As Talking Points Memo reports:
“The GOP platform committee adopted language on Tuesday supporting states that have passed voter ID and proof of citizenship laws. The citizenship amendment, proposed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), would support laws that make voters prove their citizenship before they are allowed on the voter rolls.
‘I think it’s important that the Republican Party stand firmly behind the principle that we verify citizenship. There are a lot of other states that would like to move in this direction, and this platform will give them a boost in doing so,’ Kobach said.”
The amendment itself reads like something written by Chicken Little:
“We support state laws that require proof of citizenship at the time of voter registration to protect our electoral system against a significant and growing form of voter fraud. Every time that a fraudulent vote is cast, it effectively cancels out the vote of a legitimate voter.”
Notice how the GOP describes a “significant and growing” threat to the electoral system. If the Republicans truly believe that voter fraud at the polls has grown rampant, then what are they to do with the facts?
“A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually non-existent.
The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.”
There’s also this from Huff Post Latino Voices:
“In a stipulation agreement signed [in early July], state officials [in Pennsylvania] conceded that they had no evidence of prior in-person voter fraud, or even any reason to believe that such crimes would occur with more frequency if a voter ID law wasn’t in effect.”
I could’ve dedicated most of this commentary to arguing against the GOP’s voter ID plank, but why bother? The evidence speaks for itself: voter fraud is the non-issue in 2012. That’s a fact, and as John Adams noted, “Facts are stubborn things.”
Now, while I understand the sentiment behind such a requirement — the right to vote being the most sacred license of U.S. citizenship — pushing for a requirement that would do more to undermine American democracy than uphold it seems to be an absurd proposal. As a true blue American, I believe in the maxim that it’s better to allow 10 guilty people to walk free than allow one innocent person to suffer, and if the evidence is to be believed — what else can we do with evidence? — voter ID laws allow 10 innocent citizens to suffer just to nab one non-citizen.