Key Fact About Indiana Photo IDs

1 comment April 28th, 2008at 07:06pm Posted by Eli

They’re free.

Factually, the state of Indiana had a few good things going for it. The District Court made a number of factual findings that strengthened its case (although, for the reasons set out in Justice Souter’s opinion, still not to the point I would have swallowed it). For example, the District Court “found that petitioners had “not introduced evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who will be unable to vote as a result of [the Indiana Law] or who will have his or her right to vote unduly burdened by its requirements.” Furthermore, the District Court found that 99% of voting-age public had a driver’s license. So the number of potentially harmed people was low. (While opinions differ as to whether this fact should matter in a facial challenge — 1% of voters is still high — it won’t be an issue in an as-applied challenge.)

And, one key fact of future significance is that the state offers all citizens a free photo ID. That allowed the three Justices in the lead opinion to distinguish this case from a poll tax. Many other states charge for non-driver photo ID — such as Florida for example. I read this decision to suggest pretty strongly that there are six votes for the proposition that any state which charges for photo ID cannot constitutionally require that voters show a photo ID in order to vote, as this would in effect be a poll tax. (I hope this result doesn’t get lost in the lower court shuffle that is sure to follow.)

This is still not an ideal ruling by any stretch of the imagination, as even the hassle of getting even a free photo ID, especially if there aren’t any DMV offices nearby – but at least it sounds like it makes the photo ID requirement dependent on said IDs being free.  Which should dilute their ability to function as a stealth poll tax.

I wonder: Could the same grassroots organizations that give people rides to the polls also give people rides to the DMV to get their photo ID?  It shouldn’t be at all hard to raise gas money, right?

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Elections,Judiciary

1 Comment

  • 1. ::matthew  |  April 28th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    still seems like there should have been proof of fraud for this thing to go forward.

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