How can voting fraud be better detected and prevented without putting an undue burden on certain voting blocs?
It makes sense that anyone eligible to vote in North Carolina should have the opportunity to cast a ballot. It also makes sense that people who want to participate in the political process in other ways should be able to enter government buildings to attend meetings or chat with government officials.
So it’s odd that proposals to add a photo identification requirement for voting generate vocal, vehement opposition, while existing photo ID requirements for entry into many government buildings generate … silence.
Voter ID critics hold no news conferences, wave no signs, write no letters to the editor about photo ID barriers to enter office buildings such as the one housing Gov. Beverly Perdue’s staff. Critics also tend to say nothing about photo ID requirements for other basic aspects of life: opening a bank account, boarding a flight, buying certain cold medications.
If instituting an ID requirement would stop thousands of eligible North Carolinians from exercising their right to vote, clearly these same thousands already spend the rest of the year cut off from basic elements of life in today’s modern society.
Critics say voter ID enthusiasts simply want to suppress turnout among certain groups. The truth is that voter ID is designed to stop just one group: ineligible voters. To reassure critics of their good intentions, ID supporters should be willing to work with critics to devise a system in which those who cannot afford other forms of government ID can acquire a voter ID without undue burden.
This idea would involve some cost to taxpayers, but it’s an expense that makes sense — within reason — in the name of promoting integrity within the voting process. If the new ID also can help more people bank, fly, and treat their sniffles, that would be an added bonus.
This response to a question about voting fraud by Everything Questioned was submitted by Mitch Kokai, communications director of the John Locke Foundation. Find the entire question and more views at EQ's homepage, and share your thoughts here and through comments or by submitting a response to Austin Baird.