Indiana Law Could Likely Fuel Conservative Support

In what could be at least a minor setback to Texas lawmakers opposed to voter ID legislation, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled this week that the state’s identification requirement is in line with the Indiana Constitution, according to The Indianapolis Star. Indiana Supreme Court Justice Brent Dickson ruled: “It is within the power of the legislature to require voters to indentify themselves at the polls using a photo ID,” according to the report.

The Indiana law, upheld in a 4-1 decision, requires that voters present a valid state or federally issued ID before casting a ballot. It is similar to a proposal supported by Texas Republicans last session. The Texas proposal led to partisan gridlock that almost derailed the last weeks of the 81st session after House Democrats used stalling tactics to keep the bill from coming to the floor for a vote.

In the heated rhetoric that inevitably ensues in Texas about the issue, conservative lawmakers often note that other states already have voter ID requirements, and they point to what they argue is increased voter participation in those states. Opponents of the bill say it would disenfranchise the elderly, minorities and students who don't have IDs or would have difficulty obtaining them.

During a House Elections Committee hearing last month, chairman state Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, said that despite myriad issues facing lawmakers next year — including redistricting, immigration legislation and a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall — the issue will likely resurface. The Indiana Supreme Court’s decision also comes amid growing complaints at the state level about the overreach of the federal government. Conservative lawmakers could use the Indiana decision to bolster claims that some issues, including how to maintain or improve ballot-box integrity, should be left to individual states.

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