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Must Show ID

15 Mar

So, here I am…back in the United States of America after a couple of long, but overall incredible weeks studying in Spain. Since returning home, I have been focused on “re-Americanizing” myself. I have caught up on all my American cuisine, television shows, and all the latest news. I have also found that there is no better way to feel American than to continue my study of the American government.

The other night my dad and I were discussing current news in America, and I was describing the AP Government class’ latest units that have been focused on public opinion, the decline in voting, the current strength of political parties, and the importance of polling. After finding out that I have been learning about voter participation and public opinion, my dad began explaining a rising controversy in our country that is connected to all that we have been studying.

My dad went on to explain that the Voter ID Law is an attempt by many states to prevent voter fraud. If enacted, this law would require voters to present some form of identification when they show up to the polls. According to Wikipedia, voter fraud can constitute as illegal voter registration, intimidation at polls and improper vote counting, and the states feel that all of these things can ultimately affect election results . However, after the Justice Department deemed this law unconstitutional, a debate arose.

So what exactly is the big controversy behind this law?

Well, let me break it down for you.

On the left side, the Obama Administration is arguing that laws like the Voter ID law would disenfranchise lower-income families and minorities because it would be difficult for them to obtain a form of identification. The Administration is also saying that an ID law would continue to decrease voter participation within the minorities groups. The administration also believes that the country needs to focus on increasing all around voter participation and not just among majority groups. The last argument is based on the belief that because affluent people, who tend to be more conservative, would have an easier time obtaining identification, they would continue to be able to vote and possibly skew the vote towards the right.

The other side of the debate contends that the identification law is the only way to prevent voter fraud. They believe that voter fraud is rampant in urban, poorer sections, and the only way to prevent that is to require everyone to present some form of government identification when they show up to vote.

No one can deny that both sides have solid arguments; however, may be it is much more difficult for those in poorer communities to obtain government issued ids, but then again, if voter fraud is actually happening the states need to find a practical way to prevent it so that the election results are much more valid.

We also may consider if voter fraud is even occurring. Is this a problem that we even hear about, or as Justin Levitt, author of Truth Behind Voter Fraud, has put it, is voter fraud just a “scapegoat…in the aftermath of a close election?” Maybe maybe states are, in fact, concerned that voters are committing actual fraud, or maybe they are just crying “wolf” to a problem that is not actually there. But what do you think?

For more information visit: Truth Behind Voter Fraud 

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7 responses to “Must Show ID

  1. dbambi

    March 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Hey Julianne, I know I’m in your class and all, but I had to comment on this! Last week when we were discussing the voting and fraud, I thought of the Voter ID Law too. The weird thing is my church community talks about this new law as the Democratic party does: one that is to hinder minorities from voting. By law our state now offers free driver license to elderly so that will not hinder older people; however they do not make the fee waived or cheaper for the poor of younger generations. In my opinion with the last presidential election, groups worked hard to attempt to get more voters to show up on election day. But with this new law, all that hard work was for nothing. Think of all the people who won’t have IDs. For example, college students who use public transportation and do not have a driver’s license that’s million of people in New York City alone. Because the Voter ID has to be federal issued and valid, people are in a odd situation. They have to make the choice whether to go to the DMV which in my city is always crowed, miss a day of work, and miss some time at work to go vote that’s a lot for a society were good jobs are hard to find. Then I went and did some research to understand what you were saying about is fraud really a problem, and I came across this “federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud, and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility, or they involved registration errors.” This is #pitiful, because we put more action with 5 years of looking into elections and that’s all that was found. Because of those 86, millions have to be affected; I do not understand do you?

     
    • Julianne

      March 19, 2012 at 6:36 am

      Hello,

      Thank you so much for the comment and all the outside information you have provided.

      I can honestly say that I do not understand either. The country seems to be taking steps back when, in reality, they need to continue taking steps forward to increase voter turn out.

      Thanks again!

      Best,
      Julianne

       
  2. Steve Angel

    March 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I really enjoyed your overall tone. It generates interest and intrigue.

    The section detailing the Obama Administrations stance could use a little tweaking. Take a look at the second sentence in this section. Seems awkward to begin with “The Administration” when you referred to it in the previous sentence.
    Great stuff though. Keep up the good work!!!

     
    • Julianne

      March 19, 2012 at 6:37 am

      Hello, Mr. Angel!

      Thank you very much for your comment. I will definitely take a look at the second sentence and tweak it a bit.

      Thanks again for reading!

      Best,
      Julianne

       
  3. Morgan

    March 29, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Great blog! I always thought that you already had to show ID to vote, so when I read this I was surprised. What struck me the most was the sign that the man in the second image was holding up. The argument that voter ID is racist or classicist is in my opinion unreasonable. Although obtaining ID can take time out of a workday, for adults they do not have to be renewed yearly, so the time taken really isn’t much. Having to show ID will greatly cut down on voter fraud and help to improve the overall trust in the election process.

     
    • Julianne

      April 2, 2012 at 6:30 am

      Hello, Morgan!

      I am so sorry it has taken me a few days to respond, but I really appreciate your commenting.

      Like you, I too thought you already had to show ID to vote, but at the same time I never really gave it much thought. I also agree with your opinion that the law should not be considered racist; every adult in America should have some form of ID, right?

      Thanks again for commenting!

       
  4. Mira

    October 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Hi Julianne,

    My name is Mira and I am from Oregon Episcopal School. Great post! I really enjoyed reading it and thinking about this controversy over Voter ID. I had also always assumed that you needed to show ID to vote because that seems like a basic necessity to prevent fraud. I am also curious how much voter fraud is a problem because it seems to me that if it is occurring then it would be a good idea to require ID in order to vote. However, if it is a very rare occurrence then it makes sense to protect the rights of lower-income citizens and not require ID because it could be difficult for them to obtain.

    After a quick google search I found that roughly 11 percent of American citizens (21 million people) do not have any form of government issued photo ID (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/the-daily-need/everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-know-about-voter-id-laws/14358/). That statistic seems significant enough to me to oppose the Voter ID law. If 11% of our population was no longer able to vote and the majority of that 11% are lower income citizens that seems hugely unfair and discriminatory. If there was a way for our government to provide free photo ID to these 11 million people, then I believe the Voter ID law would be very beneficial to our elections, but otherwise, I do not believe it is a just requirement.

    Thanks for a great post!
    -Mira

     

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