Thursday, January 10, 2008

Voter ID Oral Argument Includes Exchange On Religious Objectors

In yesterday's oral arguments (full transcript) in the U.S. Supreme Court in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections-- a challenge to Indiana's voter identification law-- the following exchange took place between Justice Scalia and Paul Smith arguing on behalf of petitioners:
JUSTICE SCALIA: ... In this case you're claiming there's a problem for people who, for religious reasons, don't want to have their photograph taken. Do we know that if that's the reason that they assert, I can't get the photograph, the State will say you can't vote?

MR. SMITH: I must be misunderstanding. We have every reason to think that they will let them vote. The only problem with that exemption, like the indigency exception, is that it's kind of gratuitively burdensome in that you have to go down to the county seat to vote every time; you can't vote in your polling place because you have to fill out this affidavit every time you vote.
The added burden on Amish, Mennonites and others in the state who have religious objections to being photographed for an ID card was discussed more fully in Petitioner's brief as well as in an amicus brief filed by the League of Women Voters. (See prior posting.)