Voter IDs: Pros and Cons

by Bob Wilson / September 1, 2006
Original on OpEdNews
Bob Wilson is a Coordinator and Executive Board member for Election Defense Alliance, and chairman of the Cook County branch of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.

Here's today's editorial supporting photo voter IDs in Illinois, along with my response to the Belleville News-Democrat.
Why not chip in with some thoughts of your own? Our News Release of 8-22-2006 is attached for some thought starters. The $922,000 is from a previous BN-D article last September about how Delaney praised the Fidlar (Diebold) sales rep for helping him select the Diebold AccuVote TSx. The no disabled voters used the machines is from a BN-D editorial this March after the primary. The estimates are my own from U.S. Census and voter regisration data. See here for the original story on Ron Stephens' (R-102nd) press conference to announce his intention to introduce Voter ID legislation in the General Assembly.

E-mail: letters [at] bnd [dot] com / Sound-off: (618) 239-2799 / Mail: Letters: Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 / Or even better - call County Clerk Bob Delaney's office: (618) 277-6600 Ext. 2380.

A simple way to protect votes
Belleville News-Democrat Editorial / August 24, 2006

It's an idea so basic to the integrity of elections, we're surprised Illinois doesn't already do it: Require voters to produce a photo ID at the polls. State Rep. Ron Stephens, a Republican, was in Belleville this week stumping for its passage. Amazingly, his Democratic colleagues in Springfield have bottled up this legislation for three years now.

It's difficult to believe that anyone could anyone oppose an idea that would improve the public's confidence in the election process. Then again, this is Illinois, the state that made famous the saying, "Vote early and vote often." Guess Democrats don't want to do anything that might prevent that from happening. They're always looking for ways to get more people registered, but balk at ideas that ensure it's one vote per person.

There are exceptions. Bob Delaney, the St. Clair County clerk, said he supports the legislation. His election judges will ask for IDs at the polls this November, although for now compliance will be voluntary.

But more typical of Democrats is John Kurowski, the attorney for the East St. Louis election board. He trotted out the liberal line requiring IDs could disenfranchise the poor and minorities.

Please, how many people in the metro-east don't have a driver's license or some other government-issued ID card? Six, 20, 100? For those few registered voters who don't have an ID, someone can go to their house and take their picture.

Providing IDs for the few who don't have them makes a lot more sense than leaving our precious right to vote vulnerable to election fraud.

A Response to the Editor

From: Bob Wilson / To: letters [at] bnd [dot] com / Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2006 / Subject: Voter Photo ID


How many voters don't have a photo ID in St.Clair County? Based on a state-wide estimate, approximately 570,000 or about 11% of Illinois voters don't have a photo ID. This is consistent with other states where estimates range from 5% to as high as 14%. The proof of the pudding of course is that a significantly higher percentage of voters don't have a photo ID in predominantly poor and black neighborhoods, thus making the ID requirement unduly burdensome on the poor, elderly and disabled. We estimate, for example that the number of voters without ID in St. Clair County and East St. Louis at approximately 9.3 percent of the 170,000 registered voters or about 15,800, far from the six, 20 or 100 you estimate.

Your idea of providing such IDs at no cost, even if the proposed statute were to be found constitutional, has some merit. After all, County Clerk Bob Delaney's office could perform this service. Even if it cost $5 to provide a photo ID, that would be less than $80,000, certainly a better use of taxpayer dollars than the $922,000 his office spent on touch-screen voting devices that not one single disabled voter used in the March 21st primary. Come to think of it, why not pull the plug on the unsecure, unreliable and inaccurate touch-screen voting machines and send someone out with a ballot to the homes of he disabled? After all, how many can there be, six, 20, 100?

Bob Wilson
Chairman, Cook County Chapter
Illinois Ballot Integrity Project
wilson [at] ballot-integrity [dot] org