Photo ID Only First Step in Fighting Voter Fraud

A solution in search of a problem? A modern-day poll tax? The rhetoric of the Democrats in Pennsylvania and elsewhere with regards to photo identification requirements on Election Day is absurdist. Those in favor of a requirement to show photo identification at the polls are being labeled evil Republicans seeking to suppress turnout, discriminate against the elderly, and racists. Are we tired of this yet?

However, does anyone really believe that requiring a photo id on Election Day is going to change the outcome of the election in, say, Philadelphia? Barack Obama will win Philadelphia in 2012 and fraudulent votes will still be cast, even with a photo ID requirement.

This isn’t to say I oppose the photo ID requirement; quite the contrary. I show an ID to board an airplane, return goods to certain stores, and to go to the doctor’s office. Why wouldn’t people want to take steps to eliminate any possibility of fraud at our sacred voting process? The argument that people don’t have identification strikes me as rather suspect: how can one function in society without some form of photo identification? And even if there was someone, somewhere, without one, Pennsylvania and other states have offered to provide them -- for free.

The critics also contend that voter fraud doesn’t exist because there haven’t been “many” prosecutions. First of all, there have been many prosecutions. There are websites and individuals dedicated to tracking such prosecutions across the country. These stories are rarely reported, but they do exist.

Further, do the frequency of prosecutions necessarily correlate to the frequency at which crimes occur? Have you ever driven your car over the speed limit and not been caught? Because you weren’t caught, does that mean that you didn’t break the law?

Also: voter fraud prosecution is only as good as the witness who testifies and the prosecutor who prosecutes. The district attorneys in Pennsylvania are elected: isn’t it feasible that there are situations where investigating and prosecuting the fraud would not be in the self-interest of the prosecutor?