Rep Todd Rokita, who successfully pushed a photo ID law in Indiana, has called for support of "honest voting" in other states where such laws were struck down.
“My hope and expectation is that the decision by the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals [in North Carolina] and that by a [U.S. District] judge in Wisconsin are not the end of it,” Rep. Todd Rokita told me on Saturday, clearly angered by the recent decision to roll back voter ID laws.
Rokita, who served as Indiana’s secretary of state from 2002-2010, helped craft its voter ID law. The law later went through the same judicial survival tests as its Wisconsin and North Carolina counterparts and was successfully upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"In 2000 and 2004, before we had our voter ID law, the average turnout in the primaries was 21 percent of eligible voters and the average turnout in the general election was 57 percent," he told me. "After the law took effect [in 2006], in 2008 and 2012, the average turnout in the primaries was 31 percent and in the general election it was 60 percent."
“In Indiana, comparing off year elections 2002 and 2006, the last pre-ID and first post ID elections, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of voters in the general election. In actual numbers, it went from 1,562,037 to 1,719,351 — 157,314 more voters.
“Comparing presidential year elections 2004 and 2008—the last pre-ID and first post-ID elections, there was a 11% increase in the number of voters in the General Election. In actual numbers, it went from 2,512,142 to 2,805,986--293,844 more voters.”
The congressman also noted that in 2008, “Barack Obama became the first Democrat in 44 years to carry Indiana in November. Further, in the democrat primary, there was a 75 percent increase in Democratic turnout compared to the previous presidential primary (1,278,355 vs. 317,211— a 961,144 increase). So Photo ID does not suppress Democratic constituency votes."
Rokita added that North Carolina has had a similar increase in voter turnout since the implementation of its voter ID law that was just struck down in court.
“The overall turnout in North Carolina in 2014 was up 1.7 percent compared to 2010, and at 40.9 percent, it was higher than the national turnout that year of 35.9 percent,” he said.
Rokita also noted that “the percentage of age-eligible black North Carolinians who voted in the 2014 election was 41.1 percent — up 2.6 percent compared to 2010. [The law was passed in 2013]."
In striking down Wisconsin’s law, Judge James D. Peterson ruled that “the evidence in this case casts doubt on the notion that voter ID laws foster integrity and confidence. The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities.”
“That’s just not true!” said Rokita, “We’ve had eleven statewide elections in 10 years, since Indiana enacted its voter ID law. The press has yet to find one person — one — disenfranchised by the law.”
He also noted that in cases where voters did not have a driver’s license or any form of identification with a photo, “our law was written liberally enough so that if they could prove where they lived and who they were with bills or other sources, our state office would provide a special voter ID card, free of charge.”
Rokita’s position on this issue and willingness to speak out immediately was not unexpected. Whether other Republican office-holders follow his example in an election year remains to be seen.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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