Free Markets, Free People

identification requirement


B..b..but won’t poor and minority students be “disadvantaged”?

Apparently cheating on the SAT and ACT is rampant.  Therefore:

The millions of students who take the SAT or ACT each year will have to submit photos of themselves when they sign up for the college entrance exams, under a host of new security measures announced Tuesday in the aftermath of a major cheating scandal on Long Island.

The two companies that administer the tests, the College Board and ACT Inc., agreed to the precautions under public pressure brought to bear by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who is overseeing the investigation. The measures take effect in the fall.

"I believe these reforms, and many others which are happening behind the scenes, will prevent the kind of cheating that our investigation uncovered and give high schools and colleges the tools they need to identify those who try to cheat," Rice said.

Rice has charged 20 current or former students from a cluster of well-to-do, high-achieving suburbs on Long Island with participating in a scheme in which teenagers hired other people for as much as $3,500 each to take the exam for them. The five alleged ringers arrested in the case were accused of flashing phony IDs when they showed up for the tests. All 20 have pleaded not guilty.

Students have long had to produce ID to take the test (another example where ID is required), but the use of a picture is new.  That is, students will now have to submit a head shot with their application for the tests.  The picture will be printed on their ticket presented on the day of the test.  Additionally the test results will be sent to their high school along with the picture of the student for a final check to ensure the student taking the test is the actual high school student.

All of this for what?  To ensure the integrity of the testing system.  Something, apparently, that is too much to ask when applied to the voting system.

And thus far, not a single cry about poor and minority students being disadvantaged.  No one talking about anyone being “disenfranchised”. Go figure.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Busting the “myth” of "no voter fraud"

One of the primary requirements for any democracy is to safeguard the integrity of its voting system.  If the people believe that it is subject to compromised in any way, shape or form, they’re likely to lose confidence in the system.  And that will eventually erode the legitimacy of any government that is formed under such a system.

One way to help insure that integrity is to make voters identify themselves before they can cast their ballot with a form of identification that everyone agrees upon and does the job of validating their identity.  Most agree that a picture ID issued by the state or federal government fulfills that role.  That’s because the such IDs usually aren’t issued until the entity issuing it can certify that the individual it is issuing it too is both a citizen and legal resident of the area.

Critics of such attempts at ensuring the integrity of the system have always claimed that A) voter fraud was a myth and B) such voter ID requirement place an undue burden on minorities.  Interestingly, the critics usually come from the party to which minority votes mean the most.

The Heritage Foundation today produced a nice little fact filled primer on why “A” above is not a myth and why “B” is, in fact, the real myth.

First “A”:

The fraud denialists also must have missed the recent news coverage of the double voters in North Carolina and the fraudster in Tunica County, Miss. — a member of the NAACP’s local executive committee — who was sentenced in April to five years in prison for voting in the names of ten voters, including four who were deceased.

And the story of the former deputy chief of staff for Washington mayor Vincent Gray, who was forced to resign after news broke that she had voted illegally in the District of Columbia even though she was a Maryland resident. Perhaps they would like a copy of an order from a federal immigration court in Florida on a Cuban immigrant who came to the U.S. in April 2004 and promptly registered and voted in the November election.

There is no question that voter fraud has and does exist.  None.  And the Mississippi example is exactly what can happen when no requirement for identification is demanded at the poll.  You simply go from polling place to polling place with a new name and request a ballot under that name (voter lists are pretty easy to come by, figuring out who is still on the list but dead doesn’t require a rocket scientist, etc.).  Even the Supreme Court members point to it not as a myth but as a fact:

Stevens wrote in a 6-3 majority opinion upholding an Indiana voter ID law: "That flagrant examples of [voter] fraud…have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists…demonstrate[s] that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election."

John Paul Stevens would hardly be described as a conservative justice, yet he knew that voter fraud is and always has been a problem and voter IDs are a reasonable solution.  So that “myth” seems to be adequately put to death.

How about “B”?  Does such a requirement place an “undue burden” on minorities?  Does it place an undue burden on anyone?

Not really:

[T]he number of people who don’t already have a photo ID is incredibly small. An American University survey in Maryland, Indiana, and Mississippi found that less than one-half of 1 percent of registered voters lacked a government-issued ID, and a 2006 survey of more than 36,000 voters found that only "23 people in the entire sample–less than one-tenth of one percent of reported voters" were unable to vote because of an ID requirement. What about those who don’t have photo IDs? Von Spakovsky notes that "every state that has passed a voter ID law has also ensured that the very small percentage of individuals who do not have a photo ID can easily obtain one for free if they cannot afford one."

If 99.5% of the voting population already has, in its possession, the required from of identification, then the “undue burden” has no foundation in fact. None. 

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 70% of likely US voters favored such measures to ensure the integrity of the voting system.  Given the facts and figures above, their desire seems reasonable measure to accomplish that goal.  The the two myths of the critics, on the other hand, have no validity or credence.   One can only surmise, given these facts, that anyone who clings to those myths has an ulterior motive that has nothing to do with the system’s integrity.  See DoJ for an example.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO