Editorial

An Examination of Voter ID Laws

titlepageAn Examination of Voter ID Laws

I was fortunate to have found a substantive article on voter ID. It cites its claims and has many facts and stories about alleged voter fraud. I am placing the first three paragraphs here for your viewing but for the entire article you need to travel to the web site of A Liberal Thinker.

James Pilant

What’s the deal with State voter ID laws? | aliberalthinker

Voter ID laws are being introduced in a number of states across the United States, the majority of them being red States. The purpose of these laws are supposedly to combat voter impersonation fraud that apparently has become a serious problem in the view of conservative lawmakers and advocates. Liberal groups are calling foul, claiming that these laws do nothing but discriminate against minorities and the poor, those eligible voters who typically do not possess any form of photo I.D.

There shouldn’t really be a problem with requiring people to present identification in order to vote provided that state governments are willing to issue I.D’s to those without them, at no cost. If governments can demonstrate that they are willing to transition their constituents to get the necessary I.D in order to vote then I fail to see an issue. So how do we define “cost barriers” when it comes to voter I.D laws? Well to state the obvious, state governments will need to provide I.D’s to those requiring them at no cost. The assumption here may be that because State governments are offering free I.D’s to those who need it, the problem is solved, right? Well as the old saying goes, “there is no such thing as a free lunch”.

Cost barriers

To provide “proof” to attain those free government issued cards it may still cost those individuals to apply for them as those applications may in turn require documents not in possession by those individuals concerned. The application process may also daunting as, believe or not, many of the less fortunate do still work and they may not have the spare time to apply for those I.D’s due to work and family obligations. Another cost barrier to those individuals concerned may be their inability to travel to apply for those I.D’s (many of the poor live in isolated rural settings away from State buildings or post offices, many do not have access to the internet either). None of the State I.D laws that I am aware of offer a cost free solution to those less fortunate. Washington Post referred to a particular study that demonstrated the costs to eligible voters under voter ID laws (14):

via What’s the deal with State voter ID laws? | aliberalthinker.

From around the web.

From the web site, Propublica.

http://www.propublica.org/article/everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-know-about-voter-id-laws

Why are these voter ID laws so strongly opposed?

Voting law opponents contend these laws disproportionately affect elderly, minority and low-income groups that tend to vote Democratic. Obtaining photo ID can be costly and burdensome, with even free state ID requiring documents like a birth certificate that can cost up to $25 in some places. According to a study from NYU’s Brennan Center, 11 percent of voting-age citizens lack necessary photo ID while many people in rural areas have trouble accessing ID offices. During closing arguments in a recent case over Texas’s voter ID law, a lawyer for the state brushed aside these obstacles as the “reality to life of choosing to live in that part of Texas.”

Attorney General Eric Holder and others have compared the laws to a poll tax, in which Southern states during the Jim Crow era imposed voting fees, which discouraged blacks, and even some poor whites — until the passage of grandfather clauses — from voting.

Given the sometimes costly steps required to obtain needed documents today, legal scholars argue that photo ID laws create a new “financial barrier to the ballot box.”

From around the web.

From the web site, Milam Blues.

http://milamblues.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/voter-id-disenfranchising-democrats-all-across-texas/

One of the arguments in favor of voter ID is that most people have to show a photo ID in order to accomplish all sorts of normal, every day tasks like cashing a check or buying an airline ticket. Why should it be easier to vote than to cash a check?

Well, here’s why: those every day tasks that normally require an ID are privileges, not rights guaranteed under our Constitution.  Check cashing is a privilege. Voting is a right. The trend toward universal suffrage has been part of our democratic civilization for generations. Most democracies work to extend voting rights. Our state is actively trying to suppress voting rights.

Making it difficult to vote is the same as curtailing your rights to speak your mind, practice your religion, assemble peacefully, or (for some) own a gun. And while we all agree that society has an interest in making sure that only “responsible” people should own a fire arm, I doubt that anyone would want to apply the same argument to going to church or reading a newspaper.