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. Erin

    What do you care? The media did not talk about how caucases discriminated against the elderly, handicapped and single parents with children who find it onerous to wait in logn lines for long periods of time to "caucus." So why now this court ruling?

    April 28, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Paul

    How is it you people keep talking as if Rev. Wright had somehow been forgotten? You just talked the last few days about the ads being run by the RNC or the local offices of the RNC that link Rev. Wright and Sen. Obama so why make it seem as if Rev. Wright is fueling your comments?

    April 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. kaye

    There is nothing wrong showing an ID to vote.

    April 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Dale Wise

    This is utterly ridiculous. How can anyone argue against verifying voters' identities?

    If you cannot be bothered to obtain legal identification in this country, then you probably shouldn't be voting anyway.

    April 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Peter Frady

    I do not agree with any form of paper or man made document identification. The one and only identification that should be in place for all identification is Eye and Palm scans. Then it can't be copied or duplicated.
    On any street corner one can buy a fake ID of most any form for the right price.

    This another road block to the poor, elderly and other less fortunate people to vote.

    April 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Gloria in Texas

    I think you certainly should be able to identify who you are prior to voting in any election. I have always been asked for my Driver's License when I voted in Michigan for all but the last 10 years. I also have to prove my idenity in Texas. I am 77 years old and I don't think this is asking too much of the voter.

    April 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Mary from Sarasota FL

    What on earth is the Big Deal about showing photo ID when you go to vote? DUH..... How ELSE are they going to know I am who I say I am.
    A total no-brainer. Mary from Sarasota, FL

    April 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. RLK

    What's the problem with showing an ID when voting?? I've been a resident of 4 different states and every time I've voted I've had to show either a voter registration card or a photo ID to substantiate my identity and right to vote! Of couse those that are illegals and therefore DON'T have the right to vote, or those that are voting for the dead won't like this!!

    April 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. whyputaname

    Message to Obama: Hammer! Don't Stammer!

    This is starting to get silly. It seems like every other day, Barack
    Obama promises to bolster his lagging poll numbers by changing his
    campaign style and getting tough on Hillary Clinton. But even when
    Obama tries to challenge Hillary, his speech is so droning, so
    professorial, so lacking in emotion, that his attacks fall
    flat. Hell, Obama often sounds like John Kerry on Quaaludes.

    April 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. roger dowdle, lockhart, Tx

    I think it would be great if states could require photo ID's. But the states should have to provide them at the time of registration, use a web camera, record the picture in the system (like sam's club and others do) , issue a card with photo on it, at the states expense. Then, not only would there be a picture ID with signature, and could be compared with the computer at voting time.

    April 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. HillarywillGoHell

    This is unfair rule by the supremcourt this would prevetn the minority and poor people from voting this is the people Obama attracts that he is working very hart to take them from poverity . America is white majority rule including the Supreme Court. People of color do not expect justice from the whitle people beleive on your self.

    April 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Kea

    I can hear SusanMO complaining now. All of Clinton's mindless elderly votes and illegal hispanic votes just went down the drain.

    April 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Tom

    Seems like a no-brainer to me – I'd certainly prefer that only legal Americans are voting in our elections and a government ID just doesn't seem like it's that difficult to obtain.

    April 28, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Joe (Exiled Hoosier)

    Thanks LEE WV, nor do I. You have to produce a photo id to get on a plane, prove citizenship to get a job and you should present proof of residency to vote and a photo id is best.

    I won't go into which party it benefits, but only say that 100% confidence that the process is fair and aboveboard will increase voter turnout. If the ACLU and the Democratic party want to whine so be it.
    The Court has spoken 6-3.

    April 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Al

    Hillary's uneducated ditch diggers had better go and get themselves some ID, then, eh?

    April 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Nora, FLORIDA

    It is funny how REPUBLICANS get items pushed through the courts that favors them in some capacity but no one is talking about how caucus states are being screwed because Hill of Beans Hillary feel like they are not important. Go Figure

    April 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Frank, San Diego

    It's depressing to read these posts from Democrats who can't see past their preference for Clinton or Obama to the real heart of the matter.

    Republicans always want to depress voter turnout. If people come to the polls in large numbers, they have no chance to win.

    So they set up a system in which the poor, the elderly, and others who may not have driver's licenses are disenfranchised.

    Democrats need to stop arguing among themselves like this and focus on the totalitarian threat posed by the Republicans.

    April 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Patricia

    Having to have an ID is a good idea. It shouldn't disenfranchise very many.

    Some bloggers complain that the Clintons did not get fair press (along with the Clintons themselves). Take a look back at the pictures and number of articles on H. Clinton compared to Obama these past three months. There is a 3-week stretch where there were more on Obama, but they were not good since they dealt with Wright. I have watched this closely because I have difficulty watching H. Clinton on tv-don't know why. A picture of Obama is a distance picture and H. Clinton's is a close-up. Not that that matters, just something noted.

    The press is so pro-Clinton that they won't even report that she only won PA by 9 points, not the double digit she boasted about. She said she received $10 million right after the win in PA. That money had been trickling in, but they needed to show an increase in support, and the press went with it without checking it out!!!

    April 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. TL Granrt

    The present Supreme Court is just anothr arm of the Republican party Justices should not have any political affiliation, just watch how they interpetit the second amendment, they are sure to leave out this part."BEING A WELL REGULATED MALITA" and I am a gun owner.

    April 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. mike

    Why are you worried about photo I.D. I think you should be more worried about if your vote is really counted...I think that is what the supreme court should be talking about.

    April 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Since a voter is SUPPOSED to be a citizen and all people need identification I don't see this to be an issue. It would seen to make sense to have the persons place of birth put on driver's licenses, which would have to be proved with the person applied for their license. Bill Clinton had the Motor/voter bill; if all a person needed is a driver's license to vote then there would be a lot of non-citizens who could vote. How many cab drivers in NYC could vote then? a few thousand?

    April 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Jane Lawson

    Why is it that the media doesn't mention the fact that Reverend Wright was quite a presence in the Clinton administration during the Monica Lewinski crisis? Of course the answer to that is that the media types seem to want Hillary to win this election. And the Clintons have now distanced themselves from him and act as if he is a pariah.

    I'm caucasian and have listened to the speeches of Reverend Wright in their entirity – not just those "controversial" sound bites the media is so fond of. I agree with much of what he says.

    Don't forget, many people referred to Bill Clinton as slick Willie. Hillary has learned well from him.

    Lacey, WAS

    April 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Chris, Middletown, CT

    this dramatically effects one party....the Democrats – the party of the "even let the dead vote"

    April 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Tim from Ohio

    I'm suprised this isn't a federal law. I live in Ohio and swear that I was asked to produce a photo id when I voted in our recent primary. If someone were not able to produce a valid photo id, in my opinion that would raise a red flag. it seems as though you need a photo id to do just about everything else. Of course, the democrats are making excuses for minorities, poor, and elderly people.

    April 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Grif

    Better Late! Than never....

    April 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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