EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 18, 2013

Column: Arguments against voter ID are getting old

Taylor Armerding
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Once again, Democrats are claiming that Republicans are trying to prevent non-Republicans from voting.

In North Carolina, where a new law requires photo identification to vote, Democrats and their enablers from organizations like the NAACP and the ACLU contend this is both unconstitutional and prima facie evidence that the GOP wants to disenfranchise registered voters – especially minorities, the poor, the elderly and young people.

This is getting old – very, very old.

If they are really serious, then Democrats, including their dear leader, President Obama, should be protesting and threatening court challenges on a host of other things that require photo IDs.

If they don’t, that is prima facie evidence that they don’t want minorities, elders, the young and poor to be able to fly. They don’t want them to be able to drive, to cash a check, to have a drink after work, to buy a pack of cigarettes, to get the prescription medications they need, to rent an apartment or buy a house, even to pick up a package from FedEx.

But, of course, those groups do all those things easily, because coming up with a photo ID is not even a minor barrier when it involves something they want.

That is not a complete list either. There are dozens of activities – some of the most basic of daily American life – that require a photo ID, which should show how ridiculous and contrived all this white noise is.

Yes, yes, voting is a right, not a privilege. But it is a right limited to citizens who have registered to vote, and it is a right that should receive both zealous protection and strict oversight to eliminate fraud. It is stunning that those who are forever in favor of more government regulation are just fine with little to no government oversight of voting.

In North Carolina’s case, the law provides for everybody who needs one to get a government-issued photo ID – free. If you don’t drive, never travel overseas and therefore don’t have a passport, no problem. Government will give you what you need to vote.

When was the last time you noticed an American – poor, minority, elderly or young – having much trouble getting something they really want that is free from the government? Americans are very good at that.

And even if they can’t be bothered to get it, or bring it, the law allows them to cast a provisional ballot. In short, government is doing plenty – more than necessary – to make it easy for everyone to vote.

Yet we have the spectacle of the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, telling the Associated Press, “It is a trampling on the blood, sweat and tears of the martyrs – black and white – who fought for voting rights in this country.”

Cry us a river, reverend. You are the one trampling on the memory of those martyrs by trivializing what they did. You know, or ought to know, that they would have held a major celebration if the government of that era announced it would provide photo identification to citizens of any race so they could vote.

A free photo ID is a barrier to voting just like fire hoses and police dogs? Get serious.

As has been pointed out in the past, but apparently has to be pointed out again, there is a moral imperative to oversee voting that is just as strong as making sure citizens are not prevented from voting. If you, a registered voter, have your vote canceled by someone who is not qualified, then you have been disenfranchised as well.

Even most minorities are not swayed by the patronizing absurdities of Rev. Barber. A Washington Post poll last year showed 65 percent of blacks and 64 percent of Latinos supporting voter ID.

Beyond that, this is really not so much a fight over making sure people have the right to vote as it is over political interest groups trying to exert a measure of control over the vote.

It should not be difficult to vote, but it should not be too easy either. Voting is supposed to be a sacred right – why should those who can’t take the few minutes required to get documented proof that they are registered, and that they are who they say they are, be granted that sacred right?

Do you think somebody who showed up to board an airplane demanding “same-day ID” would get through the security line? He’d be laughed out of the airport, or perhaps taken aside for some special scrutiny by the TSA.

People who don’t bother to register, who can’t be bothered to get a free ID, clearly don’t really care about voting. The people who do care – who offer free rides to the polls (along with “incentives” like free cigarettes) and who demand that same-day registration be maintained – are just using those they profess to represent.

It is not the poor, elderly, minorities and teens they care about. They care only about corralling the votes needed to protect and maintain their political power, or the power of their incumbent benefactors, which generally includes a pay or benefit check. Those they “help” to vote are nothing to them but a means to that end. As soon as they have voted the “right” way, they are discarded until the next election.

Yes, voting is a sacred right. It should be protected as such, not easily vulnerable to cheap fraud.

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net