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Lowman S. Henry

Lowman S. Henry

Chairman & CEO
Lincoln Institute
of Public Opinion Research

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Town Hall Commentary

The Voter ID Race Card

by Lowman S. Henry
 

A few weeks ago my wife and I travelled to Arizona to visit family for holidays. When we arrived at the airport we were required to show a photo ID to check our luggage. We again had to show photo ID to the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) agents who then performed more invasive procedures. Upon arriving in Phoenix, we were required to again show a photo ID to pick up our rental car.

When my son applied for a job working at a local convenience store, the employer required not just a photo ID, but also a copy of his birth certificate. (Something not required to become President of the United States.) I was with my sister when she made a credit card purchase, the store clerk asked to see her driver's license, a form of photo ID.

Were any of the folks who asked for our photo identification racists? Likely they were not. They were simply verifying our identity in order to process a transaction. It is a normal, everyday occurrence. Except when we go to a polling place to vote. There, in Pennsylvania as in many other states, no proof of identification is required.

The Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act sponsored by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) has passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is now being considered by the state senate. The new law would require voters to present a photo ID. A driver's license or other state issued identification card provided free of charge would be accepted.

Voter fraud is a clear and present danger in Pennsylvania. In the last presidential election cycle there were numerous allegations of voter registration abuse and fraud, many involving the radical group known as A.C.O.R.N. The U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama turned a blind eye to the complaints. The system literally lacks competent oversight.

This places the very integrity of our national electoral process in jeopardy. Without appropriate safeguards we cannot be confident that the outcome — especially of close elections — is accurate and fraud-free. Think back to 2000 when a handful of votes in Florida determined who would become President of the United States. We must do everything we can to ensure that the nation would have confidence in the outcome should such a close vote occur in Pennsylvania.

Requiring photo ID to vote makes so much sense it calls into question the motives of those who oppose it. The sad truth is that some benefit from the current lax system of voter verification and believe it to be to their electoral advantage to preserve the status quo. Lacking any valid intellectual argument for their position, they have resorted to playing the race card.

Frankly, it is demeaning to any minority to suggest that they are incompetent to the point of being unable to acquire a simple ID card. Assistance can be rendered through human services agencies for those who are mentally challenged, elderly, or immobile. But it is hardly more racist to require a photo ID to vote than it is to require a photo ID to stay at a motel or use a credit card.

The Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder has gone to court fighting a new photo ID law in South Carolina. But such laws have already been upheld as Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The basis for the judicial review was a similar law in the state of Indiana, after which Metcalfe patterned the Pennsylvania statute. Holder is simply trying to delay the implementation of voter fraud prevention efforts already given a stamp of approval from the highest court in the land.

With Pennsylvania's April primary rapidly approaching and a presidential General Election upcoming in November the time has come for a voter ID law to be put into effect here in Penn's Woods. Only then can we the people have confidence that our electoral system is free of voter fraud and the winners have been honestly elected.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.


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