You need a government-issued photo ID to vote early in Illinois.
How did liberals ever allow that? After all, isn't requiring an ID an unvarnished GOP plot against Democratic voters? Isn't it an undue burden to expect minorities, the poor and students — the party's "base" — to produce photo identification cards? Isn't it racist?
That's the rhetorical shower that soaks us whenever anyone suggests that you have to prove who you are at the polling place. That you're not some dead guy whose name should have been erased from the voter registration rolls. That your name in the registration rolls has been certified as legitimate. Suggest that the voter registration books be cleansed — as the law requires — of the dead, people who have moved, people who have registered in two places or engaged in other practices that facilitate voter fraud, and you are risking condemnation by MSNBC blockheads.
Voter fraud. For an entire generation of Chicagoans, it's a relic, like an old streetcar retired to a museum and no longer operating. A nostalgic Election Day joke that few take seriously: "Vote early and often."
Voter fraud is a fine art: ghost voting and buying votes; voting as a dead guy or from a fictitious address; "helping" supposedly confused voters by entering the voting booth and marking the "right" candidates; wheeling in masses of senile or medicated patients from nursing homes; deploying partisan election judges and precinct captains (read: enforcers) who campaign or intimidate voters in the polling place; and jiggering with the vote count after the polls close. The opportunities are endless.
Yet, Democrats would have us believe that the voting rolls here and across America are as clean as a whistle, so voter IDs and other measures to counter cheating are unnecessary and, indeed, violative of civil rights. Efforts to cleanse thousands of ineligible names from the rolls, most recently in Florida, are compared to the dark days of Jim Crow — as if your right to vote fraudulently is a civil right.
On the other hand, the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States has concluded in a study, "Inaccurate, Costly and Inefficient," that the voter registration system badly needs a fix. "Voter registration lists are used to assign precincts, send sample ballots, provide polling place information, identify and verify voters at polling places, and determine how resources, such as paper ballots and voting machines, are deployed on Election Day," the study said.
"However, these systems are plagued with errors and inefficiencies that waste taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of our elections. Voter registration in the United States largely reflects its 19th century origins and has not kept pace with advancing technology and a mobile society. States' systems must be brought into the 21st century to be more accurate, cost-effective and efficient."
Pew estimates that in America about 24 million voter registrations are invalid or significantly inaccurate. More than 1.8 million dead people are on the lists, and about 2.75 million people are registered in more than one state.
Ironically, Democrats insist that purging the rolls of invalid registrations works in favor of Republicans, which is an implied admission that Democrats are more likely to be the offenders. As if there were fewer invalid registrations in Republican strongholds likeDuPage County.
In Illinois, you don't need valid photo identification to vote on Election Day. Just show up and provide a signature that remotely resembles the one in the registration book — a system that invites fraud. Only when you vote early must you provide a voter ID in Illinois.
So if it is reasonable to require a photo ID when voting early, why isn't it reasonable to require one on Election Day?
At least two dozen states, including Wisconsin and Indiana, require Election Day IDs, and those laws often are enacted with bipartisan support. But not in Illinois, where such legislation (usually introduced by Republicans) doesn't see the light of day, buried in Democratic-controlled committees.
When it comes down to it, a degrading assumption underlies liberal opposition to voter IDs and the updating of registration rolls. It is the assumption that minorities, the poor and even students are incapable of meeting minimal voting requirements.