I have studied this issue until I am numb. During my tenure as Bruce Hendrickson's campaign manager we pushed for a voter ID during the Democratic primary and guess what, he won the Democratic primary for Secretary of State while pushing a very, very partisan issue. Not a Democratic battle cry but a Republican one, we tried to avoid pandering to any one idealogical group and it worked. We backed off the voter ID, only to lose to Trey Grayson in the Fall. But on the flip-side, if the Republican candidate appears more liberal than the Democratic candidate, we would have lost all the same.
Indiana has some of he toughest voting laws in the United States and the United States Supreme Court says their tough Voter ID law is OK. Hendrickson had a plan to avoid the disenfranchisement that could accompany a Voter ID law, the elderly and poor would have been eligible for a free state ID card, thus eliminating the number one argument against the law. But partisan bickering has polarized this issue to the point that no viable Democratic candidate will ever push it, ever again, unless we get another Hendrickson, that I doubt seriously, candidates like him come once every 50 years. Grayson needs to thank his lucky stars, every damn day.
Voter fraud happens and it happens more often that what is reported. Especially in Southeastern Kentucky. But as long as this issue remains a wedge issue between the parties, Kentucky will never eliminate voter fraud; and it is sad that such issues become partisan because of minority fears. BUT to defend my party, Republicans benefit from smaller voter turnouts and tougher voter laws could suppress the vote, but that argument is supported by no data. Political arguments and partisan warfare are usually not supported by sound statistical analysis but by emotion.
Does Kentucky need tougher voter laws or do we need a relaxing of the laws on the books? I suspect as we analyze Secretary of State Trey Grayson's (R) tenure in the office we will find that he will have accomplished very little in the realm of voting law. The trick is to increase voter turnout while eliminating voting fraud, not easy. Kentucky needs a system for early voting, a voter receipt and possibly a voter ID. But until the Democratic party relaxes their partisan fears in regards to a voter ID card, you will never see that in Kentucky.