In 2010, a majority of Oklahoma voters approved a ballot measure requiring voters to show an approved ID before being allowed to vote. Supporters of the law claimed that it was needed to prevent voter fraud, but have never presented much evidence supporting the idea that this prevents any kind of known fraud.
Those opposed to the law spoke at length about how the law would disproportionately harm minorities, the elderly and the poor and be a barrier to their ability to cast a vote in elections.
Shortly after passing, the law was challenged by several Oklahoma voters in court. The question of standing, whether the person challenging the law has a reason to believe they are harmed by it, went all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. When reviewing the case, the Court ruled that Delilah Christine Gentges, the person challenging the law, does have standing to sue the state over it.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that a Tulsa County voter has legal standing to challenge the state’s Voter ID law.
The Supreme Court’s order sends the case back to Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis to decide Gentges’ challenge to the law, which requires voters to prove their identity before voting.
While the lawsuit is far from resolved, this is a major step in the attempt to overturn the law. Had the Court ruled that Gentges did not have standing to sue, then the case would have taken a major blow and would have had to start again with a new client or argument.
It will likely be several more years before this issue is completely resolved, but there are many other challenges across the US with many resulting in Voter ID laws being overturned. One recent case was in Pennsylvania, in which the court ruled that state’s law to be unconstitutional.
This will be a case to watch for all people who believe in free and fair elections.
In 2010, voters approved a ballot measure to require those voting to show proof of ID before being allowed to cast their ballot. A host of identification was listed as acceptable proof of identity with State issued drivers licenses, state issued ID cards and the voter registration card being among them. Yet, one Representative wants to take this a step further.
Representative Perryman, Democrat District 56, has introduced HB3150 that would require everyone who is a new voter or anyone seeking to change their registration to submit to both fingerprint imaging and photo in order to fully register. Under this legislation, these images would be stored in a database created and hosted by the State Election Board.
The legislation tries to sweeten the deal by making this imaging as an alternative to showing an ID card. So if you don’t want to show your ID or don’t have an ID card, then you can request your fingerprint to be scanned at the ballot box.
For those who are currently registered, the legislation states that the fingerprint and photo requirements are strictly voluntary, that is unless you move, change political affiliation or change your name. At that point, it is a requirement to get a new registration card.
For those who may be concerned about the privacy implications of this database, the legislation attempts to rectify this. The massive database of voter fingerprints, photos, birthdays, address and other personally identifiable information will only be made available to law enforcement if they have a “court order from a judge of competent jurisdiction.” We will be watching this bill closely.
In a letter to the editor, NewsOK reader Connor Bannon of Edmond responds to the recent editorial trying to defend Oklahoma’s Voter ID law using a North Carolina study. In this letter, Connor uses the evidence, or lack thereof, that Texas used in trying to justify its Voter ID law. Here is that letter in full:
Regarding “Overblown: N.C. study rebuts voter ID claims” (Our Views, July 25): Voter ID laws serve as clear examples of government solutions in search of nonexistent problems. Granted, the new laws don’t, as many on the left suggest, present an insurmountable challenge to individual voters. However, they do place an unnecessary burden upon many of our fellow citizens.
Voter fraud isn’t a problem that plagues any state. Consider the “prevalence” of voter fraud in Texas, a state that passed voter ID legislation similar to North Carolina’s. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot found that from 2002 to 2012, there were just 100 federal prosecutions and 50 state convictions for voter fraud. That would mean an average of 15 prosecutions and convictions per year. To put the number into context, Texas has a population of approximately 26 million and cast 7,962,799 votes in the 2012 election. This means voter fraud is committed, as a percentage of Texas votes, at a rate of 0.000188 percent, and as a percentage of the Texas population, 0.0000576 percent. The percentage of Americans struck by lightning annually is 0.000143 percent — greater than the occurrence of voter fraud as a percentage of Texans.
Once again, keep the letters rolling. We love reading them and love seeing them published.
Voter ID laws are a contentious issue throughout the US. Supporters of the laws insist that there is a valid interest in protecting elections from fraud, while opponents of the laws claim that it disenfranchises some at-risk voters. What supporters of the laws neglect to show is exactly what harm is being prevented with these laws. Since they cannot point to an actual problem the law addresses, they have instead taken upon themselves to marginalize the complaints raised by opponents. This marginalization comes in two facets, direct attacks on the people complaining and dismissing their concerns. In an editorial in NewsOK, they manage to do both.
In this editorial, NewsOK attempts to use a study from North Carolina as evidence that Voter ID laws would not negatively impact voters. However, they instead resort to attacks on opponents and dismissing evidence of potential harm.
Passage of voter identification laws in Oklahoma and elsewhere prompted an outcry from liberal partisans. Critics claimed the laws would somehow “rob” legitimate voters, mostly Democrats, of the right to cast a ballot. Those assertions were always dubious. In the modern world, who doesn’t have a photo ID?
As you can see, this editorial has completely disregarded the complaints before even getting to the actual message of the editorial. This opening statement paints the rest of the editorial in a very negative light. Continue reading →