Media Misreport Nun Voter ID Story

If you have been watching the primary election coverage tonight you've probably seen at least one story about elderly nuns from South Bend, Indiana, who were "denied the right to vote" for lack of a photo ID.

It's a shame when the mainstream media, bear false witness. Even more so when they exploit the nun angle to carry water for left-wing groups that opposed the law all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Under Indiana's voter ID law, persons lacking proper ID can vote. The only difference is they cast a provisional ballot which is not counted until after their identity is verified within 10 days following the election.

In one of her earliest drafts, AP's Deborah Hastings did note the 10-day provisional ballot exception, but still crafted her coverage to paint the South Bend sisters as the victims of an unforgiving law:

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow bride of Christ because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.

Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow sisters at Saint Mary's Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.

The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn't get one but came to the precinct anyway.

"One came down this morning, and she was 98, and she said, 'I don't want to go do that,'" Sister McGuire said. Some showed up with outdated passports. None of them drives.

They weren't given provisional ballots because it would be impossible to get them to a motor vehicle branch and back in the 10-day time frame allotted by the law, Sister McGuire said. "You have to remember that some of these ladies don't walk well. They're in wheelchairs or on walkers or electric carts."  

Nonetheless, she said, the convent will make a "very concerted effort" to get proper identification for the nuns in time for the general election. "We're going to take from now until November to get them out and get this done. You can't do this like school kids on a bus," she said. "I wish we could." 

A later draft by Hastings clipped the fourth paragraph altogether.

Barring the very rare razor-thin election scenario, it's highly unlikely that the votes of these 12 nuns would be the deciding factor in changing any election outcome.

Simply put, provisional voters in most cases have  little incentive and are under no obligation to show up to verify their ID after the election.

Media Bias Debate Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Indiana Wire Services/Media Companies Associated Press Online Media Government & Press Deborah Hastings