Originally created 03/16/05

Pass voter ID bill

We'd give those Georgia Democratic lawmakers a pass on their dramatic - or, more accurately, hysterical - walkout of the General Assembly last Friday to protest House Bill 244 and Senate Bill 84. These are measures that would, among other things, require voters to show photo identification before being allowed to cast ballots.

Republican House leaders are considering some kind of punitive action, possibly censure, against their dissenting colleagues whose walkout disrupted the business of the House.

"Certainly the House has the power ... to govern itself," harrumphed Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram.

Yes, it does, but there's no sense going overboard when the best "punishment" would be for the GOP majority to resolve the minor differences between the chambers' two bills and send it on to Gov. Sonny Perdue to sign.

Despite Democrats' angry protests, voter identification is a good idea. It would cut back on voter fraud by making it easier for both election boards and poll watchers to be certain that voters are who they say they are. That should enhance confidence in the electoral system. possibly boosting legitimate voter turnout by people who otherwise think their vote is rendered meaningless by unlawful voters.

The existing ID system is basically an invitation to vote fraud. Would-be voters can present up to 17 so-called IDs, including a utility or phone bill. So what does that prove? Anyone can get a billing statement, but it hardly proves one's identification. Besides, even that scant excuse for ID isn't really necessary. Signing an affidavit is all it takes to get you in the polling booth.

The notion that photo identification places an unfair burden on poor people, as Democrats contend, is ridiculous. The Department of Motor Vehicle Safety will provide a photo ID for free. It doesn't require knowing how to drive a car - it's simply a legal state ID. There's no excuse for not having one.

Democrats' mantra since the controversial 2000 election is to count every vote. It should be to count every legal vote. The bills Georgia Democrats are protesting would help ensure every vote is legal.

Republicans should get on with necessary voter ID legislation. Censuring the minority would serve only to exacerbate overheated partisanship. That's not necessary.


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