Voter ID Laws Essay
Voter ID Laws
The right of any citizen of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. ” – The 26th Amendment. (Campus Congress, August 30, 2011). The right to vote guaranteed by the constitution is under attack. Restricted Voter ID legislation is being passed in state after state. These voter ID laws claim to combat voter fraud by requiring voters to have specific government issued photo ID’s when voting. The problem is they don’t actually prevent voter fraud.
Analysis In 2007, the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law released The Truth About Voter Fraud, the most extensive analysis of voter fraud claims to date. The report finds that most allegations of fraud turn out to be baseless. The study reports other election irregularities rather than fraud by individual voters. The type of individual voter fraud supposedly targeted by recent legislative efforts to require certain forms of voter ID simply does not exist. (Campus Congress, August 30, 2011). Problems
Problems at the polls that do exist are; malfunctioning voting machines, unprepared poll workers, aggressive groups outside polling stations, long lines at the polls, uncertified voting machines, flawed email voting, and voting machines that change or do not allow the voter to vote for a specific candidate. A voter in Pennsylvania says when voting during the Presidential election the voting machine simply would not let him vote for Barack Obama. “I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney.
Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney’s name and started tapping very closely together to find the ‘active areas’. From the top of Romney’s button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama’s name was all active for Romney. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She him hawed for a bit then calmly said: ‘It’s nothing to worry about, everything will be OK. ‘ and went back to what she was doing.
I then recorded a video. ” (Jazeera, Al, November 7, 2012). It is interesting to me that these types of irregularities are common and yet they go on without question, while the topic of voter fraud that cannot be proven to be a valid problem is such a huge concern for Republican officials. No matter what side of the debate one is on, all should have the right to vote. “The integrity of the voting system should be a nonpartisan endeavor,” Martinez-De-Castro said. “If voter fraud is a real problem, we need to figure out ways to deal with that, and the magnitude of the response should match the magnitude of the problem.
”(Aba Now, August 6, 2012). Voter ID Restrictive Voter ID legislation is being passed in state after state. These voter ID laws claim to combat voter fraud, by requiring voters to have specific government issued photo ID’s when voting. The problem is they don’t actually prevent fraud. In fact someone is more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter impersonation fraud. (Campus Congress, August 30, 2011). Statistics Republican law makers in South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Tennessee have all passed laws to require voters to show a government issued photo ID.
Let’s look at Wisconsin where a voter ID law has been passed. Out of 2. 9 million votes cast in 2004 there are only 18 reports of fraudulent votes none of those votes where casted by someone impersonating someone else. Voter ID laws not only fail to prevent voter fraud, but they make voting more difficult for more than 558,000 people in Wisconsin without the required ID cards. It’s a similar story in other states that have passed voter ID laws. South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee and Texas have each reported fewer than ten cases of voter fraud over the past five years, but have millions of residents without the required identification.
If these laws were passed in every state they would disenfranchise over 20 million citizens who lack the required identification cards. That is more than one out of every ten eligible voters. The numbers get worse when you look at who lack the required ID’s. 15% of low income people, 18% young people, and 25% black people across the nation. In Wisconsin alone 59% of Latina women and 78% of black males between the ages of 18-24 lack the required identifications such as a drivers license. Disfranchisement
In the state of Pennsylvania they could not show one case of Voter fraud. So where is this national epidemic? Pennsylvania Judge, Robert Simpson put a hold on the new voter ID law. He says, “I’m just not convinced that in my predictive judgment that there will not be any voter disfranchisement arising out of this new law. ” (Fox News, October 2, 2012). Older Americans, the disabled, our veterans and students all face challenges in states where voter ID’s are required. These United States citizens who are being disenfranchised are people you may not expect.
For example Bill Internicola a 91 year old army veteran of WWII who earned the bronze star in the legend of honor for a service is one of hundreds of South Florida voters shocked to learn that they have been identified as a non-US Citizen and may be ineligible to vote. “I was amazed when I got the letter, I can tell you that. I’ve been voting since I was 18 years old and I never had any trouble,” Said Internicola. (CBS Miami, May 29, 2012). Internicola, who has voted in Florida for the last 14 years without any problems until this year when his name appeared on a list of suspected non- citizens.
Internicola a Democrat is one of many voters being required to prove that they are a citizen or they will be booted off the voter rolls. Another citizen who is being affected is Doris Clark, 68 year old was turned down three times applying for her Pennsylvania voter ID card and every time the state wanted another document: original birth certificate, original social security card, then her husband’s death certificate when a clerk demanded proof of her married name. “I feel like I’m being treated like Bin Laden’s wife, why are they doing this to me? ” (CBS Evening News, September 27, 2012).
And finally Viviette Applewhite, 93-year old rejected to vote because she lacked a voter ID. She says she has been a regular voter over the years and recalls marching on voting rights in 1960 with Martin Luther King Jr. (CBS Evening News, September 27, 2012). And finally a man named Jim makes some valid comments on an article published by Pro Publica on Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws. My late mother never drove a car, hence, no license; never had a credit card or checking account; never traveled abroad, hence, no passport; but resided at the same address for 43 years and voted in every election until her death.
