January 8, 2008
The most important voting story tomorrow won't be who won the New Hampshire primary. No, the big event will be unfolding at the Supreme Court.
Tomorrow the high court will be hearing Crawford v. Marion County
, the ACLU's challenge to Indiana's most-restrictive-in-the-nation voter ID law
. This 2005 law requires voters to present a government-issued ID to vote in federal, state and local elections. Voters without identification may vote with a provisional ballot, which is counted only if the voter travels to a circuit court or county election board to prove his or her identity within 10 days of the election. In effect, the law could deny the right to vote of thousands of Indiana's registered voters who do not have, and, in many instances, cannot obtain the limited identification that Indiana will accept for voting.
Voter ID laws like Indiana's are fundamentally flawed, and disproportionately deny the voting rights of eligible voters who happen to be poor, disabled, elderly or minorities.
Over 20 states have similar voter ID laws
and more states are considering such restrictions. The court's decision on the constitutionality of these laws will have broad national significance with this year's presidential election.
We saw in the 2000 presidential race how the disenfranchisement of thousands of Floridians compromised the nation's confidence in the election's integrity. Here's hoping the high court will protect voting rights, unfettered.