America Needs Voter ID Laws

America Needs Voter ID Laws

© David Burton 2023

Spy Balloon

     At election time, here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where I live, I can walk into any polling station, give the name and address of any registered voter and I can then cast a ballot – whether or not I am the actual registered voter. Here in Massachusetts, I do not have to produce a positive voter Identification (ID) to vote! I simply have to state a name and an address.

     “All states have voter identification requirements, ranging from simply announcing one's name to showing an official photo ID card. Rules vary widely from state to state, and voter ID has been a source of political controversy in the United States for nearly two decades.
     “Supporters of more stringent voter ID requirements argue that these will deter voter fraud and instill confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. Opponents argue that voter fraud is extremely rare, so the only effect of strict ID requirements is to raise the barriers to voting in ways that disproportionately affect citizens of low socioeconomic status.” (Ref. 1)

     After the chaotic elections of 2020, Americans wanted common-sense reforms to strengthen the security of elections. One of the most common-sense reforms, already the law in most states, is requiring voters to prove they are who they say they are by providing a photo ID.
     Georgia was one of the states that enacted voter ID as far back as 2005. After 2020, it extended verification requirements to mail-in ballots.
     This simple requirement that voters use a numeric code unique to each voter caused some on the left to go into a frenzy. It was 1958 all over again, we were told.
     Opponents of voter ID are content to marginalize so many racial minorities to the fringes of American life. Being content with so many not possessing a photo ID is being content with so many not being able to get married, fly on a plane, check into a hotel, or buy a firearm.
     In the 2022 election, data show that turnout in Georgia went up. The Peach State had a record early-voter turnout in both the general and runoff elections in 2022. It seems that more people participate in a process when they trust that process. If voters believe in the integrity of the outcome, they will cast a ballot no matter the outcome.
     Georgia is not the only state to enact a voter ID law. Florida, Texas and, most recently, Ohio have similarly passed voter ID laws.
     This is good news for the integrity of our elections. Not only does voter ID ensure that a voter is who he says he is but it also increases voter confidence in our election process. It is also one more protection against a repeat of the unfounded Donald Trump claim that the election was stolen from him.
     Voter ID is the most basic election reform a state can make to increase the security of their elections. We need to ensure that everyone voting is who they say they are. That is why voter ID is so popular with the American people. According to a Monmouth poll, 80% of Americans support requiring voters to show photo identification in order to cast a ballot.
     There are other benefits to having a voter ID law in place. For example, election crime investigations for double voting have not proceeded because there was no voter ID law. It is harder to prove that someone actually cast a ballot when the state does not require proof of identity.
     Voter ID also speeds up election check-in and reduces long lines. In Florida, for example, every driver’s license has a QR code that links to the state voter database, requiring only a second or two for voters to check in and receive a ballot.
     We can all agree that we only want legal votes to count. With photo ID, we can ensure that everyone voting is who they say they are, while at the same time improving the administration of the election process.[2]

