“The application of the statute to the vast majority of Indiana voters is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,” liberal US Supreme Court Justice Stevens, writing for the majority 6-3 opinion that in upheld the Indiana voter ID law in the case of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008)
The issue of Voter ID laws has been the news lately, and currently 30 states have some form of ID requirement to vote in elections. The proponents of voter ID contend that it prevents fraud. The opponents contend that requiring ID at the polling place puts undue burden on the poor, immigrants, minorities, and the elderly. So which is it, a prudent way to ensure integrity at the polls, or a partisan attempt to disenfranchise voters who some claim vote mostly for democrats?
Our elections are very important. It is the time when citizens choose those whom they think will best represent their interests. If the integrity of the vote is diluted by those who claim to be someone they are not, by multiple voting, or even voting by illegal aliens, it could result in citizens being represented by those who do not have the same priorities as you. It would be a sort of modern day “taxation without representation”, as then your interests regarding taxes & regulation would not truly be represented. The fact that some have already been prosecuted for illegal voting proves my ongoing point that humans are imperfect. Those we seek to elect are also imperfect. We should not fear common sense law that takes into account for this fact. When power is at stake, do we really believe that there will never be those that seek a way to cheat in order to get it? Are we really saying that all politicians are completely honorable?
I can understand the opposing side though, in their concerns regarding a disenfranchisement of certain sects of society. Again, to my point earlier, the ballot box is the place where citizens choose who will represent them in government. It is a sacred right, as the responsibility we defer to our future leaders is very great. And, I would probably even share these opponents’ serious concern… if I still lived in the last century. The truth is, we are living in an age where some form of legal picture ID (not necessarily a driver’s license) is required in order to do business and live in modern society. You cannot get a job, board a plane, rent or drive a car, purchase cigarettes, alcohol or guns, open up a bank account, cash a social security check, apply for welfare benefits (including food stamps), open up a utility account, rent an apartment, buy a house, and a plethora of other 21st century behaviors without some form of ID to prove who you are. And the U.S. Supreme Court, as noted above, agreed with this assertion, as they ultimately upheld Indiana’s Voter ID law. I guess they have a higher opinion of the competence of their fellow citizens than those that oppose Voter ID laws do. Voting may be a right, but it is also a duty too, is it not?
However, there seems to be another underlying issue that the opponents of Voter ID laws do not seem to want to address. If it were indeed true that such a large segment of minority, poor and elderly populations would be prevented from voting because they did not have ID, then wouldn’t that be evidence of a greater problem? Should these opponents not also be concerned that such a large citizen population was not living in the modern age, and work to change that? Are legal immigrants and minorities not getting jobs, the poor not getting access to food stamps, or the elderly not able to cash their social security checks because they don’t have IDs? Are people living on the streets, because they cannot buy a house, rent an apartment or get utilities because they don’t have IDs? As a fellow citizen, I would be very concerned that so many were living on the outskirts of modernity, and would want to do everything I could to bring them into that circle, as it would certainly improve their life. Why wouldn’t these opponents want the same?
So, given that, I guess those that oppose Voter ID laws either support voter fraud, think their fellow Americans are too incompetent to get IDs, or want to continue to prevent certain classes of people from participating in the basic benefits of the modern age. Which is it?