Dear Editor:What do the following have in common?Complete a federal I-9 employment form. Buy cold medicine containing Pseudoephedrine. Replace a lost Social Security card. Receive welfare or medical assistance benefits. Hotel check-in. Check cashing. Open a bank account. Commercial airline flight. Visitor entrance to most public and private schools. Alcohol or tobacco purchases.The answer is: All require the presentation of a valid photo ID.So, when opponents of voter ID laws refer to the millions of people who will be denied the right to vote, I ask, “how are these folks functioning in society without a photo ID?”The TWI’s opposition to voter ID requirements relies more on emotion than fact. Framing its opposition around an elderly local woman who doesn’t have a photo ID (who thus, we are told, will become a disenfranchised voter) and the limited hours at the Honesdale motor vehicle office, TWI builds a case strong on emotion and weak on facts.First, voter fraud exists. In Minnesota, 177 people have been convicted — not charged, but actually convicted — of fraudulently voting in the 2008 Senate race between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman. Another 66 are awaiting trial. That’s 243 votes in an election that went from Coleman by 765 votes to Franken (after legal antics) by 312 votes. Many illegal voters were felons, who voted overwhelmingly Democrat.The Minnesota fraud may be higher — over 1,000 — as conviction requires proof of both ineligibility and knowingly voting anyway. Someone saying “I didn’t know” won’t be convicted. Nearly 3 million people voted in that election.Second, research shows that voter ID laws actually increased voter activity — including among minorities — in the eight states that have such laws.For example, from 2004 to 2008 in Indiana, the number of blacks voting doubled from 2004 to 2008 and registration among Democrats increase 8.3 percent. Georgia saw Democrat turnout increase more than 6 percent in 2008. Research by the University of Delaware and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, found similar outcomes.Voter ID laws use a document that is already required for become to carry out routine federal, state and local actions. The law will improve, not hinder, voting.Steve FountainHonesdale
To Pennsylvania Republicans hoping a new voter ID law will tip the state in their favor this fall, Democrats offered a retort today: your efforts may drive more left-leaning voters to the polls.
Keystone State Democrats gathered here for the party’s national convention insisted that the voter ID law is sparking a “backlash” that will actually benefit Pres. Barack Obama come November. Though the majority of the 750,000 voters said to be affected by the law are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents, the measure threatens to galvanize potentially disenfranchised voters and liberals across the state.
“People are angry,” said State Sen. Vincent Hughes, a Democrat who represents a heavily black district in West Philadelphia. “Churches are mobilizing activity. I had the largest church congregation in Philadelphia on Sunday stop people from entering church … so that folks understand the significant impact of what’s happening. It is creating a significant backlash. It is creating a level of energy, excitement and anger.”