I’m embarrassed that I didn’t read further into Justice Stevens’ majority opinion in the Crawford v. Marion County Election Board ruling. If I’d done that, I would’ve found this important information:

In the introduction to their discussion of voter identification, they made these pertinent comments:

“A good registration list will ensure that citizens are only registered in one place, but election officials still need to make sure that the person arriving at a polling site is the same one that is named on the registration list. In the old days and in small towns where everyone knows each other, voters did not need to identify themselves. But in the United States, where 40 million people move each year, and in urban areas where some people do not even know the people living in their own apartment building let alone their precinct, some form of identification is needed.

“There is no evidence of extensive fraud in U. S. elections or of multiple voting, but both occur, and it could affect the outcome of a close election. The electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to deter or detect fraud or to confirm the identity of voters. Photo identification cards currently are needed to board a plane, enter federal buildings, and cash a check. Voting is equally important.”

Justice Stevens noted that election systems “can’t inspire public confidence” if there aren’t safeguards to “deter or detect fraud” or “confirm the identity of voters.” Justice Stevens obviously thought that this was an important consideration of an efficient election system.

Rep. Kiffmeyer has often argued this point:

election officials still need to make sure that the person arriving at a polling site is the same one that is named on the registration list.

BINGO!!! Without that verification, there can’t be confidence that people who’ve filled out ballots are who they say they are. That’s the biggest reason for having a Photo ID requirement.

The fact that photo ID’s are required to get into federal buildings, board a plane or cash a check argues that the vast majority of people won’t be unduly burdened by Rep. Kiffmeyer’s legislation.

The record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history. Moreover, petitioners argue that provisions of the Indiana Criminal Code punishing such conduct as a felony provide adequate protection against the risk that such conduct will occur in the future. It remains true, however, that flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists, that occasional examples have surfaced in recent years, and that Indiana’s own experience with fraudulent voting in the 2003 Democratic primary for East Chicago Mayor, though perpetrated using absentee ballots and not in-person fraud—demonstrate that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.

In Justice Stevens’ opinion, the fact that voter fraud hadn’t been found to be widespread in Indiana wasn’t as strong an argument as the fact that voter fraud exists in other states and that voter fraud tips close elections.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this:

There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters. Moreover, the interest in orderly administration and accurate recordkeeping provides a sufficient justification for carefully identifying all voters participating in the election process. While the most effective method of preventing election fraud may well be debatable, the propriety of doing so is perfectly clear.

That’s powerful stuff. Saying that there’s no questioning the “legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters” says that Rep. Kiffmeyer is right in pushing this legislation.

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