Proof of citizenship to vote? Oh, please

My friend and former colleague Jon Talton calls it the Kookocracy that’s run amok in Arizona.

I think he’s on to something.

The Arizona — and now Kansas — kooks have been handed a court victory by a judge who says that, yep, it’s OK for those states to demand voters prove their citizenship if they intend to vote.

I’ve been voting in every presidential election since 1972, starting in my home state of Oregon and — since 1984 — in Texas. Not one time has an election judge asked me to produce either a birth certificate or a passport to prove I’m a citizen of the U.S. of A. Never has any elections official looked sideways at me — at least none that I’ve ever noticed — and wondered whether I’m a red-blooded American male.

For the record, I am.

Now, though, the fight to make it more difficult for people to vote is heading down a curious path.

The courts — or shall I say those courts presided over by Republican-appointed federal judges — are notching up victories for the GOP-led effort to curb what they call an epidemic of voter fraud by illegal immigrants.

Of course, no such epidemic exists, except in the fanciful minds of those who want to suppress voter participation by those who might be inclined to vote for those nasty Democrats.

As Talton notes in his blog: “Real instances of serious voter fraud are almost nonexistent, and the few recent scandals have involved Republicans. On the other hand, minority and poor citizens are less likely to be able to produce a passport or birth certificate in order to exercise the franchise.”

I want to be clear about one thing. I join my fellow Americans in upholding the sanctity of the vote. We shouldn’t allow non-U.S. citizens to cast ballots in a rite that is reserved only for those who either swear allegiance to the Constitution or those who earned their citizenship by birthright.

These efforts to make it harder for people to vote, though, simply are un-American.

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