Voter ID

Martha SparksSociety Editor

October 4, 2012

More than 30 states have enacted or considered legislation to require their citizens to produce more proof of identity when they go to the polls to vote.

In 17 states, the legislation involves photo IDs. Other states such as Ohio and Kentucky require forms of ID, but not necessarily photos. …

Certainly, if you look at recent convictions in West Virginia, tampering by elected officials is the more common story. A recent high-profile case in Lincoln County involved officials manipulating absentee ballots in a 2010 primary election, and convictions there in 2006 were about vote buying. Neither case involved people impersonating voters.

Even registration fraud may be less prevalent than some think. In Colorado, for example, Secretary of State Scott Gessler had estimated 11,805 noncitizens were on the rolls, but so far he has only confirmed 141 cases and only 35 of those had actually voted, according to . In Florida, an estimate of 180,000 noncitizens dwindled down to 207 under further review.

Still, small numbers can swing an election, and a more rigorous process is a comforting thought. But then there is the question of who pays.

The “Real ID” national identification program has shown us this year this can often be the “blind spot” in this type of legislation. Residents in West Virginia, particularly women, sometimes have to spend $50 to $100 to acquire the supporting documentation for a driver’s license.

Should West Virginia lawmakers decide to add requirements or IDs for voters, they need go to school on the findings in other states and make sure the process is free to the public.

Distributed by The Associated Press