Thank you for printing Al Sharpton’s Op-Ed article on the new voter ID laws.
If anyone remains skeptical about his argument, consider this: Last year, the Republican National Lawyers Assn. published a survey of voter fraud cases nationally from 2000 to 2010. The record shows about 400 fraud prosecutions among the hundreds of millions of votes cast. If that ratio were displayed in a pie chart, you wouldn’t even be able to see the slice representing the presence of voter fraud in American elections. Voter fraud cannot possibly be considered a threat to the integrity of our elections.
I am compelled to agree with Sharpton. These new voter ID laws do not advance democracy; they are intended to demolish it.
Producing a picture ID to vote is no less burdensome or a deterrent to fulfilling a fundamental right than showing an ID when appearing for jury service. Anyone who has been to a jury assembly room here in Los Angeles knows that all groups are represented; not one is disenfranchised.
On the other hand, maybe a new way of getting out of jury service is just to show up without a valid ID. I guess Sharpton may be on to something.
Sharpton doesn’t recognize how easy it is to steal a vote. Instead of decrying what a hardship it is for voters to get the “kind of IDs required,” he should put his efforts toward easing the process. He can start by telling voters who do not drive that they can easily get a non-license state photo ID from their local DMV.
It is not as difficult to get a photo ID as Sharpton says. Rather, it is just too much trouble for some people to take the time and make the effort to get one. Even without ID laws in place, about 40% of eligible registered voters usually don’t bother to show up to elect a president.
So instead of crying about Jim Crow, do something to help people obtain IDs, Rev. Sharpton. This is how we can best uphold everyone’s legal right to vote.