Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Yesterday, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson blocked Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law, which required voters to show picture ID before being given a ballot. As usual in such situations, anti-Voter ID groups claim that the law would prevent many legitimate voters from casting a ballot, while pro-Voter ID groups claim the law would help prevent vote fraud.
Each time I read about a Voter ID battle, I think of the first national elections (January 2010) organized and secured by Iraqis since the US invaded in 2003 and removed Saddam Hussein. To help stop voter fraud in a country with records and controls that were relatively crude compared with most US voting jurisdictions, voters were required to dip their index finger into purple indelible ink when casting a ballot. This was no guarantee that ineligible voters could not cast one ballot, but it largely prevented one person from casting multiple ballots. I am sure many readers will remember, as I do, pictures of Iraqis holding up their ink-stained fingers, proud to have been allowed to cast a ballot in a free election.
Why is it not feasible for Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and other states where voter ID laws have been blocked, to implement a similar system? It is common at small and large entertainment venues across this country to stamp the back of your hand with indelible ink if you leave the venue after being admitted, so that you can re-enter the venue without having to pay a second time. This means the inks and stamps are common and regularly used, to no objection whatsoever that I could find in a web search.