Huffpost Politics

Joe Walsh, GOP Congressman, Introduces New Federal Voter ID Bill

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Tea Party-backed Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) on Tuesday unveiled a new push to enact a national voter ID law ahead of the 2012 elections.

His proposed Federal Elections Integrity Act would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID in order to vote in federal elections.

“Current federal law requires those voting in federal elections to be American citizens,” Walsh said in a press release. "This long overdue bill simply enforces that requirement and will be a huge step towards combating voter fraud in this country."

Walsh said voter fraud was a "real issue" in the country, using an oft-repeated Republican refrain about the supposed prevalence of the problem.

"We have seen plenty of examples of people lying about who they are, and convicted felons, dead people, and illegal immigrants voting. This bill is just common sense," he added. "The American people understand that it makes no sense that a photo ID is required to get a library card or board an airplane, but not required to do something as sacred as voting."

While Republican-led hysteria about alleged efforts to sway elections through illegal voting efforts has remained at the forefront of political debate -- fueled by misleading documentaries and controversial voter purge efforts in Florida -- voting rights activists maintain that the trepidation is unfounded.

According to a 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, many of the examples Republicans have sought to highlight in their advocating for voter ID laws are often over-hyped and easily sensationalized, while actual instances are "more rare than death by lightning."

Opponents of voter ID laws have meanwhile argued that potentially disenfranchising minorities and the elderly in order to rectify a voter fraud problem that recorded statistics suggest is virtually non-existant is unjust.

For more on how proponents of efforts to combat alleged voter fraud explain their view, check out the Daily Show's recent segment on the Florida voter purge here.

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