When discussing why there is a need for photo identification at the polls, I believe it is most effective to look at the cause and effect. The cause for stricter voter identification is prevention of fraud. The effect would then logically be a fairer voting process. This is the view that we take when we look at the issue from the surface, but what are other effects that tighter voting regulations create?
For history’s sake, I will mark some key points that led to photo identification’s popularity at the poles. The Voter Rights Act of 1965 allowed all people to vote, regardless of race or color. This Act included a subdivision, section 5, that required jurisdictions that had previously practiced discrimination tactics to go through a screening process before adjustments to their voting regulations were enacted. In 2013, the Shelby v. Holder case ruled this subdivision unconstitutional and no longer applicable. While the first instance of photo identification at the polls occurred in Indiana in 2008, other states had yet to go so far with their restrictions. The day of the Shelby v. Holder ruling, Texas tightened its’ voting regulations. The day after, North Carolina did the same. As of today, 18 states require photo identification (Hardy, 857-866).
I relayed this history to bring out the real reason for strict voting regulations. Voter fraud has been a popular topic lately, but minutely small amounts of fraud have ever been recorded. When Indiana’s photo identification law was challenged, “(the ) Crawford v. Marion County Election Board weighed the burden on voters of having to comply with the photo ID law against the state’s interest, and ultimately upheld Indiana’s Voter ID law.”, but the court actually acknowledged that “”[t]he record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history.” (Hardy, 861). I challenge you to look up instances of voter fraud yourself to witness the staggering results.
With this information in mind, it makes much more sense to conclude that the object of tight voting law is to limit the number of people who can vote. I could offer you percentages of race and income to really drive how limiting these laws can be, but this too I will encourage that you research for yourself; the numbers that you will find are convicting to say the least. The question really becomes not are the polls safe, but who is an acceptable voter. Is it every American citizen, or those who fit the societal view of “good” citizens? Who is benefitting and who is being limited by these decisions?
When it comes to the requirement of having an ID to vote I think the answer is simple, yes. When it comes down to it, having a form of identification allows us to know who has the liberty and privileges to do anything in the US. When you travel, buy alcohol, and even get an apartment you need some sort of identification. It is a simple rule that allows us to know this person is legit. With voting, It is a privilege that is given to citizens. An American ID is something that is something that is high and powerful and holds all of your rights in your pocket. Though it is a tedious and tiresome thing to get, waiting in the DMV lines and waiting room, It is something that is convenient, and I agree with the need to have an ID to be able to vote.
On the other hand though, not all people have the time and resources to get an ID. Whether it be a geographic issue or they just don’t have the time to get one, I believe that we should make getting one an easier process. I believe it is old fashioned and out-dated to go to the DMV and wait for such long periods and get sent back sometimes. Because everything is digital these days, I would love to see an online version of the DMV. A place where you can submit all of your paperwork for approval and receive your ID through the mail. It would save lots of time and effort, not only for the people, but for the staff at the DMV.