Tag Archives: Voter ID

No, We Don’t Need a National Voter ID Standard

Voter ID is good.  But that doesn’t mean national voter ID standards should follow.

 

We don’t need a national voter ID standard for the same reason we don’t need any other national voting standards: because the last thing we need, and the “worst thing that could happen to American elections is to give Washington D.C. more power, any more power.”

The power to mandate or standardize American voter ID laws is the same power that could one day ban all state use of Voter ID. That’s Constitutional law 101. . . . Republicans and election integrity advocates who want to awaken it – and promote national voter identification mandates or standards – would awaken a federal beast that could ultimately ban all state voter ID laws.

 

All across America, states are fighting the federal government so they may execute their Constitutional power to craft and uphold reasonable voter qualifications, especially where keeping non-citizens from casting ballots is involved.  Federal standards over elections are the dream of the institutional Left – and the nightmare of America’s Founders.

Why is it so important that voter ID standards remain a state, not a federal, decision?

Because decentralization of control over elections preserves liberty.

 

The Founders knew the danger of central authority.  They knew people in the future would welcome small trade-offs that undermine this ideal.  National voter ID, but no more!, they’ll say.  So goes the fallacy.

 

Central authority is a greater threat to the integrity of American elections than voter impersonation at the polls.  Even alien voting is a bigger threat to the integrity of American elections than voter impersonation at the polls – and voter ID does nothing to prevent that.

 

Frustration with voter fraud can make a quick fix look like the best fix.  A national voter ID standard is a quick fix that undermines the Constitutional order.  It also invites a dangerous counter-strike the next time the Democrats run the federal government – a federal ban on voter ID.  That’s an outcome I suspect nobody who cares about election integrity would want.  The answer is instead to pass good state voter ID laws, no matter how different each one looks.  That’s the American way.

North Carolina’s Democrat Gov. and AG try to stop SCOTUS review of voter ID case

North Carolina’s newly elected Democrat Governor and Attorney General are attempting to stop the state’s U.S. Supreme Court appeal to reinstate its voter ID law that was initiated by the previous governor, Republican Pat McCrory, but it’s not clear if their efforts to keep the election integrity measure blocked will work or are even legal.

 

Governor Roy Cooper and state Attorney General Josh Stein “sent a letter on Tuesday dismissing private attorneys who had been representing the state in an appeal of a ruling last year by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found key provisions of a 2013 elections law overhaul unconstitutional. . . . But state lawmakers countered that the private attorneys represent the state, not Cooper and Stein, making their move to discharge the attorneys invalid.”

Thomas Farr, a Raleigh attorney who has represented the lawmakers for several years in the elections law case, sent a letter to William McKinney, Cooper’s general counsel, arguing that neither the governor nor Stein have the authority to discharge him and others at his firm from the case and that he and others plan to continue in the case.

Regardless of efforts by Cooper and Stein, the State Board of Elections and its executive director and members continue to be parties to the case, and Republican General Assembly members who sponsored the legislation can petition to intervene in the case to continue the SCOTUS review process.

 

Republican House and Senate leaders were quick to criticize Cooper and Stein’s move to dismiss outside counsel representing the state in its bid to reinstate the law:

“Roy Cooper’s and Josh Stein’s desperate and politically-motivated stunt to derail North Carolina’s voter ID law is not only illegal, it also raises serious questions about whether they’ve allowed their own personal and political prejudices and conflicts of interest to cloud their professional judgment,” Phil Berger, the Rockingham County Republican who leads the Senate, and Tim Moore, the Cleveland County Republican at the head of the House, said in a joint statement.

In April 2016, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder upheld as constitutional all of North Carolina’s 2013 omnibus election-reform law known as the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA), which included a photo voter ID requirement.

“Iowa Poll: Majority support mandatory voter ID”

According to the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, 69 percent of Iowans think voters should have to present government-issued identification before casting a ballot.

 

A voter ID requirement is part of the Election Integrity Act proposed by Secretary of State Paul Pate and introduced in the Iowa House earlier this month.

It’s Time for Only Citizens to Vote in Texas

We need citizenship verification in voter registration.

 

The conviction of Texas resident and Mexican national Rosa Maria Ortega for illegally registering and voting multiple times is the latest proof of why we need more than just a check box to make sure that only eligible citizens are registering and voting in American elections.

 

In Texas, home to more than 4.5 million immigrants, lawmakers are again proposing legislation to verify the citizenship of Texans registering to vote. Other state legislatures are considering similar proposals to prevent non-citizens like Ortega from illegally participating in elections.

