10.01.2008 0

Provisional Identification

  • On: 10/30/2008 10:07:27
  • In: Barack Obama
  • By Isaac MacMillen

    When it comes to security for his own “victory party,” Barack Obama has no problem mandating photo identification. But when it comes to the sanctity of the democratic process, he rises in opposition to any form of identification whatsoever.

    Unfortunately, this election clearly demonstrates the importance of voter identification. Already reports have cropped up of voter registration irregularities (including hundreds of thousands of voter forms with mismatched data in Ohio alone), multiple registrants, fake registrants—the list goes on and on— and Obama’s clear-cut links to groups such as ACORN don’t help matters either.

    The concern that Obama and others share over voter ID is that it would disenfranchise those without official identification. They cite statistics such as the 10 percent of the US population that supposedly lacks government-issued ID.

    While legitimate voters should never be denied that critical right, the very importance of the right means that it should be safeguarded to ensure that only those legally allowed to vote do so. To do otherwise is to cheapen the right that one supposedly holds in highest esteem. Or, as State Representative John Blust (R-NC) stated so aptly, “Illegal voting partially disenfranchises all those who legally participate in our elections.”

    Americans overwhelmingly agree. 82 percent of Americans (including two-thirds of Democrats) support mandating a photo ID to vote, according to a Rasmussen poll.

    Yet if the concern is that not all who can vote are able to vote, one must look at the number of unregistered voters. Each year, millions of would-be-eligible voters are unable to vote simply because they did not register.

    In 2006, a Pew survey indicated that up to 22 percent of the US population was not registered to vote. In fact, according to Pew, only 4 percent of all responders listed “illness or disability” as the reason for not registering, and only 30 percent stated that it was “difficult” to get to a polling station. In short, most of them simply just didn’t feel like it. And that is their right. Yet one hears no cries of “disenfranchisement” against them.

    But for those who do wish to vote—including those who for one reason or another have no photo ID—the options are myriad. Go to the local police department and get an ID. But if that isn’t possible, Federal law mandates that provisional ballots be allowed so that those who appear ineligible at the polls, but are convinced otherwise, may vote on paper, with the vote to later be verified and counted (if legitimate).

    So if the individual arrives at the polling station without an ID, he or she will be allowed to simply cast a provisional ballot. Once their identification is confirmed, their vote will be counted. Thus the purity of the vote will be preserved, as well as the right of the voter.

    Yet in spite of this, Barack Obama still opposes mandating photo IDs for voting—though he will not be denied the right to rigidly demand the same for his own swingy soiree.

    So, party hearty, Barack. But how about allowing your fellow Americans the same right to security you reserve for yourself?

    Isaac MacMillen is a contributing editor of ALG New Bureau.

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