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Chris Tomalty

Photo ID Laws Aren’t the Whole Picture

North Carolina recently passed legislation requiring that voters in 2016 show a valid piece of photo identification in order to vote.  This does not strike most people as particularly problematic: a 2012 Washington Post poll found that 74% of respondents believed that photo ID should be mandatory before voting.  A healthy majority strongly supported the statement.  This support held up along gender, party, and racial lines. Opposing voter ID, however, has become a crusade for select members of the Democratic Party.  To Democrat activists, voter ID requirements are aimed at disenfranchising vulnerable communities.  These communities typically vote Democrat, while Republicans almost invariably are the ones spearheading voter ID laws.   Thus, voter ID laws represent an attempt by the right to illegitimately steal political power.  To many Republicans, the Democrats are defending questionable voter registration practices that allow them to reap support from invalid voters. In a sense, both parties miss the point.  It has become a sort of proxy battle that allows both sides to appear active while ignoring the larger problem.  Available evidence doesn’t support the theory that Democrats are organizing massive voter fraud, and the idea that state Republican parties across the United States are engaged in a colossal racist conspiracy unreasonably attributes evil intentions to voter ID proponents.  It’s much more believable that both sides are honestly trying to uphold the integrity, and the perception of integrity, of the American electoral system in their own way. Republicans might be better served by introducing reforms to clean up America’s electoral rolls.  With almost 2 million deceased Americans registered to vote and sizable irregularities nationwide, voting roll maintenance would be a much more serious step against electoral chicanery.  America is too large to use paper-based voter registration.  Put the tools of the twenty-first century to use and make a… Read More