Arise from thy slumber and man the barricades, Missouri voters — the evil Republicans have yet again declared war against minority, elderly, disabled and otherwise straitened citizens in order to deny or endanger their right to vote.
"Why does the GOP wage this insidious conflict?" you ask. "It is to disenfranchise the disadvantaged among us who tend to vote for Democrats," they answer.
Editorial commentary from local media as well as The Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has determined that voter fraud is all but non-existent and alleges that the photo ID requirement is, in fact, aimed at depressing the turnout of the disadvantaged. The U.S. Department of Justice has blocked South Carolina's voter ID statute by invoking the Voting Rights Act.
Additionally, in the Feb. 17 edition of the Missourian, Aline Kultgen and Linda Kaiser, co-chairs of the Civil Liberties Committee for the League of Women Voters for Columbia and Boone County, penned a letter to our editor echoing virtually identical complaints and conclusions.
Admittedly, there is also room for disagreement and serious discussion as to photo ID necessity when balanced against cost to state taxpayers to institute the statute. And, while there is little threat of voter fraud in the majority of Missouri's counties, a categorical denial of its existence endorses blindly the honesty, integrity and character of all who engage in electioneering and elections.
Huge sums of money are raised and spent by candidates, political parties, political action committees, unions and special interest groups. The most fertile arenas for fraud and political chicanery are, as always, the St.Louis and Kansas City metropolitan arenas.
The most disturbing issue is the utter claptrap insinuating that the photo voter ID requirement is a sinister right-wing Republican ploy to suppress the disadvantaged voters' ballots for Democratic Party nominees. Are we to assume that Democrats hold a monopoly here — that there are no elderly, disabled, poor or minority Republicans?
The oft-repeated notion that the disadvantaged would find it difficult to impossible to obtain a photo ID is absurd. Admittedly, not all Missouri residents possess a driver's license. However, those who infer that many cannot afford or otherwise acquire documentation — birth certificate — for a state ID card have not done their homework.
Had they done so, they would have learned that one may not apply for and receive Social Security, food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid or government welfare payments without proper identification — a driver's license, military or state ID card or birth certificate. The disadvantaged seem to find a way to receive these earned or welfare benefits.
Moreover, Missouri Voter ID Amendment 2012 stipulates as did 2011's bill, that the secretary of state will provide notice of the ID requirements and, that the state provide at least one form of ID and at least one document to acquire that identification for those who do not possess one. In each instance, the identification and documentation are to be provided at NO COST to the voter, thus dispelling the myth that the poor or disadvantaged will be unable to cast a ballot.
Consequently, the allegation that there are insurmountable barriers to acquiring the credentials for those who actually intend to vote is highly exaggerated if not laughable. It appears shameful and condescending for Democrats to infer that their poor, disabled, minority and elderly voters, unlike their Republican counterparts, lack the initiative or spirit to exercise their right to vote. I have more faith in their self-reliance than their party leadership seems to offer.
The United States Supreme Court, in upholding Indiana and Georgia voting laws, extended the number of states requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot to 15. Accordingly, there is no federal barrier denying the individual states from enacting such statutes.
A requirement to produce a photo ID to vote will not eliminate voter fraud. But, as is the case with locks and fences, it will serve to keep honest people honest.
J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via email at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.