Republican Rep. Bryan King won committee approval this morning for a bill to require a photo ID to vote. It's a growing Republican effort, nominally in the name of fighting voter fraud, but mostly to discourage minority voting.
Graham Catlett, representing the ACLU, opposed the bill. He said it would serve to disenfranchise older, poor and minority voters. Many don't have vehicles to reach a place to get an ID. He said existing laws are sufficient to prevent voter fraud and proseuctions prove that the law is enforced. He noted that a photo ID does nothing to guard against fraud on mail ballots.
If a bill is to be approved, he said, there needs to be a state agency that's widely available for issuance of voter IDs around the state. He noted the bill didn't require county clerks to have the means to do ID issuance. The bill also makes no effort to provide a publicity campaign to inform people of the change.
Rep. Ed Garner, as is his custom, threw up a wild red herring, the example of a man from Jamaica who tried to vote in an election he observed by producing a utility bill. What Ed Garner didn't answer was whether the man was a registered voter. To be registered, you must produce proof of citizenship. To vote, you must be registered. What Garner said was, in other words, irrelevant.
HOW MUCH VOTER FRAUD IS THERE? Not much, by all indications. Attempting to register under a fictitious name, please remember, is NOT voter fraud. Certainly not when prevented. Here's an interesting article on the subject after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the groundbreaking ID law from Indiana Republicans, essentially on the strength of a SINGLE fraudulent vote. Bud Cummins is quoted.