House Judiciary Committee Throws a Spanner into Voter ID
Chairman Lally and the House Judiciary Committee have voted to hold Bill H 5097 “AN ACT RELATING TO ELECTIONS – VOTER IDENTIFICATION” over “for further study”. The vote to do so was thirteen to one; the one “nay” was Rep Rod Driver.
What aspect of this concept might still need to be studied?
Let’s see, there’s the question of necessity.
The lack of a photo ID system creates the perception of voter fraud, shakes voter confidence and leads to lack of voter participation
Some of us would have stated the case a little more strongly than Secretary of State Mollis in 2007 by omitting the words “the perception of” and by appending a long list of instances of voter fraud, including here in Rhode Island. Excessive tact aside, does the Committee disagree with the substance of the Secretary’s statement?
Secondly, the potential that a financial burden might be placed on the voter by this new law. Ah, but Section 2(a) of the bill stipulates that
voter identification cards will be issued upon request, and at no expense to the voters …
… to provide voter identification cards to those voters who do not possess the identification listed in subdivision (a)(1) and (2) above.
Thirdly, constitutionality. But surely the Committee would be pleased to learn that the US Supreme Court settled that issue last year in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board when they affirmed the State of Indiana’s voter identification law. In the main opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote
The application of the statute to the vast majority of Indiana voters is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process
Necessity, cost, constitutionality – fully studied and answered. Why wasn’t this bill given the green light to be voted on by the full House? Doesn’t Rhode Island’s electoral process deserve the same “integrity and reliability” as Indiana’s?