The idea that a photo identification card is needed to protect the integrity of elections is not based in fact, says a lawyer whose specialties include local government and elections. Michael Del Galdo, whose practice is in Berwyn, points to a Carnegie- and Knight Foundation-funded report that says since 2000, Illinois has recorded 23 cases of alleged election-related fraud.
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Among those: 10 involving campaign officials charged with petition or voter registration fraud, nine cases of vote-buying, and three cases of non-citizens casting votes. The number of cases of voter impersonation: Zero.Illinois’ 23 compares with Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri, all under 100 cases. Only Missouri’s is lower at 17, for what it’s worth.
Del Galdo, who says nothing has been proven wrong with the signature-matching system familiar to many voters, says the voter ID proposals seem to be an extension of the “poll tax” and other ways to keep minorities from voting. “That’s certainly where my mind went in terms of the motivations,” he said. “Typically, the law is reactionary. Very rarely does a law come out that predicts what a crime is going to be in the future; the law’s always reactionary and remedial. These laws, it’s a solution in search of a problem.”