Should voters have to present any other identification beyond a voter registration card when they show up at the ballot box? These cards do not have pictures, which means that, theoretically, anyone could show up with that registration card and vote. Because it takes time for county record keepers to purge the deceased from voter rolls, people could show up with the cards of others and cast illegal votes. To combat this, many have argued (mostly from the conservative side) that voters should also have to show a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, state-issued ID card or passport. From the left comes the argument that this additional requirement is meant to exclude potential voters who don’t have their identification or who can’t afford to keep it valid – in other words, these opponents view this requirement as something of a poll tax, which is unconstitutional. Because maintaining a government photo identification method of some kind is required by law, though, having to present it when voting protects the integrity of the process and, therefore, is a reasonable provision that should be law throughout the United States.
Point #1: Presenting a government-issued photo ID document reduces the risk of government fraud dramatically.
Sub-point #1: Past elections, most notably President Kennedy’s election in 1960, were skewed by the “votes” of citizens who turned out to be dead.
Sub-point #2: Voter fraud continues to be a concern, and in a democracy the accuracy of the vote should be the top priority of election administrators.
Point #2: Carrying a government-issued photo ID is already required by law.
Sub-point #1: Driving without a license on hand is a ticketable offense and can lead to impound of the vehicle in some locations.
Sub-point #2: At any time, police may ask people for identification, and failure to produce identification is a crime.
Point #3: Requiring a government-issued photo ID does not constitute a “poll tax.”
Sub-point #1: Carrying an ID is already a requirement, so asking people to remember it on Election Day does not represent an additional cost.
Sub-point #2: Poll taxes were specifically instituted in parts of the country where the additional fee would keep people away from the polls; voter ID laws are being passed throughout the country, in diverse areas.
While we still have a long way to go in the eradication of racial prejudice in the United States, asking all voters to carry and present photo identification at the ballot box is not racist and is not aimed to keep the poor from voting. If you are already required to carry your identification with you, there should not be a reason for not wanting to present it when you vote, as you already have to give your name, on your voter registration card. The Presidential election of 2000, many would argue, came down to the inability of the state of Florida’s election commission to accurately count the votes that had been cast. In a form of government where so much is determined by the vote, it is vital that our government devise ways to make voting convenient – and accurate. There are plenty of countries in the world where voter fraud and election irregularities run rampant; as the banner of democracy in the world, it is the job of the United States to lead in the area of election accuracy, as well.