Time for voter ID

by | Feb 8, 2023 | Journalism, Liberty Tree Maine

Joe Grant, Wiscasset Bill LD-34, An Act to Require a Person to Show Photographic Identification for the Purpose of Voting, is going through Maine’s legislative process. It will make our elections more honest and is long overdue.Recent Rasmussen polls have shown that 83% of likely voters consider election integrity an important issue. Polling also indicates that 74% of likely voters support mandatory voter ID, and also indicated 56% of respondents are convinced “it’s likely that cheating affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.”The 2005 Bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, known informally as the Carter-Baker Commission, made 87 recommendations. One recommendation was to call for voter ID standards nationwide and the use of the REAL ID card. Former President Carter, when speaking months after the release of the report, said other countries, not known for being examples of democracy, had fairer elections than the United States, and stressed the need for photo IDs.  Regarding the lax U.S. election standards, Carter said, “It’s disgraceful and embarrassing.”.When considering rules for voting it is useful to see how we compare to the rest of the world. In the case of voter ID, 46 of the 47 European countries require a government issued photo ID to vote. The UK is implementing voter ID requirements in October of this year to make the count 47 of 47. To introduce the policy, the UK issued the following statements. “In our current electoral system, there is inexcusable potential for someone to cast another’s vote at the polling station. All you need to do is say a name and address when you go to vote. Stealing someone’s vote is stealing their voice. Voter fraud is a crime that we cannot allow room for, so the UK government is stamping out any potential for it to take place in elections. Showing identification to prove who they are is something people of all walks of life already do every day. It is a reasonable and proportionate approach to extend this practice to voting and give the public confidence that their vote is theirs, and theirs alone.” They also noted. It will bring the rest of the UK in line with Northern Ireland, where a form of voter identification has been in use since 1985, requiring photo identification since 2003, with no adverse effect on voter participation.In conclusion, U.S. voters are concerned about voter fraud, want voter ID, the 2005 Bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform recommended its use almost 20 years ago, and it is a requirement in almost every developed country in the world. The requirement of voter ID has not been shown to reduce voter participation. We need to strengthen election integrity.  It is time to implement the bipartisan recommendation of 2005. It is time to join the rest of the world in requiring voter ID. Editor’s note: the public hearing on LD-34 was Monday, February 6; however, it is not too late to write a brief note to each of the members of the  Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee (https://legislature.maine.gov/committee/#Committees/VLA) and ask them to vote OUGHT TO PASS.


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