- Politics and Social Issues
Voting ID Laws: A Thought Exercise
Let's Use Word Substitution
Let's take the idea of needing an ID in order to Vote, and use the same logic on two different things: Consuming alcohol, and getting a bank loan to buy a home.
We need to abolish laws that require you to show an ID to get alcohol, and get a bank loan. I mean how many times have people had to deal with not getting booze with their hard earned money and can't because they live in a rural area, and simply can't get ID's, and by requiring an ID to give a person a bank loan we are preventing 100,000's of minorities from having a home, making them homeless. It's heartless and cruel, and has to stop. A little less than a quarter of driver's license offices have extended hours, making it difficult for working people to get an ID, its discrimination is what it is. These are basic rights that the law allows, and we are denying them.
Sounds Kind Of Ridiculous Doesn't It?
That is probably because it is. Not making sure someone is of proper age to drink alcohol is illegal, and not having to properly check for said age could result in horrible catastrophe's. Young people could kill themselves consuming too much, they could drink and drive, which is already enough of a problem with older drivers. Younger drivers are not as experienced in driving so the added alcohol would inhibit their ability exponentially.
Not requiring an ID for a bank loan could quickly lead to fraudulent loans being taken out in other peoples names. Without a way to check an identity people could take more loans than they would be able to realistically pay for with their income. They could damage themselves or others financially.
Both situations are prone to some level of government regulation or protection, whether with consumer laws, or organizations like TFA or FDIC, so they made laws to protect people from hurting others, or themselves.
While I have very strong opinions on protecting people from themselves, that is not the discussion, the point is that there are laws concerning this.
Do you agree with Voter ID laws (state reasons in comments)
It Is Not A Partisan Issue
Both sides have things they want to ban, and things they want to free. Liberals want gun laws, conservatives marriage laws, and both are accepting large amounts of money in politics, so let's just leave all those points to the side a few minutes and just talk about this issue.
When you vote, you are taking part in a decision that effects everyone else, either in your town, district, state, or nation, depending on the particular election. Just like drinking, you have the ability to harm others if you don't know what you are doing. Also like drinking there is an age minimum before you can start. Like taking out a loan, if you commit fraud you could hurt others too. So the analogy was purposeful.
Thanks Scumbag Steve, I almost forgot about voter registration. That has been around a while. Lots of states have the requirements. On the subject USA.gov states:
"To be eligible to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen. In most states, you must be 18 years old to vote, but some states do allow 17 year olds to vote. States also have their own residency and identification requirements to vote."
Also if you want to look at specifics for each state you can go to this link.
There is a lot of good information there, but the pattern is that every single state requires some form of Identification, either through your presence at the ballot, or when you register to vote. Some just require you to tell them your name and address, some want to see an official document. None of them make you purchase something, if they require documentation it is always something that is a free service to obtain, so there is no pay wall that bars entry.
Some argue that the distance needed to travel to areas that offer ID's can't be traveled by some people. That time or circumstance keeps them from being able to get one. If this is true then the same circumstance would hopefully apply to election day, if you have been blocked the past 729 days (that's two years minus one day) from getting out to do something like getting documentation that proves you are a citizen in your area, one that you will need for almost every service offered around you from spending money, to borrowing it, to making it, chances are that you will be kept inside on election day too.
The Biggest Issue
It's a thought pattern though. No one has been complaining about verbal identification for voting, or having to show a utility bill, or a college ID, but these things don't verify age. I could put my daughter's name on my phone bill, and use it in some states. My daughter is 5. But by law this is technically acceptable.
What is ultimately wrong with this concept is that either you are OK with needing to identify yourself to vote, or you are not. If you don't think voter identification is needed, then there is no need to give names, ages, addresses, telephone numbers, etc. Verbally or otherwise.
That gives way for rampant fraudulent activity though doesn't it? Why, you would have people getting on buses hitting every polling booth in the area, making double trips after volunteers change out. 65,000 votes for a town of 5,000. On both sides, settle down.
OK, so maybe that isn't a correct assessment. I mean, I know it takes a lot of speculating and far out there thinking to imagine corruption in politics, but good sources have told me that believe it or not....it's there.
So you have to identify yourself someway to vote. At what point is it ok to stop asking for verification? If you think I am far off point here by all means state it below, but I don't think asking a citizen to provide a document that states age, name, and place of address is out of line. I also think it is not unfair to ask for something official, a bill from my electric company provider can easily be changed. Kids under the age to vote can attend college, or get a college ID. Also, a college ID isn't going to help differentiate you from someone else with your name who could be on parole for a felony, thus unable to vote, or if you are on parole or probation prevent you from voting. An official state ID could offer this kind of successful prescreening.
So what is being argued about isn't if people agree with Voter ID laws, they are arguing that they are not THEIR voter ID laws. And a lot of this argument is based on the idea that some people, not them of course, but other less fortunate people, don't have the ability to get a free ID. Maybe they don't have a birth certificate, or a social security card, or a marriage license, or anything else that proves who they are. I am sure that in this rare case, it is regrettable that they don't have the required documentation to vote. Over the course of 316 million people, there are probably a few hundred, maybe a thousand people this applies to. It is regrettable if these thousand people are unable to vote. Statistics indicate that about 50% aren't going to want to vote anyway, and the others just simply are not able to comply with the law. What would we do if we wanted to make sure they are a citizen? If put on trial and they had no evidence except an electric bill and bank account, would that prove they are citizens? No it wouldn't.
Proving citizenship is a requirement to be able to register to vote though. If you want to do it, the burden of proof kind of falls on you. If you want to drink you have to prove you're of legal age, you want to borrow money, you have to prove your income and identity. You want to vote, you have to prove citizenship. It's simple, and the idea that any form of identification is okay, but specific verifiable sources are not is insulting. It really is.