How photos on EBT cards can prevent more than just welfare fraud

Poll worker Catherine Smith looks over a voter ID in Cottageville, S.C., during the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Reuters photo by Randall Hill.

Poll worker Catherine Smith looks over a voter ID in Cottageville, S.C., during the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Reuters photo by Randall Hill.

Although 34 states have laws on the books requiring voters to show identification to vote, Maine requires no identification at the polls.

We need ID to board a plane, cash a check, pick up a package at FedEx, rent a car, check in at the doctor’s office, get a job, get an apartment, or have something notarized. You need ID to receive welfare benefits such as health insurance, or to sign up for Obamacare.

Those who wanted to attend a book signing by first lady Michelle Obama in 2012 were required to submit their Social Security numbers and show a photo ID in advance.

Attendees at the 2012 Democratic National Committee convention in Charlotte were required to provide their state-issued IDs (in a state where 30,000 dead people were found on its voter rolls).

And — oh, this is rich — NAACP organizers for a “Moral March” demonstrating against photo ID laws required marchers to bring — wait for it — photo identification to participate. Ha, you just can’t make this stuff up!

Heck, our rescue dog Woody even needs photo ID when he goes to work as a therapy dog.

Opponents claim fraud is virtually nonexistent and that voter ID laws impose unnecessary burdens on voters, restricting their right to vote.

The American Civil Liberties Union parrots this, claiming that more than 21 million Americans don’t have any form of ID. They portray racial and ethnic minorities, low-income and the elderly as victims whose right to vote would be impeded.

And never one to shy away from pitting Americans against one another, President Barack Obama jumped into the fray last week, with a one-two racism-victimhood punch, accusing Republicans of ginning up a solution to a made-up problem. This is all about keeping Democrats from voting, he proclaims as he makes voting rights a cornerstone of his “getting out the base” strategy for the midterms.

Hollering in full campaign mode as usual, Obama told a largely black crowd, “There are well-organized and well-funded efforts to undo [the] gains” of the civil rights movement.

This guy is a one trick pony. We can argue about the extent of fraud, (including with absentee ballots) but we can’t argue about its existence. Uninterested in actually addressing the issue, he falls back on the only card he has played in the course of his reign with the most divisive and partisan rhetoric he can muster.

Proponents see identification as a way to prevent impersonation and increase public confidence in the process, which in turn shores up the legitimacy of our government.

A Washington Post poll in 2012 found that over 75 percent of Americans — including Hispanics, blacks and lower-income voters — support voter ID laws. Yep, the same block of voters progressives want us to believe are victimized understand that voter ID means their vote isn’t diluted by cheaters.

In fact, the only reason I can come up with for not wanting voter ID laws in place is fear of losing without the possibility of fraud. (For those keeping track of such things, U.S. Rep. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud voted against voter ID.)

To ensure each citizen has an ID, some states have offered free ID cards. And a proposal has been advanced to issue photo Social Security cards, though that could pose privacy and identification piracy issues.

So here’s a solution that should satisfy those on both sides of the issue.

Issue EBT cards with the recipient’s photo front and center. This answers the progressives’ argument that the poor are disadvantaged and cannot possibly afford a government-issued ID. It satisfies proponents’ wish that everyone show an ID when voting. And using photo EBT cards produces bonus points if both parties indeed agree that we need to stamp out welfare benefit fraud.

Protecting our most important privilege of citizenship isn’t something that’s either Democrat or Republican. It’s an American issue, and one we shouldn’t be arguing over.

Susan Dench

About Susan Dench

Susan Dench is the founder and president of the fast-growing non-profit, non-partisan Informed Women's Network. Recognizing that many women are tired of "politics as usual," Susan decided to take action and develop strategies that are innovating the way women and politics intersect, nurturing and encouraging women in fun, energetic gatherings where views can be expressed in a supportive environment and then translated into practical solutions that produce results.