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A better voter ID law

ElectionsLisa A GladdenRobert L. Ehrlich Jr.Democratic Party

Columnist Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is right about one thing. Voting is the "most sacred right possessed by an American citizen." ("Facts and opinions from the campaign," Sept. 9.)

However, the voter ID laws that he and his Republican colleagues support are the most recent example of a sad history of denying people that right.

IDs issued by state universities aren't accepted under the Wisconsin law. The League of Women Voters ended its voter registration efforts in Florida to avoid criminal prosecution under the burdensome provisions of a new statute. Several research studies have found that the poor, the elderly, and minorities are most likely to lose the franchise because of these requirements.

What is a reasonable alternative?

In Maryland, if your right to vote is challenged, you can use the following forms of identification: your voter's card, Social Security card, or Maryland driver's license; any identification card issued by the federal, state, or local government; an employer-issued photo-ID; or a copy of a current bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name or current address.

Where did we come up with this list? It's copied from the Help America Vote Act, passed with bipartisan support by the Congress in the wake of the Florida election debacle in 2000.

Our law strikes the proper balance between preventing voter fraud and denying people their fundamental right to vote.

Sen. Lisa Gladden and Del. Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg, Baltimore

The writers, both Baltimore Democrats, are the sponsors of Maryland's voter identification law.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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