The Ortega case perfectly demonstrates the necessity of these bills. The voter registration process is one of the remaining aspects of elections that still rely on the honor system. . . .

The honor system failed with Ortega and is failing across America. Unfortunately, this problem was created by the Motor Voter law in 1993 which made the failing honor system federal law.

More than half of Texas immigrants come from Mexico, a country that already requires proof of citizenship to join the voter registry and a government-issued photo voter ID to cast a ballot.

The only people who will suffer from citizenship verification laws are ineligible non-citizens who try to vote in our elections.

 

Just electing a new President does not fix the problems with the integrity of our elections. Washington isn’t the solution when it comes to election integrity anyhow—nor should it be.

 

If Texas’ voters want to see free and fair elections, they must demand them from Austin.

The same applies to voters in every other state.

Why the North Carolina voter ID case matters

By hearing North Carolina’s voter ID appeal, the Supreme Court can stop the Left’s transformation of the Voting Rights Act into a partisan political weapon.

They may never admit it, but the civil rights industry is tired of spending millions of dollars only to lose most voter ID fights in court. Instead of declaring defeat, the strategy has shifted to changing the rules of engagement, and trying to transform the Voting Rights Act into something it isn’t. . . .

 

The civil rights industry, which includes swarms of career employees in the Justice Department, has been losing voter ID fights for the better part of a decade. . . .courts have acknowledged that such laws do not target minorities and are equally applied to all. It certainly does not hurt that federal judges are aware that polling shows how voter ID is more popular among poorer minorities than wealthy liberal whites.

 

Because voter ID is overwhelmingly popular, and because courts have largely supported it, they are trying to change what the Voting Rights Act means. They are trying to transform the law away from a protecting against real world disenfranchisement, to a statistical game that aims to protect Democratic political power. If an election theoretically has a disparate impact on Democrats, then the Voting Rights Act is violated.

 

They can press this ugly transformation of America’s most important civil rights law because they have spent 30 years stoking the flames of racial polarization and trying to make “black” synonymous with “Democrat.”

In April 2016, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a 485-page ruling dismissing all claims in the challenge to the state’s 2013 omnibus election reform bill that included voter ID, but in August the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling “by substituting its own version of the facts, even though appeals courts don’t see witnesses, and even though experts for the United States were found to be not credible. This difference between two courts was because of how the Voting Rights Act was read.”

Before the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that existing federal preclearance obligations were based on outdated justifications — an action in popular press falsely branded as “gutting the Voting Rights Act” — North Carolina was held to a standard of guilty-until-proven innocent any time that it wished to change even the slightest election procedure. . . .

 

North Carolina’s election laws are no longer supposed to be judged on those unconstitutional standards, thanks to Shelby. But that didn’t stop the court of appeals from using a bold new version of the Voting Rights Act that imported those obsolete standards. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the surviving provisions, requires real world causality, where someone actually suffers electoral defeat or denial of the right to vote. The law requires a real world “totality of circumstances” inquiry, not statistical games.

 

The dispute over how to read and enforce the most critical component of the Voting Rights Act has now landed on the Supreme Court’s doorstep. The Public Interest Legal Foundation and others have submitted briefs to support North Carolina’s request for a hearing on its voter ID law. The court of appeals transformed the Voting Rights Act into something it is not. In doing so, it converted the law into a raw partisan weapon that will be used to help Democrats.

North Dakota House easily passes voter ID bill

State legislatures around the country are busy passing election process reforms that make voting more secure, and in North Dakota – the only state that doesn’t require voters to register – a bill that revises the state’s voter ID law passed the House by a big margin.

Lawmakers are again considering changes to the state’s voter ID requirements after laws passed in the 2013 and 2015 were challenged in court. In September, a federal judge ordered the state to provide affidavits to voters who couldn’t provide a valid ID.

HB 1369 eliminates that affidavit provision for voters who don’t present an accepted form of ID and replaces it with a more secure provisional ballot option.

 

More than 16,000 ballots were cast using affidavits instead of ID the November 2016 election, a 55 percent increase over the 2012 election, and those affidavits are still in the process of being verified long after the ballots have been counted, the elections certified, and officials sworn into office and governing.

There were 5,005 affidavits filed in Cass County alone during the most recent election, according to information provided Thursday by DeAnn Buckhouse, the county’s election coordinator. Of those, 2,964 voters returned the postcard that acknowledged they executed an affidavit, but 86 of them listed a Minnesota residential address. A handful of others listed other states as their address, according to Buckhouse, and 1,837 have not been returned or verified.

