Friday, January 11, 2008

A good ID-ea?

The Supremes heard oral argument in a case involving Indiana's voter ID law (requiring a photo ID at the polling place.) The measure is obviously a political one, as there have been exactly zero reported cases of "voter impersonation" in the state of Indiana.

Note that this isn't about REGISTERING to vote, where your eligibility is determined through the presentation of various documents and information. This is AT THE POLLING PLACE where you have already established your eligibility and they already have your name on the list. To vote fraudulently, you would have to impersonate a registered voter. Here, the election judge compares your signature when you get your ballot to the one on file.

Voting has been characterized by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right, and as such, any restriction is reviewed under the "strict scrutiny" standard. The state must show a "compelling interest" to prevail. Does it have one? I certainly can't find it.

Note: Here are the ID requirements for REGISTERING to vote in Indiana:

Box 10: Identification Documentation If you are registering to vote in Indiana for the first time, and you are sending this application by mail, you must provide identification documentation. Identification may include a current and valid photo id, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or government document that shows the name and address of the voter. You may include a copy of your identification with this application. Do not mail an ORIGINAL copy of your document! If you do not provide identification with this application or to the county voter registration office before election day, you will be asked for it the first time you vote.

1 comment:

Bradley Bury said...

I had an extremely funny Abbott & Costello-esque conversation in 2004 at my polling place in Wisconsin.

I asked if they needed to see any form of I.D., and was told "No." I then asked how they knew I was who I said I was. I was told "That's your problem."

I suppose one could argue that to vote fraudulantly in Wisconsin, you'd need to know the name of a registered voter in the district you were committing the fraud in.

Considering that the book of registered voters was open on the table in front of me, that wouldn't have been too hard. Also, as the majority of the election workers were very geriatric, I probably could've hit each polling place numerous times if I'd wanted to.

Long story short (yeah, I know..too late) you should at least have to show a photo I.D.