GOP To Push Stronger Voter I.D. Laws, Says ‘Voter Fraud Is Real’

By Matt Cover | July 15, 2011 | 4:35 PM EDT

In this Oct. 22, 2010 file photo, Bea Seliger, left, and her husband Howard Seliger, both of Baltimore, arrive to cast early votes in Maryland's general election, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark, File)

( – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus repeated his party’s commitment to stronger voter identification laws, saying that the GOP would not give up the fight against voter fraud.

“I think that we need to make it easy to vote, hard to cheat, and I think that that’s a mantra that we ought to shout from the rooftops all over the country as a Party,” Priebus told conservative bloggers on a conference call on Thursday.

Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) Chairman David Norcross said that voter fraud issues were very real, despite complaints from liberals that it is largely a phantom problem. Cross cited several cases where states had found thousands of ineligible votes after elections were already over.

“Voter fraud is real, this is not anybody’s imagination,” Norcross said. “The Milwaukee police department reported some detailed fraud in the 2004 presidential election in Wisconsin. The Colorado Secretary of State found last year that 5,000 non-citizens voted in their Senate race, which was decided by a close margin. And probably all will remember Minnesota in 2008 when more ineligible voters were identified than the margin between the winning and losing Senate candidates.”

Norcross also pushed back against the argument that strict voter I.D. laws depress poor and minority turnout, a claim made famous by Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), who said such laws would “literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws,” a reference to the racist segregation-era laws that prevented southern blacks form voting.

“And as for people who don’t have photo I.D., American University Center for Democracy in Election Management found recently that 99 percent of eligible voters posses the proper I.D.,” said Cross. “Really, the purpose for this call is to make sure that we preserve this initiative, keep it going, and that we protect voter I.D. and the rights of legitimate voters,” Cross said.

Representative Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), formerly Indiana Secretary of State, said that after Indiana issued a voter I.D. law, it saw turnout go up, not down, charging that attacks against voter I.D. laws were “the sky is falling” arguments.

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“All the ‘sky is falling’ arguments that were made in accusation of what was billed as some kind of draconian, or tyrannical law never came to pass,” said Rokita. “In fact, our voting went up 2 percent as we introduced the photo I.D. law. We attribute that to the confidence that the law inspired in the voting public.”

Democrats are also making more of an issue out of voter I.D. laws, holding a Capitol Hill press conference on Friday to criticize Republican-led states that have strengthened I.D. laws as trying to suppress the minority vote.

“I guess they don’t think that we understand that they’re trying to keep poor people from voting, minorities from voting, the elderly from voting, students from voting, we are not stupid,” Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) told’s Nicholas Ballasy after the conference.

“We understand that this is by design,” said Fudge, adding that “when you go to every state that a Republican governor, where there’s a Republican governor, they are doing this across this country and we’re just not going to take it.”

Such charges, Norcross said, were nothing but “cynical” attacks against a proven policy – one that has the support of most Americans. .

“But we have seen recently what I suspect many of you have, a cynical and calculated and coordinated effort by the Democrats to spread lies about the reasons for and effect of voter I.D.,” said Norcross.  “In fact, most Americans support voter I.D. A June 2011 Rasmussen Poll had 75 percent of Americans believing voters should be required to show photo ID. This breaks down into 85 percent of Republicans , 77 percent of Independents, and 63 percent of Democrats.”