Legislature has bigger priorities than voter ID

There’s a reason Alaskans voted to limit the state Legislature to a 90-day session: we didn’t want our elected representatives wasting time in Juneau on frivolous or unnecessary legislation.

Unfortunately, not every legislator seems to have gotten the message. Just this week, Rep. Bob Lynn, an Anchorage Republican, said one of the first bills the House State Affairs Committee, which he chairs, will hear is his submission that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls.

Really? With all the challenges Alaska faces, his priority is copycat legislation to address a problem Alaska doesn’t have?

Concerns with the bill itself are many. Chief among them is the fact that such a law would, to say the least, be problematic in implementation as there are vast regions of the state where a photo ID isn’t required to drive. Quite frankly, legislation should not create more problems than it claims to solve.

The notion that voter fraud is so widespread — despite all evidence to the contrary — that legislation is required does nothing more than play to our fears and discourage people from even voting at all. With voter turnout already chronically low, we don’t need any more roadblocks in the democratic process.

When Lynn introduced a similar bill in 2011, the measure never made it out of committee. That’s a good place for it to stay this time around as well.

Perhaps, if the Legislature can sort out energy security, oil taxes, the state budget and all the other big issues facing the state, then there will be time to look at a voter ID bill. But until that time, there are much more important and pressing issues that need to be addressed.

More

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 21:59

What others say: Sessions out of touch

Our nation is in the grips of an opioid epidemic unlike anything we’ve seen before. Just a few short years ago, heroin was thought to... Read more

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 12:13

What others say: Gorsuch a qualified candidate

After two days of often hostile hearings, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is proving himself an even-tempered, deeply knowledgeable nominee who should be confirmed by... Read more

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 12:12

Despite hardships, Alaskans should continue to Pick.Click.Give

Making end-of-year contributions is a given for many American families these days, and their philanthropic spirit is to be commended. Here in Alaska, however, we... Read more

Op-ed: Skinny but overweight

It’s called a “skinny budget,” because it’s just a president’s blueprint for where the federal money goes, and it doesn’t get into details. Those will... Read more

Around the Web