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Texas ID law is fair and necessary

The claim there is a lack of evidence of voter fraud is not a good enough reason to dismiss the voter photo identification law here in Texas as unconstitutional ("Messing with voting rights in Texas,The Sun's recent editorial also claims the ID law will do, is a complete fabrication as well. It is laughable to think that producing a photo ID is restrictive in any way since it is a requirement to have one before you can register to vote. It is the accepted method for satisfying your residency requirement for the district in which you are entitled to cast a ballot. Simply put, if you can register to vote in Texas, you already have everything you need for the polling place. For The Sun to lament the unfairness of the Texas law without offering up a single reasoned alternative demonstrates a total lack of command of the issue being addressed. And that evidence of voter fraud here in Texas? It is largely invisible.

Voter fraud allegations are nearly impossible to prosecute. Most perpetrators who are caught are simply turned away without any consequence and for every one caught in this manner, it can be reasoned that at least one other succeeded undetected. Using a useless statistic to support a weak and uninformed argument does not persuade me that taking steps to secure the voting booth somehow infringes on anyone's right to vote. To the contrary, it helps limit voting errors and fraud for which all state governments are charged to do. The vast majority of us know who is eligible and what is required to exercise the right to vote. State issued photo IDs were not created to complicate voting, they were created as a means to regulate a driver's behavior on public streets and highways. Most people drive in our state and by extension, most people have a state-issued photo ID.

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As for the act of voting, many folks here are not registered to vote and they make it clear it is their choice not to do so believing that their vote has no meaning. The most common argument is the candidates are mostly the same. They do not care whether there is a photo ID requirement, they have no intention of voting at all. There is a small minority from the unregistered pool of potential voters who are genuinely confused about the whole process of registering and voting. The photo ID requirement does not impact these folks, they just need some guidance on how to exercise their rights. Others oppose the requirement because they have outstanding warrants for their arrest and believe they will be apprehended and sent to jail if they show up to vote with the remainder of unregistered voters being those people who are not eligible to vote due to citizenship requirements or felony convictions.

Since turnout of registered voters (all of whom have photo IDs) rarely exceeds 60 percent, it can be calculated that 40 percent or more of all registered voters stay home on election night. This means statistically, voter fraud has about a 50-50 chance of succeeding from the pool of registered voters on the rolls who will not vote at all. To fault our legislature for responding to our complaints about the potential for fraud in this relevant and consequential issue is irresponsible. We have no other recourse to limit it — unless, of course, you belong to the Black Panther Party. As to the "discriminatory effects" of this measured attempt to secure the ballot box, I have never come across anyone of age who could not produce a state-issued photo ID to purchase alcohol. How is it that these seemingly disadvantaged people can perform their due diligence to produce an ID to buy alcohol and then say that they cannot produce the same to vote? Will it be argued that prosecuted cases for fraudulent alcohol purchases are so small that we should drop the requirement to produce a state-issued photo ID to buy it?

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Lastly, I believe it is an absolute imperative that this law discriminates. It is intended to discriminate between those who have the right to vote in our state versus those who do not. My vote is important to me. It often gets canceled out by someone who does not understand what they are voting for but it is immoral for that person to vote more than once to cancel someone else's vote as well. I would argue that any politician or partisan surrogate who opposes this most modest step to protect the sanctity of a citizens vote only wishes to secure for themselves or those they support the prerogative to cheat sometime in the future. And it is in this action that the majority of voters, you and me, become disenfranchised.

Douglas Shelton, Farmersville, Texas

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