No challenge of a voter ID law has ever been successful in Federal Court. The United States Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. Yesterday Federal Judge Ronnie Greer threw out a suit brought by the Green Party claiming Tennessee’s voter ID is invalid on grounds it denies the right to vote of otherwise eligible voters in violation of the 14th Amendment. The judge granted the State of Tennesse’s motion under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which mandates dismissal of a lawsuit for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Citing language from previous cases, Judge Greer said, “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations with respect to all the material elements of the claim.”
The problem here is the plaintiffs did not allege that Tennessee’s voter ID law actually prevented any eligible voter from voting, thus it’s claim that the voter ID law’s implicit purpose was to suppress eligible voters from voting was a mere conclusion without any direct or inferential claim that anyone has been or is likely to be prevented from voting because of their inability to obtain photo identification.
Plaintiffs relied on the argument that the State of Tennessee must show actual voter fraud that has occurred and that would be prevented by its voter ID law. But the Supreme Court in Crawford has already held that, even absent specific evidence of in-person voter fraud, the general history of voter fraud and the risk that in-person voter fraud “could affect the outcome of a close election” was sufficient to support Indiana’s interest in deterring voter fraud.” Thus, the Green Party’s failure to allege that it had evidence of eligible voters who would be prevented from voting was fatal to it’s claim and warranted dismissal.
The problem with all the challenges to voter ID is that the plaintiff’s can’t find anyone who cannot get a state photo ID. It’s too easy, and ID is needed for so many things of less consequence than voting.
The unspoken problem behind the challenges to voter ID is that everyone knows, whether they are willing to admit it or not, that the only reason anyone objects to voter ID laws is because they want to commit voter fraud. They may claim voter ID suppresses votes, but they are the ones who actually want to use fraudulent votes to suppress the votes of honest voters. It’s a clear case of psychological projection.