A broad section of the Democratic Party proclaims its outrage at another broad section of the Republican Party's rejection of the Voter Rights Bill this Wednesday morning. Among other arguments, we heard that: “I’m against photo ID — not voter ID, but photo ID,” as House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn declared. However, voter identification requirements are not new. In fact, federal law requires every new voter who registers to show a photo ID. Proponents of voter photo identification laws maintain that they are reasonable measures to protect against voter fraud and cheating by some alleged voters who attempt to do so illegally.
The question arises, why oppose voters properly identifying themselves? Isn't it a requirement for almost every legal and commercial activity that we carry out day after day? Moreover, this is a prerogative of every State in this federal system. In addition, it is a requirement generally approved by a large majority of voters. A PEW Research Center poll shows that 78% of voters are in favor of this requirement, 20% against and 2% do not know. Not only that! 98% of voters said they had photo IDs allowing them to vote without setbacks.
Advocates say the voting rights bill named for Lewis is urgently needed to combat state efforts to roll back some of the pandemic’s voting practices, such as voting by mail with unsolicited ballots, as well as other new restrictions. Democrats want to mandate no-excuse mail-in balloting as a permanent norm, post-pandemic. But the bill, should it become law, would be more forward-looking and give the Justice Department more power to sue, block or overturn State voter laws and redistricting maps, dealing a mortal blow to the federal system of government that rests on the principle of subsidiarity, by which citizens have a greater opportunity to influence and participate in government decisions.
Among other things, it will allow party and candidate campaigners to approach at will and whim the voters in a line, under the pretext of offering them water and food, within the exclusive perimeter of campaign activities. Faced with the rejection of this law by Republicans, Sen. Chuck Schumer protested indignantly to the press when walking out of Congress accusing the Republican opposition of being heartless for wanting to deny water to the thirsty and food to the hungry ... Seriously!?
However, Sen. Schumer is well aware that the prohibition of campaign agents harassing voters in line to vote with their propaganda is a protective measure. Most voters are very upset about the harassment of campaign agents in front of the polling precincts and appreciate the establishment of a 100-foot radius from the entrance to the precinct free of campaign activities. This fact applies to campaigners from both parties. In addition, the Deputy Sheriffs in charge of maintaining order outside the precinct are authorized to assist voters who are in line according to their needs, including the supply of water or any other means of assistance.
Therefore, with regard to these three points mentioned above, this law is deficient and would adversely affect the electoral process. It also has many unconstitutional aspects when it interferes with the autonomy of the States and hinders the measures of their internal government, which is much closer to the will of its citizens than the federal government.