Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I asked the experts at fourthamendment.com about the constitutionality of an unwarranted search as a condition of voting, and got this response:
I think that it would pass a reasonableness or balancing of interests test under the Fourth Amendment.

All states have a compelling interest in preventing voter fraud, and I believe that it can require a person to identify themselves somehow by a government issued photo ID (passport, DL, ID, employee ID, etc.; although some efforts at producing identification could be unreasonable--how about the elderly that no longer have a DL, do they have a VA or Medicaid card or a state issued ID?) How would it be unreasonable? His name, DOB, and address are in the voter registration records. All he is doing is confirming that he is the same guy. No one has a reasonable expectation of privacy in their identity, particularly when they affirm to a government official (the voting official) "I am Fred." Having said that, they can reasonably require proof that he is Fred. This implicates the Hiibel case that the Supreme Court decided last year that a police officer can make a person identify himself when stopped for a traffic offense. There is law that an officer cannot stop somebody for no apparent reason other than to identify himself without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. That is entirely different than voting.

(In my state, they take a copy of the voter registration card as proof of identity without a photo ID.)

Not what I wanted to hear, but quite possibly a judge would agree.

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