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What About This…? 5.15.2014

By Wayne William Cipriano

The other day I heard a guy say that there was absolutely no logical argument that opposes the require­ment that voters show picture iden­tification in order to cast a ballot during an election. He said, “they require a picture ID to drive a car, cash a check, etc., etc., there isn’t any difference, right?” Of course, he was wrong.

Like all questions, if there wasn’t a logical argument on both sides, there wouldn’t even be a question.

In this case let us put aside the real reasons some groups support picture ID requirement and other groups oppose it. Those groups certainly have logical arguments, but they are so very unseemly. Let us consider the arguments those groups say drive their positions.

First, however, the question of need. Voting, according to our con­stitution, and therefore our courts, is far more important than driving a car, cashing a check, etc. Allowing those who should not vote, or pre­venting those who should, is so important that it surpasses those more mundane actions that require picture ID, does it not? We may consider driving or having cash more important than voting but the courts do not.

This question revolves around the effects on our elections. And it asks which does more damage to the accuracy of the electoral process, the voter fraud committed by those who are allowed to vote illegally because no picture ID is required, or those legitimate voters who are prevented from voting because they have no picture ID when one is required.

Let’s forget the question about how easy it is to obtain a valid ID for a legitimate voter or how easy it is for an illegitimate voter to obtain a fraudulent one.

Of course, if there is little or not voter fraud occurring the question disappears –– why correct a defect that does not exist? And if we insist on doing so, how many legitimate voters would lose the franchise because they forgot their IDs, lost them, didn’t get one because they could not prove their legitimacy, were angry that their right to vote was being infringed, couldn’t afford a picture ID, didn’t know how to get one, etc.?

If we find significant voter fraud, correct it by picture ID requirement, and understand some legitimate voters will be denied access to the polls, we encounter a mathematical problem: how can we be sure that exactly the same number of both illegitimate and legitimate voters will be denied such that the election outcome will be “correct”, and simply effected by the picture ID requirement? And that all those denied voted in a counterbalancing manner? We in Douglas County have often seen how even a few votes, sometimes only one, can effect our elections.

So, is there voter fraud? Does it exist in sufficient quantity to require attention? Will picture IDs prevent such fraud? Will a picture ID requirement effect elections exactly equally or skew the outcomes due only to the requirement and not the candidates nor the issues?

And, by the way, what about the idea that suggests that everyone effected by an election should have a say – a vote? What about all that “no taxation without representation” stuff?

No doubt there are several points that I have missed and facets I have ignored, but you cannot say there are no logical arguments. And yet, how important are any of them when only ten or fifteen percent of the eligible voters attend our elections – but, then again, with so few voters, would not illegitimate voters who are allowed to vote or legitimate voters who are prevented have an even more magnified effect on our elections?

There are indeed logical argu­ments here, aren’t there?