Monday, September 19, 2005

Even President Jimmy Carter Supports Photo ID Requirement

Source: Republican Party of Wisconsin

A new report from the Commission on Federal Election Reform advocates making it a nationwide requirement for voters to show a photo ID at the polls. The commission, led by former president Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, says the country’s election system still suffers from poor management, despite changes that were made under the Help America Vote Act of 2002. According to their report, a photo ID would provide consistency in voting requirements from state to state and would ensure that a person who votes is who they say they are.

“Wisconsin could have already been ahead of the game on cleaning up elections if Jim Doyle got serious with reform and signed one of the photo ID bills that have been presented to him three times in the last two years,” said Rick Graber, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “Unfortunately, he continues to disenfranchise legal voters by ignoring the issue.”

The commission’s report is released on the heels of a report issued last week by Wisconsin’s Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) that found glaring errors and cases of abuse in the state’s election system. According to the LAB report, in the November 2004 elections, 98 felons may have voted, 2 individuals may have voted twice, 1 voter may have been underage and 4 absentee ballots from people who died before Election Day were counted. These problems were found in six Wisconsin cities alone. In addition, most municipalities don’t have proper procedures in place to prevent felons from voting, and there are significant problems with voter registration lists and address verification cards.

“When you compile the cases of fraud and mismanagement within the system with the fact that the elections in 2000 and 2004 were decided by a narrow thin margin, people have reason to lose faith in the process,” said Graber. “The photo ID bill has bi-partisan support and addresses all of the concerns Doyle had with photo ID. Now we even have a national report echoing our plans for reform.”

The commission’s report calls for states to provide IDs at no cost to people who cannot afford them and urges states to make it easy for non-drivers to obtain photo ID cards. Senate Bill 42, the latest version of photo ID the legislature passed, provided the same measure and also had a provision to prevent felons from voting.

Doyle has said a photo ID requirement would disenfranchise the votes of poor and elderly. However, the commission states that adopting a uniform voter ID card would protect minorities better from varying voting requirements at polling places.

“Doyle should follow the lead of President Carter and the commission,” said Graber. “Our system is in disarray. We need to restore the confidence of voters and protect our sacred right to vote.”