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Partisan Agendas for voter ID Laws

By | October 19, 2012 | Opinion, Top Opinion Story

Liana Whitehead

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.

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6 Responses to Partisan Agendas for voter ID Laws

  1. JoshL says:

    “Why is it difficult to conceive that many(not all)Republicans support the voter ID law because it simply makes sense?”

    Because it doesn’t make sense…The cases of in person voter fraud are virtually non-existent. Your statistic is extremely misleading since that’s not in-person fraud that would be prevented by ID. There is NO way this could effect even the smallest election. If someone wanted to affect an election, they would do it in a more effective way. I’m not even mentioning the fact that some Republicans have even admitted that less people being able to vote easily is good for them. Democrats don’t have to have the best intention, but the effect of more people engaged in politics by voting is good. Of course getting an ID isn’t extremely difficult, but it’s another hurdle that deters people from voting.

  2. Diane says:

    Dear Liana,

    Your points are well-written. You’re an educated person, as in college-level, I’m assuming. But, none of the points from any side of the ISSUE / impending LAW verbatim for future elections, intellectual dissection, personal interpretation, etc etc etc matter to the SEVERAL thousands of lower-educated, immigrant, frightened or SURPRISED voters who STILL believe that they can’t vote this year without an I.D. This HAS mostly been a this-year-current-Presidential-election-only-issue. And it’s not a question of paying $7 for an i.d. It’s the absolute difficulty it inflicts on people (believe this or not, it is true) who cannot stand in a line at this point to get a presentable i.d. because they were NOT PREPARED prior to the media dribble – for some “new law” (which isn’t even law yet), the time to stand in line, get access to proper transportation to a registrar’s office, etc. Even for myself, a well-educated college graduate with a business degree, had HAIR-RAISING difficulty scheduling time not just to stand in line, but to make bus connections into the city to do so. We can harangue and dissect the particulars amongst ourselves about having this law. OK. In the meantime, let’s try to look at the simplistic reality: this media buzz is SCARING people, and it does not matter if it is even ONE VOTE. Please don’t scoff at even one vote. It’s the whole basis of our democracy.

    Thank you, and forgive my poor sentence structure, grammatical usages, run-on or incomplete sentences.

    Diane

  3. William S. says:

    What no one has explained is how I.D. cards will absolutely prevent voter fraud. Of the 120 cases reported since 2007, how many of those would have been prevented with I.D.? Those so inclined will obtain fake I.D. cards, and then what? Microchips in your hand? These voter I.D. laws are anti-freedom, and thus anti-American. Ask yourself, is forcing millions to produce I.D. a rational response to an extremely rare event? Statistically, 120 cases within a five year period is undetectable against 100 million or so votes. Finally I would argue these nonsensical laws discriminate against those who are required to produce I.D. by simply showing up, while making no such requirement for those voting by absentee ballot.

    Before supporting a law that offers no guarantee of preventing fraud, an impossibility anyway, look at what we already have. Every State except North Dakota requires voter registration. That process already validates eligibility. Additional gestapo-style “Show me your I.D.!” before casting a vote is, in my opinion, exactly that.

    • Adrian Seltzer says:

      William, I have been trying for months to find out how the PA law will stop voter fraud. No one can or will answer. The truth about the voter ID law in PA is that it will not stop fraud and everyone just wants to say but you need ID to do everything. So what? It doesn’t address the reality, just the rhetoric. It is another “your papers please” moment.

  4. Liana Whitehead says:

    Readers,

    These are all great points. Thank you for your input – it makes for a well-balanced paper gives other readers lots of helpful information, myself included!

    Liana

    • William S. says:

      I commend any paper that tolerates opposing opinions. And I think Fresno State Collegian exemplifies what freedom of speech is all about. Great article, and great work!

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