Photo ID requirement a reasonable request

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Coming on the heels of a massively successful November election by the GOP, nearly half the states -- including Missouri -- are offering legislation to mandate some form of photo ID for voting. This has long been an agenda item for conservatives.

The conservative legislators say the photo ID rules will eliminate any prospect of voter fraud and restore voter confidence in the election process. The Democrats argue the photo ID requirement would disenfranchise poor and minority voters -- who traditionally vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Both arguments are right, with one exception. To disenfranchise a voter you must first place an unrealistic barrier in their path. A simple photo ID falls woefully short of any false claim of disenfranchising anyone.

Minority legislators are aghast at the prospect that some voters would be forced to return to the "Jim Crow" era where poll taxes and literacy tests kept many black voters from the polls.

But that argument falls flat on several levels. States are forming countless options for voters to assure that they can vote easily, as long as there is some minimal proof that they are indeed eligible to vote.

But Democrats want no responsibility on the part of the voter to play a role in any election. The Democrats want no checks and balances on the election process because the overwhelming number of those who will opt not to vote instead of proving their identity are among their followers.

But why can we not be honest on this issue? We dance around the disenfranchisement issue and the voter fraud issue when it all boils down to personal responsibility and accountability.

Some voters want the right to vote without one single aspect of responsibility on their part. They will not take one simple step toward obtaining or presenting a photo ID because that takes effort.

When the question of photo IDs is asked, a strong majority favor the idea. Common sense tells you that if a photo ID is required for so many other aspects of our lives, then it just makes sense to make the same requirement for something as important as our electoral process.

And why is it that only Democratic voters would be disenfranchised? What makes it more difficult for Democrats to carry a simple photo ID when voting than for Republicans?

Few would favor any action that would make it more difficult to vote. But many favor some small level of responsibility to be attached to assure confidence in our voting outcome.

If Democratic voters can take the time to vote, why do they not make the same effort to display a photo ID during that process?

Democrats need to stop talking of barriers and disenfranchisement and instead teach their voters to obey the rules like everyone else.

Oops! Obeying the rules is the first step toward personal responsibility. Now I understand the Democratic argument.

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