Voter ID Laws Disenfranchise Groups From Voting


Photo Identifcation or Card Identification is required to vote in elections in many US States.

Nicholas Fuller

Photo Identifcation or Card Identification is required to vote in elections in many US States.

Voting is a right of all citizens in the United States of America. With our right to vote, people in this country may choose to exercise that right, or may not, but that right is always ours and it should never be infringed upon in any sort of manner, at all.  Within the past year, voter id laws have been proposed in many US states in order to combat voter fraud.  Although this sounds like a good idea, these laws pose serious problems for particular groups of people they affect.

Voter fraud in the United States is not a problem; yet the politicians and legislators pushing for these new laws insist that it is a serious issue.  For example, some politicians who have been pushing for these laws insist that “aliens”–or illegal immigrants can vote in states that do not have these laws in place.  First off, they have no proof or sufficient evidence that this is true, and secondly, it is a somewhat ridiculous notion.  Why would an illegal immigrant pretend to be someone else and take the risk of possibly being discovered as not being a citizen?  Think about it, people who live in this country illegally do not want to be noticed.  So, why would any immigrant who is in this country illegally impersonate someone else and take that risk just to cast a vote? It simply does not make any rational sense.  Additionally,  the statistics that show lack of voter fraud are numerous. To be more specific, an independent study done by the Brennan Center for Justice found seven cases over fraud out of every three million votes casted, or a fraud rate of 0.0002 percent. Additionally, the same politicians who propose these laws want to get rid of the Voter Protection Agency.  What a coincidence that the people who are pushing for voter identification “reform” are also pushing to get rid of an agency that protects voters.  Their reasoning is to get rid of of the agency is to get rid of an unnecessary program that wastes money, but, with everything considered, is that really the reason?

Voter ID requirements affect two groups of people, the first being college students. College students, who represent the youngest voters of America, tend to vote for the more liberal candidate.  Therefore, a common theme is that these laws affect democratic leaning groups.  The ID laws make it more difficult for college students to vote, because in some states, out-of-state voters are not allowed to vote in whatever state they are in at the time.  Additionally, in some states photo identification is required to vote, but most college students who go to schools out of state do not have a car, and thus a license, and typically their schools do not hand out student ID cards.  Along with that, in some states, like Tennessee for instance, student college ID’s and licenses are unacceptable ways of identification for college students; yet for faculty and staff at a college, it is an acceptable form of identification.  Either way, a college student has the same equal rights as an older person, so why would they be required to provide more documentation to vote than your average adult? It will be a hassle for some students to vote if they have to go through this unnecessary process; thus, less young people will vote because of these laws.

Secondly, the laws affect minorities.  In a study conducted by the university of Washington University in St. Louis, 700,000 minority voters from the ages of 18-29 will not be able to vote in the states where photo id laws are legal.  According to the study, 16% of hispanic citizens do not have a government-issued form of identification–such as a driver’s license–and 25% of African American citizens do not as well.  Additionally, many people do not even know anything about these requirements, so they will go to the polls to vote and be turned away in states where these requirements are legal.  Think about it, is disenfranchizing American citizens to combat a problem that does not exist really something the country should focus on?

Whether your a conservative or a liberal, a republican or a democrat, or an independent, people should not be okay with this idea.  Restricting people for a purposeless cause simply does not sound very American.  Every American citizen who is of age should be allowed to register to vote and not have to go through unnecessary drivel to do so.