Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Voter ID

The previous post, by my learned colleague Highland Ave., brings to mind yet another tale of political oddity. The ACLU was kind enough to bring to our attention the fact that charming little LaPlata, Maryland requires voters to produce ID prior to casting their ballot in municipal elections. It seems that while 22 states require production of voter ID, Maryland is not among them. LaPlata is the lone municipality in the state requiring voter ID, apparently unique in its devotion to preventing voter fraud.

Before we get the nation's knickers in a twist, and dump money into ballot initiatives, consider the facts. First, Maryland is governed on a county system. This means that the power and resources at the local level are vested in the county commissioners. Second, states with county-based governance tend to choose this method as a result of their dispersed population. Therefore, the vast majority of people drive, by necessity, and usually possess driver's licenses (a valid form of voter ID). Third, LaPlacians don't care. This past May a record 1,153 voters cast ballots in the municipal election out of a population of 8,500 potential voters. The Mayor's term generally lasts until he either gets fed up, or dies the latter usually being the case.

Based upon these considerations, I suggest repealing this useless law as soon as practicable. No doubt this will occur sometime in the month before the next election in 2007. Maryland summers are rather warm and very humid, so its best not to overexert oneself. Let the ACLU fritter away its resources on this quixotic campaign, employing the usual publicity stunts. That way the town can re-direct its tourism advertisement budget to more useful purposes, such as buying printers for those swanky new electronic voting machines for example.

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