The arrest warrants for nine people in Wake County charged with felonies for voting twice in the 2008 election were barely dry when the state Republican Party came to its fanciful conclusion that its stymied campaign for requiring photo identification of all voters would have thwarted these people. The problem is, it wouldn’t have.
Wake District Attorney Colon Willoughby (yes, a Democrat) says voter IDs would have made no difference in these cases. This was about people voting twice, perhaps by absentee and then at the polls. And it should be noted that nine people were charged, and that’s out of a huge 2008 turnout. There were more voter fraud cases statewide than usual in that year, more than 200, out of over 4 million votes cast.
Which is to say, nine is not many, and there probably would have been nine with or without voter ID.
Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed voter ID after it cleared the Republican-controlled General Assembly. An attempt to override the veto fell short in the state House, but the issue remains alive. Republicans know that a voter ID requirement would inconvenience the elderly and others who may not drive, many of them lower-income people who might be inclined to vote Democratic. Their motivation is the same as their attempts to curb early voting and straight-ticket voting, both of which have proved popular with Democrats.
Requiring a voter ID may not be up there with the poll taxes that once were used to intimidate and impede minority voters, but it would be in the same philosophical hemisphere.
Republican reasoning is transparent, and despite occasional arrests that show authorities are on the ball and that methods are in place to catch cheaters and to prevent duplicate votes from being counted, voter fraud is not a significant problem. This matter should drop.