Should ID be presented to vote in all elections?
- A March 2021 Rasmussen Report shows 75% of voters still overwhelmingly support laws requiring ID to vote. This is up from 67% in 2018. A 2016 Gallup poll showed a similar percentage of 80% of voters supporting voter ID laws. Polls show Republicans are generally more in favor than Democrats of voter ID requirements.
- As of August 2021, two-thirds of US states, or 35 states, require some sort of identification to vote. The 15 states that require no document to vote are California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont,
- IDs are required in America to apply/get jobs, apply for government welfare, fly on airplanes, drive/rent/buy cars, rent/buy an apartment or home, open bank accounts, purchase alcohol and cigarettes, make address/name changes at the DMV, get married, pick up a prescription or certain cold medicines, and much more.
- Congressional Democrats passed the “For the People” Act, or H.R. 1 in March 2021, and have since been blocked by Senate Republicans. H.R. 1 centralizes all election laws under the federal government, shifting the power away from the states. One of the goals under H.R. 1 would ban states from making or enacting voter ID laws.
The requirement for voters to present an ID is much like the poll taxes and literacy tests of the Jim Crow days; it seems to exist solely to stifle the ability of certain segments of the population to vote. Voter ID requirements disproportionately disadvantage marginalized groups. Accessing a photo ID has been proven to be more difficult for people of color, the elderly, students, and those from low-income households. This could mainly be explained by the fact that the most common form of government-issued ID is a driver's license, and so the people who are most unlikely able to drive—including the elderly, the poor, and young people—are not going to have an ID.
Another common complication of voter ID laws that mainly affects older women is the name changes that usually come with marriage and divorce. States like Georgia, for instance, require documentation for every single name-changing event, which suppresses the ability of many women to vote. Legislators tend to use rampant in-person voter fraud claims to justify implementing such strict requirements, but research shows that these fears are mostly unfounded. Voter fraud is now considered to be virtually nonexistent. In a recent study, only 31 cases of impersonation were found out of more than 1 billion ballots cast in elections from 2000-2014. And in nearly all reports of fraud, allegations have often been proven actually to be mistakes made by voters or administrators. The right to vote is fundamental. And therefore, voter ID laws should be recognized as a clear example of suppressing people from exercising this right.
Having legal Identification is not a burden and not challenging for any US citizen to obtain. In fact, it's a condescending and racist argument to assume some minorities cannot get it. The government already requires Identification and documents for ALL aspects of everyday life like buying alcohol, cigarettes, pseudoephedrine, spray paint, and for healthcare, employment, flights, and driving. If Identification is required for all these everyday activities, this goes to show that anyone (of proper age) can have one.
Thankfully, Identification is NOT expensive to obtain, and most states subsidize them to make them free (such as in CA and NY, for example) and offer the forms in many languages. The US Constitution maintains citizenship as a requirement for voting. It is necessary to have a way to verify citizenship. It's not just about preventing fraud but about ensuring checks and balances. No country in the world should be held hostage by non-citizens trying to change it without having a stake in the system they are trying to change.
People like to say 'there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud,' but non-citizens illegally voting has been a problem for many years, not just affecting the 2020 election. Scientific surveys have found that 14% of non-citizens 'admitted they were registered to vote in 2012, and 9% stated 'I definitely voted' in the 2012 US presidential election.' Denying this vulnerability in our voting system is not good for the future of our country.
The burden is on all of us to ensure legal and secure voting in our county; requiring Identification for voting elevates and secures the vote. Voting should not be viewed as a fundamental right of citizenship but as a privilege, and we should sacrifice for it accordingly.
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