Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's wrong with requiring voter ID?

Why is proving who you are in order to be allowed to vote such a bad idea!

I was listening to Bloomberg Radio this morning when a guest from SMU came on to discuss the foibles of requiring voter ID.

My simple understanding of voter ID is that in order to participate in the process you need to prove that you are who you say you are.

In other words one person, one vote but that the person casting that vote needs to actually be the one signing their name.

The guests point was that the push for instituting voter ID requirements comes from predominantly Republican controlled states, basically saying that this type of legislation is discriminatory, wrong and to blame the GOP.

The main problem in this guest from SMU's mind was that most of the people who won't have a picture ID are poor, that most of the poor are Democrat voters and that therefore this is political posturing from the Right to try and "steal" elections by exclusion.

In essence then, this guest feels that to require someone to prove their identity in order to participate in one of the most important processes in the United States, voting, is somehow discriminatory, exclusionary and racist.

A few points that I would like to make.
  1. Showing a picture ID is required for much less important things than voting such as picking up tickets at the Will Call window of Citi Field or getting a prescription filled at a strange pharmacy. While not everyone goes to the Will Call window most people at some point need to do something somewhere that requires that they show proof of who they are.
  2. The guest made the point that voter fraud is not a serious enough issue that would require "drastic" measures such as voter ID. Does he have documentable proof of that fact and I seem to recall reading about this type of thing taking place. That said, if voter ID prevents even one case of voter fraud is it not then worth doing?
  3. He said that having to get a state issued ID card discriminates against the poor because they would likely be the ones not being able to afford it. Is there a cost involved in getting a state issued ID card? The guest didn't say and the hosts didn't ask leading me to think that there may not be and that this reason is a non-starter. And if there were a nominal cost there would likely be hardship reasons allowing citizens to get one anyway.
  4. Finally it seems to me that the bottom-line of this subject is that proving who you are to take part in the process of voting is a good thing, not a bad thing, and the question that should be asked of the Democrats is what their real reason is for politicizing it?

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