Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

In the Habit of Voting

One of the things they teach you in law school is the advantage of having a sympathetic plaintiff, a person and situation a judge is going to want to find in favor of apart from any of the legal particulars. It’s not the most important part of winning a case, certainly, but if you are going, say, to be challenging mandatory school attendance laws, you’re better off if you plaintiffs are Amish than if they are abusive deadbeats.

Well, it looks as if the folks behind the recent failed challenge to Indiana’s voter ID law may have found themselves some new clients:

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow sister because they didn’t have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.

Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow members of Saint Mary’s Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.

The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn’t get one but came to the precinct anyway.

“One came down this morning, and she was 98, and she said, ‘I don’t want to go do that,'” Sister McGuire said. Some showed up with outdated passports. None of them drives.

Indiana’s photo ID law is the strictest in the country. The Republican-led effort was designed to combat ballot fraud, said supporters, who also have acknowledged that no case involving someone impersonating a voter at the polls has ever been prosecuted in Indiana.

The state’s American Civil Liberties Union sued, calling the law a poll tax that disproportionately affected minorities and elderly voters, those most likely to lack such identification. On April 28, the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that the law did not violate the Constitution.

Since then, advocacy groups have fretted that people showing up to vote in Tuesday’s primary would not understand their rights under the law, which include being able to cast a provisional ballot and obtain a proper ID within 10 days so that ballot would be counted later.


May 7, 2008 - Posted by | Law, Voting

1 Comment »

  1. A heartily earnest (though at root probably very cynical) attempt to turn a hard case into bad law…

    I must admit, I just can’t work up any sympathy for the idea that one should be able to vote without identification.

    Comment by Darwin | May 7, 2008 | Reply

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