If the state’s high court doesn’t reinstate the law, Senate President Pro-tem Eric Johnson, R-Savannah, vows to propose a constitutional amendment requiring photo IDs at the polls, which would eventually put the issue before voters.”Americans want to know that their vote counts, that nobody else is undermining it, stealing it, or canceling it with fraud,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he hopes the issue does not come to a ballot referendum, since such a measure would take two years to get on a ballot, meaning the law could not go into effect until 2009 and most voters wouldn’t have to deal with it until the next round of statewide elections in 2010.
Supporters of the voter photo ID law, primarily Republicans including Gov. Sonny Perdue, have said it is needed to protect against voter fraud – despite an absence of proof of in-person voter fraud and no attempt to legally address absentee ballot fraud, which has been documented, yet wasn’t covered by the photo ID requirement approved the Legislature.
“It would pass overwhelmingly,” Johnson said of a referendum. “This is a simple issue and voters understand it and they are for it.”
Whether the Legislature would support such a constitutional amendment is another issue.
The two-thirds support necessary in the General Assembly to put Voter ID on the ballot will require some crossover voting, as the original numbers (32-22 in the Senate, 111-60 in the House) are well short of the total necessary to pass the measure on to the voters.
National Voter ID, or the “Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006” (HR 4844), has the potential to make this issue moot. The national bill has made some corrections to alleviate the fears of the opponents of VID out there, including providing free IDs to those who cannot afford them (“the State may not charge a fee to any individual who provides an attestation that the individual is unable to afford the fee.”). It has even been proposed that IDs be delivered to the househlds of those who cannot go to an issuing location.
With this, one of the biggest points against VID will have been negated. So, what coherent opposition — besides the desire to allow easier voter fraud — can there be to a Voter ID law?
Also, as Senator Eric Johnson is a reader and contributor to these pages, it’d be great if he took the opportunity to comment on this, if he sees that something has not been adequately covered here.
[UPDATE] From Senator Johnson, via the comments:
I remain hopeful that we will win both appeals (federal and state). If not, then we should certainly try to pass a constitutional amendment. The proposed federal law, if passed, may also face challenges from those who want dead people and illegal aliens to vote.As it turns out, my opponent is registered in Georgia AND South Carolina. A state-issued photo ID would clarify which one is legal and not permit he (or anybody else) to vote twice.
Thanks for the input, Senator.