Photo Voter ID laws in Illinois? To accomplish this, Illinois voters would have to change leadership in the Illinois House and Senate. The current leadership has buried all related legislative outreaches in House and Senate sub committees. To make this leadership change, in 2012, concerned citizens should identify candidates who support Photo Voter ID legislation and support their campaign.
Observing the development across the country on Photo ID, it is clear that nation-wide there is a trend towards requiring photo ID. This legislation is standing the test in the courts. Yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor reported that efforts in Pennsylvania to get an injunction against the GOP backed Voter ID Bill were unsuccessful.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said he wouldn't grant an injunction that would have halted the law requiring each voter to show a valid photo ID. Opponents are expected to file an appeal within a day or two to the state Supreme Court as the Nov. 6 presidential election looms.
The Republican-penned law — which passed over the objections of Democrats — has ignited a furious debate over voting rights as Pennsylvania is poised to play a key role in deciding the presidential contest in November. Opponents had asked Simpson to block the law from taking effect in this year's election as part of a wider challenge to its constitutionality.
Republicans defend the law as necessary to protect the integrity of the election. But Democrats say the law will make it harder for the elderly, minorities, the poor and college students to vote, as part of a partisan scheme to help the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, beat Democratic Obama.
The fundamental rationale for photo voter ID obviously is based on security. Without ID, In Illinois, the ability of election judges to confirm voter identity is based solely on signature comparisons. Illinois voters do not even have to prove they know their own address.
However, the decision in Pennsylvania is not based on security. The legal standing essentially is that it is not an unreasonable requirement to ask voters to identify themselves and states have the right to set election related laws. Further, Pennsylvania has numerous programs in place to assure voters without ID can get special voter ID's.
Simpson didn't rule on the full merits of the case, only whether to grant a preliminary injunction stopping it from taking effect.
The original rationale in Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature for the law — to prevent election fraud — played little role in the case before Simpson since the state's lawyers acknowledged that they are "not aware of any incidents of in person voter fraud." Instead, they insisted that lawmakers properly exercised their latitude to make election-related laws when they chose to require voters to show widely available forms of photo identification.
In Illinois, voters do not present ID to vote on Election Day. Voter ID is not required to vote absentee. Signature comparisons are used for Election Day and absentee voting. In grace period voting, the voter registers at the same time they vote. Photo ID is not required to register to vote.
Illinois voters who vote at early voting sites across the state are required to show Photo ID to early vote. Illinois law requires early voters display valid photo identification before receiving a ballot. A current driver’s license, state-issued ID card, university/college ID or another government-issued ID with a photograph are all valid ID's.
As is so often the case with security, voter security is not based on security protocols. It is based on politics. From a strict security perspective, photo ID is not an unreasonable expectation of voters provided that this Photo ID is easily available and free, and that voters who do no have the ID can still cast a provisional ballot which will be counted when their identity is confirmed. Photo Voter ID would not remove all voter fraud, but it is one simple measure that increases election security significantly.
Election fraud demoralizes the voting electorate because it diminishes the value of each authentic vote. Voter disenfranchisement is more complex then a simple voter who shows up without ID to cast a vote. How many people do not cast a vote because they are so convinced that the integrity of the election in question? I would love to see a poll measuring this critical factor in election turnout.