Not long ago, we reported that 17 states were changing their voter laws, including Ohio, where a bill was proposed that would limit the forms of acceptable ID voters can use on Election Day to only government-issued photo IDs. The bill, aimed at curbing voter fraud, recently hit a serious roadblock, but that didn’t stop some of our readers from engaging in a debate over whether it was such a big deal to require a government-issued photo ID for voting.
On Facebook, Juli offered a simple rule:
If you don’t have legal ID then you shouldn’t be voting. Period.
Another Facebook commenter, Walter, also didn’t see what was so objectionable about requiring a government-issued ID to vote:
You need a photo ID for so MANY things already — what’s one more? Sheesh. I have a non-driver ID, and I think it only cost like $6.50 or so, and it lasts for years, so the cost per year is tiny.
The Money Clubhouse agreed:
If it’s important to you to vote you’ll get off your butt, get the required photo ID, show up on time and follow the rules. It’s time to stop making excuses for anyone too lazy and uninformed to exercise their “rights and privileges.”
But commenter Jane argued that this change would suppress votes:
Photo IDs would be fine if they were free. Otherwise they are a polltax. Not to mention, there’s a significant inconvenience for handicapped/seniors and those that don’t drive to get a state issued photo id. There is no proof that there is voter fraud, but there is proof that this will suppress young voters, poor voters, and seniors.
Aimee echoed the sentiment:
The issue (and salient question) isn’t always “how will this affect me?” These changes in voter registration/identification requirements won’t affect me per se, but if they prevent other eligible American citizens from voting, particularly people from historically low-voting demographics, then I think the changes are bad and dangerous. Why put more obstacles in the way of people who wish to vote … unless there’s something cynically political at work. The goal should be to include MORE people in voting, not FEWER.
Brenden offers a tip from Oregon, where voters are not required to have government-issued IDs to cast their ballots:
It isn’t a requirement to have ID in many states. It isn’t a requirement to do anything which requires an ID. To be eligible to vote you simply need to be a resident in the area you are voting and old enough to vote. Anything extra is an undue burden which can not be justified. We vote by mail in Oregon and no ID is required. If we lose our ballot we go to the election headquarters and get a new one printed out. Again there is no ID required. We don’t have bad vote fraud here.
And on our website, Annapurna Moffatt gave a Canadian perspective on voting:
I’m so glad I’m a Canadian: here, voting’s easy, simple, and no one’s tried to change the laws. Yes, we need ID (driver’s license/picture ID, utilities bill, etc.–and if you don’t have ID, you can have someone who knows you vouch for you), but it’s a simple process. Now, if only our elections were actually fair …