although voters are one step removed from the chambers that decide most policy issues, the only way elected representatives can fairly represent the will of the people is if the representatives themselves have been fairly elected. Debasement of the electoral process through fraudulent voting subverts the will of voters and disenfranchises voters themselves. And yet on Monday, Mother Jones called the states’ moves to get their arms around the problem and implement stronger ID requirements “loathsome.”
Let’s be clear: Voter fraud is real. Especially in recent weeks, the push has been on to paint “voter fraud” as some sort of manufactured controversy, but as someone who has worked in this field, I can assure you, it is not. From county officials telling poll workers that people can vote with a credit card as their ID — they cannot — to the use of absentee ballots fueling fraud, there is not only ample room for voter fraud to take place through the very structure of the voting process, but there have been cases of voter fraud suspected and prosecuted in the state just in the past few years.
Voter fraud can swing elections, especially close ones. If voter fraud constitutes 2 percent, or 1 percent, or even 1/2 percent of the vote total, how many races does that affect? How many statewide and local races have you seen decided by a point or less, and how likely is it that none of those races turned on fraudulent votes?
Every vote should count, every vote should be protected, and every attempt to distort the will of the electorate with the casting of illegal ballots should be turned back. Preventing voter fraud through reasonable identification measures that we already accept to drive cars, board airplanes, and enter some government buildings is not an undue burden on voters’ rights to vote. Rather, it is a burden on voters’ rights to allow the floodgates of voter fraud and abuse to remain open.