Depending on where they live, voters may see some changes at the polls on Election Day this November. Five states have passed strict voter I.D. laws that require voters to present proper photo identification when they cast their ballots.
Of the five states, Pennsylvania has been getting national attention for its new law that requires a state-approved form of ID issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in order to vote. Advocates for this law say it is a long-overdue common sense requirement to prevent voter fraud.
However, critics say that this is a political tactic to disenfranchise voters who are not likely to have the acceptable identification, and may have difficulty obtaining it before the election. Many of these voters are minorities, seniors, and the urban poor.
Officials in Pennsylvania say they hope to reach out to voters left out by this law. In an effort to ensure that all registered voters have the approved identification, the state has launched a $5 million dollar outreach program. However, it remains unclear if the state's resources are up to the task, and several civil rights groups are expected to challenge the law in Pennsylvania's commonwealth court.
"I think people say, what's the big deal about showing an I.D.? I have to show I.D. to buy cough medicine over the counter." -Carol Aichele, Pennsylvania secretary of the commonwealth.
"There's no plan for getting hundreds of thousands of people the proper I.D. They can say it's available, but they have no plan for actually accomplishing that." -David Gersch, attorney.
1. What are some forms of identification (how do you prove you are who you say you are)?
2. How do you get a photo I.D.?
3. What does "disenfranchise" mean?
1. What might make it hard for a person to obtain a state-approved photo I.D.?
2. Do you think this is a political tactic or a common sense law? Why?
3. According to the map in the video, does your state have a voter I.D. law?
4. Do you think it is more important to prevent voter fraud or make sure all eligible voters can vote in the election?
Lesson Plan: Analyzing the Candidates in the 2012 Presidential Election:
Election Spurs Students to Become Politically Active:
High Voter Turnout Helps Barack Obama Win Presidency: