Strong words from two Hamilton County commissioners failed to move their colleagues who voted 7-2 against a resolution asking the county’s legislative delegation to overturn the new voter ID law. Commisioners Greg Beck and Warren Mackey offered to amend the resolution to ask the state to exempt people 55 and older from the new law that requires a state-approved photo ID to vote, effective January 2012. The commissioners said conversation from last week’s agenda session convinced them the resolution would not pass as it was.
“At least suggest (the 55 age exemption),” Mackey said. “So many elderly don’t drive anymore. I understand we do want to protect the sacred ballot against fraud. But I’ll ask the question again, when was the last time in Hamilton County we have heard of anyone trying to commit voter fraud.” Beck said he would support a change. He likened the law’s effect on voters to that of foreign dictators. He talked about why America went to Iraq and the role of elections in that country’s future.
“So much human resources and money were put into ensuring another country could have the right to vote, then our people come home and find their grandparents have problems going to the polls to vote here,” Beck said. “There has been $700 billion spent so far in Iraq.” He read from a United Natuibs report on the reconstruction of the Iraq government.
“Elections have the potential for restoration of peace and stability in Iraq, as well as conveying legitimacy on the new transitional government … it must represent a broad and diverse cross-section of Iraqi society as much as possible,” he read. “The election process must seek to gain the greatest inclusiveness and transparency as possible, offering the widest opportunity for Iraqis to participate as voters and candidates.”
Beck said that elections in America, in Hamilton County, should have the same goals. He said the photo ID requirement puts obstacles in the way of citizens’ rights to vote.