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Editorials

Voter ID debate: A numbers game

| Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, 8:55 p.m.

The perennial complaint of voter-identification opponents is that millions of Americans would be disenfranchised because they have no IDs or access to them.

But the courts say otherwise.

The Daily Signal's Don Palmer reviewed three high-profile cases and in each found exaggeration bordering on prevarication:

• In Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, so-called “expert” testimony estimated that up to 989,000 registered Indiana voters didn't have IDs. A comparison of Census voting-age population data and a closer look at acceptable forms of IDs whittled the pool down to 43,000, or about 1 percent of that state's voters.

• In a Georgia case, the plaintiffs estimated that the number of ID-less voters ranged between 289,000 and 505,000. But the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals did its homework and found the estimate was so inaccurate that it was tossed out as evidence.

• In a challenge to Wisconsin's photo ID law, the plaintiffs estimated that more than 317,000 registered voters, about 9.4 percent of the total, lacked valid IDs. But an appellate judge blasted the lower court's acceptance of that number, and the Supreme Court wouldn't even consider the case.

While the courts have corrected the record on inflated non-ID voter totals, some media outlets continued to use those figures, Mr. Palmer reports.

For those who would enable voting fraud — which, incidentally, is well documented — nothing succeeds like excess.

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