April 28th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Blitzer: Court ruling could have huge impact at the polls

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg caption=" Blitzer: Could the Supreme Court's ruling make a difference at the ballot box?."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just as many Democrats have been getting nervous about their presidential prospects in November against Republican John McCain, the U.S. Supreme Court issues a major ruling that potentially could have significant political fallout.

As you probably know by now, the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that states can indeed require voters to produce photo identification in order to prevent voter fraud. “We cannot conclude that the statute imposes ‘excessively burdensome requirements’ on any class of voters,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in the majority opinion.

For years, many Republicans have strongly supported these requirements as a way to make sure that only eligible U.S. citizens actually get to vote. Many Democrats have opposed these statutes, arguing that they often deter minority, elderly and poor voters from showing up at the polls. Some of these voters simply don’t have appropriate government-issued photo identification. More than 20 states already have such requirements. Now, with this Supreme Court decision, other states no doubt will follow suit.

One state that already has such a photo identification requirement is Indiana, which holds its Democratic presidential primary on May 6.

With the Supreme Court ruling that these requirements are in fact Constitutional, will minorities, the elderly and the poor in Indiana be deterred from showing up that day to vote? Will either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama benefit from this? He has done better with African American voters; she has done better with Hispanic voters. He has often done better with poor voters; she has done better with elderly voters.

I suspect this Supreme Court decision will have marginal impact in the remaining Democratic primaries. It probably will have a lot more impact in November – not only in the general presidential election but in several Senate and House races as well as in many other state and local contests.

As the Associated Press noted in its report, this decision “was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush.”

Related: Watch Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena's analysis of the courts ruling

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. b-liberal

    Ozombies guidebook (be prepared to spin):

    – if Obama takes Indiana – it was a fair ruling and inclusive
    – if Obama loses Indiana – it is a Clinton trick and Indiana is racist!

    Or we could end whining as usual from the Obama camp and be done with excuses and blame, and just vote for Hillary.

    She can get the job done without whining.

    April 28, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Tony, Wilton, ME

    Perhaps it would suit the Court if theirs were the only votes worth more than a pile of water buffalo dung – as in 2000.

    May the Scalia Court rot in Hell. They have gone from the most respected branch of government to being the least respected. And that's not easily done in the Bush era.

    April 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. mitch from ark.

    if the votes are to be fair,then we have to know that voters are ,who they say they are.

    April 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Debbie

    Every legal person in the US needs a photo id. Even middle school kids have them now. You can't cash a check or drive a car without a photo id. The poor and the elderly have to have one in order to get gov't benefits like food and medical care. If motor vehicles and financial inst. require a photo then why wouldn't something as important as voting not require a photo id.

    April 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Linda

    Photo identification is a good idea. If you can't prove you are a citizen or here legal you don't need to vote.

    April 28, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Brian

    Mr. Obama just picked up the support of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), the campaign announced. Bingaman chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

    Add another SuperDelgegate. That is his 5th in 7 Days since the PA Primary.

    April 28, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Erick

    I cannot believe the selfishness of Clinton or the apparent short sightedness of her and her electoral base. After all, the general election is for much more then just a president, and once the elected officials are in place it is not only the president to propose and develop public policy. Lets take a look at the senate races for instance. The seats that are expected to be competitive this year are OR, AK, CO, LA, ME, MN, NH, NM, NC, SD and VA. Look at these states and ask yourself which democratic presidential candidate would be the best down ticket in these states. With the exception of New Hampshire and New Mexico, Obama would undoubtedly be the better choice to attract votes for the down ticket senate races. Unfortunately for Clinton the rust belt states either do not have a senate race this year, or else, the races are not competitive.

    So what, some may ask. Well, democrats should be focusing on the good of the party at this point. This does NOT mean that Clinton should drop out, however. No, indeed she should stay in the race until Obama is the official nominee, but her campaign should be one of a positive message. From now on she should only speak positively about Obama and collectively they should use the media attention on their competitive race to focus on their contrasts with the GOP. Clinton should be building Obama up and not tearing him down! Democratic voters should be rewarding positive campaigning and helping Clinton along when she is supportive of the party and voting heavily against her when she resorts to the politics of old. Unless, of course, if Americans want to continue a politics of negativity, which I find hard to believe.

    So why should, or would, Clinton basically agree to concede the presidential race by talking Obama up and ceasing her recent style of tearing him down? Simply put she should be focusing on what’s best for the party, the best for her and the best for the policies that she wants to push forth for the American people. A strong presidential candidate in Obama has the potential to put all those competitive senate races into play and the stronger Obama is as a candidate the better chance of winning those senate seats. A clean sweep would mean a 60-40 senate and with this kind of a potential senate composition Clinton should be focusing now on building Obama up to get this result and targeting on her concession prize, the Senate president pro tempore, if Robert Byrd would allow it for the good of the democratic party?

