Thursday, July 26, 2012

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Voter ID Does Not Suppress Votes

The following op-ed article was written by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and appeared in the San Antonio Express-News on Thursday, July 26, 2012:

Some partisans use blustery rhetoric against Texas' voter ID law. But when viewed under a courtroom microscope — under oath — personal beliefs and opinions give way to the proven facts about voter ID: Voter fraud is real, voter ID doesn't suppress votes, and the U.S. Supreme Court has already approved voter ID as a legal, nondiscriminatory response to voter fraud.

As Texas' attorney general, I've prosecuted voter fraud across the state, including people who voted using dead people's names; a candidate who unlawfully registered ineligible foreign nationals to vote; a man who voted twice on Election Day; an election worker who attempted to vote for someone else with the same last name; and a person who used someone else's registration card to vote. In addition to the many cases my office has prosecuted, other county, state and federal authorities have handled countless voter fraud investigations.

The recent voter ID trial revealed even more disturbing voter fraud. Texas has more than 50,000 dead people registered to vote. Even worse, at least 239 dead people voted in the May election — 213 of them in person. State Sen. Tommy Williams testified that ballots have been cast for his long-deceased grandfather. A person even attempted to vote for an inmate.

State Reps. Jose Aliseda and Aaron Peña testified that South Texas is plagued with voter fraud. Rep. Aliseda also testified that non-citizens voted in Bee County elections. In the past year, hundreds of people who claimed they were non-citizens had to be removed from the voter rolls.

Voter ID critics turn a blind eye to illegal voting and instead rail against voter ID as discriminatory and disenfranchising. The facts prove otherwise. Opponents of voter ID were unable to produce a single Texan who would be unable to vote because of the voter ID law. States with voter ID laws have seen minority vote participation increase, not decrease. Texas makes it easy to comply with the law by providing a free photo ID to any eligible voter who doesn't have one. Also, voters who are disabled or older than 65 can vote by mail — so they can vote without a photo ID.

Even the star witness hired to testify against Texas' voter ID law agrees that photo ID laws prevent “almost no one” from voting and has stated that the voting rights concerns raised by partisans who oppose voter ID laws are “overblown.” That star witness also agrees that comparing voter ID laws to Jim Crow and poll tax laws is unjustified.

Just four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that voter ID laws are nondiscriminatory and perfectly constitutional. The high court held that even in states unable to prove voter impersonation, voter ID laws are justified by the need to protect the integrity of the election process. The court emphasized that the inconvenience of gathering all the required documents, going to the department of motor vehicles, and posing for a photo is simply not an infringement on the right to vote.

Voter ID laws do not prevent legal votes. Instead, they ensure legal votes are not diluted by illegal ones. Fraudulent voting must be stopped, and voter ID laws will help us stop it.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/commentary/article/Voter-ID-does-not-suppress-votes-3735206.php#ixzz21l8VSQ6g