Illinois Republicans just can't ignore their visions of
voter fraud. Two days after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana's
strict voter ID law last spring, State Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill) announced plans to
push a similar bill in Illinois. He gave no real reason for ...
Illinois Republicans just can't ignore their visions of voter fraud. Two days after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana's strict voter ID law last spring, State Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill) announced plans to push a similar bill in Illinois. He gave no real reason for the bill, simply arguing that one needs ID to buy certain goods so "why not to vote?" Reis' effort to add a new layer to the state's voting process stalled, as it had for each of the three preceding years.
Then came the rise of ACORN as the right's newest boogeyman. Suddenly, voter ID laws are back in vogue.
First, the Republican County Clerk Willard Helander in north suburban Lake County floated the idea as a possible solution to voter registration problems in her county. Now, GOP State Rep. Bill Mitchell (pictured) is reviving the fight in the general assembly. From WJBC:
Mitchell says he's co-sponsoring legislation to require voters to present a photo ID before they are able to vote in the state. He says after the 2004 election, the mantra was "Let every vote count."
Mitchell says the legislation should be debated during the fall veto session and he's urging the House Speaker to bring it to a vote.
What Mitchell, Helander, and the Republican noise machine always fail to mention is that voter fraud is incredibly hard to pull off and, as such, incredibly rare. As the New York Times reported last year, "Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews." That's why in its decision last year, the Supreme Court cited an anecdote from 1868 and a single example of in-person fraud committed in Washington in 2004 -- there were no modern cases of organized voter fraud from which to draw.
Meanwhile, under the auspices of fraud prevention, voter ID laws place an extra burden on would-be voters who tend to favor Democrats. No wonder Mitchell is fond of it.