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Why shouldn't voters identify themselves?

Republicans have proposed bills in the House of Delegates and the state Senate that would require West Virginians to present photo identification when voting.

The Associated Press reported that the bills "would mandate a photo ID while helping voters who don't have such identification to obtain one."

Good heavens. Who could object to that?

West Virginia Democrats, apparently.

On Monday, The Associated Press reported that "West Virginia's elections chief is enlisting allies to fight legislation that would require voters to show photo identification.

"Secretary of State Natalie Tennant unveiled the Voting Rights Protection Coalition on Monday at her Capitol office . . . . Tennant and other coalition members warned that these proposals would lead to delays at the polls and prevent legitimate voters from casting their ballots."

The allies: The League of Women Voters, the AARP, the AFL-CIO and several other labor groups.

Why? What are they afraid of?

People who receive Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits already are required to have government-issued photo identification.

The Democratic Party required its own members to present government-issued photo IDs at the Democratic National Convention last year.

Consumers who want cold remedies containing pseudoepedrine must present photo IDs.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee

require voters to present strict photo IDs. Four other states - Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin - are gearing up to do so.

Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire and South Dakota also require a form of photo ID.

Given West Virginia's history of voting irregularities and corruption, Democrats should leap at the chance to help clean up the state's image.

Instead, Tennant, the state's chief elections officer, warns that photo IDs would prevent some voters from ever casting ballots, and that helping people get photo IDs would cost too much.

That's ridiculous.

There's nothing wrong with requiring voters to show identification that proves they are who they say they are.

Insisting that there is makes Democrats look shifty.

 


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