For proponents of Voter ID laws, it has become commonplace to list the normal duties or errands that require photo identification. Currently, you must have an ID to board a plane, open a bank account, receive many government benefits, or even purchasing certain types of cold medicine (not to mention banquets held by groups that oppose voter ID or the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion). Presenting identification has truly become part of everyday life.
A recent Civitas survey showed that 99% of respondents have photo identification, with the remaining percentage responding “don’t know”. Literally none of those polled responded “no”. Despite this and overwhelming support from North Carolina voters, opponents of voter identification requirements will point towards those few without ID as a reason for not implementing these common-sense measures. These advocacy groups claim that even obtaining a no-cost photo identification is too great of a burden for these individuals.
In a recent article at National Review Online, Deroy Murdock points out something proponents of voter identification often neglect to mention: Properly designed, an ID requirement could help these people fully participate in everyday actions.
[Opponents] apparently couldn’t care less about these undocumented citizens. If they did care, they would lead a common-sense effort to provide photo-ID cards to every American adult who needs one. By displaying ID cards on Election Day, these politically enfranchised Americans would curb potential and actual ballot fraud and boost confidence in the voting system.
Beyond Election Day, these freshly documented citizens would be sociallyenfranchised. With photo-ID cards, they could cash checks fly, visit government buildings, and do plenty more that documented citizens accomplish daily.
Murdock goes on to argue that the legitimate “get out the vote” efforts done by Tea Parties, unions, political parties, and advocacy groups such as the NAACP, if they included helping those few without identification obtain it, would have lasting positive effects beyond election day.
While the primary reason for a voter ID requirement will always be ensuring election integrity and restoring Americans’ faith in the value of their votes, this argument should certainly be considered as part of the broader discussion.