McDermott pushes for ID’ing at polls

BostonHerald.com - Local Politics: Pol pushes for ID'ing at polls: "Two weeks before Election Day, a Boston city councilor says it's time for voters to start flashing identification at Hub polls.
"I think we should have ID checks to maintain the integrity," said Allston-Brighton City Councilor Jerry P. McDermott.
McDermott said he plans to ask the City Council this week to hold a hearing with city and state election officials about what is being done to ensure that only legal citizens vote at Hub polling places.
Under federal law, poll workers are authorized to ask voters for identification only if it's their first time voting and they didn't already present ID when they registered to vote. No Bay State municipality has local rules requiring poll workers ask for ID when they show up to vote, said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin."
Across the country people are discussing the pros and cons of requiring people to present ID in order to vote. Here are some thoughts on the issue:

The Century Foundation: there is no reason for states to go beyond the Help American Vote Act's narrow provisions regarding the presentation of identification in order to vote.
National Voting Rights Institute: The "Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006" (H.R. 4844), sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), would require all voters to obtain and show government-issued photo ID proving their citizenship before they could vote. In the vast majority of states, drivers’ licenses do not currently require proof of citizenship and thus would not meet the ID requirements of H.R. 4844. So what this would mean in practice is that voters who do not bring to the polls a photo ID that verifies their citizenship – such as a passport – could not vote.
Mo. High Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law: The Missouri Supreme Court struck down the state's new voter identification law Monday that would have required voters to show a photo ID card at the polls starting this fall.

Allston and Brighton, which are represented by McDermott perennially have the lowest voter turnout in Boston. This would be a natural position from which to make it easier for more people to vote instead of creating new rules to make it harder without proof that these new rules are needed.

1 comment:

  1. On the surface, this sounds like a good way to regulate that only legitimate citizens may vote. There are problems with the elderly, the poor, and the homeless concerning this matter. Many do not drive and have no license as an official state ID. Many are too poor to afford a state identity card, which in many places is not regarded as a real ID. Many homeless people have lost all that they have had, including birth certificate documents and social security records and cannot afford to apply for one. I don't imagining the parsimonious Romney administration giving them free IDs. Then, you have children of illegal immigrants who were born on US soil, and you get into the whole gray area of whether or not they are considered US citizens. For these people, having a voter ID to vote ends up being a deterent to voting - kind of similar to the poll-taxes in the Jim Crow South.

    Statistically, voters have rarely been caught committing voter fraud. No one I have talked to personally or read about on such issues has ever seen an incident in which an illegal immigrant attempted to vote fraudulently. This crime has been committed more frequently by GOP-run elections offices in Ohio and Florida. The infamous former Florida Secretary of State who cut people off the voter rolls and oversaw the 2000 chad controversy, was herself caught voting illegally in a county in which she was not officially registered in 2005. This whole campaign is similar to the GOP tactics to panic folks on the other side of the political aisle into voting for war on Iraq. (If you didn't, you were considered an "unpatriotic cut and runner" by your colleagues.) Now, the goons over at the GOP are attempting to trick well-meaning blue state politicians scared of the spectre of permitting voter fraud under their watch to insist upon federally-mandated ID cards to assure honest citizen participation in elections. This hits upon the hot-button illegal immigration issue, about which many have strong feelings. One has to see this sudden desire to pass voter ID laws as a covert way to prevent the poor, non-white ethnic groups, the elderly, and the homeless - who often vote democratic - from having their votes permitted or counted. Politicians should not take the GOP bait and do a knee jerk vote. Don't be fooled by GOP scare and trickery tactics into disenfranchising voters!

    I personally can attest to the fact that having an identity card does not make one automatically legal to do things. I was the victim of identity theft in late 1999, committed by a former employee of BankBoston,, who with criminal buddies over at MADMV, created a very official-looking ID card with their picture and my residency information on it. 249 victims were similarly impersonated, which is why the MA driver's license design had to be updated in 2000.

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