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. Eric in JC TN

    Does ID really matter in a paperless Diebold election?

    April 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Donovan

    ID's work, that is, if we want a fair election...

    April 28, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Rose

    Go Obama! You have my prayers!

    April 28, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Jason Carter

    I suspect that there will be a major effort from the democratic party to make sure everyone gets proper identification cards before the general election in those states where it is required. The only problem I can foresee is an administrative bottleneck while the various states' Secretary of State offices try to cope with a sudden influx of ID requests.

    April 28, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Andrew

    I am a longtime democrat but I will vote for McCain in November if Obama gets the nomination.

    April 28, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Jim

    In the 1930's and 40's one of the most feared questions in Nazi Germany was – "Where are your papers!"

    Anyone promoting mandentory, universal "papers" is no better than a Nazi.

    No suprise coming from the "Bush Court" given his families Nazi sympathies in WWII.

    April 28, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Steve

    To all you whiners, Justice Stevens is probably the most liberal member of the court and HE wrote the opinion for the majority decision! You can't identify yourself, you don't get to vote! Its called common sense people! Just go get a photo ID! This ruling will only deter ineligible voters! Common sense!

    April 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Monica

    If I am not mistaken, in Indiana you can get a photo i.d. at the bmv. It is not a liscence but just an i.d that works for voting. I am glad they wrote this law and it was upheld. We as a state need to make sure that people voting are eligible
    It is free for an ID card for voting purposes, you just have to go to the BMV and show documentation. This law has been around for a while (2005) (because I remember the BMV opening on their closed day in the past for people to come get id's before an election.) I am not sure if they are offering that next week though. I have been to the BMV many times and have never been there for longer than fifteen minutes. Everyone in IN has known about this and it has been widely publicized on my news during every recent election (unless you are in la la land) so this should not be a problem. But again, this law has been followed in the state since 2005. New registered voters and those who have not voted recently are the only ones who might have to get the I.D. if they do not have a driver's liscence. I just wanted to add this info because the CNN article leaves out these little details.
    Indiana voter.
    This may become a problem for the general if many states who do not have id laws try to enact one before the General election. (And they charge money or do not provide easy access for legal voters to get identification.)

    April 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Georeg R.

    The chickens will again come home to roost,if clinton steal this election.You said you wanted a change in politics,she lied but no one died as of yet.Did I forget the whitewater guy,who killed himself.So america you want another liar as president.So you think you have something on obama with this rev. wright. Now dems are acting just like reps, what will white america do to win,will you sale your sole,lie steal.The supreme court has just stolen another election.Tim from florida you have no problem with this gang of bush idiots running this country.

    April 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. PA_Hill-fan

    Photo ID also prevents fraud. That people from other states can not vote as it might have already happened in a few States in the primaries and definitely Caucuses. This will verify each person address with a photo ID. This may be a bit inconvenient to some poor and elderly people, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.

    April 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Shawn, Takoma Park, MD

    It's pretty telling that Hillarats are cheering the decision of a right-wing Supreme Court. Democrats obviously aren't interested in electing Bush in a pantsuit and that's why Hillary LOST the nomination. Ha Ha. Hillary isn't even a Democrat anymore, but a right-wing fearmongering clown who will stoop to any level to weaken the party that rejected her.

    April 28, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Marshall in Nebraska

    And this is a surprise how? Why don't we let all our enemies in to vote for who they want. That would make an effective government. Please can't we see this makes sense!

    Once again ever country around the world makes people show an id to vote.

    Let's find some real news.

    April 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. TEO

    Is this guy an idiot or what? Anyone who isn't willing to show a picture ID to voted probably shouldn't anyway. I can't believe there's that many people that would be offended by this ruling. Anything to make a news story.

    April 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. robert


    Absolutely Kristal.

    It is so strange that the Obama campaign wont even bring up the Mark Penn controversy when HRC used a similar issue against Obama to maximum advantage. One of the things that befuddles me is that, Obama will not even mention these sort of things. Let him not be an attack politician, but will he lose something if he mention some negative things about HRC ?

    April 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Helen in Tx

    I was a campaign captain in my precinct and we were told-show a picture ID or your voter registration I felt we should have asked for a picture ID even if they had a voters' registration, just to be on the safe side. however, the powers to be said no. I am an Obama supporter.

    April 28, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Belle

    Many underage people voted in WA caucuses because of no ID requirement. Guess who they voted for?

    ALL states should require ID for voting.

    April 28, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. Penny

    Most people don't think about the fact that if obama wins nomination he can win against oldie. Dems should vote who ever wins nomination, unless they want 4 more yrs of bush.

    April 28, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Alonzo Demetrius

    Will states provide a photo ID for folks who do not have pictures on their drivers' licenses?

    April 28, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. A.J. in Fla

    Great decision....!!!! You have to be a real idiot not to have an ID.

    An by the way, Mike you hit the nail in the head

    April 28, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Steve

    To Portland , OR. and everyone else who feels the same way, lf you as a democrat feel this ruling will disenfranchise some voters then step up and help these folks get photo IDs or are you just gonna whine?

    April 28, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Paulinus, Canada

    Forget that Wolf is a Jew. How about Lou Dobbs. They all are fighting against Obama. It is a conspiracy. Some people always want to stay up.

    April 28, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. Bruce, Chicago

    What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this chat room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    April 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Bridgette

    What's so wrong with that. I thought they did that already. I have to show my id when I go and vote. I don't see anything wrong with that.

    April 28, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. choob

    if you want to vote so badly, go to the dmv and get an i.d.

    April 28, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. tomdavie

    No candidate has even won the white house losing all the major primaries. Never once in all of US history.

    Obama is unelectable.

    April 28, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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