Thursday, January 10, 2008

Anti-Indiana Voter ID Double Dipping

Fox News report hosted by cited stories that a woman cited as an example of how the voter ID law hurts Indiana voters is actually registered to vote in two states. Ticker on the screen questions: Double Dipping?

Voter cited by opponents of Indiana's ID law registered in two states
WASHINGTON – On the eve of a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Indiana Voter ID law has become a story with a twist: One of the individuals used by opponents to the law as an example of how the law hurts older Hoosiers is registered to vote in two states.

Faye Buis-Ewing, 72, who has been telling the media she is a 50-year resident of Indiana, at one point in the past few years also

claimed two states as her primary residence and received a homestead exemption on her property taxes in both states.

Monday night from her Florida home, Ewing said she and her husband Kenneth “winter in Florida and summer in Indiana.” She admitted to registering to vote in both states, but stressed that she¹s never voted in Florida. She also has a Florida driver’s license, but when she tried to use it as her photo ID in the Indiana elections in November 2006, poll workers wouldn’t accept it.

Subsequently, Ewing became a sort-of poster child for the opposition when the Indiana League of Women Voters (ILWV) told media that the problems Ewing had voting that day shows why the high court should strike it down.

But Indiana Republican Secretary of State Todd Rokita said Monday that Ewing’s tale illustrates exactly why Indiana needs the law. “This shows that the Indiana ID law worked here, which also calls into question why the critics are so vehemently against this law, especially with persons like this, who may not have a legal right to vote in this election,” Rokita said...

The law

In 2005, Indiana passed a law requiring Hoosiers to present photo identification when they vote in person on Election Day, or when they cast a ballot in person at a county clerk¹s office prior to Election Day. Voters without an ID may cast a provisional ballot, then bring an ID back to their county clerk or election board within 10 days.

The law does not apply to those voting absentee or to citizens whose polling place is in a state-licensed care facility where the voter resides.

Proponents of the law, including Rokita, believe it will better protect Hoosiers from voter fraud and identity theft. Critics say it unfairly burdens the poor, elderly and members of certain faiths, such as Amish.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, other states have voter ID laws, but only Florida and Georgia join Indiana in requiring photo IDs to vote. Indiana¹s law has been called one of the strictest.

Even before Indiana¹s law was in place, opponents – including Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama – were lining up against it, apparently in fear that, if it stood, other states would follow. In 2005 Obama introduced a Senate resolution urging the Department of Justice to challenge any state law mandating photo IDs for voting.

In Indiana, the Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters and numerous other groups or agencies representing elderly, minority and disadvantaged voters have been challenging the law in court with the help of the Brennan Center for Justice, which states on its Web site that it is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice.

So far, the law has been upheld by a federal judge and a panel in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the law today and, according to the Brennan Center, “(It) is the most important voting rights case since Bush v. Gore.”

A standing ovation

Gearing up for the high court¹s review, news media around the country have been trumpeting the ordeals that Ewing and others in Indiana allegedly suffered due to Indiana¹s voter ID law. One news story related how Ewing received a standing ovation from poll workers in Lafayette after she spent several hours on Election Day 2006 obtaining an Indiana photo ID.

When poll workers wouldn¹t accept her Florida license as a valid ID for voting, she was told she could cast a provisional vote, but she declined. Her birth certificate wasn’t acceptable because it didn¹t have her married – and therefore identifying – name on it, according to a brief filed with the Supreme Court by the Brennan Center.

It took four hours and visits to two cities to secure the necessary documents for Ewing to vote, the brief and news stories said.

‘I¹m confused’

According to Ewing and Ann Nucatola, public information director for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Ewing surrendered her Indiana driver¹s license in 2000, when she moved to Florida and obtained her Florida license. Nucatola said that a driver must have a Florida address to obtain a Florida driver¹s license.

“And if they own property in two states they have to get a license that says ‘valid in Florida only,’” Nucatola said.

Ewing said Monday that her license is a “regular” one that she uses in both states. She renewed it in 2007 on a Punta Gorda, Fla. address.

At the Charlotte County, Fla. voter registration office, Sandy Wharton, vote qualifying office manager, said Ewing registered to vote in Charlotte County on Sept. 18, 2002, and signed an oath that she was a Florida resident and understood that falsifying the voter application was a third-degree felony punishable by prison and a fine up to $5,000. Wharton said her office checked Ewing’s Florida residency and qualified her on Oct. 2, 2002. On Oct. 4, 2002, they mailed her Florida voter card to her, to the West Lafayette, Ind. address that Ewing gave as a mailing address.

However, Ewing didn’t vote in Florida that year, nor has she ever voted in Charlotte County, Wharton said. But, just a month after receiving her Florida voter card, she did vote in the November 2002 elections in Tippecanoe County, Ind., according to Heather Maddox, co-director of elections and registration in Tippecanoe.

Ewing confirmed that she is registered in both states to vote, but at first said the Florida registration came automatically with her driver’s license. She repeatedly denied signing the oath on the Florida application. She also said Indiana mailed her an absentee ballot, but she didn’t use it or vote that year.

However, Heather Maddox, co-director of election registration in Tippecanoe County, said Ewing voted in Indiana in 2002, 2003 and 2004, before the Indiana ID law took effect in 2005.

When informed that the Florida voter office said she’d registered personally in 2002 for a Florida voter card, and that this newspaper had a copy of her application, Ewing said, “Well, why did I do that? I¹m confused. I can’t recall.” She reiterated that, even though she’s registered in two states, she only votes in Indiana, adding that she does have a car plated in Florida.

That doesn’t satisfy Florida officials.

“She can only be registered to vote in the place where she claims residency,² Wharton said. “You can’t be registered in two states. She has to claim one place or the other.”

Ordinarily when someone registers to vote in Florida, the state informs the election board where the applicant was previously registered. But according to Wharton, Ewing did not inform Florida that she was ever registered to vote anywhere else.

“She signed an oath saying she was a qualified elector and a legal resident of Florida,” Wharton said. “And the space where she was supposed to tell us where she was previously registered, she left blank.”

Related American Pundit post comment

Woman Who Challenges Indiana ID Law Is Registered to Vote in Two States
by Brennan |
Call this an ironic twist. A woman who is challenging Indiana’s voter id law, is actually registered to vote in two states: Florida and Indiana...

...As Bryan says, if she didn’t intend to do anything wrong, what about the people who do intend to commit voter fraud? If she can unintentionally do it, what about the people who intend to do it?

The good news is that the U.S.S.C. is showing some support for the law she’s challenging. Laws like Indiana’s actually have wide base of support in the U.S.. A recent Rasmussen Reports survey finds that a whopping 80% of Americans support voters having to show identification in order to vote...

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