The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Photo ID provisions important to securing elections

Photo of Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
Former Speaker of the House

Millions of Americans board planes every month. On each occasion, they are asked to present a photo ID to gain entry into the gate. It’s a procedure we’ve come to accept for a little peace of mind so that air travel can be more secure.

To enter many office buildings, to cash a check or to even undergo a medical procedure, photo identification is also required. Having photo identification is an essential part of engaging in commerce in the 21st century.

Yet the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder see no reason to require a photo ID for Americans to carry out one of our most important civic duties: voting.

The Obama Justice Department has blocked a new South Carolina law that would compel residents to present a photo ID to cast a ballot. Seven other states also have adopted strict photo ID laws in an effort to prevent election fraud.

Any day now, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson will file suit against the Justice Department, asking the federal courts to overturn the Justice Department. South Carolina took the correct step to secure its own elections, particularly after a mayor in one of its cities was convicted in an election fraud scheme.

Instead of standing in the way of good government, the Obama administration should applaud efforts to bring integrity to South Carolina elections and elections in all states, especially as we enter 2012 and what will perhaps be a contentious election year.

South Carolina is among several states that have enacted voter ID laws in 2011. Mississippi voters just approved a voter ID requirement in November and are also awaiting Justice Department approval. Texas has also approved a voter ID law and is deciding whether to seek preclearance or sue the Justice Department to get the necessary approval.

Most Southern states are still governed by the 1960s-era Voting Rights Act when it comes to election laws. They must gain federal approval before enacting any changes to their election laws so as to ensure they are not discriminating against minorities.

But requiring a photo ID to vote is a common-sense security measure that helps ensure those without legal citizenship don’t vote, those with multiple homes or properties only vote once and that no one votes in place of another. Voters are harmed when illegal or fraudulent votes are cast, as they dilute or discount legitimate votes cast by honest Americans.

The arguments made by Holder are retreads of arguments which have already lost in court when the ACLU and others have sought to stop voter ID statutes in states such as Indiana and Georgia. There has not been a shred of evidence found that requiring photo identification disenfranchises minorities, as a photo ID is universally used by all Americans of all backgrounds in many other aspects of our lives.