It’s doubtful she would have been able to do so in some states today. When I look up residence in my home 22 years ago, I signed a form the signature on which is compared with one I must provide at each election to obtain a ballot. Unfortunately, I have since been afflicted with essential tremor which renders my current signature very different from that provided two decades ago. Would some require I bring a medical certificate to substantiate the condition? My driver’s license issued four years ago pictures me clean shaven. I have since grown a beard. Must I shave or get a new license to vote?
(Pro Publica, November 5, 2012). Agenda If voter fraud cannot be proven and is not a problem it poses a question as to why there are those Republicans who feel the need to push Voter ID Laws. I feel they are pushing these laws because they know that it will impact the Presidential election in their favor. Republicans are even bragging about how voter ID laws will impact the presidential vote in 2012. Republican State Representative Mike Turzai, Voter ID laws purpose is “Voter ID which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, DONE!
” Republican New Hampshire House Speaker William Obrien is trying to keep college students from voting. To quote Mr. Obrien, “I was a kid and foolish, voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do. They don’t have the life experience and they just vote their feeling. ” William Obrien is trying to pass two bills: one that will allow students to vote only if their parents had established residence in the college town in itself and two ending same day registrations. John Stossel, voiced his opinion on who should not vote on Fox News. He said, “Why do we have these campaigns saying we have to get all the young people to vote.
Young people often don’t know anything. Let’s stop saying everyone should vote, voting is important. ” (Steve Colbert – The Colbert Report, July 20, 2011). It seems clear that these individuals are more concerned about what types of people are voting and about keeping those individuals from voting for what they feel is the wrong candidate. Accusations of legislative suppression are mostly targeted at Republicans, who are criticized by civil rights groups for creating new laws like voter identification laws. And it is these laws that will affect the poor and minority voters who typically tend to vote Democrat.
“When you pass a law to prevent a crime that is not occurring or that has not occurred in decades, one wonders what the purpose of the law is,” Alexander Keyssar, a professor of history and social policy at Harvard Kennedy School, told CBC News. “And when you know that in fact it is likely to have the consequence of putting an obstacle in the oath of a certain percentage of voters, and very disproportionately people who are poor…it makes one wonder what is going on. ” (CBC News, October 30, 2012) Conclusion To review let’s look at the facts.
Voter ID laws do not prevent voter fraud, but they do however prevent millions of American citizens their right to vote. A right that is fundamental to our American Democracy. Therefore, we should protect the right to vote for every American citizen by standing against the voter ID laws that rob that right from American citizens who do not have the required government issued photo ID. References National Conference of State Legislatures. (October 24, 2012) Voter Identification Requirements. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. ncsl. org/legislatures-elections/elections/voter-id. aspx John Stewart – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
(October 2, 2012) Democalypse 2012 – Right Said Fraud. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. thedailyshow. com/watch/tue-october-2-2012/democalypse-2012—right-said-fraud Steve Colbert – The Colbert Report. (July 20, 2011) Voter ID Laws. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. colbertnation. com/the-colbert-report-videos/392598/july-20-2011/voter-id-laws Jazeera, Al. (November 7, 2012) Malfunctioning machines and other problems. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. aljazeera. com/news/americas/2012/11/201211617032532829. html Campus Congress. (August 30, 2011) Voter ID Laws: Fake Solution to a Fake Problem.
Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=gNpGtrisCPY Garland, Maurice. (2012) WWII Veteran Victimized by Florida’s Stupid Voter ID Laws. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. loop21. com/life/voter-ID-laws-suppression-florida-wwii-veteran Andrews, Wyatt. (September 27, 2012) Pa. law hampers some voters from getting IDs. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. cbsnews. com/8301-18563_162-57521927/pa-law-hampers-some-voters-from-getting-ids/ Associated Press (August 17, 2012) Viviette Applewhite, 93-year-old plaintiff in Pa. voter ID case, gets card amid appeal.
Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://thegrio. com/2012/08/17/viviette-applewhite-93-year-old-plaintiff-in-pa-voter-id-case-gets-card-amid-appeal/ The Olympian (August 23, 2012) Fair, non-politicized voter ID policy still a ways off. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. theolympian. com/2012/08/23/2222549/fair-nonpoliticized-voter-id-policy. html Aba Now (August 6, 2012) Panel Debates Pros, Cons of New Voter Registration Laws. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. abanow. org/2012/08/panel-debates-pros-cons-of-new-voter-registration-laws/ Fox News (October 2, 2012) Judge blocks Pennsylvania voter ID law ahead of election.
Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://www. foxnews. com/politics/2012/10/02/judge-halts-pa-tough-new-voter-id-requirement/ CBS Miami (May 29, 2012) Decorated Broward War Hero Targeted In Gov. Scott’s Voter Purge. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from, http://miami. cbslocal. com/2012/05/29/decorated-broward-war-hero-targeted-in-gov-scotts-voter-purge/ CBS Evening News (September 27, 2012) Pa. law hampers some voters from getting Id’s. Retrieved November 26, 2012) from, http://www. cbsnews. com/8301-18563_162-57521927/pa-law-hampers-some-voters-from-getting-ids/ Pro Publica (November 5, 2012) Everything You’ve Ever Wanted