Some restrictions may apply
ID laws further isolate voters
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
There’s a little over a month to go until Election Day, and voters will spend the weeks leading up to it making their final decision for the ballot.
For 21 million people, that decision won’t matter.
According to a recent study from New York University’s Brennan Center, 11 percent of voting-age citizens lack necessary photo ID, and for voters in states that enforce voter ID laws, it’s either flash that photo or get out of the voting booth.
If states are going to decide to enforce these restrictions, then there need to be programs to counteract them and help people get the necessary qualifications. If you can’t do that, then the laws need to go.
The last-ditch effort to control this year’s election is not going unnoticed or undebated (Pennsylvania ID laws are currently being contested in state court). Backers of the bills clearly want to make sure another Election 2008 doesn’t happen. At least 180 restrictive bills in 41 states were introduced at the beginning of 2011.
Of course, it’s a constant attempt to deal with claims of rampant voter fraud and illegal voting from people coming across the border. Instead it just hits hard here at home. Several reports place as many as 10 million minority voters currently out of luck when Nov. 6 rolls in and as many as 700,000 minority voters under the age of 30.
ID laws are not an absurd idea by any means and, in the long run, might actually be a good idea. But there are facts about those 21 million people that are being ignored. For instance, that number doesn’t just include the immigrants the advocates of the restrictions are so intent on weeding out; it also includes low-income and elderly persons.
The laws have more of an impact than the fraud itself: further alienating voters that actually depend on a certain person getting elected. If nothing else, the campaigning candidates don’t have to worry about making alienating gaffes anymore; the government is more than willing to do the work for them.
As for fraud cases in the country, there is no concrete number. A study last month from News21 found 2,068 cases of alleged election fraud since 2000. Many of those fraud cases were committed by elected officials.
The only way you can guarantee fairness if restrictions stay in place is to help those who are eligible for identification but don’t have a way to get it. People want to vote, and 56.8 percent turned up for the 2008 election to prove that. You have to give people the opportunity to be able to, though.
The restrictions can be enforced – and fairly if done correctly – but not by method of sneak attack like state officials are playing now.