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. WendyOne

    About time!! Who do you think elected the govenor of Washington in the last election. Votes from the graveyard!! She's not my Govenor!!

    April 28, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Arthur Rodriguez

    Sure wish Rev Wright had spojken fully to the public before I vored. I voted for Obama and I WANT MY VOTE BACK! You know, if Obama listed to this devisive stuff for 20 Years some of it was absorbed,
    Hopefully the states that haven't voted will take heed!!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. tomdavie

    Obama supporters are still stuck on Clinton 'stealing' the election.


    Obama hasnt WON anything . He cant win either. He needs the super delegates too.

    Also, no body has ever been given the nominatioin that LOST every single major primary across the country except his default home state.

    nobody in the history of US politics have ever then gone on to win the white house.

    So giving it to Obama is STEALING it from Clinton, who earned it thru all the major primaires.

    April 28, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. AMG

    Good decision. Photo ID is a reasonable requirement that will help avoid fraud. Well done Supreme Court.

    April 28, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Ben Spector

    This might hurt Hilllary!

    Many of her 80 year olds have stopped driving and haven't renewed there drivers licenses.

    April 28, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Maxine

    I agree with Erik; and Wolf stick to the facts; I use to watch your show regularly; but lately you are too one sided. I am sorry to see that, it reminds me too much of FOX news.

    April 28, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Jane, NC

    Any law that discourages full voter participation in the election process is a bad law.

    April 28, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. James M.

    b-liberal...when has Hillary not whined? She is whining about the seating of FL and MI...she whined she is being unfairly treated by the press...she whined that her daughter is being tortured by college students and the media for questioning her take on her father's impeachment...she whined that the media misportrayed Geraldine Ferraro...she is whining that Obama is not giving her another debate...she is whining because she is not going to win the nomination that she always felt entitled to. We can go on. I mean, with the whining come all of the lies...and around the corner from the lies are of course all of the bating...race...gender. Geto over it.

    April 28, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Grif

    So Now Obama is a Simili of Castro??? What a Character

    April 28, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Greg

    Be careful what you are giving up people, there has been no evidence of voter fraud in any of these places but yet the republicans scream voter fraud everyone has to have an ID. You signature is on record in your local voting office and if you think most poor or elderly people have current valid ID's then you are very sadly mistaken.

    I'm amazed how easily people are ready to hand the process over to big brother when he has been the problem all along!

    April 28, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. JoAnn in Iowa

    The concern with photo id is that they are rarely free-it becomes a poll tax. This is only a good idea if they are free and can be obtained at places where people normally go like the grocery store, bank, nursing home. Will a photo id law cancel vote-by-mail? The purpose of photo id laws is to allow fewer people to vote. Republicans desire fewer people voting and they push for barriers to poor people voting.

    April 28, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Rae

    I'm a Republican planning to vote for Obama in the General Election. If Clinton wins the nomination, I'm back to McCain.

    It is my opinion that Hillary is the candidate with the most baggage and throwing the most mud. She couldn't keep her own story straight with regard to Bosnia; uses the word "angry" in opposition of Obama's word "bitter" (Bill and Hillary both have trouble with the dictionary); and, lest you have all forgotten, look back in the news archives (CBS) for Jan. 26 and Febr 7, 2001, and see that the Clinton's "mistakenly" moved out china, flatware and furniture belonging to the White House.

    Please Democrats, give me Obama in the General!

    April 28, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. 2012

    It's impossible to function in normal society without proper identification. The only people who deliberately do so are those trying to stay "under the radar", mostly criminals with outstanding warrants.

    So what's the issue??

    April 28, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. WendyOne

    This is obviously discrimatory towards Democrats. How will they be able to vote multiple times in an election if they have to show ID?

    April 28, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. dave

    I'm saddened to see the Senator like Governor Richardson endorse Obama when Hillary won their state. I thought the Supers were to keep in mind the voice of their constituents and the person's electability when considering who to endorse. Obama couldn't get elected before and even more so now that Wright has resurfaced, his Campaign Finance director has some questions to answer about her failed bank, the Rezko trial re-starts and his name comes up immediately, his complete about face on the Iraqi war, etc.
    Why didn't the press vet this guy up front instead of having it all fall out now?

