Jake Curtis and Jason Kohout: Voter ID law is good for democracy

commentary
2012-02-06T00:30:00Z Jake Curtis and Jason Kohout: Voter ID law is good for democracyBy Jake Curtis and Jason Kohout La Crosse Tribune
February 06, 2012 12:30 am  • 

In passing the Voter Photo ID Law, the Wisconsin Legislature finally began to address the problem of voter fraud in our state.

When implemented, it will make it significantly more difficult to fraudulently vote. Importantly, it ends the perception that our elections can easily be manipulated.

The evidence is that voter fraud is real. The Milwaukee Police Department conducted a thorough investigation of irregularities in the November 2004 general election and concluded that there was a “strong possibility” that there is “an illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of an election in the State of Wisconsin.”

Officers found that 4,600 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots. The police found that nonresidents and transient college students improperly cast ballots and others voted multiple times.

Four years later, two ACORN workers pled guilty to registering each other to vote multiple times. Wisconsin’s very lax voter verification requirements (prior to the Voter Photo ID Act) mean that voter fraud may be understated.

The Voter Photo ID Act combats these problems by simply requiring photo identification to vote. The act provides for free state-issued IDs for indigent voters and a host of other provisions to ensure citizens can comply with the law.

Wisconsin’s voter ID law was passed, signed and is scheduled to be implemented in the Feb. 21 primary. Finding themselves on the wrong side of popular opinion, the democratic process, and common sense, 22 Wisconsin Democrat legislators resorted to issuing press releases demanding review. Their special interest group allies, predictably, filed lawsuits.

As much as the ACLU and liberal special interest groups try to convince us hyperbolic press releases should take the place of sound legal reasoning, rational Wisconsinites know better. The lawsuit filed in Madison makes the specious argument that the law amounts to a “poll tax.” The lawsuit argues that a requirement to show ID (required to check out library books and a hundred other daily tasks) is the same as Jim Crow disenfranchisement.

Requiring voters to show identification is not a poll tax. So says common sense and the U.S. Supreme Court. Wisconsin’s Voter Photo ID law is clearly constitutional under the federal Constitution (a fact opponents tacitly acknowledge by bringing suit in Wisconsin court).

Instead, the Supreme Court has recognized the danger of lax election regulation and has repeatedly stated that the presence of voter fraud dilutes the votes of legal voters and

therefore robs citizens of their fundamental Constitutional right to democratic participation.

Arguments began last week in the first lawsuit challenging the Wisconsin voter ID law. Hopefully, Wisconsin courts who hear these cases will acknowledge the evidence of vote fraud in our state and uphold the Voter Photo ID law as a legitimate electoral reform to prevent election fraud and the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

Jake Curtis and Jason Kohout are attorneys and leaders in the Wisconsin chapter of the Republican National Lawyers Association.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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