The Trials of Voter ID
February 23, 2012
On Friday, Judge David Flanagan will reconsider a motion for a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the law. Earlier this month Flanagan declined to issue the injunction requested by NAACP attorneys, saying they’d failed to show voter ID would do irreparable harm. They get Friday’s do-over because they say they have new testimony.
Anyway, a trial on the NAACP’s lawsuit to overturn voter ID is scheduled in April.
It’s one of three lawsuits by groups who deserve public scorn for embracing the fundamentally absurd proposition that a lesser standard of proof of eligibility should be required to decide who runs the government than to rent a movie.
That the prolonged struggle to enact voter ID was worthwhile has been repeatedly demonstrated in recent weeks.
- Analysis by a private citizens’ group revealed errors in more than one-third of all Milwaukee County Election Day voter registrations for the 2011 spring elections.
- Local clerks found changes in the Government Accountability Board’s statewide database and faulty census data placed a number of voters in the wrong legislative districts and—somehow—even outside the United States.
- Last week, the Pew Center on the States said it found that voter lists are a mess nationwide.
One in eight active registrations is invalid or inaccurate. At the same time, one in four people who are eligible to vote — at least 51 million potential voters — are not registered.
The report found that there are about 1.8 million dead people listed as active voters. Some 2.8 million people have active registrations in more than one state. And 12 million registrations have errors serious enough to make it unlikely that mailings based on them will reach voters.
It’s true that voter ID by itself can’t solve all the problems acknowledged by the Pew Center. It’s also true that without voter ID, nothing else that’s done to address those problems will matter.