Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Picture Worth A Thousand Votes

A Picture Worth A Thousand Votes
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 25, 2011

Gin and tonic, please.

Certainly, sir. May I see your ID please?

That’s it! Call Jesse; call the ACLU – you’re a racist!

Are you as incredulous reading this as I was writing it? I certainly hope so.

Asking someone to produce an item that identifies him/herself as who he/she claims to be is neither racist, nor disenfranchising as Attorney General Eric Holder would have the nation believe as he attempts to eliminate any form of identification standards for potential voters.

As responsible American citizens we are asked to show proof of age and/or identity when purchasing alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, real estate, automobiles, checking in at an airport or hotel, gaining admittance into secure locations, when writing checks and even when using a credit card at times. Do I understand correctly, that no one without an ID does any of the above? Or drives? Or has a bank account? Wow, what cloistered little lives they must lead.

Why when asked to produce a valid photo ID at the ballot box, do some people go completely apoplectic?

For those American citizens for whom voting is that important, and it should be that important, and who do not possess a valid photo ID – get one. Yes, it is that simple. Holder is using cost as an excuse why the old, young, and minorities would be disenfranchised by the heinous requirement of an identification card. But that excuse is disingenuous at best as the state of South Carolina, whose voter ID law Holder just struck down on Friday, December 23, will provide said identification gratis to its Palmetto State citizens.

The State of Georgia attempted to do likewise, yet the ACLU still objected, calling the voter ID a racist attempt to disenfranchise minorities who could not get to the ID producing locales. Georgia then offered to go to the voters who were unable to make the allegedly arduous trek to procure their own ID card.

States could establish mobile ID producing units and send them to bars, liquor stores, kiosks at shopping malls, airports and anywhere else ID may be required to provide them for those who claim the cost to get them would be too prohibitive or that they could not travel to get them for the same reason. (Once those without ID get them, I’d like to see the voter turnout statistics as compared with the rest of the voting populous.)

And what will Holder’s next complaint be once the ID-less become identifiable? The old, young and minorities are being disenfranchised because they can’t afford to take the time from their low-paying job to go and cast their ballot? Or perhaps those same groups can’t go vote because they can’t afford to take the bus, taxicab or other paid mode of transportation? There will always be something about which to complain. But while thousands of people behaved with violence and mob-like mentality last week for the opportunity to spend $180 on a pair of sneakers, how many of those very people will be in line to vote on Election Day?

Only those seeking to defraud the system and thus the republican process of legally electing representatives would object to a voter ID requirement. Without voter ID laws firmly ensconced someone else could claim to be you or me and thus disenfranchise us by stealing our precious votes – and those votes are indeed precious.

Demanding that a potential voter properly identify him/herself is not a suppression of voters’ rights, but instead a protection of voters’ rights and the suppression of potential voter fraud. The Wisconsin ACLU claimed voters’ 14th Amendment rights are violated and a “severe burden” (WI ACLU) is placed upon them in spite of a Supreme Court April 2008 ruling that states can require voters to produce photo ID without violating their Constitutional rights.

The law “is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting ‘the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,’” wrote now retired Justice John Paul Stevens for the six to three majority in the 2008 ruling. Stevens, a typically reliable liberal, was joined by associate justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts, all conservatives, save for Kennedy a moderate swing voter. Backers of the decision said it was vital to squelch voter fraud.

Those opposing the High Court ruling were traditional liberal associate justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the now retired David Souter. ACLU legal director Ken Falk said such voter ID laws tend to inhibit voting yet could produce no supporting evidence.

“We cannot conclude that the statute imposes ‘excessively burdensome requirements’ on any class of voters,” continued Stevens in his opinion for the majority.

“The universally applicable requirements of Indiana voter-identification law are eminently reasonable. The burden of acquiring, possessing and showing a free photo identification is simply not severe, because it does not ‘even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting,’” wrote Justice Scalia, also for the majority.

Now there is a corrupt Justice Department led by an incompetent attorney general – see also the Fast and Furious scandal Holder claims to know nothing about – who wants to eradicate all voter identification laws because of the potential inconvenience it might impose on some old, young and minority voters. This is the same AG and Justice Department that ignored the New Black Panther Party blatant and overt voter intimidation activities in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008.

Not only does Holder need to resign, but perhaps face charges for fraud, perjury and corrupt practices. But more importantly, while Holder is merely a symptom, it is vital that all 50 states in the Union ensure their 10th Amendment rights to create laws that the federal government does not create and protect the rights of all legal voting American citizens by requiring them to properly identify themselves prior to casting their all-important ballot on each and every election day.

Voter fraud comes at a cost of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, which should be upheld to the maximum in order to send a message that voting is a privilege and shall not be infringed upon by miscreants who would steal an election that could not otherwise be won.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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