The Washington Times Weekly
Democrats’ bill wipes out states’ voter ID laws
Laws in dozens of states requiring voters to show their driver’s license or other government identification face elimination if Democrats enact massive legislation aimed at nationalizing election standards.
The Democrats’ bill would wipe out state requirements to require proof of identification for requesting absentee ballots and would allow voters to sign declarations attesting to their identity instead of showing official IDs at the polls.
“This swings the door for fraud wide open,” said Rep. Ashley Hinson, Iowa Republican. “It’s just common sense that a valid form of voter ID should be required to cast a ballot in an election.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 36 states require voters to show ID, but Democrats and liberal advocacy groups hope to wipe out those state requirements with the federal legislation.
“You are just adding this ridiculous burden for a nonexistent problem,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections for the liberal Common Cause.
Liberals insist a voter-signed declaration is necessary to protect minority voters, many of whom say they don’t have access to driver’s licenses or other forms of identification. They charge that state voter ID laws disenfranchise Black and Hispanic voters.
“If you don’t have an ID, you can still vote,” Ms. Albert said.
Section 307 of the more than 800-page bill says a state may not require a voter to show a form of ID to obtain an absentee ballot but is allowed to require a signature from the voter, as has been a requirement with absentee ballots in past elections.
If a voter chooses to give a sworn statement on identity, then a state election commission would print the statement and have it available at the polling site. Fraud would be subject to the penalty of perjury.
The provisions are needed because states have “eroded access to the right to vote through restrictions on the right to vote including excessively onerous voter identification requirements,” the legislation says.
Civil rights groups have sued Georgia officials in federal court over a state law enacted last week requiring a voter ID to request an absentee ballot. The groups say the regulation runs afoul of the Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.
But Georgia is hardly alone in requiring an ID, and voter ID requirements go back decades.
The laws have become increasingly strict in some states. More than a dozen specifically request photo identification to cast a ballot. Indiana was the first state to implement a strict photo requirement, and the Supreme Court upheld the law.
“The notion that photo ID is racist is absurd, and it’s actually racist to claim that minority voters can’t obtain an ID,” said Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita.
He said no one in Indiana has been wrongly blocked from voting, even with the state’s identification requirement. The problem with the signed declaration as part of the Democrats’ bill is that it can’t be effectively challenged, Mr. Rokita said.
Voter ID laws can prevent voter fraud and duplicate voting, conservatives say. They point to other countries that require voter ID.
The United Kingdom, Canada, France, Argentina and Brazil are among countries requiring voters to show identification.
“There is nothing in society that does not require an ID where people can’t get one,” said Michael Whatley, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party. “Whether it’s buying prescription drugs or driving a car or flying on a plane, or anything else, and when a state is willing — as is North Carolina — to provide you with a free ID that you can turn around and use, there’s absolutely no reason to not have it.”
Republicans also argue that other parts of the Democrats’ elections law impedes states’ rights and sets a wide range of rules affecting elections and other aspects of political life, including:
⦁ Allowing 10 days past Election Day to count mail-in ballots.
⦁ Ordering states to allow early voting for at least two weeks.
⦁ Mandating requirements on states for voter registration.
⦁ Requiring states to set up redistricting commissions instead of allowing state legislatures to do the job.
⦁ Implementing ethics for Supreme Court justices.
⦁ Requiring disclosure of tax returns for presidential candidates.
The House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, last month, and the Senate is holding hearings on the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said the bill is a priority for his chamber with or without bipartisan support.
“Failure is not an option,” Mr. Schumer said.