    April 28, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Bob

    It continues to amaze me how far some people are off base when it comes to simple requirements. There are so many basic things that require a photo id these days from cashing a check to getting a library card. Why is it so hard to use a photo id when you sign into vote so that your registration can be verified. Seems to me to be the prudent thing in order to ensure that those who have legally registered to vote are given the opportunity to vote. Those who are not going to be in the area where they are registered can always get an absentee ballot. I spent over twenty years in the military and voted like this for years. The college students can do the same thing in the area that they are legally registered to vote. The uninformed citizens who think this requirement is too restrictive must have some other motive for arguing against this simple requirement. Why is it so hard to obtain a photo id? Do it when you register to vote. Since voting is a privalege, I for one want to make sure that my vote is not cancelled out by someone who is voting under false pretenses.

    April 28, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Richard Lanzillotti

    Gus, it is about time to realize that Donna Brazill is no longer nuetral. Instead of teaming her with a republican, you need to team her with a Hillary advocate.

    April 28, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Janice

    John Edwards has a right to allow democracy to play out here in the United States of America. The election process beats a dictatorship. He has a right as a citizen of the United States of America to keep his endorsement private until he gets to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado in August. Too many people have jumped on the bandwagon at this point and see what type of media circus you have going on now. The news today has become the news instead of reporting the facts. It is now falling under entertainment in my book. About the energy crisis the three candidates are talking about today if you reporters would become investigating reporters again. Now would be a great time to investigate all the present day executive administration close door energy meetings which was held when they first took office after the year 2000. Gee!!! That might help explain why the United States of America might be in the shape it is now enduring. What do you say? LOL

    April 28, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Independent

    Have you ever noticed that if you don't agree with the left wing/socialist philosophy for ANY reason that you are labeled a NAZI/fascist/racist?
    That in itself is very SCARY!

    April 28, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Shirley B

    I cannot believe that most people do not have ID and those that do not probably do not follow the election campaign enough to be able to vote in an intelligent way. I am 73, follow the news on conservative and liberal news programs, computer news and newspapers but know many elderly (with ID) who do none of these things but will be voting anyway and yet do not know the issues, only a name, black or white and republican or democrat. Obviously this is a problem we can't correct but we can at least require ID.

    April 28, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Ilona Proud Canadian


    What planet are you living on, either cnn has been misleading voters, or you have been on the moon, and could not find your way back!
    We have all been hearing from cnn that Sen. Clinton does well with the poor and undereducated, Hispanics, and seniors. Why then in the above article, you are trying to make us believe that Sen. Obama has the votes of the poor voters??? This must surely be a mis-speak on your part, because I tend to believe cnn's reports.

    cnn, please post this, maybe Wolf can correct the article?

    April 28, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Anna, IL

    Wolf, is this another one of those Hillary's desperate strategy to blame the process should she lose Indiana?

    I'm sorry, but I never understood why photo ID's are not required for voters. You must be a citizen of the US to vote. I'm a naturalized citizen and fully support a federal law that requires ID's to vote. This isn't a Republican issue, this is about fair elections. Many people come to this country because they are fed up with election frauds in other places around the world. If the people are poor and elderly, chances are they already have photo ID's. Federal programs are not provided without ID's. Medicare and Social welfare programs are not provided without ID's.

    April 28, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. boer



    April 28, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. Dan

    Wolf, please, no more Rev. Wright. It's really making for boring TV. NO ONE GIVES A CRAP ANYMORE!!!

    We all know everything there is to know, now tell us something new!

    April 28, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Ronald L. Betts

    Voter I.D. – good idea. We need some form of security as long as it doesn't get out of hand. A simple photo I.D. should suffice. Howard Dean thinks he will solve his problem by forcing Obama or Hillary to quit the race and not allow the super delegates to select a nominee. How would Howard Dean like this solution if one of the candidates quits: If either candidate quits the race we will vote for McCain in the fall. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Howard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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