There's a whole lot of discussion under way concerning identification. The Missouri Legislature is embroiled in a heated debate over a measure that would require a photo ID before a resident can vote in the state. And nationally, beginning in May 2008, the Real ID Act takes effect that requires everyone seeking a driver's license to prove they are in the United States legally.
I firmly believe that 95 percent of Americans would favor both of these moves. For the potential minor inconvenience, I believe most people would accept the requirements to assure that only eligible voters cast ballots and only U.S. citizens are granted driving privileges.
But not everyone is universally happy, of course. The Democrats in Missouri are up in arms claiming the voting requirement is a way to keep their potential voters from the polls. They argue that the ID requirement will keep some voters from casting a ballot and, it seems, that all of those reluctant voters would be Democrats. But the legislation would also provide free state-
approved IDs for non-drivers and a free mobile ID unit would visit locations like nursing homes to make the process simple for everyone.
As an example of the hypocrisy involved, the Democrats in Missouri have apparently agreed to support the measure if it's postponed until the 2008 elections. They fear if the measure is adopted this year, the Senate race in Missouri might be tilted toward the Republican candidate. In other words, the Democrats concede the measure is not about assuring honesty at the polls but it's about politics, pure and simple.
The Real ID Act that would require proof of citizenship before you are granted a driver's license will hit states with large immigrant populations like California. But given the world climate right now and given the growing problem with illegal immigration, this measure is long overdue.
Until we better monitor who can vote and who can drive, we can never control illegal immigration nor voter fraud. Both of these issues are too important to allow political games to interfere with their passage and implementation.