Opponents of laws requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls claim that it is a “poll tax” and will lead to lower voter turnout among the poor, minorities and the elderly who supposedly lack ID. However, in a decision virtually ignored in the mainstream media, a federal judge in Georgia recently threw out a lawsuit making such claims against the state’s voter identification law. A federal judge in Indiana did the same thing last year.
These rulings are significant since the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the Indiana law, which is almost identical to Georgia’s.
After two years of litigation, neither the NAACP nor the other organizations who brought the Georgia suit could produce a single individual who did not already have a photo ID or could not easily get one. The claims that large numbers of voters lack photo ID were dismissed by the court when the plaintiffs were unable to produce evidence. As the judge noted, “although the Plaintiffs claim to know of people who claim that they lack Photo ID, Plaintiffs have failed to identify those individuals” the failure to identify those individuals “is particularly acute in light of plaintiffs’ contention that a large number of Georgia voters lack acceptable Photo ID.”
What was not reported about this case, however, was the judge’s exclusion of the expert testimony of the plaintiffs. This included statistical analysis that supposedly showed negative effects on turnout of voters caused by voter ID requirements and that minorities do not possess photo ID in as large a percentage as white voters. The judge would not admit this analysis and deemed it “unreliable,” a rarity in federal courts.
One might think this was simply a unique problem with this particular set of academic “experts,” until one realizes that the exact same thing happened in Indiana. A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party, the NAACP and others trying to overturn Indiana’s voter ID law. The judge also excluded the “expert” testimony of the plaintiffs on how many voters supposedly did not have photo ID because it was “utterly incredible and unreliable,” and noted that the supposed expert “did not undertake even the most rudimentary effort to test the reliability of his theoretical conclusions.”
Were these just two random coincidences of unreliable and dubious studies? Well, the Heritage Foundation recently released a report that examined another study done by the Eagleton Institute and the Moritz College of Law in 2006 for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission on state voter ID requirements. The Eagleton study claimed that such laws reduced voter turnout in the 2004 election and the liberal media cited that study as showing that voter ID requirements suppress minority voter turnout. However, when the EAC received this study in 2006, it voted not to accept its conclusions because the commissioners found its analysis faulty!
What these faulty “expert” analyses on voter ID requirements show are the lengths to which left-wing organizations and their media allies will go to stop the imposition of laws that help improve the security and integrity of our election process, and deter and detect voter fraud. When the data on voter turnout and the overwhelming number of Americans who have photo ID does not fit their claims, they have no compunction about manipulating and manufacturing bogus “studies” to provide contrary “evidence” to support their claims. (By the way, Hillary Clinton has made it clear in a statement released by her campaign that, if she wins the presidency, she will use the Department of Justice to oppose voter ID laws.)
As the Baker-Carter Commission on election reform concluded in 2005, voter ID laws can deter, detect and eliminate voter fraud as well as enhance public confidence in elections. The deep pocket left-wing foundations that fund the advocacy organizations that sue to stop state voter ID requirements are not interested in improving the election process. As I have written in my book Foundations of Betrayal, these liberal, super-rich foundations are trying to change America to fit their radical notions of what we should look like as a nation. When they work to prevent efforts to stop voter fraud and the ability to manipulate election outcomes, it makes you wonder why they seem to oppose the ability of ordinary Americans to choose who will govern them. Maybe because they know that the average American voter would never choose them or the radical path they want us to take.
Phil Kent is an Atlanta author and former president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation.