Monday, May 05, 2008

Ignorance About ID

This Saturday, the New York Post ran an editorial under the headline "Voter-ID Hysteria" about the Supreme Court decision in the restrictive Indiana voter ID law and the subsequent response, most notably by Senator Schumer.

Without analyzing the failings of the decision, which our colleague Justin Levitt does brilliantly here and here, it's worth noting that the Post's editorial makes the false point that (what they call) voter fraud is a widespread problem. That simply isn't the case. Levitt proves that the notion of voter fraud is itself a fraud in his report "The Truth About Fraud."

The most common forms of government-issued photo ID are a drivers license and a passport (the Indiana law requires a current, i.e., non-expired ID). We take for granted that everybody surely has a government-issued photo ID. But why would you have an ID, which costs money, if you didn't need one?

We take for granted that everybody owns a car. We take for granted that everybody travels on airplanes. At the same time, we take for granted that millions of Americans rely on public transportation. And, we take for granted that million of Americans are in poverty. We shouldn't take for granted the right of everybody--read: all U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age--to vote.

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