[img_assist|nid=51968|title=We are all GOP now|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=225|height=234]Others here and elsewhere have pointed out many times why the Republican Party's recently enacted Voter ID law serves no legitimate purpose other than to suppress voting by Republican opponents. The law requires official ID for voting, and makes it hard to get that ID; it also almost triples the amount of time a person has to reside in a voting district in order to be eligible, thereby disenfranchisng many highly mobile students and other citizens who rent. Ironically, a current and rare court case in which state prosecutors allege vote fraud by one Milwaukee couple offers further proof that the law is superfluous in actually protecting the vote.
How so? Well, for one thing, the alleged fraud happened before the Voter ID was enacted. If showing an official photo ID at the polls is all that can stop such fraud, how did the couple get noticed? By ordinary checking of absentee voting lists versus voting day lists. Indeed, state criminal investigators visited the couple and interviewed them, which led to the charges, and all before Voter ID existed.
The case (see newspaper story URL below) involves a married couple who posted absentee ballots but then also cast ballots in person at the polls. The alleged fraud is thus that they voted twice. Their defense -- which is a legitimate defense under state law, if the court and jury believe it -- is that they thought their absentee ballots had been invalidated. [UPDATE: A jury found the couple not guilty on Wednesday. In the trial, it was revealed that the husband became concerned about the validity of the couple's absentee ballots after listening to "squawk" radio.] The absentee ballots indeed would have been invalidated on the spot, if a poll worker had followed standard procedure and checked their names properly. But even with the worker's mistake, the double vote was still eventually noticed. or would a Voter ID card have prevented the poll worker's mistake. Indeed, it's arguable that racing through ID checks to accomodate longer waiting lines because of the Voter ID law will cause more such errors.
Be that as it may, there are very few cases of double voting in this state or any other. The other thing the Voter ID is allegedly aimed at preventing is voting under someone else's identity. However, in order to do that and have the vote counted, a fraudulent voter not only has to know the name and address of the person whose identity he is assuming, but has to be sure that the real person is not also voting, because even the pre-Voter ID system would note the double vote.
As for voting in the name of a dead person or someone who moves to another voting district, that's made harder because registered names fall off the roles if the voter is inactive for a few elections, thanks to federal law. In other words, stealing someone's identity for the purpose of voting in their name is possible, but not easy, and can be detected through normal means not requiring official ID cards.
Me, I'm just waiting for the first case in which someone manufactures a fake Voter ID card or steals one, then successfully votes. That fraudulent vote, too, likely would be caught, eventually, but not because of the ID card or the new Republican law, but because of long-standing protections that don't degrade the right of many citizens to vote. Then what? DNA tongue swabs at polling places? Fingerprints? Retina scans? Oh, yeah, that'll speed up and protect the right to vote.