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Is the Voter ID Monster Under Your Bed?

by James J. Woodruff II*
Special Contributor the Shark Tank

Watch out!  There’s a voter ID monster under your bed. It wants to take your right to vote away by requiring that you produce identification when you go to vote. Really? How scary!

This is essentially what the “voting rights” groups want everyone to believe. The problem is, there is no voter ID monster and, based on the numbers from the 2008 presidential election, more people than ever are voting.

When Georgia enacted its current voter ID law there were widespread cries from “voting rights” groups that such a law would “disenfranchise” tens of thousands of voters. That, for some unfathomable reason, requiring photo identification in order to vote was unreasonable and unnecessary.

These groups launched a fleet of lawsuits in two states and yet were unable provide one plaintiff who had been “disenfranchised.” In fact, in the 2008 presidential election Georgia experienced the second largest increase in voter turnout in any state during the election. Indiana, the state with the strictest voter ID laws had a phenomenal turnout as well. Clearly, based on the allegations in the numerous lawsuits, something must be wrong with this data from 2008. Of course, the real reason for the data is that requiring a photographic identification at the polls does not lead to “voter suppression.”

Now “nonpartisan” groups are engaged in campaigns of hate and fear. Claiming Jim Crow is justaround the corner and waiting to jump the unsuspecting minority voter. This is not only a misuse of the term “Jim Crow,” but a deep insult to those who actually suffered through the Jim Crow laws that kept the Democratic Party in power for so long.

All I have heard from the anti-identification movement is the politics of hate and tall tales. It would be nice for those opposing the use of photo identification in the registration and voting process to offer up solutions instead of small-minded, defamatory rhetoric for once. One can always dream I suppose.

* James J. Woodruff II is a lawyer and law professor in Florida. He focuses on issues of politicallaw.


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Is the Voter ID Monster Under Your Bed?

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