In a new Washington Post poll, a majority in all but one of 37 demographic groups responded in the affirmative to the following question: “In your view, should voters in the United States be required to show official, government-issued photo identification — such as a driver’s license — when they cast ballots on election day, or shouldn’t they have to do this?” The sole exception among demographic groups was liberal Democrats, who gave the idea 48 percent support.
Among all adults, 74 percent supported photo ID, as did 76 percent of independents and even 60 percent of Democrats. Sixty-five percent of blacks and 64 percent of Hispanics backed requiring ID at the polls. Those who lack a high-school degree — the demographic whose members are probably the most likely not to be able to afford an ID – registered 76 percent support.
also asked those surveyed if they believed the supporters and opponents of voter-ID laws were acting out of genuine concern for fair elections, or that they were trying to gain some partisan advantage. Respondents were more likely to say that the opponents of these laws had political motivations than to say that proponents did.
Artur Davis, the former Democratic congressman from Alabama who nominated Barack Obama for president at the 2008 Democratic convention, agrees. “A big thing that drove me to leave the Democratic party and support photo ID was the realization that the real victims of voter fraud are minority and poor people who live in places where machines block reform efforts by stealing votes,” he told me. He wrote in an op-ed in the Montgomery Advertiser last year that “voting in the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally impaired to function cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights — that’s suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don’t; I’ve heard the peddlers of those ballots brag about it, I’ve been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.”
This week, it was announced that Davis will be a featured speaker at the GOP convention in Tampa this month. Here’s hoping he exposes the falsehood that voter ID is designed to suppress votes. Fraudulent votes shouldn’t be counted, regardless of which party they benefit.
— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO and a co-author of the newly released Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk (Encounter Books).