Supreme Court to Hear Voter ID Case: Supporters Say Law Combats Fraud; Others Charge It Unfairly Impacts Poor,Minorities
By DENNIS POWELL
Sept. 25, 2007
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case that will raise the question of whether requiring a voter to have a government-issued photo ID will unfairly impact poor and minority voters.
A federal appeals court upheld a 2005 Indiana law that would require all voters to show ID before being able to vote. Judge Richard Posner said it would be impossible for a person to exist in society today without an ID, saying, "Try flying or entering a tall building."
The National Committee on Election Reform said that 6 to 10 percent of eligible voters don't have valid IDs -- perhaps as many as 20 million Americans. Most of them are poor, getting by with no identification at all. They don't drive, they don't have bank accounts and they don't fly.
Only a few states have voter identification laws but the Indiana Democratic Party -- one of the petitioners -- said that Indiana's requirements are the most restrictive.
To get an ID in the state, you must have a validated birth certificate and two other forms of identification. An Indiana state employee has testified that as many as 60 percent of applicants for IDs are turned away because of improper documentation.
Those arguing for the voter identification law say that they are concerned about inflated voter registration lists and nationwide reports of in-person voter fraud.
They cite a 2000 Indianapolis Star report that found 300 dead people on the registered voter list, though there is no evidence of anyone having been prosecuted for impersonating a registered voter.
An article in the Michigan Law Review said that the number of voters that would fail to show up with IDs would be several times higher than the number of fraudulent voters.
Ken Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union, who will argue the case before the court, asked, "Why are we imposing these restrictions on a minority group, when there is no evidence of voter fraud?" The ACLU's petition can be viewed by clicking here.
Full Article: http://www.abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3648184&page=1