Benjamin Barr

An Exercise in Mountains and Molehills

Posted on October 19, 2006 | Author: Benjamin Barr
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Sometimes clichés fit.  Take the recent shenanigans at the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for example.  The court decided to put Arizona's voter ID law on hold.  We can't be sure of the court's reasoning, but the plaintiffs spent a lot of time explaining how grueling it is to secure photo identification. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill.

Blockbuster Video, neighborhood libraries, and liquor stores all require some form of major ID that proves you are who you claim to be.  If we need ID to rent "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," shouldn't we do the same when voting?  The Ninth Circuit doesn't think so. 

The plaintiffs argued that photo ID laws disproportionately affect "minorities, poor, elderly, and disabled citizens."  But an Arizona driver's license costs $10 to $25, hardly an insurmountable fee. 

We should all be concerned about poll taxes, if they're actually present.  It is unjust and unconstitutional to impose a tax on the right to vote.  But, contrary to the Ninth Circuit's opinion, that's not happening here.  Instead, the judiciary has overturned a reasonable measure to ensure electoral integrity and made a molehill into a mountain.  We can only hope the Supreme Court will think otherwise.

Benjamin Barr is a constitutional policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Studies.

Key Links:

-Gonzalez v. Arizona pleadings and court documents: Moritz College of Law 
-Tucson Citizen: "Arizona asks U.S. high court to continue voter ID rule"  
-Blockbuster: "How do I get a Blockbuster membership?"

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