CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- NOW that Republicans have more members of the House of Delegates than they have had in 82 years -- still not enough for a majority -- they want to make sure future elections are fair and clean.
House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, D-Kanawha, said a top priority will be requiring people to show photo IDs to vote, just as they do to buy cigarettes or beer.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 33 states have already done this.
"Requiring identification when voting is a simple step that we can take to make our elections fairer and to ensure that the outcome of our elections actually reflects the will of our citizens," Armstead told the Register-Herald in Beckley.
"People are required to show identification to cash a check, to enter many sporting and other events, and to open bank accounts."
But the state's chief election officer -- Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant -- is opposed. She said voter ID was not the issue in Democratic absentee ballot fraud in Lincoln and Logan counties.
"A stronger voter ID law would not have stopped what took place there," Tennant told the Register-Herald. "We don't have a problem with voter impersonation. We may have a problem with people trying to manipulate the system in other ways, but let's not focus on finding a solution to a problem that doesn't exist."
How do we know we don't have an impersonation problem if no one is ever carded?
The proposal is not about absentee ballot fraud. It's about making sure people vote only once.
IN 1970, Illinois voters changed their state constitution to prohibit reductions in pension benefits for state employees.
Since Illinois pensions are underfunded by $100 billion and mounting by $17 million a day, that decision will cost taxpayers dearly.
To be fair, nearly 80 percent of Illinois state employees pay no Social Security tax, meaning they receive no credit toward Social Security during their years of government service.
Nevertheless, the power of state employee unions to destroy a state's finances is mind-boggling.
"There's a lot of attention to taking care of everybody and not the fiscal conservatism of 'How are you going to pay for that?' " said Richard Dye, an economist at the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
That's a question no one seemed to ask in 1970. Now Illinoisans are paying through the nose.