By KRIS W. KOBACH | The Wall Street Journal
You can’t cash a check, board a plane, or even buy full-strength Sudafed over the counter without ID. Why should voting be different?
On Thursday, the Wisconsin legislature sent a bill requiring photographic identification for voting to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk. This follows the enactment of an even stricter law in Kansas a few weeks ago.
Drafted by my office, Kansas’s Secure and Fair Elections Act combined three elements: (1) a requirement that voters present photo IDs when they vote in person; (2) a requirement that absentee voters present a full driver’s license number and have their signatures verified; and (3) a proof of citizenship requirement for all newly registered voters. Although a few states, including Georgia, Indiana and Arizona, have enacted one or two of these reforms, Kansas is the only state to enact all three.
Other states are moving in the same direction. The Texas legislature sent a photo-ID bill to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk last Monday. And next year Missouri voters will get a chance to vote on a photo-ID requirement.
Immediately after the Kansas law was signed in April, critics cried foul. They argued that voter fraud isn’t significant enough to warrant such steps, that large numbers of Americans don’t possess photo IDs, and that such laws will depress turnout among the poor and among minorities. They are wrong on all three counts.