What A Crock!

Laura Sanchez
2 min read
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A recent study blows large holes in arguments for photo IDs for voters. Last year the City Council passed a bill, sponsored by Republican Councilor Sally Mayer, to put a measure on the ballot requiring voters to present a photo ID in municipal elections. The measure passed. Among others, Councilor Michael Cadigan objected that the bill required IDs for those voting at polling places but not for people voting by absentee ballot.

Currently, several similar laws around the country are facing litigation. The Albuquerque ACLU brought suit against the local law. An Oct. 11,2006 USA Today article says a preliminary report compiled for the U S. Election Assistance Commission finds little evidence of polling-place fraud that is the supposed reason for Republican-sponsored photo ID laws. Barry Weinberg, a former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s civil rights division reviewed the report. Weinberg said, "Fraud at the polling place is generally difficult to pull off. It takes a lot of planning and a lot of coordination."

The authors of the report say that most fraud occurs in the absentee ballot process by means of coercion or forgery. Conservatives objected to the report, so the Commission has decided not to release it. (Surprise, Surprise.)

Opponents of the laws say, besides unequal treatment for those voting absentee versus those voting at polling places, the laws fall unfairly on low income and minority voters. One challenger of the Arizona photo ID law testified that thousands of Navajos would lose their voting rights. Leonard Gorman said many of his fellow Navajo spent their lives in remote places, did not drive, or have mailboxes or even utility bills. Navajo tend to vote Democratic.
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