WSJ's Fund Somehow Concludes That WI Vote Proves We Need Voter ID Laws

Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund is famous for crying voter fraud whenever a conservative is in danger of losing an election. We recently caught him making up facts to raise the specter of voter fraud when it appeared that conservative incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser had lost his bid for re-election.

Now that Prosser is in the lead, Fund has changed his tune a bit and is saying that the lesson from Wisconsin is that states must require voters to show ID notwithstanding the likelihood that such laws would disenfranchise some voters.

Fund argues that the actions of a clerk in one Wisconsin county -- who says she initially failed to report more than 14,000 votes, which gave Prosser a 7,000 vote lead -- prove that states must pass laws voters to "show photo ID at the polls."

Fund writes:

Some states have since adopted photo ID laws. But too many (like Wisconsin) still do not require any ID to vote. In a time of razor-thin election margins, we can no longer afford such insecurity in our election process.

Fund does not explain exactly why the lesson of Wisconsin is the need for photo ID laws rather than better training and regulation of county election clerks. After all, the Wisconsin county clerk could have done the same exact thing even if voter ID laws were in place.

Fund also does not note that voter ID laws are likely to have a disproportionate impact on the poor and racial and ethnic minorities. In fact, given the rarity of voter fraud, it seems like there's little reason for voter ID laws besides vote suppression.

Fund also makes a laughably wrong claim in the middle of his piece.

Fund claims that the "Constitution decentralizes our election procedures over 13,000 counties and towns, with each counting its votes in its own way." This would likely come as a surprise to the Framers, who did not even include the words "county or "town" in the Constitution. In fact, the Constitution divides authority for federal election procedures between the states and the federal government and is largely silent on the procedures for state elections. From the Constitution:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

It is states themselves that give the power over election procedures to towns and counties. Nothing in the Constitution requires them to do so.

But ignorance of the constitutional rules on elections is par for the course for the right wing's favorite voter fraud expert, John Fund.

Posted In
Elections, Election Law, Voting Rights & Issues
Network/Outlet
Wall Street Journal
Person
John Fund
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.