Make All Voters Present a Photo ID

Dead people, felons and illegal aliens were given the go-ahead to vote in next Tuesday’s Georgia primary election after two disappointing court rulings yesterday invalidated the state’s new voter-identification law.

Georgia’s law, which required voters to show a photo ID, is just one example of a national movement to make sure non-citizens don’t commit voter fraud.  But as was the case yesterday in Georgia, Democrats, the ACLU and the NAACP have banded together to oppose these sensible measures.

At issue before U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy yesterday in Georgia was the ACLU’s argument that the new photo-ID law amounted to a poll tax on the poor and minorities. Murphy, who had previously ruled in favor of the ACLU and its allies, sided with them again, saying it was “sad” that the legislature had passed a law “tightening up access to the ballot.”

But contrary to Murphy’s ruling, Georgia lawmakers took into account the poll-tax argument by offering citizens without a driver’s license or passport a free Georgia voter-ID card.  However, that still didn’t pass Murphy’s test. (Georgia’s law also allowed voters to present a federal or state-issued ID card, a military ID card or a tribal ID card. No longer allowed were utility bills or bank statements.)

With states like Georgia and Arizona — where a similar case will be heard next week — grappling with the issue of photo-ID cards for voters, and facing possible reversal of their policies by activist liberal judges, Rep. Henry Hyde (R.-Ill.) has come up with a solution.

Hyde’s Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006 (H.R. 4844) would require anyone wishing to vote in a federal election to provide a valid photo ID.  Hyde’s bill was the subject a hearing before the House Administration Committee last month.

At the hearing, Chairman Vernon Ehlers (R.-Mich.) explained the need to require photo IDs from voters: “In most states, the process amounts to an honor system, failing to recognize that we cannot rely on the honor of those among us who are inclined to commit fraud. Especially in cases where the law has already been broken by individuals who choose to say in the United States illegally.”

Ehlers is right. As the number of illegal aliens in our country grows (it is already estimated to be between 11 million and 20 million), there is no justification for dithering on this issue.  For the sake of our democracy — and to make sure our elections are fraud-free — Congress should enact Henry Hyde’s bill and require voters show a photo ID when they cast their votes.