     Here in Massachusetts, I need positive ID to obtain a prescription at a pharmacy; I need a license to drive a motor vehicle; I need a license to own a firearm; I need identification to get into a major airport; and I need positive ID to obtain medical treatment in a hospital. BUT, I don’t need positive ID to vote in Massachusetts and I also don’t need positive ID to vote in some other states.There is something wrong here! Americans deserve better than this!
     As previously noted, changes to voter identification laws and election administration resulted from the 2020 presidential election, in which many Americans opted to vote by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic. The election spurred an expansion of vote by mail eligibility throughout the country, but also led some Trump supporters and some Republicans to doubt the veracity of the election and to worry that voter fraud was rampant because of absentee ballots.
     As a consequence of this skepticism about the security of absentee ballots, several Republican-controlled legislatures increased identification requirements for mail-in ballots - in many cases, adding them when they had previously been nonexistent. Examples of laws passed early in 2021 were those enacted in Georgia, Florida, and Montana. Rather than requiring a copy of one’s photo ID, per se, these bills required those returning mail-in ballots to supply their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
     Voter identification laws have recently been the subject of intense scrutiny from the scholarly community. One topic of great interest has been the disparate impact photo ID laws have had on racial minority groups and turnout.
     Research in which voter rolls have been matched against driver’s license lists has confirmed a disparity that photo ID laws have had on racial minority groups and turnout in states such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
     Whether the lack of voter IDs leads to a decrease in turnout is still open to dispute. Some early studies found no statistical association between strict ID laws and decreased turnout. A more recent study has shown a negative correlation between strict photo ID laws and turnout. However, it appears that there is no clear-cut correlation.
     While it might seem obvious that voter ID laws would depress turnout, scholars have made important arguments that the very presence of voter ID laws can have a counter-mobilizing effect that encourages greater turnout among voting populations that are targeted by those laws.
     One important research issue is whether ID laws are implemented consistently as written. Based on studies involving close observation of poll workers, at least two articles on the topic suggest that inconsistent implementation of the laws may be common.
     Another aspect of voter ID laws is the effect of these laws on the confidence of voters. Research into this question was partially inspired by the argument of the Supreme Court in Marion County, Georgia that a rational justification for a state passing a strict ID law is to instill greater confidence in the electoral process. However, the research conducted on this question has not found a consistent correlation between the presence of strict ID laws and an increase in voter confidence (or a decrease in the belief that fraud is rampant). Scholars have also studied factors that lead states to adopt strict ID requirements. Strict ID laws are fairly popular among all elements of the mass public, including Democrats, minority groups, and liberals. Still, Republicans, conservatives, and whites are more likely to approve of these laws. What prompts a state legislature to adopt a strict photo ID law appears to be a confluence of three factors:
     1. a Republican takeover of the state government after years of Democratic control,
     2. being a “battleground state” (i.e., a state hotly contested by the political parties), and
     3. being racially heterogeneous.
     While these factors are not present in all states that have adopted strict photo ID laws, they are common to most.[1]

     Opposition to voter ID laws comes primarily from liberals and Democrats. For instance, the liberal American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) argues against stricter voter ID laws as follows. Judge for yourself whether or not the ACLU arguments have any validity. Here are some of the arguments against voter ID laws presented by the liberals and the Democrats:
     Voter identification laws are a part of an ongoing strategy to roll back decades of progress on voting rights. Thirty-four states have identification requirements at the polls. Seven states have strict photo ID laws, under which voters must present one of a limited set of forms of government-issued photo ID in order to cast a regular ballot – no exceptions.
     Voter ID laws deprive many voters of their right to vote, reduce participation, and stand in direct opposition to our country’s trend of including more Americans in the democratic process. Many Americans do not have one of the forms of identification states acceptable for voting. These voters are disproportionately low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Such voters more frequently have difficulty obtaining ID, because they cannot afford or cannot obtain the underlying documents that are a prerequisite to obtaining government-issued photo ID card.
     Underlying documents required to obtain ID cost money, a significant expense for lower-income Americans. Also, the travel required to obtain ID is often a major burden on people with disabilities, the elderly, or those in rural areas without access to a car or public transportation.
     Based on one 2014 study, the ACLU claimed that voter ID laws reduce voter turnout. Also claimed was the charge that minority voters disproportionately lack ID.
     Some states were charged with excluding forms of ID in a discriminatory manner. Also, voter ID laws were reportedly enforced in a discriminatory manner in some states.
     Another objection to stricter voter ID laws was the argument that In-person fraud was vanishingly rare.
     The ACLU argued that voter ID laws are a waste of taxpayer dollars, claiming that states incur sizeable costs when implementing voter ID laws, including the cost of educating the public, training poll workers, and providing IDs to voters.
     The ACLU has led the charge against Voter ID in several states, challenging voter ID laws in in states such as Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.[3]

     Arguing on the other side of the issue in mid-2022 was Pamela Denise Long, a Black trainer and consultant for implementing trauma-informed care and anti-racism.

