Democrats take ironic stance on election laws

Published 5:00 am Monday, March 10, 2008

Democrats arguing to exclude outsiders from voting in theirparty’s primaries must expect the public to take their word thatnefarious Republicans are crossing over and voting for weakerDemocratic candidates, all in hopes of making the election patheasier for GOP candidates.

However, opponents of Voter ID – including many Democrats – arenot willing to accept the word of Voter ID supporters – includingmany Republicans – regarding the benefits of the election lawchange.

For diehard Democrats who oppose Voter ID, it is aninterestingly ironic position they have claimed when it comes towho has to prove what when discussing changes in election laws.

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In throwing up another roadblock, opponents ask for proof of thealleged election fraud that Voter ID is supposed to address.Granted, fraud is a difficult thing to prove when laws are eithernonexistent or those on the books are too weak to stop it.

But in appealing a federal judge’s ruling dictating Mississippivoter registration by party (and ordering that a dreaded Voter IDsystem be implemented), a Democratic party attorney argued that thesame lack of a law scenario should not apply when it comes tohaving to prove cross over voting by Republicans.

“How could you prove that?,” said Ellis Turnage in response to ajudge’s question during a hearing last week in New Orleans. “InMississippi, there’s no such thing as Republicans, Democrats orindependents. There are only voters.”

What’s really at issue is that Democrats got more than theybargained for when U.S. District Judge Allen Pepper ordered a VoterID system be created along with voter registration by party. Nowthey are challenging the ruling – in a lawsuit the Democrats filedin the first place.

Some Democrats, but not all, want to be able to disassociatethemselves from outsiders (read Republicans) and have only partyfaithful vote in their primaries. That’s fair, but as one judgealluded to last week, sooner or later the faithful have to beconfirmed by name as being a part of the party.

And that’s the purpose of Voter ID. Be a voter Republican,Democrat, some other party affiliation or no affiliation at all,having to show identification would verify that they are who theysay they are and that they belong to their declared politicalgrouping.

Those challenging Judge Pepper’s ruling, though, want to haveparty purity without any strong mechanism for establishing partymembership in some verifiable way – which is what Voter ID woulddo.

Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. Until Mississippi canget a real open primary, where voters may choose candidatesregardless of party, Judge Pepper’s ruling – with both the voterreregistration system and Voter ID – should be upheld.