The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

April 20, 2008

Proposed law requiring a photo ID to vote is unwise

We’re not sure why some legislators are so hot on passing legislation that will require voters to provide a photo ID or other form of current identification at Oklahoma polling places before they are allowed to vote.

The legislation passed the Oklahoma House last week. The author says it will help stop voting irregularities and restore the public’s faith in the state’s voting process.

We’re unaware there has been a big question about voter fraud or voter irregularities in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is not Florida. We don’t cast ballots that have hanging chads. In fact, our ballot process has been lauded as one of the better ones in the nation. Certainly glitches will occur now and then in any ballot system, but Oklahoma just doesn’t have a big voter fraud problem.

The measure would require voters to provide identification before voting, such as a driver’s license, passport or photocopy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, etc. etc.

This seems cumbersome and unnecessary. In Oklahoma, voters have to sign their name on a precinct list before they can vote. If they’re in the system as a registered voter, they usually can vote quickly. If they are voting for the first time, voters are often advised to bring their new voter registration card.

We see no need to have to provide further proof of identification. In fact, such a procedure could massively slow down voting in Oklahoma and cause more problems than already exist. Some people don’t have driver’s license or, they may forget to bring it to the polls. This measure could have the effect of keeping people away from the polls if they become frustrated because they didn’t remember their ID card.

Rep. Ryan Kiesel, D-Seminole and an opponent of this measure, summed it up pretty well when he said this legislation is trying to create a solution where there’s really not a problem. Voter fraud already is illegal, and prosecutors will file cases against violators if the facts warrant.

This is unnecessary legislation and needs to be defeated.

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