Make elections honest

Published 12:42 am Thursday, October 13, 2011

To the Editor:

Occasionally, I agree with what Steve and Cokie Roberts have to say in their column. Today (10/11/11) was not one of those days.

Cokie’s father (Hale Boggs), in a speech he made while in the House of Representatives, is cited as the justification for believing that the Republicans are trying to turn back the anti-discrimination clock by pushing for voters being required to show a photo ID before being allowed to vote. The Republicans want to disenfranchise the aged and minority voters largely because they tend to vote Democrat. They justify their position with the argument that there is virtually no evidence of voting fraud in any state. Apparently, they never heard of ACORN and all the tricks it played with voter registration pretty much all over the country.

Our N.C. registrars tell us that they have experienced virtually no cases of voter fraud. Those statements were seized on by the authors of the talking paper as proof that showing a photo ID as a requisite for voting wasn’t needed. Even if they had investigated carefully and found none — so what? The fact is that N.C. didn’t experience much illegal or morally repugnant behavior from our governors or other high elected officials either — at least not until it was unearthed. It happens. So who’s to say that it hasn’t already happened in our voting process and simply hasn’t been detected? Surely, not Steve and Cokie and their talking-points paper, wherever it came from.

With all due respect to Cokie’s father, who was reportedly a person of integrity, he presumably died in an aircraft crash in Alaska in October 1972, which means that the speech Cokie and Steve are citing in their article had to have been delivered at least 40 years ago. His contention that voting is (or should be) a fundamental right in America is certainly as valid today as it was then. It is difficult to understand how requiring a photo ID does anything to diminish that right.

You try to cash a check (even at your own bank) and you must show an approved ID (among which is a photo ID). You go to the doctor’s office and you must show a photo ID to even be allowed past the reception desk. There’s more. Those are all right, but showing a photo ID in order to vote is a terrible thing to require.

Adding insult to injury, Steve and Cokie seem to be particularly disingenuous when they hold up New Orleans as the standard against which integrity should be judged. Surely they jest. Well, maybe since the new governor and the new mayor have been installed; but surely not much longer than that.

Requiring a photo ID won’t guarantee completely honest elections, but it will make it more difficult to cheat. Isn’t that what we all want?