    By Clinton running a positive campaign, Obama would also have a much more secure shot at winning the presidential bid and taking control of the House of Representatives as president of America. Then with Clinton controlling the Senate the two would offer one of the most influential one two punches in the history of America. After all, 95% of their policy platform is identical and that is why this primary has come down to a competition of character and grit instead of what they will do for Americans – the latter is nearly identical! So, for sake of argument, lets look at Clinton’s most progressive propositions, Universal Health Care. Now, ask yourself, would Clinton have a better chance of achieving this as the Senate president pro tempore residing over a 60-40 senate, or as the President of a divided and fractured House of Representatives and a 54-46 senate? Why do we all act as if only presidents introduce bills? Surely a stronger, unified government would achieve Universal Health Care much more smoothly! Simply put, if Hillary wants what’s best for America, it is time for her to go positive!

    So to all the democrats reading this. Unify and Get out to vote, vote Clinton or vote Obama, that is not important, just vote to reward POSITIVE campaigning! Don’t let negativity dictate the tone of this race. When you talk to your fellow democrats contrast Clinton and Obama not with each other, but with GOP. Give them credit when they are positive and ignore them when they are negative.

    In November vote democrat!

    Thanks for reading!

    April 28, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Alfredo

    Thsi will impact Hilalry's vote for sure.

    April 28, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Vanessa C.

    Wolf – You say Obama has "done better with poor voters"??? What results have you been reading???

    April 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Brian

    Mr. Obama just picked up the support of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), the campaign announced. Bingaman chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

    Add another SuperDelegate. That is his 5th in 7 Days since the PA Primary.

    April 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. ShannonL

    People have to register in order to vote...why should they also not be required to have a photo ID? I think it is silly to not require photo id...are we a third world country?

    If you want to vote, get an id...that way we know that you are really you.

    April 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. mcWar

    === i didnt have sex w/ that woman, i was 2 busy looking 4 bin laden==

    April 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Cynthia

    Another way to possibly get who they want in office.

    April 28, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. karen from va

    I have to provide a photo ID in Virginia...
    This is not the most important voting rights case! The most important will be the seating of delegates after Florida and Michigan willfully broke the rules, as did Hillary Clinton, allowing her an end run around an agreed upon system. Just watch it happen.

    April 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Portland, OR

    Yes, both Primaries and General Elections. As a democrat I believe this disenfranchises some voters and is NOT right. But it would be interesting to see the reaction of the Obama biased MSM. For this rule would definitely benefit Barry HO in the primaries and disadvantage Hillary. In the General elections it would definitely work against the "mathematically" elected candidate and favour the "presumptive" candidate.

    April 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Dal

    ID is a good way to make sure that the votes cast are by the people who are registered and not by someone else.

    April 28, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. AZM

    I'm a little shocked that people can vote without ID.... I mean... how do you know who they are, that thier legal at all or of age... how can you have an accurate legal election without checking the voters? This is a no brainer to me... I don't know that it helps the Republicans or not... unless you believe that the Democrats have been getting hundreds of thousands of ilegal votes... which I hope isn't true.

    April 28, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. BL-NYC

    ID should be mandatory...
    How else is someone going to know if the proper registered voter is at the poll?
    Everyone should have some sort of ID... Come on it's 2008!!!

    April 28, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Sam

    I don't think it will have a major impact Wolf. One thing puzzles me though. You say Obama has generally done well with poor voters. I thought you said he did well with affluent voters....which is it?

    April 28, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Steve

    Why are Democrats not in support of this? One should have to prove that one is a legitimate U.S. Citizen in order to vote? That only makes sense. The reason the Dems are upset is that a good portion of their vote probably comes from illegal immigrants. it's time to play fair. Thank goodness for a Supreme Court with good common sense. If people shy away from having to show I.D. in order to vote, then they probably shouldn't be voting. This it to protect American citizens who have a right to vote from be affected by the illegal voting of those who do not.

    April 28, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. jr


    What's the big deal. If your registered you go to your poll present your drivers license or a valid state I.D. card with your picture on it to the election judge sign-in and vote. It cuts down on voter fraud, which I'm sad to say happens more often then not.

    April 28, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. fred

    I think it is a good thing. I also think that states should do all they can to make it possible for these people to get photo identification.

    April 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Reality Check

    Thats just being smart. In Illionois, we already have an ID system. Its just a state ID and nothing else. If you don't have an ID then just go get one. Its not hard. If you don't want to do that then you are just lazy. The only people I see this affecting is the illegals. And seeing how Hillary picks up the support of so many hispanics, it may affect her turnout more then Obamas. Mccain may lose some too. Like illegal Miami Cubans or what have you.

    April 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. Jon in CA

    A sensible requirement (PROVING who you say you are)... but wait for the howls from Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Hillary, Obama about how this will discriminate against African Americans and scare off illegal aliens (whom the dems desperately need to win in November).

    If (through my tax dollars) I am supporting YOUR family – then you can get off your lazy but and get a photo id.

    April 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Kevin


    I don't read your pieces anymore, just to let you know. I stopped by only to recommend that you take a refresher course in investigative journalism and journalistic integrity.

    Good luck,

    April 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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