Why Voter Photo Identification Is Crucial to Our Republic

Voter identification requirements have been a source of contention for some time, despite increased evidence of voter fraud in recent elections.  Generally, the left opposes such requirements, and the right favors them.  As is usually the case, the left's position is based upon emotion, while the right's is more pragmatic -- i.e., how to implement a simple constitutional mandate.

The Washington Examiner noted recently that while the current Justice Department has launched a full-scale assault on state voter identification laws, multiple surveys show overwhelming support of such laws by Hispanics, on whose behalf the DOJ purports to act.

As part of a broad survey of Hispanic attitudes on a variety of political issues, the poll, conducted for the conservative group Resurgent Republic, asked a sample of 1,200 voters the following question: "As you may have heard, many states are considering laws that would require registered voters to present photo identification, such as a driver's license, in order to cast their vote. Do you support or oppose those laws?"

In Florida, 88 percent of those surveyed said they support the laws, while just ten percent oppose them. In Colorado 71 percent support the law, while 26 percent oppose, and in New Mexico, 73 percent support the law, while 25 percent oppose. In general, Hispanic voters in Colorado and New Mexico are more liberal than those in Florida. But strong majorities in all three states favor photo ID laws.

The overwhelming support for photo ID contrasts sharply with the intense opposition to such laws in the Justice Department, the Democratic party, and the civil rights establishment. In June, Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called voter ID laws the work of Republicans "who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally -- and very transparently -- block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic."

Liberal hysteria over voter identification is only the tip of the iceberg, however, and is merely an emotional attempt to divert attention from the real issue.  In view of the estimated 19 million illegal aliens in the United States, the more pertinent question would appear to be the identification of eligible voters.

The Constitution provides that citizens of the United States 18 years of age or older shall be allowed to vote in federal elections, but the Constitution otherwise leaves the eligibility of voters pretty much up to the states.  Some states, for example, provide that convicted felons lose their right to vote.  The key constitutional requirement, however, is that a voter must be a citizen of the United States.  There is nothing unique about this requirement, as every nation on the planet allows only its own citizens to vote.  With 19 million illegal immigrants in this country and an estimated 12 million green card holders, plus those here on non-immigrant visas, it is easy to see why we must safeguard that these 31 million-plus non-citizens do not vote in U.S. elections.

This seemingly simple legal principle was complicated by the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as the Motor Voter Law.  This law requires states to permit if not encourage voter registration when obtaining or renewing a driver's license or applying for social services.  There is no requirement for a registrant to prove citizenship.  As a result, there have been many instances of non-citizens voting illegally out of ignorance, since they were encouraged to register to vote.  There have also been instances of non-citizens intentionally voting illegally.  Without a photo ID requirement, these non-citizen registrants' names can easily be illegally used by others to vote.

This is an obvious flaw in the law.  What is the purpose of encouraging or offering voter registration to someone for whom it would be illegal to vote?  Some of the 9/11 hijackers had American driver's licenses.  Should they have been allowed to vote?  While many or most states now restrict driver's licenses to citizens or those who can prove they are here legally (even though they are not citizens), this still leaves huge potential for voter fraud.  Our laws must be amended accordingly.

We have federal elections every two years.  That is more than enough time to require every registered voter to re-register and prove his/her citizenship.  Many who oppose such will say this is in effect a poll tax, but it would not be.  While it is true that many who do not hold U.S. passports may need to acquire copies of their birth certificates at some nominal cost, we could simply provide that everyone may get one free copy and provide assistance to those who need it.  The same could apply to future new registrants. A current U.S. passport would suffice as proof of citizenship, as similar proof was required in order to obtain the passport.

Once citizenship is proven, a photo voter identification card should be issued to that effect.  The Motor Voter law could be amended to add proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, as is clearly mandated by the Constitution; however, it would be up to the states to implement procedures to clean up their respective voting lists.

There are many who will oppose such obviously needed steps, usually for political reasons.  Democrats believe that a majority of non-citizens vote or would vote for Democrats.  This may be a rather condescending and arrogant view, however, as evidenced by the polls cited by the Examiner.  Beyond all this, though, we must realize that voter identification laws are not a matter of politics; they are a simple matter of following our Constitution.  Even the liberal bent to refer to foreign laws will not help on this one.

To put the issue into perspective, it is submitted that any standalone bill to allow non-citizens to vote in our federal elections would stand no chance of passing; moreover, it is unlikely that any politician, regardless of political persuasion, would dare offer such legislation, as such an effort would be blatantly unconstitutional, not to mention unpopular.  Why, then, should a commonsense bill that cleans up this potential voting disaster not be introduced and passed?  Do we really want the risk of over 31 million illegal votes in our elections?  This is over 10% of our population (shown to be 308 million by the 2010 census).  Such a number could easily have decisive impacts on our commonly close elections.

In addition to the above, such enabling legislation should provide that any non-citizen who obtains or attempts to obtain such a citizen voter registration card shall be guilty of a felony and subject to immediate deportation with a lifetime bar to reentry to the U.S.  Anyone, citizen or not, who assists or conspires with anyone in such activity likewise shall be subject to felony treatment.

Our Constitution clearly states that only citizens may vote.  Such simple, commonsense legislation is not anti-immigration, but rather merely protective of our system of government.  It easily would have the overwhelming support of the American people and is desperately needed in today's America.  If anyone opposes preventing non-citizens from voting, let him make his case, but they must realize that it will take nothing less than a constitutional amendment to permit non-citizens to legally vote.