     Within 24 hours of Independence Day in 2022, President Biden's Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its plan to sue Arizona for a state law that required proof of American citizenship to vote in presidential elections.
     You read that right: The Democratic president and his administration had ordered the DOJ to sue Arizona for making sure that people who aren't citizens of the United States don't vote in our elections.
     Reasonable Americans may be surprised to learn that the cost of having noncitizens vote in our elections is controversial. Yet from New York City to parts of Maryland, California and elsewhere across America, liberals are attempting to let noncitizens steer our election results.
     The truth is: Not protecting our elections from non-citizens is what hurts the Black community. Blacks have struggled for equal voting rights for as long as they have been American - only to have the Left invoke the Blacks’ fight in the name of extending what is rightfully theirs to those who are not citizens.
     Average Americans understand that. Support for a voter ID requirement has increased from less than 70 percent of likely U.S. voters in 2018 to 90 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats in 2021. Americans across the board believe that an ID requirement maintains the integrity of our elections - and this includes Americans descended from slaves. In a survey by Monmouth University Polling Institute, well over 80 percent of non-white participants supported voter ID requirements; another study found that this included 66 percent of Hispanic respondents, 56 percent of Black respondents, and 61 percent of those who did not self-identify as White, Hispanic, or Black.
     So why are Democrats and Liberals still calling a voter ID requirement racist?
     According to Democrats, voter ID laws disproportionately affect Black people and "communities of color" and are therefore racist.
     Democrats and their Liberal supporters have chosen to fetishize the problem, cultivating a victim consciousness and nurturing a delusional savior complex. The truth is: the war the Democrats are waging against voters identifying themselves as U.S. citizens is not about discrimination against Blacks and other minorities. It's about them - specifically, a tacit (and sometimes not so tacit belief) that relaxing these laws will help the Democratic chances at victory.
     And yet, it is undeniable that allowing noncitizens to vote weakens the power of Americans to decide our destiny. What could hurt Black Americans more?
     It's mythical to believe liberals can hurt descendants of slaves without harming the whole citizenry, and vice versa. Nowhere is the interdependence of Americans clearer than in the outcomes of our electoral process. We must ensure equal protections under the law - including when it comes to voting.[4]

     Just hours after Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) signed a new voter ID law in Ohio , the firm of a Democratic super-lawyer announced plans to litigate against it. A lawyer almost immediately echoed the Left’s evidence-free canard that "voter suppression is, unfortunately, alive and well" in Ohio.
     The truth?
     Besides Ohio, 18 other states already require photo ID to vote, out of a total of 35 states that have some form of voter ID laws. In addition to requiring stricter photo ID for voting, Ohio's new law eliminates early voting on the Monday before Election Day to allow county election boards time to prepare for Tuesday elections. It also shortens the deadline to apply for absentee ballots from noon on the third day before Election Day to the close of business on the seventh day before Election Day to ensure adequate time for applications to be processed.
     This change makes Ohioans 17 or older eligible for a free state photo ID card.
     Despite dire warnings from the voter suppression hysteria industrial complex, there was never evidence that voter ID laws prevented eligible voters from casting a ballot.
     That’s one reason why voters across all demographics support voter ID laws in virtually every poll by almost 80%. This typically includes more than 60% of Democrats. While the Left routinely claims that voter ID disproportionately harms minority and low-income voters, 64% of black voters, 77% of Hispanics, and 76% of low-income voters support voter ID laws, according to a poll conducted by the Honest Elections Project.
     After Republicans won control of state legislatures across the country in 2010, many states passed voter ID laws, and the Left wailed. But nine of the 11 states that added voter ID laws in 2011 had an increase in turnout from the 2012 election to the 2016 election.
     Voter ID laws can stop multiple types of fraud, such as impersonating another registered voter, preventing noncitizens from voting, and stopping out-of-state residents or someone registered in multiple jurisdictions.
     A National Bureau of Economic Research study from 2019 examined 10 years' worth of turnout data from across the country and concluded that voter ID laws have "no negative effect on registration or turnout overall or for any specific group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation." The same study also determined ID laws have "no significant effect" on preventing fraud, but prevention-based laws could be based on proving a negative.
     The majority of the public gets it! The unanswered question is whether the American Left and the Democratic Party take their own arguments seriously.[5]

  1. Voter identification,, 10 June 2021.
  2. Americans want voter ID laws, why don’t Dems, J. Christian Adams, Boston Herald, 14 January 2023.
  3. OPPOSE VOTER ID LEGISLATION - FACT SHEET, ACLU, Accessed 15 January 2023.
  4. Voter ID Laws Are Patriotic. They Protect Black Americans, Pamela Denise Long, Newsweek, 7 July 2022.
  5. Voter ID laws are popular for good reasons, Fred Lucas, Washington Examiner, 13 January 2023.

  13 April 2023 {Article 571; Politics_80}    
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