This week, Civitas President Donald Bryson made a guest appearance on radio show Charlotte Talks, a local NPR affiliate, where he debated the merits of a state voter ID requirement.
The show is hosted by Mike Collins, and other guests included UNC Charlotte political science professor Martha Kropf and Jonathan Brater of the Brennan Center.
During the discussion, Collins asserted that the United States makes voting more difficult than its peer countries. “We don’t seem to make voting easy for people in this country; other Western democracies do,” he stated, citing weekend election days and vote-by-mail systems. He goes on to ask, “Why do we seem to make things difficult for voters?”
Made within the context of the voter ID discussion, those comments suggest that voter ID requirements are yet another way that the United States differs from its peer countries in adding burdens to its electorate.
However, many countries hailed as more voter-friendly than the United States have voter ID laws in place.
Norway mandates that voters present a photo ID, including a “passport, driving license, or bank card that includes a photo,” to vote.
Voters in Northern Ireland must present an “acceptable photo identification” to cast an in-person ballot.
Germany requires that voters bring a state-issued voter identification card, but they can substitute another form of ID for that card if they fail to deliver it at the polls.
Ballots in Switzerland are issued by mail, and voters who return their ballots in person are required to show an ID and a state-issued polling card to do so.
France requires a voter ID.
Israel requires a voter ID.
Mexico requires a voter ID.
Iceland requires a voter ID.
You get the picture.
Civitas has already pointed out that North Carolina’s constitutional amendment would bring the state into the mainstream within the country since 34 other states already require voter ID in some form.
Voter identification is innocuous among a majority of US states and various countries across the world. There is no reason to believe North Carolina would be the exception.
Collins claimed that the United States makes voting more difficult for its citizens than its peer countries and implied that voter ID requirements compound that disparity. Since many Western democracies also implement voter ID requirements, we rate this claim as false.