Citizenship is one of the most precious elements when it comes to the association of a person to a given state, monarch and or a republic. Citizenship has no price tag at is offered rights and privileges which cannot be bought through legal means. A citizen of a country enjoys a lot of rights and is allowed to participate in decision making on how internal issues of their country of state takes place. This is particularly the case with many democratic states across the world. One of critical rights given to citizens of a given country is the right to vote. However, there are some issues which hinder to totally of freedom to vote to some citizens. Identification of a voter in the registration and voting process is controversial issues, which has received, mixed reactions from across the board. One can establish how there is a clear divide in that the issue of identification is treated differently among states in United States of America (Alvarez, Bailey & Katz, 2008). It is, therefore, noble to look at the concept, policies applied and the test of whether the identification is necessary to vote.
It is the policy of the election process that voters should give the required identification as issued by the government, while practicing the priceless right to register as a voter and also during the voting season. The identification requirement is applied while undertaking local, state and federal elections. Various states in united states, including Florida and Indiana, does not require identification of a voter when undertaking provisional ballot, but such a voter is expected to identify the validity of his/her vote to qualify to be counted as a voter. In eighteen, states, it is mandatory for an individual to produce identification to be allowed to vote. However, the type of identification require may differ from one states to the other. In all of the states, a photo is not necessary in the identification process; production of the required document is enough for the identification process. A voter registration card is a common form of identification on whose presentation; a voter is allowed to cast his/her vote (Alvarez, Bailey & Katz, 2008).
It is clear that there is a lot of temptation when it comes to fraud in the voting process, particularly because of increased political competition. Competitors and their supporters may look for ways to ensure that their political wing wins even through the application of election irregularities. This does not only happen in the public voting system but also when it comes to the private sector voting process. In any case, citizens should be protected from illegible individuals been involved decision making. In several cases, it has been discovered that incarcerated inmates, the death and foreigners have been used to influence outcomes of various election particularly when it comes to local elections. This may reduce the morale of the citizens to vote during elections as they voice does not hold to make a decision due to involvement of such frauds. The voice to decide through voting is reserved to illegible citizens only. The critical question in this case is whether voter identification process can assist in resolving such issues (Alvarez, Bailey & Katz, 2008).
There are two key reasons why voter identification is not acceptable to many people. These reasons are used to oppose the application of law in many states in US. It is intriguing that the issue has reached a point where there are legal battles in systems of justice as people and organizations seek intervention of the court on the matter. The two reasons including that the identification blocks registered voters from exercising their rights and that it results into low voter turnout. There are hundreds of thousands of people who are registered as voters and are illegible to vote, but they do not have the required identification (Ansolabehere, 2009). These individuals are expected to go to the department of motor vehicles and bring various identification items including bank statement and social security cards to apply for a voting identification. The process is rigorous; many people may lack the required identification while others may not find the reason to sacrifice their time and resources to obtain the identification. If anything, it is not mandatory for them to vote.
It is clear that about 25%, 16 %, and 18 % of African Americans, Latinos and American respectively do not have the required identification to vote. The critical question at this point should be whether such vast number of people who have the right to vote, should be disqualified. The number is large enough to make a difference as far as those emerge as winners are concerned. Blocking them on bases of identification is a significant test to the world leading democracy. In addition, many people are not aware of the required identification for voting they are not informed by the body concerned in advance so as to prepare and be ready to vote. Some are amused when they are turned away on the bases of lack of identification (Ansolabehere, 2009).
Senior members of the society are still using old identification cards which they have used for many years. How can the state explain to them that their identification is not acceptable? Such people may not have the ability to acquire modern identification, furthermore; they are old and there is no need of disturbing their well being. The modern identification is therefore, discriminative and hence against the constitution which is supreme. They will be frustrated, and their turnout would be significantly low (Milyo, 2007). In addition, it has been discovered that due to the introduction of voter ID in Pennsylvania resulted into the lowest rate of turnover during primaries, 2012 elections.
Voter identification is a crucial aspect when it comes to the integrity of an election. This is because it ensures that only those who are illegible are allowed to vote. The identification policy can be sustained under the condition that acceptable framework is applied. Several forms of identifications can be applied so as to capture voters who posses identification in one aspect but holds the other. This will reduce the number of people who are left out due to application of a single identification. The law can be implemented effectively and efficiently through proper framework and intensive voter registration. However, this may take time due to differing points of views which may take time to compromise.
It is therefore; clear that the concept of voter ID is necessary in today’s voting system. Elections need to be credible and fair to represent the will of the people. Voter ID prevents cases of fraud in that those who are not allowed by law do not participate in critical decision making. The law should be implemented after effective incorporation all essential factors to reduce its weaknesses and strengthen its application for a positive outcome.
Alvarez, R. M., Bailey, D., & Katz, J. N. (2008). The Effect of Voter Identification Laws on Turnout. Social Science, (October 2007). Retrieved from http://www.hss.caltech.edu/SSPapers/sswp1267R.pdf
Ansolabehere, S. (2009). Effects of Identification Requirements on Voting: Evidence from the Experiences of Voters on Election Day. PS Political Science and Politics, 42(January), 127-130
Milyo, J. (2007). The Effects of Photographic Identification on Voter Turnout in Indiana: A County-Level Analysis. Public Policy, (November), 1 - 14.