The Federalist Society

State Voter ID Requirements and the Constitution

March 20, 2008

Allison R. Hayward

Most likely because it is an election year, the argument in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, has attracted spirited attention, and almost forty briefs from outside groups. Supporters of the law, which requires Indiana voters to present a government-issued photo ID before voting (or vote provisionally or swear indigency or other inability to obtain an ID) argue that an ID requirement is necessary to prevent voter fraud. Opponents argue that ID requirements attack a phantom problem, because there is little evidence of impersonation fraud. The problem with both perspectives is that they attempt to score public policy points in the context of constitutional adjudication. The question before the Court in Crawford is not whether Indiana’s voter ID requirement is good policy, canny politics, or even whether it is justified. The question is whether it is facially unconstitutional for a state to impose this specific ID requirement on all voters....

State Voter ID Requirements and the Constitution  


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