Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Voter ID Win

A judge has just ordered that the voter ID law passed in Pennsylvania be kept from being enforced for the coming election. There is still the chance for an appeal, maybe even before the election, but the ruling is groundbreaking in the ongoing debate over the constitutionality of voter ID laws.

As I've posted many times before, the argument for voter ID laws is that they will prevent voter fraud, which advocates say is a big problem. The argument against voter ID laws is that voter fraud is not a problem in the US, that the laws unfairly target certain groups that are more like to vote democratic, and that the laws are designed specifically to disenfranchise those groups (the poor, minorities, the elderly, and students). For the most part, voter ID laws have gone unchallenged in states where they've been passed (nearly all by Republican legislatures and governors). The Pennsylvania ruling is only the second of its kind (after Florida) that has stopped the implementation of this law.

There have been a number of studies that show that these laws have an adverse effect on groups who tend to lack photo IDs. In some states, a firearm permit is acceptable but a veteran's photo ID isn't because the Vet ID doesn't have an address on it (even though it has a picture). The poor don't tend to have photo ID either, because many of them don't own cars and so don't really need to spend money on a driver's license. And if you live in Mississippi, forget about it if you don't already have a photo ID, you may as well just stay home.

Maybe I'm biased, but it seems to me that, if we don't have a problem, maybe we shouldn't be disenfranchising 11 Million Americans from their free, anonymous civil right and responsibility in the name of fixing said non-existant problem. Nothing like throwing the baby out with the bath water, eh?

Oh, and before you say that these laws don't disenfranchise voters, do the research like I have. I've posted links on this post, as well as others that have a lot of information. Type in "voter ID laws" in Google, and just read. That's all you have to do. And one more thing: voter ID laws will do nothing to prevent in-person voter fraud, when it does occur. Why? Because photo ID is notoriously easy to fake. Just ask any kid with a fake ID that shows they're 21. Come on. And furthermore, there's is more voter fraud than the kind committed by voters. Again, studies have been conducted to show that it's barely a problem at all, and that most of the cases of "fraud" were made in error and corrected.

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