Voter identification requirements have been a source of contention for some time, despite increased evidence of voter fraud in recent elections.  Generally, the left opposes such requirements, and the right favors them.  As is usually the case, the left's position is based upon emotion, while the right's is more pragmatic -- i.e., how to implement a simple constitutional mandate.

The Washington Examiner noted recently that while the current Justice Department has launched a full-scale assault on state voter identification laws, multiple surveys show overwhelming support of such laws by Hispanics, on whose behalf the DOJ purports to act.

As part of a broad survey of Hispanic attitudes on a variety of political issues, the poll, conducted for the conservative group Resurgent Republic, asked a sample of 1,200 voters the following question: "As you may have heard, many states are considering laws that would require registered voters to present photo identification, such as a driver's license, in order to cast their vote. Do you support or oppose those laws?"

In Florida, 88 percent of those surveyed said they support the laws, while just ten percent oppose them. In Colorado 71 percent support the law, while 26 percent oppose, and in New Mexico, 73 percent support the law, while 25 percent oppose. In general, Hispanic voters in Colorado and New Mexico are more liberal than those in Florida. But strong majorities in all three states favor photo ID laws.

The overwhelming support for photo ID contrasts sharply with the intense opposition to such laws in the Justice Department, the Democratic party, and the civil rights establishment. In June, Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called voter ID laws the work of Republicans "who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally -- and very transparently -- block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic."

Liberal hysteria over voter identification is only the tip of the iceberg, however, and is merely an emotional attempt to divert attention from the real issue.  In view of the estimated 19 million illegal aliens in the United States, the more pertinent question would appear to be the identification of eligible voters.

The Constitution provides that citizens of the United States 18 years of age or older shall be allowed to vote in federal elections, but the Constitution otherwise leaves the eligibility of voters pretty much up to the states.  Some states, for example, provide that convicted felons lose their right to vote.  The key constitutional requirement, however, is that a voter must be a citizen of the United States.  There is nothing unique about this requirement, as every nation on the planet allows only its own citizens to vote.  With 19 million illegal immigrants in this country and an estimated 12 million green card holders, plus those here on non-immigrant visas, it is easy to see why we must safeguard that these 31 million-plus non-citizens do not vote in U.S. elections.

This seemingly simple legal principle was complicated by the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as the Motor Voter Law.  This law requires states to permit if not encourage voter registration when obtaining or renewing a driver's license or applying for social services.  There is no requirement for a registrant to prove citizenship.  As a result, there have been many instances of non-citizens voting illegally out of ignorance, since they were encouraged to register to vote.  There have also been instances of non-citizens intentionally voting illegally.  Without a photo ID requirement, these non-citizen registrants' names can easily be illegally used by others to vote.

This is an obvious flaw in the law.  What is the purpose of encouraging or offering voter registration to someone for whom it would be illegal to vote?  Some of the 9/11 hijackers had American driver's licenses.  Should they have been allowed to vote?  While many or most states now restrict driver's licenses to citizens or those who can prove they are here legally (even though they are not citizens), this still leaves huge potential for voter fraud.  Our laws must be amended accordingly.

We have federal elections every two years.  That is more than enough time to require every registered voter to re-register and prove his/her citizenship.  Many who oppose such will say this is in effect a poll tax, but it would not be.  While it is true that many who do not hold U.S. passports may need to acquire copies of their birth certificates at some nominal cost, we could simply provide that everyone may get one free copy and provide assistance to those who need it.  The same could apply to future new registrants. A current U.S. passport would suffice as proof of citizenship, as similar proof was required in order to obtain the passport.

Once citizenship is proven, a photo voter identification card should be issued to that effect.  The Motor Voter law could be amended to add proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, as is clearly mandated by the Constitution; however, it would be up to the states to implement procedures to clean up their respective voting lists.

There are many who will oppose such obviously needed steps, usually for political reasons.  Democrats believe that a majority of non-citizens vote or would vote for Democrats.  This may be a rather condescending and arrogant view, however, as evidenced by the polls cited by the Examiner.  Beyond all this, though, we must realize that voter identification laws are not a matter of politics; they are a simple matter of following our Constitution.  Even the liberal bent to refer to foreign laws will not help on this one.

To put the issue into perspective, it is submitted that any standalone bill to allow non-citizens to vote in our federal elections would stand no chance of passing; moreover, it is unlikely that any politician, regardless of political persuasion, would dare offer such legislation, as such an effort would be blatantly unconstitutional, not to mention unpopular.  Why, then, should a commonsense bill that cleans up this potential voting disaster not be introduced and passed?  Do we really want the risk of over 31 million illegal votes in our elections?  This is over 10% of our population (shown to be 308 million by the 2010 census).  Such a number could easily have decisive impacts on our commonly close elections.

In addition to the above, such enabling legislation should provide that any non-citizen who obtains or attempts to obtain such a citizen voter registration card shall be guilty of a felony and subject to immediate deportation with a lifetime bar to reentry to the U.S.  Anyone, citizen or not, who assists or conspires with anyone in such activity likewise shall be subject to felony treatment.

Our Constitution clearly states that only citizens may vote.  Such simple, commonsense legislation is not anti-immigration, but rather merely protective of our system of government.  It easily would have the overwhelming support of the American people and is desperately needed in today's America.  If anyone opposes preventing non-citizens from voting, let him make his case, but they must realize that it will take nothing less than a constitutional amendment to permit non-citizens to legally vote.