At Last, Photo ID

And No, It’s Not A Burden

Posted: March 29, 2013

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, that will require Virginians to present a photo ID to vote. The measure will take effect in 2014.

Mr. Obenshain’s common-sense initiative, introduced every year since 2005, has been roundly derided as an effort to suppress minority access to the ballot and even to prevent the re-election of President Obama. Even such a reputable news organization as the Associated Press stated that a more “modest” voter ID bill, passed by the General Assembly in 2012, “failed” to forestall Mr. Obama’s success in winning Virginia a second time this past November. The implication: Tougher, more stringent measures were needed.

Hogwash. Mr. Obenshain’s impetus is a bipartisan recommendation tendered by former President Jimmy Carter and onetime Secretary of State James Baker that all states require photo ID for voting.

“The electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to deter or detect fraud or to confirm the identity of voters,” the two men wrote. “Photo IDs currently are needed to board a plane, enter federal buildings, and cash a check. Voting is equally important.”

Precisely. And lest one think the mandate an impossible hurdle to clear, Mr. Obenshain’s law requires local registrars to provide a photo ID, free of charge, to registered voters lacking one.

This is not — repeat, is not — an onerous requirement.