Americans will cease arguing over the federal Voting Rights Act and its intricacies — oh, I imagine around the time Texas starts exporting ground water to Minnesota, or the Lord returns to judge the quick and the dead. Mandatory voter ID laws passed by Republican legislatures in Texas, Arkansas, and Wisconsin have been under legal assault by Democrats. A lower federal court order expanding statewide early voting and same-day registration in Ohio got overturned by the Supreme Court — which had before it, at the same time, an appeal from North Carolina asking affirmation of its right to eliminate same-day registration and voting, along with out-of-precinct voting. Democrats see in these various state laws an evil Republican attempt to suppress voting by minority group members likely to — duh — vote Democratic. Requirements to present photographic identification draw particular scorn. Republicans say all they want to do is make sure voting procedures are honest and reflective of actual popular will. The point commonly buried in these slanging matches over intent and results is a point little attended to in our current ideological wars. I would call that point the need for rekindled earnestness regarding the duties that come, or ought to, with exercise of the franchise.
Human nature being what it is, and the stakes in political success being presently so high, we are entitled to suppose that civics-book elections take place only now and then. That would seem to put the burden of proof on opponents of electoral changes meant to foster a certain seriousness about the duty of voting. Why make voting as easy as falling off a log — and as challenging? Why not make it more of a deliberative enterprise, accompanied by meditation and even a measure of sacrifice?
What’s wrong with some reasonable — non-discriminatory, may it please the court — measures meant to encourage turnout chiefly by those who exert themselves when turning out? What is the matter with some minimal formality, such as producing on demand a photo that verifies identity? The Texas photo ID law rebuked by an Obama-appointed federal judge as “an unconstitutional poll tax” permits the tendering of ID in various forms, including a citizenship certificate, a military ID card, and a concealed handgun license. That hardly strikes me (though I am not a federal judge) as troublesome or vexatious.
Full Article: When Duty Doesn’t Call | The American Spectator.