The bill also raises the penalty for intentional voter fraud to a Class C felony. Democrat Rep. Mary Schneider called it “mean-spirited” to raise the penalty for voter fraud, though she claimed fraud doesn’t happen so it’s unclear to whom she thinks it’s mean.

 

But Republican Rep. Chris Olson cited the Cass County data on unverified and problematic affidavits used to cast ballots in last year’s election, adding that 102 affidavits were returned undeliverable and five people said they didn’t execute an affidavit. “If this isn’t a problem I don’t know what is.”

“Trump’s Gorsuch pick assures integrity of America’s elections process”

The rule of law is back in style:

 

And just in time. President Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who “considers the Constitution a document that limits the power of government, not as a mere suggestion to be argued around,” will join the Court as it is set to deliberate on a number of voting cases that will affect how states safeguard the integrity of their elections.

From voter ID to redistricting to obligations to keep clean voter rolls, the Court is primed to decide how we vote in the 21st century.

 

In an array of voter ID cases, the Court may decide if the treasured Voting Rights Act has morphed into a tool not to protect civil rights, but to protect the interests of Democrats.

 

North Carolina enacted measures designed to preserve the integrity of elections, including voter ID and limits on the registration of voters on Election Day before their eligibility could be verified. Newfangled theories of the Voting Rights Act led one appeals court to graft disparate impact tests onto the law that formerly required actual victims of racial discrimination in order to win a case.

 

That appeal is now moving toward an evenly divided Supreme Court — divided no more when Gorsuch is confirmed.

On election process issues like voter ID, verifying voter citizenship, maintaining clean voter rolls, and redistricting, “[w]hen it comes to how states run their own elections, Gorsuch should be refreshing.”

Arkansas House passes photo voter ID bill

The Arkansas legislature is on track to again pass a photo voter ID requirement.

 

On Tuesday, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed HB 1047, which amends Amendment 51 of the Arkansas Constitution by requiring voters to “provide verification of voter registration” in the form of one of several types of government-issued photo identification.

 

The verification requirement applies to both in-person voting and ballots cast by mail.

 

County clerks will continue to issue free voter verification cards to voters who don’t have an accepted form of photo ID, something Amendment 51 already requires.

 

Under HB 1047, a voter who doesn’t show ID will cast a provisional ballot that will be counted if the voter later presents identification or signs an affidavit that the voter can’t afford a photo ID or has a religious objection to being photographed.

 

The bill also allows county election boards to provide information on voters who fail to verify their registration to prosecuting attorneys, who may investigate for possible voter fraud.

 

The bill now heads to the Senate.

What’s next for Texas’ voter ID law?

A delayed district court hearing, deferred SCOTUS review, and the state’s 2017 legislative session may all impact the future of Texas’ photo voter ID law:

 

  • A federal district court in Corpus Christi still must determine if the voter ID law was enacted in 2011 with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters.
  • A hearing on the law’s intent, originally set for Tuesday, was pushed back to Feb. 28 to allow new Justice Department leaders in the Trump administration to determine how they want to proceed with the case.
  • The district judge’s ruling is expected to be appealed by the losing side, providing a path to return the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. “The issues will be better suited” for review at that time, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Monday.
  • The Texas Legislature could weigh in. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has designated passage of “photo voter ID” a priority this session. Legislation has not yet been filed but will be designated Senate Bill 5.

 

“Obama’s Final Whopper as President”

Now-former President Obama couldn’t resist a parting shot at election integrity laws like voter ID. A shot that, typically, was full of provocative rhetoric and simply not true:

At his final press conference, Obama promised that he would continue to fight voter-ID laws and other measures designed to improve voting integrity. The U.S. is “the only country among advanced democracies that makes it harder to vote,” he claimed. “It traces directly back to Jim Crow and the legacy of slavery, and it became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise.”

Not even close to being true. “Demonstrably false” in fact, as John Fund, who has written on the subject before, easily demonstrates:

All industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting. Britain was a holdout, but last month it announced that persistent examples of voter fraud will require officials to see passports or other documentation from voters in areas prone to corruption.

 

In 2012, I attended a conference in Washington, D.C., of election officials from more than 60 countries; they convened there to observe the U.S. presidential election. Most were astonished that so many U.S. states don’t require voter ID.

Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at The Heritage Foundation, is more blunt:

“It’s a complete and total lie… Every Western democracy requires ID — even South Africa … The exact opposite of what he said is true.”

A cursory look at our neighbors Canada and Mexico, which both require voters to show ID, puts the lie to Obama’s claim. But fact-free story-telling to drive a narrative was always more his style, and apparently will continue to be.