Monday, March 12, 2012

Photo Identification To Vote – Guarding Against Vote Fraud

News reports note that, apparently, adequate identification (i.e. photo ID) is not required to vote in some states.  Huh?

How else can we start to assure the validity of people who are about to vote without proper identification?

Photo Identification is not a new thing; picture IDs are required for a wide range of activities, including:
   •  To drive a car
   •  To enter a federal building
   •  To get on an airplane
   •  To open a bank account
   •  To cash a check
   •  To buy liquor
   •  To buy cigarettes
   •  To pick up event tickets at "will call"

Some suggest that requiring photo IDs in order to vote will disenfranchise the poor and requiring an ID constitutes a poll tax against the poor in order to vote.

However, the fact is that you need valid photo identification to establish your identity in order to qualify for government programs.

The exact government programs that are designed to help the poor require photo IDs. 

Of course this makes sense because the administrators of these programs want to eliminate fraud.  Photo IDs are required:
   •  To apply for food stamps
   •  To enroll in Med-QUEST
   •  To apply for General Assistance
   •  To apply for welfare benefits

The Constitution provides that citizens of the United States 18 years of age or older shall be allowed to vote in federal elections, but the Constitution otherwise leaves the eligibility of voters pretty much up to the states.  Some states, for example, provide that convicted felons lose their right to vote.

The key constitutional requirement, however, is that a voter must be a citizen of the United States.  There is nothing unique about this requirement, as every nation on the planet allows only its own citizens to vote.

Voting the names of the dead, the non-existent and the non-eligible cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights.

Requiring photo IDs is a legitimate measure to guard against vote fraud.  Why is that not appropriate for every state?

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