30 April 2008

Voter ID Law Upheld

It’s good to hear that there is common sense on the US Supreme Court. This week, the Court upheld a voter ID law in my home state of Indiana. The law requires voters to show some form of government ID prior to voting. If that can’t be accomplished, a person can fill out a provisional ballot and come back within ten days with a valid ID. What’s more, Indiana offers free picture IDs for folks who don’t drive. It seems like a no-brainer. Six of the Supreme Court justices thought it was a no-brainer as well.

While dissenting views on the court claimed that voter the ID law would, according to Justice Souter, “[deter] poorer residents from exercising the franchise.” I guess he didn’t hear the whole free picture ID portion of the case. Justice Souter also claimed that “[a] state may not burden the right to vote merely by invoking abstract interests, be they legitimate, or even compelling”. I’m not sure where the right to vote comes from. I don’t believe there is one. Be that as it may, having a valid ID is not a burden for anyone, regardless of income, education level, or age. Considering it a burden is itself invoking a disputable, abstract concept – the idea that it is the burden of the state to prove a voter is who he says he is.

There is no right to vote. Voting is both a privilege and a responsibility. It is far from unreasonable to expect citizens to bear the responsibility of proving they are who they claim to be in order to exercise their voting privilege. Thankfully, six of the nine Supreme Court Justices judged the Indiana voter ID law in the same manner.

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