The issue of voter identification is painting a streak of pandemonium across the United States.
Thirty states are on board, to some extent, with the proposal and are implementing voter ID laws.
Supporters call it a necessity, a common sense approach to fighting voter fraud.
Those who oppose the addendum call it an excuse to discourage people from voting, the homeless and Hispanic populations serving as a popular example.
In September, Reuters teamed with Ipsos, a research firm, to study the possible effects of employing such a law.
The duo’s findings supported the thought that requiring ID on Election Day would have minimal effects on voter turnout – unless the election was a “close call,” as it was in 2000, then it could make a difference,
“Data culled from 20,000 voter interviews found that those lacking proper ID were less likely to vote anyway, ‘regardless of state law changes,’” according to Reuters.
So, even if the law was not passed, those interviewed had little intention to vote in the first place.
Among interviewees who said they were “certain to vote,” only 1 percent said they had no form of identification.
Those who lacked valid photo ID tended to be younger people, those without college educations, Hispanics and the poor, Reuters said.
There is, however, an underlying issue. Republicans who motioned the law are being accused of purposely disenfranchising eligible voters so that young Americans, Hispanics and the homeless are unable to vote.
In theory (a very stereotypical one) President Barack Obama would suffer voter loss because minority groups are the ones affected by the proposal.
Is this not also an agenda?
Because Republicans are deemed “racist” and “heartless” (as seen in Huffington Post blogs, Aljazeera articles and non-journalistic websites such as www.republicansareracist.com ), this is the perfect opportunity to dribble the accusations onto their court.
Makes sense, right?
This is the irony of it all: Democrats fight to rid states of voter ID laws, claiming that it will shut out minorities and allow Republicans to ultimately prevail.
Is this not a conflicting agenda held by Democrats that aims to attack voter ID laws for the sake of their desired outcome?
Just as many doubt the genuineness of conservative leaders, I doubt the zeal and good intentions the other side radiates.
Why is it difficult to conceive that many (not all) Republicans support the voter ID law because it simply makes sense?
If we are required to show ID when we pump gas, apply for government aid or pick up our children from school, why are ID laws considered less valuable when voting?
And, why are we so quick to trust that the Democrats purely have minority interests at heart?
This irks me almost as much as those who believe Democrats were responsible for demolishing slavery.
Here is an even bigger picture: 21st century Republicans and Democrats do not see eye –to-eye. It is almost as if they refuse to do so on any and all platforms.
Not to say that there is something wrong with holding completely opposing views – that is what makes the Land of the Free, well, free.
But it puts Americans in a bind during voting season.
With two drastically different parties and only two candidates, what choice do we have but to punch the card for the person we disagree with less.
The underlying issue is the parties’ desire to disprove absolutely everything that spews from the other’s podium.
That is why when Americans are faced with controversial laws – such as the one at hand – we do not know who or what to believe.
So, here are some facts surrounding voter ID laws, according to Reuters’ research.
There is no previously existing law in all 50 states that says voters must present ID on Election Day.
However, it has always been recommended that it we carry it when we vote.
Voter fraud is relatively rare – 120 cases over a five year span, according to a 2007 New York Times study.
But it does exist and it can happen.
States that require valid photo ID when voting include Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas and Pennsylvania, to name a few.
Citizens of these particular states are under the most strict voter ID laws and are required to show ID before casting a regular ballot.
Some of the currently undecided states include California, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming.
States such as Texas and Virginia, which are considered “states of past discrimination,” were not cleared by the Department of Justice to pass a voter ID law.
This is a result of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
If the voter ID laws pass in all 50 states, do not worry. California identification cards are less than $30.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) also offers a discount card for those considered low income.
The price is then lowered from $26 to $7 – hopefully it proves to be large enough deduction to aid the homeless community.
If passed in California, the law will likely be less strict, as many laws in California are in comparison to more conservative states.
And, it is highly unlikely that our state will adapt this law before the 2012 election.
At least we will have enough time from now until 2016 to purchase a valid photo ID.