NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 24, 2006

People in Missouri need photo identification to cash a check, board a plane or apply for food stamps.  But the state Supreme Court has ruled that a photo ID requirement to vote is too great a burden on the elderly and the poor.  Go figure, says the Wall Street Journal.

A string of recent court decisions has blocked the implementation of voter ID laws in some places, thus siding with Democrats and liberal special interest groups who would rather turn a blind eye to voter fraud, says the Journal.

Missouri's dispute shows what's at stake and why the laws are under attack:

  • The state passed its new voting requirements in May in response to problems at the polls in 2000 and 2004, and the IDs were made available at no charge.
  • The law was to be implemented over a two-year period, and people who lacked proper identification would be permitted to cast a provisional vote next month.
  • Despite these good faith efforts to ensure legitimate ballot access, however, opponents charge that photo ID requirements are overly burdensome and tantamount to a poll tax.
  • The Missouri Democratic Party, which challenged the law, said that while the ID itself is free, the underlying documents -- such as a birth certificate -- required to obtain the necessary identification cost money; and state judges were sympathetic to the argument.

While the Missouri Supreme Court was preparing its decision earlier this month, the Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran front-page stories about the thousands of fraudulent voter registrations submitted by Acorn, a national left-wing group financed in part by organized labor.

According to the Star, Acorn's voter registration drive generated some 35,000 applications, "but thousands of them appear to be duplicates or contain dubious data."

Source: Editorial, "The Don't Show Me State," Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2006.

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