On Voter Identification

Photo identification. For the vast majority of people, having a photo I.D. is a necessity of life. Without one, they couldn’t rent a car, rent a hotel room, become a licensed driver, or fly on a plane. Effectively, legal travel in the U.S. is impossible without photo identification. Thus, we’re presented with a dilemma: In the United States, I can’t travel anywhere without a photo I.D., and yet, I can vote without a photo I.D. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Ridiculous; that’s the only way I can describe such a system, a system that requires me to show an I.D. when I purchase a gun but not when I enter the voting booth.

But of course, common sense such as that which I just espoused is not often found on Capitol Hill. As the push for expanded voter I.D. laws has spread across the nation, so too has the Democrats’ insistence that such a move would disenfranchise millions. Eric Holder, our esteemed Attorney General, went so far as to say that such a law is no more than a “poll tax”. His words represent a disgusting, but increasingly common, Democratic attempt to paint the GOP as racist and bigoted towards non-whites. I can tell him right now that such attempts will fail miserably. But I digress.

The “race card” isn’t the issue here. It’s the fact that Holder believes new voter I.D. laws resemble the immoral and anti-minority “poll taxes” of the mid-1900s. The two are completely different. One law was meant to discourage blacks and minorities from voting while the other is meant to stop dead people and felons from casting votes when they are legally ineligible. It’s that simple.

However, I understand concerns that some people may be unable to track down required documents and would be forced to pay for new identification papers (or cards), thus incurring a cost that they may not be able to afford. To allay those concerns, I offer this: If someone doesn’t have an identification card (i.e. driver’s license, passport), they can request such a card from the state. If that person is unable to prove that they are, in fact, who they say they are (via fingerprinting and other identification methods), then that person will be declared ineligible to vote until they can prove their identity. However, if that person is able to prove their identity, the government will give them a free, state-certified photo I.D.

By using a system like the one I just described, the two main problems of voter I.D. are eliminated. First, there’s no form of payment, or as some would say, no “poll tax”. As long as the person’s fingerprints match up, they’ll receive a free, state-certified photo I.D. card that can be used at the voting booth. Secondly, no one would be disenfranchised, because everyone who would be able to vote would already have a photo I.D. or would be able to get a free, state-certified photo I.D.

So, I want to make this very clear. I fully support the push for voter I.D. laws in the United States and firmly believe that every person should be obligated to prove their identity at the polling station. Voter fraud is a huge issue in the United States, and voter I.D. is the best way to eliminate that problem. However, I understand concerns that some people have about such laws, and would consequently support a system of issuing free photo I.D. cards to those people who can prove their identity. Thus, we can preserve the democratic roots of our nation without endangering the integrity of our political process.