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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

The need for voter reform in a nutshell

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sure, we don't need photo IDs in the state of Missouri. As we all know, the move to offer identification at the polls is just a right-wing, conservative Republican ploy to suppress and disenfranchise large numbers of poor and minority voters who are among the largest segment of the population without photo identification.

Oops! This week the St. Louis Election Board discovered at least 1,492 potentially fraudulent voter registration cards including three from dead people and one from a 16-year-old. All of the questionable cards were turned in by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, aka ACORN.

Now for those unfamiliar with ACORN, just think ultra-liberal, left-wing Democrat operatives who focus on inner city concerns. Their spokesman told election officials that it was very difficult to monitor all of their workers who register voters and "there are chances of things slipping through."

This is not the first brush with questionable registration by the folks at ACORN. Three years ago, the Election Board found more than 1,000 questionable registrations by the same group. And investigations are under way in other states about the same problem. To be accurate however, ACORN officials have not be found guilty of any infraction and deny that their aim is to misrepresent. We take them at their word.

The problem, or it seems to me, is that $8-per-hour workers are sent out to collect names of unregistered voters and then sign them up to vote. That is a noble purpose regardless of the party affiliation.

There's also a side note to this story. There's a former ACORN employee who says she and other voter registration workers were also told to promote the candidacy of Claire McCaskill over Jim Talent in the hotly-contested Missouri Senate race. But that's not the issue here and we don't know if it's even true.

Regardless, we should impose photo identification requirements because, like it or not, everyone doesn't play fair in the political arena. That goes for both parties. So to help assure that everyone who votes is a legal voter and is who they say they are, you simply ask for some form of photo identification. If it costs anyone one cent to gain that identification, then the state should gladly pay for that service. But regardless of cost or time or imposition, our election process is too important to allow phony voter registration to taint any result. And that is exactly what stands in the balance.

Before the November election, there is likely to be more stories about more phony registrations. And if that doesn't provide ample proof for a need of photo identification, then you have to wonder why anyone would oppose such a simple process.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen