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The case for voter ID is unassailable, unless you’re hiding something

Every election year there is a push from Democrats to make it easier to vote. Long ago, the big push was to register you to vote when you got a driver’s license. Now they’re pushing to register you to vote if you merely exist.

You’d think someone wanting to register to vote would be an important part of the registration process, but you’d be wrong. They want to get you on the voting rolls because “the right to vote is sacrosanct,” we are told, and yet somehow your will does not matter.

In their own words, they would say they are doing everything possible to “remove obstacles to voting.” But I have a question: Just how easy do we have to make it to vote?

If the right to vote is sacrosanct, as Democrats insist, why do they oppose even the most basic efforts to protect the integrity of the voter rolls? Can you think of anything else whose integrity is so important?

There is no good answer, only speculative ones. But it’s a question that needs to be asked. The more people who are registered to vote, the greater the opportunity for fraud. If, say, someone who is 60 years old and has never registered to vote, for whatever reason, is suddenly registered automatically, the odds of that person showing up and actually voting are slim to none. Past voting behavior, after all, is very predictive of the future.

But if some unscrupulous person wished to cast a fraudulent vote, looking at the voting rolls to find people who have not voted in several cycles would be a very good place to start.

The standard argument from Democrats is that voter fraud is so rare as to never be a factor. They say this in the face of case after case of voter fraud, many of them ending in convictions, many of them involving politicians themselves, and some even causing elections to be overturned. They even get excited about it, so long as a Republican is being charged, but other than that they would rather not scratch the surface.

So voter fraud does happen, but no one knows how widespread it is because there are other priorities, and many jurisdictions avoid prosecuting or even investigating it except in the most egregious cases.

The thing about voter fraud is it should be guarded against, even if it doesn’t exist. Democracy depends entirely on voters’ faith in the system. If they think there’s a good chance their legitimate vote will be cancelled out by someone else’s fraudulent vote, then they will lose that faith. Potential voters’ desire to participate in elections will increase to the extent that they are shown convincingly that everything is on the up-and-up.

The simplest and smartest way to prevent fraud without creating an undue burden on voters is something Democrats irrationally demonize — the simple requirement for photo identification, just like the one you face every time you cash a check or order a beer.

The vast majority of the western world, places where voting is allowed and matters, take this basic step to protect the integrity of the vote. But to hear Democrats discuss it, the mere act of reaching into your pocket to grab your license is just this side of a hate crime.

Black people, they claim without evidence, would somehow be “disenfranchised” by an ID requirement. They don’t explain how this is, or back it up with anything resembling real evidence, simply declare it and cite other “progressive” activist organizations declaring it to be so. (The ACLU link making this bold declaration, for example, links to a dead page at the liberal Brennan Center for Justice. But don’t worry, their rationalization wasn’t any good when the page still worked, so it’s no big loss.)

The argument for Black lack of agency in getting an ID card is merely tactical, not substantive. They simply shoot down anyone who says otherwise with accusations of racism. Never mind how incredibly racist it is to claim that Black people are incapable of obtaining photo ID. This has somehow become a progressive dogma whose veracity is self-evident.

If there were a significant segment of the population (of any race) lacking photo identification, would not the millions of dollars the left spends fighting voter ID laws be better spent finding those people and getting them identity cards? There’s a lot you can’t do without identification, including travel, banking and renting or purchasing any kind of apartment or house.

I would posit that if you lack a valid identification in the United States, it is less likely that you lack the means of establishing your identity than it is that you lack the right to work or vote lawfully. Those who cannot obtain photo ID probably aren’t eligible to vote. Those who can but aren’t interested in getting ID probably aren’t interested in voting.

For those intent (even just in theory) on exploiting our system, the best possible situation would be to have many people on the voter rolls who never show up to vote. Without photo ID requirements, all it would take to cast hundreds or thousands of illegitimate votes is a few buses, a few warm bodies and a list of registered people at various polling places who can be counted on not to show up. That’s much less risky than, say, stuffing ballot boxes.

It’s already easy enough to vote. We need it to be a little bit harder. Not to prevent people from voting, but to require some kind of minimal effort by voters to show that they actually want to do it.

Require people to choose to register and to prove they are who they say they are. This is literally the least we can do to protect the integrity of the vote.

Derek Hunter is host of the Derek Hunter Podcast and a former staffer for the late Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.).

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