Despite the hue and cry about the supposed burdens of this law, and despite all of the politicians, political-party apparatus and political-interest groups in the case, no plaintiff could identify a single actual voter who could not or would not vote because of the voter ID law,” Carter said in the brief filed Monday with the Supreme Court. “This fact succinctly demonstrates why this case is unworthy of the court’s attention: It proves the law is benign.”
Besides that, Carter wrote, “granting review of the issue now would likely prompt a raft of last-minute voter-identification challenges that would disrupt the 10 2008 presidential primaries.”
The court will either agree to hear the case – ultimately choosing between the Indiana Democratic Party’s view and the state law – or refuse to consider it, which would be a victory for backers of the law. The justices have not yet said whether they will accept or reject the case.
Carter told the justices that if they are tempted to consider the case, they ought to wait until after the 2008 elections, when it would “not precipitate emergency, election-eve challenges” and when there would be a record of voter ID law enforcement to take into account.
He pointed out that by the end of February 2008, “well before this case would be decided,” 24 states and the District of Columbia will already have held presidential primaries.
“Fourteen of those states require some form of identification for all voters,” and agreeing to hear the case but not deciding the outcome before those people vote “would create new uncertainty as to the validity of all voter identification requirements, far more uncertainty than exists now,” Carter argued.
Under federal law, states must require identification from first-time voters who registered to vote by mail and did not provide verification of their identification with their mail-in voter registration.
Two dozen states, including Indiana, have broader voter ID requirements. Voters in seven states must show a government-issued photo ID; the 17 other states accept other forms of identification such as utility bills.
But even in the states with the strictest voter ID laws, voters who can’t produce an ID are allowed to vote. Most allow a provisional ballot; the voter must appear at a county office within a few days after the election and prove his or her identity.
Privately, I have to wonder if Secretary of State Todd Rokita and other supporters of the Voter ID law wouldn't like to see the Supreme Court take up the case for no other reason than they are certain of victory there with the make-up of today's court. Chief Justice John Roberts is reported to have played a key role in the Bush campaign's challenge of the Florida recount decision, a decision which ultimately sealed President Bush's election as president.