The following two facts are not really in dispute. First, if as high a percentage of African-Americans voted in 2000 as did white Americans, George W. Bush would never have gotten to the White House.
That’s because more than 90 percent of them voted for Al Gore, and the increase would have been more than enough to overcome Bush’s paper-thin margin in Florida, hanging chads or no hanging chads. Second, some blacks and other minorities have been reluctant to vote because of difficulties they may have had with the law,
they fear the authorities may use voter lists to come after them.
And the theory is that they may be even less likely to vote if a photo ID is involved. Republican and Democratic leaders both believe what I’ve just told you, though they may not be willing to admit it.
They also think that most of those who vote without ID would vote Democratic. And that is what is really at the heart of the dispute over whether to require a photo ID in order to cast a vote in Michigan.
There are few things worse than anything that prevents anybody from voting. When I was twelve years old, three college students, James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner were tortured to death and murdered in Mississippi.
They were killed for trying to register black people – Americans -- to vote. That is part of the reason why I vote in every election.
Today, those who claim to be their heirs tend to oppose requiring voters to have photo ID. But with all due respect, they are wrong. We live in a modern, technological society.
Photo ID is needed for everything.
I have five different photo IDs in my wallet. You can’t function in the modern economy without one any more than you can without shoes. And anyone who argues that you should be able to walk around without one is doing a great disservice to those remaining 370,000 Michigan voters who do not have a photo ID.
They need to be able to fully function in today’s world. One of the grand traditions of the Democratic Party used to be helping immigrants and minorities to get a leg up so that they could make it in this society. I do not recall anyone arguing that the poor should not be required to get a Social Security Card.
The Michigan Supreme Court should rule in favor of requiring photo ID on one condition – that the legislature passes Chris Ward’s sensible bill to give a state photo ID free to everyone who needs one.
Nobody should have to pay for the right to vote. Yet making sure they are who they say they are makes perfect sense though I’m not sure you could tell from the average driver’s license picture.
This probably will be moot in a few years, anyway, when they check our identities with a bioscanner. But for now, say cheese, go into the voting booth, and make your bad picture count.