Editorial: Smile for the camera

A ma­jor­ity of the Amer­ic­an people tend to sit on their hands every elec­tion day. The num­ber of non-voters is stag­ger­ing and pathet­ic; per­haps some day they will wake up and ex­er­cise their duty faith­fully and di­li­gently. The people who do vote, however, should be lim­ited to one vote per per­son. After all, “one man, one vote” is in the Con­sti­tu­tion.

And that’s why the brouhaha over state le­gis­la­tion that would re­quire voters to show a val­id photo iden­ti­fic­a­tion when they go to the polling booths is much ado about noth­ing.

The law would not im­pose an un­due bur­den. It would simply re­quire them to present a val­id photo ID — typ­ic­ally a driver’s li­cense — at the polls. If they don’t have one, they can get one from the gov­ern­ment, for free.

Iden­tity theft is per­vas­ive, and voter fraud is one branch of it. Crit­ics say the fre­quency of voter fraud — in which people not eli­gible to vote do vote, or when an in­di­vidu­al casts mul­tiple votes — is too low to jus­ti­fy the ex­pense of es­tab­lish­ing a photo ID sys­tem. The crit­ics are dead wrong. Even a single fraud­u­lent vote is one too many.

Much of the op­pos­i­tion to voter ID comes from people who think the meas­ure is merely an ef­fort by the Re­pub­lic­an Party to de­ter and frus­trate would-be Demo­crats from vot­ing for Pres­id­ent Obama in Novem­ber.

Even if that is the Re­pub­lic­ans’ ul­teri­or motive, voter ID is a good idea. Op­pon­ents want to kill the mes­sage (clean elec­tions) just be­cause they don’t like the mes­sen­ger (Re­pub­lic­ans), and that is just plain wrong.

Noth­ing is more fun­da­ment­al to demo­cracy than hon­est, fair elec­tions. ••

Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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