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News Opinion Readers Respond

Voting is a civic duty that includes the responsibility to show a suitable ID

It is ironic that The Sun titled its editorial on voter ID laws "The phantom menace" (Feb. 27). The "Phantom Menace" in the Star Wars trilogy actually refers to a dark force in politics that hides in plain sight pretending to be a public servant.

Similarly, the Brennan Center for Justice cited in your editorial claims to be a nonpartisan organization in service of the public good, but it actually takes positions against laws that would prevent fraud in elections.

The Brennan Center's outrageous statistics about the number of voters without identification have been discredited by former Federal Elections Commission member Hans von Spakovsky, an election law scholar.

American University did a study of registered voters in Maryland and found that "showing a photo ID as a requirement of voting does not appear to be a serious problem in any of the states" because "[a]lmost all registered voters have an acceptable form of photo ID."

While the Brennan Center claims that 11 percent of eligible voters don't have IDs, the university found that less than 0.5 percent of respondents had neither a photo ID nor citizenship documentation.

Despite the Brennan Center's attempts to discount the reality of election fraud, attempts to tamper with elections are real. For example, in February Melissa Renee Schilling of Baltimore was convicted of two counts of falsifying petitions.

At her sentencing, she admitted to the judge: "I made a huge error in judgment."

Meanwhile, the Pew Center just issued a report that found that 1 out of 8 voter registrations are inaccurate across the nation.

Each fraudulent vote dis-enfranchises an eligible voter. When we are dealing with our most basic right — the right to vote — we should diligently support laws that ensure the integrity of our elections.

Voter ID requirements prevent double voting, voting by non-citizens, fictitious voter registration and voting in more than one precinct.

Voting is a privilege of democracy, but it is also a civic duty. Part of that duty includes the responsibility to provide suitable identification in order to ensure the integrity of election outcomes. That is not too much to require of citizens.

Robert B. Ostrom

The writer is former general counsel of the Maryland Republican Party and a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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