How To Lose The Moral High Ground On Voter ID

Democrats have successfully gained the moral high ground in the fight on voter ID. Oft-cited examples of voter ID fraud have been disproven and partisan attempts to purge voter rolls in states like Iowa have been successfully combated. Even in states where voter ID laws seem like to be enforced in November, Democrats have already initiated well-organized efforts to guarantee all their voters have the necessary id by Election Day.

How can Democrats undermine their credibility on this issue? By nominating a candidate for Congress who committed voter fraud. In Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, a relatively safe Republican district that combines the Eastern Shore and the more conservative suburbs of Baltimore, it was discovered that Wendy Rosen, the Democratic nominee for Congress, had voted in both Florida and Maryland in multiple elections this week. Rosen has dropped out of the race and Democrats are already searching for a write-in candidate, since it is too late for Rosen’s name to be removed from the ballot.

This has already drawn notice on conservative blogs and is bound to become the basis of future GOP talking points. Although voter ID would not have prevented Rosen from voting twice, it still provides an easy and highly-charged example of voter fraud that voter ID advocates can use as circumstantial evidence.

In the fight over voter ID laws that could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, Republicans have had difficulty finding a villain and have normally resorted to ominous hypotheticals. Rosen has now provided them with a straw man in this crucial debate.

Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs is a journalist living in New York. He is a former reporter for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and contributor to the Boston Globe editorial page. Follow him on Twitter @bencjacobs.