We're told that the only possible reason anyone would want to require ID to vote is in order to intimidate and shut out poor and minority voters (yes, the presumption is that if you're not white, you are poor and/or don't have valid ID). We're told that it would "suppress" and "disenfranchise" voters. We're told that its a poll tax and illegal.
Did you know that both Georgia and Indiana have had voter ID laws for five years? And you can look back at voting patterns in these states and discover that instead of suppressing the vote, it actually had no negative effect whatsoever. In fact, because of the increased minority voter participation in 2008, there was an increase of minority voters after these laws passed.
The fact is, requiring people to show ID to vote has not caused any suppression or disenfranchisement. Overall, the country has quite a few states with voter ID requirements. These states require photo ID to vote:
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
And these states require ID even if a photo isn't involved:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
That's over half of the 50 states that require ID to vote. And yet, recently when states such as Wisconsin, Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, and Missisippi tried to pass the same law, suddenly courts decided it was unconstitutional or would harm voting. That's only in the last year that these courts suddenly ruled in this manner.
Previously, under Presidents before Obama, the federal government saw no reason to interfere with how states ran their elections, since the US Constitution plainly requires that states control their elections, not the executive branch:
The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
-US Constitution, Article I, Section 4
Any state in the "south," that is states who were part of the Confederacy, are required to go before the federal government and get permission as part of the Voting Rights Act before they can make any changes to voting laws. This is outrageously tyrannical and even if it had the slightest shred of validity in the past is now simply unacceptable.
The fact is, every single state which has a voter ID law also has a free "voter ID" card which anyone who can sufficiently demonstrate need can get for free. There is no good excuse for opposing these obvious and common sense laws, no valid reason. I am against national ID cards as much as the next guy, but that's not what these are and protecting elections is incredibly important for a democracy.
Its hard to not be very suspicious of anyone who opposes this idea.