It’s been over seven years since the Supreme Court, in a 6–3 decision that was written by liberal favorite John Paul Stevens, declared that voter-ID laws don’t constitute an undue burden on people attempting to vote. But that hasn’t stopped liberals from fighting in legislatures and courts against those laws and other efforts to promote voter integrity. The lawsuits are often brought by Marc Elias, who doubles as the attorney for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And their efforts have paid off: Only about 18 states currently require a photo ID to vote.
Last month, the New York Times reported that billionaire liberal George Soros was largely bankrolling the multi-million-dollar effort. Democratic-party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has accused Republicans of trying to bring back Jim Crow because “photo I.D. laws, we think, are very similar to a poll tax.”
Election observers in other countries find this kind of rhetoric preposterous. Almost all industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting.
Take Greece, not considered a shining example of government efficiency. When James O’Keefe, the guerrilla videographer who busted ACORN and NPR with sting videos, visited Greece this month, he tried to vote in that country’s referendum on a European Union bailout. When he tried to vote at a polling place in downtown Athens, the following exchange took place (starts at the 57-second mark of the tape):
James O’Keefe: Can I vote?
Election official: No.
Election official: There is no way to vote.
JO: You have to see ID. You have to see identification as a Greek citizen?
Election official: Yes. Furthermore, you have to written in this catalogues in order to vote.
JO: And you have to show your ID?
Election official: Yes, of course.
JO: Of course. Well, in the United States we don’t have to do that.
Election official: You will go to vote and you will not give an ID?
JO: Correct. Yes.
Election official: And how they know, you are the one that you say you are?
The vast majority of countries require voter ID — usually photo ID — to prevent fraud and duplicate votes at the polls. Our neighbors do. Canada requires voter ID. Mexico’s “Credencial para Votar” has a hologram, a photo, and other information embedded in it, and it is impossible to effectively tamper with. Confidence in the integrity of elections has soared since its introduction in the 1990s.
The vast majority of countries require voter ID — usually photo ID — to prevent fraud and duplicate votes at the polls.
At a 2012 conference in Washington at which election officials from more than 60 countries met to observe the U.S. presidential election, most were astonished that so many U.S. states don’t require voter ID.
For the head of Libya’s national election commission, the method by which Americans vote is startling in that it depends so much on trust and the good faith of election officials and voters alike.
RELATED: The Voter ID Myth Crashes
Roger Williams, then a member of the U.K. Parliament from the Liberal Democratic party, told me: “I find it bizarre that the U.S. and the United Kingdom are the only industrial democracies that don’t routinely require voters to show an ID. Perhaps that explains why both our countries have persistent problems with voter fraud that is not seen in other advanced nations.”
Polls have shown that voter-ID laws and similar measures enjoy great popular support all over the world. In the U.S., a comprehensive 2012 Washington Post poll found that 74 percent of respondents felt voters should present photo ID. Support crossed all demographic lines — 66 percent of independents, 60 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of African Americans, and 64 percent of Hispanics. The Post also asked if people felt the supporters and opponents of voter ID were acting out of genuine concern for fair elections or whether they were trying to gain some partisan advantage. Respondents said they thought the laws’ opponents were acting more out of partisanship than supporters were. “I think that party leaders have tried to make this a Republican versus Democrat issue,” former Democratic state representative Jon Brien, who shepherded Rhode Island’s 2011 voter-ID law through a Democratic legislature, told the Pew Center’s Stateline news service. “It’s not. It’s simply a good-government issue.”
The rest of the world agrees with that sentiment. But George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and their liberal allies are determined to keep the United States a laggard when it comes to voter integrity.
— John Fund is national-affairs correspondent for National Review.