BY: Cory T. Wilson @CoryWilsonMS
On Tuesday, a million or more Mississippians will go to the polls to help elect our next President, U.S. Senator, Congressmen, Supreme Court judges, and election commissioners.
We will complete yet another election without a voter identification requirement. Many voters may reasonably wonder why.
More than two years ago, the voter ID initiative petition gained an overwhelming number of signatures to support placing the measure before the people. Those 130,000 verified signatures came from all over the state, including a strong number from the Delta.
When I served as the Deputy Secretary of State under Secretary Delbert Hosemann, I almost always got the same question from the Rotary Club: “How could anyone be against something so common-sense as voter ID?” I was never asked to justify why we needed it. It was all but an assumption that we did.
That assumption is held by a huge majority of the people. A year ago, Mississippi’s voter ID initiative passed, even more overwhelmingly than the first signature drive.
Mississippi’s voter ID law is modeled on laws from Indiana and Georgia. Indiana’s law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court; Georgia’s law was approved by the Department of Justice. Our Secretary of State’s Office worked closely on the development of Mississippi’s law. I can say from personal experience that a lot of thought went into making voter ID fair, workable, and affordable for every Mississippi voter.
So, why don’t we (finally) have voter ID in place? The Obama Justice Department.
Attorney General Eric Holder has made clear that he views voter ID as “voter suppression” on the part of dastardly Republicans. The DOJ, with some help from our own Attorney General Jim Hood, has slow-pedaled consideration of Mississippi’s law. Earlier this fall, the DOJ asked for “more information” to determine whether the law has a discriminatory effect. That new request puts any final decision well past November 6.
But the Obama DOJ is fighting voter ID provisions in Texas, South Carolina, and even Pennsylvania, which is a state not subject to the “preclearance” (i.e., advance approval by the feds) requirement of the Voting Rights Act. The Democratic line is that voter ID is a solution in search of a problem, that there are no cases of voter fraud that ID would prevent. The Rachel Maddows of the media world have joined the chorus of “voter suppression” right on cue from Team Obama.
This is as phony as the “war on women” (or the “Youtube” explanation of the outrage at Benghazi). During my three years at the Secretary of State’s Office, we had more than a few calls and substantiated cases of voter impersonation, dead people who came back to vote one last time, and other forms of cheating.
The only votes we were interested in “suppressing” were the illegal ones. Beyond that, voters have a right to believe that their elections are fair, and free. Voter ID is a part of ensuring cleaner elections.
And, support for voter ID goes well beyond the Republican base. The GOP makes up at most a third of the electorate. Yet voter ID garnered the support of three quarters of Americans, according to a Washington Post poll from August.
Last week, as President Obama showed his ID to vote in Chicago (that paragon of clean elections), new evidence emerged about just what kind of “suppression” might occur with ID requirements. It does not fit with Holder’s faux-concern or Maddow’s hysterical liberal narrative.
The son of Virginia Democrat Congressman Jim Moran was caught on video discussing ways to help a hundred votes get cast by impersonating Virginia voters who were inactive (and likely no longer there). Patrick Moran serves as a campaign field director for daddy’s re-election race in a highly-contested part of a highly-contested battleground state. In the video, shot by an undercover investigative reporter with Project Veritas, a conservative nonprofit, Moran nonchalantly coaches the would-be fraudster on how to forge utility bills. Moran even notes that given Virginia’s voter ID laws, impersonating legitimate voters is harder, so that forgery would probably be necessary.
Unbelievably, Moran never once, over several minutes, suggested that it would simply be wrong to vote for those hundred voters fraudulently. This is exactly the kind of behavior that should be suppressed.
Congressman Moran is an outspoken critic of Virginia’s voter ID law. The younger Moran, let’s hope, just helped to ensure that maybe by next election, Mississippi will finally get to enforce the will of the people for cleaner elections here.
About Cory:Cory T. Wilson is a Madison attorney with the firm of Heidelberg Steinberger Colmer & Burrow. You can follow Cory on Twitter, @CoryWilsonMS or email firstname.lastname@example.org.