Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Federal Judge Upholds Indiana's Voter Photo ID Law

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana Sarah Evans Barker issued an opinion upholding an Indiana law requiring people to show a government-issued photo ID before voting. The Court's opinion (115 pages .pdf format) is here.

The Indiana Democratic Party has announced that it will appeal the ruling to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Unless a stay is issued, voters who show up for Indiana's May 2nd primary must produce a driver's license, passport, or other photo identification issued by the state or federal government.

Indiana statutes provide that people who don't have a driver's license or other acceptable photo identification may get a free ID card from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

People who are "unable or unwilling" to present photo ID on Election Day may cast a provisional ballot, as long as they follow up with the County Election Board within 13 days -- providing either a photo ID at that time or an explanation of why the law's exemptions apply.

Senior citizens are entitled to vote by absentee ballot without presenting photo identification.

Indiana's Republican-majority Legislature passed a law requiring photo ID at the polls last year, as part of an effort to reduce voter fraud.


Rick Ballard said...


Did you make a run at her opinion? Is the 7th notable in any respect (like maybe, actually adhering to the Constitution, or is it closer to the "let's make new law today" 9th?

brylun said...

Rick, I just finished reading her opinion and I am persuaded it is correct.

My impression of the 7th Circuit is they are very reasonable.

This case has not received any media attention. I wonder why?

Eric said...

That absentee ballot for seniors is still a crock. I actually yelled at some elderly poll workers last election when I heard them talking about voting that way.

With the current state of voter rolls, how long will it take to get them off the rolls when they're dead? And how many times will they vote until that happens.

Knucklehead said...

"Indiana's voter ID law, widely regarded as one of the most restrictive in America, creates unfair obstacles that will prevent citizens who are lawfully eligible to vote from casting their ballots," said DNC Chairman Howard Dean in a statement issued on Monday.

"I applaud the Indiana Democratic Party's decision to appeal this ruling," Dean said. "As part of our Party's commitment to doing whatever we can to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to participate in our democracy, the DNC will assist the Indiana Democratic Party's legal challenge to this unfair law and continue our fight to make it easier for all Americans to exercise their right to vote."

Gotta love the Dems and Howlin' Howie.

terrye said...

Evan Bayh won't like this.

And I really do not have a problem with the elderly voting absentee. I have clients who are not elderly but are quads and stroke victims etc and it is difficult for them to get to the polling places etc. People who can get around easily don't always understand how hard things like that can be for some people.

Rick Ballard said...

That's good news on the 7th. Even better when I note that ti covers Illinois and Wisconsin, too. Both states are noted for the Democratic Party's "death, where is thy sting" approach on election day.

Now, if grounds could just be found and implemented for a nice suit in WI on the same day registration garbage, we might be able to kiss off Kohl and Feingold. WI is definitely ripening.


I don't mind absentee for precisely that reason. I don't much care for ballots going to prisons though.

If Bayh is concerned, he ought to take it up with the left wing of his party - they're the ones that are turning the US a tiny bit more red.

David Thomson said...

Democrats steal elections far more often than Republicans. They ultimately made a huge tactical errors complaining about a number of recent contests. Any improvements will almost certainly help Republicans. Howard Dean is inadvertently insulting the typical voter. Rare is the person who cannot take the time to acquire a photo ID. The vast majority consider of us this to be a ho-hum event.

Knucklehead said...


This is an area where the Dems doth protest too much.

I think the average person who is inclined to get off their arse and go vote would figger it ain't no big deal to produce a piece of ID. I know I wouldn't.

The Dems can't get much stupider, can they?

Rick Ballard said...

"The Dems can't get much stupider, can they?"

That's a proposition that is tested every day. Remember that when you get down to 2, the distance to 1 is 50%, so 'much' becomes a comparative of indifferent utility.

Another way to look at it would be: "If the Dems were half a bright tomorrow as they are today, how would we know?"

I'm not concerned because I believe they are completely capable of a demonstration of such a change. They have been so far.

Fresh Air said...

Howard Dean just posted this image of one of his constituents adversely affected by the ruling.

Tragic, just tragic. How will they be able to afford their bottles of Old English 800 on Election Day, now?

Syl said...

I don't think the Dem's position is stupid or dishonest any more than I think the Republican position is mean-spirited.

It's just two ways of looking at voting. The Dems believe it should be as easy as possible for people to vote. Everyone eligible.
If some fraud occurs, well so be it. At least everyone who wished to was able to vote.

The Republicans believe that every vote that is fraudulent takes away from a legitimate vote and therefore all means possible must be employed to ensure fraud-free elections.

The two sides are mutually incompatible. But both are right.

It's really incidental to the principles involved that the Dems benefit the most from fraud, and the Reps benefit the most from stricter election rules.

This issue is one of the several push-pulls we have in this country that make our democracy so noisy, contentious, and strong.

terrye said...


This is true. The Demcrats want it open as possible.

In the bio on Truman that very point was made. In fact when Truman first ran for office it was in a primary and someone tried to steal a box of votes. An old army buddy of his who happened to be a Republican was also a deputy sheriff and he forced that vote stealer to return the box at gun point. Amazing. Of course the Repblicans had their own tactics but it was the Democrats who provided the comic relief.

Eric said...

That same-day-register-and-vote thing in WI is defintely a fraud magnet. I'm willing to bet cash money the state would have gone for Bush in 2000 and especially 2004 without it.

Doug said...

"It's just two ways of looking at voting. The Dems believe it should be as easy as possible for people to vote. Everyone eligible.
If some fraud occurs, well so be it. At least everyone who wished to was able to vote.
If massive illegal voter fraud just happens to occur, we no longer have the same country:

So be it?
Don't add up for me, thanks.

Lots of felons and illegals wish to vote, why do we need to cater to their desires?

Syl said...


You're conflating 'some' with 'massive'. Careful there.