Voter ID Law Approved In Arkansas Over Governor's Veto

Robert Jonathan

Little Rock, AR -- A voter ID law in Arkansas has been passed by the state legislature in Arkansas. The House of Representatives voted 52-45 to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of the bill. In late March, the state senate voted 22-12 to similarly override the governor's veto and require photo identification to vote in an election. The new law is scheduled to go into effect on January 1. Both chambers of the legislature are under GOP control, while Beebe is a Democrat.

Despite all the hand-wringing from the bill's opponents, Arkansas will provide a photo ID for free, and those who show up without one can still vote at their polling location: "The law requires county clerks to make photo ID cards at no cost for registered voters who do not have other valid forms of identification. Voters who lack identification may cast provisional ballots, which would be counted if they return with photo identification."

You may recall the controversy over United Nations officials who "monitored" the US presidential election in November. Even they were amazed that many states don't require a photo identification to vote, unlike most countries around the world.

Here at home, most (but not all) Democrats and their allied groups consider government-issued photo identification (usually a driver's license) as a voting requirement to be almost the equivalent of waterboarding. When such laws are passed, they run to the courts to try to block implementation. The US Justice Department -- under Obama and Eric Holder -- is a foe of voter ID laws and is fighting some states tooth and nail about their photo ID laws.

On the other hand, the Democrat-controlled legislature in Rhode Island passed a voter ID law, and there were no problems at the polling places during the November election.

The fundamental form of voter disenfranchisement is voter fraud, particularly in a jurisdiction that doesn't require photo identification, which means that a person can walk in and claim to be someone else and gets handed a ballot no questions asked. Eyebrows where raised, for example, during the November presidential election when certain precincts reported a statistically improbable 100 percent turnout. Our country's lax absentee ballot procedures also need to be addressed.

For those who say vote fraud is rare, how do you explain the indictments handed down throughout the country against those charged with vote fraud?

A Washington Post poll has indicated that 74 percent of Americans support photo ID to vote.

As a practical matter, to function successfully in day-to-day life, you need a photo ID. No one seems to have a problem showing ID to get on a plane, opening up a checking account or cashing a check, picking up a package at the post office or UPS, checking into a motel, completing a credit card transaction, getting a beer at the ballpark, buying cigarettes (for those foolish enough to still smoke), and even to vote in a union election. You even needed a photo ID to get into the Democrat's own convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, last September and to access the aforementioned Justice Department building in Washington. Isn't rather paternalistic or condescending to assume that any particular group of Americans lack the capacity to obtain the appropriate identification, even in some states that provide it free of charge?

Despite the various legal challenges pending around the country (Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and so forth), back in 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of Indiana's photo ID law, so courts that have ruled otherwise are in general in conflict with the high court. And subsequent to the implementation of Georgia's photo ID law, voter participation actually increased. It remains to be seen if the Arkansas law will wind up in court too.

Do you favor voter ID laws? In the real -- rather than the rhetorical -- world, do you believe it is difficult for any legal voter to obtain the appropriate government-issued photo identification?

[Image credit: Asianet-Pakistan /]