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Does the federal court system have jurisdiction over state election laws and regulations?

Updated on October 11, 2014


Recent court decisions affecting voter id laws in Texas and Wisconsin is raising some questions. The Wisconsin law was struck down by the Supreme Court while the Texas law was struck down by a federal judge. The subject of voter id laws has been in the news in the last several elections and in doing some research it was determined that the federal government according to the Constitution has no jurisdiction over state election laws. This may surprise some individuals but in reviewing the details of in the Constitution regarding election laws there is nothing about how elections were to be held only that the Presidential election will be on a specific day. The truth is that since the requirements for election laws are not defined in the Constitution it is left up to the states to make the rules regarding their election process per Amendment 10. Amendment 10 identifies powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states

Another point to make is that it appears these two states have been signaled out while other state election laws requiring some form of voter identification at polling places are still in effect.

The ACLU was involved in these two cases and while there are times that this organization may do some good this is not one of them. The key purpose of these election laws is to prevent voter fraud for which all individuals should be in agreement. No individual or organization should want voter fraud for when it occurs it impacts the integrity results of any election.

Part of the reasoning for these lawsuits is that it makes it difficult for some groups of individuals to have some form of identification. This premise in itself has problems. All across our country there are requirements for individuals to have some form of identification. One big example of an id is a driver’s license issued by states which has a picture on it. I understand that not everyone may drive but for those who do not many if not all states have free identification cards which can be requested. Another example is when you write a check or use a charge card at any store. Some form of id must be presented to ensure you are who you say you are before allowing the purchase (s) to proceed. This is to protect id theft.

Other examples of identification include such things as a Social Security Card, birth certificate, military id, state id and passport. It is hard to imagine any individual would not have one of these forms of identification including the two discussed in the previous paragraph. It is therefore questionable at best why there are issues with a requirement to present some form of id when voting. Voting is a critical aspect of our country and before voting it makes sense to require individuals to present some identification before they should be allowed to vote. Preventing voter fraud with this concept protects election integrity and without it the prospect for voter fraud increases. Federal courts need to remove themselves from this battle per the requirements of the Constitution. The federal courts should let the states decide the requirements for their elections not the federal government. The only exception would be if individual protections under the Constitution were being violated. I see no such case regarding voter identification requirements.


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