We hear it all the time: How can you be against making voters show a photo ID when they vote? You need an ID to do almost anything in today’s society — buying beer, driving a car, getting on an airplane, going to an R-rated movie — so why shouldn’t you have to show a government-issued photo ID to vote?
It sure sounds like common sense, and it is a sentiment, coupled with the specter of voter fraud, that has driven more than 30 state legislatures this year to consider requiring limited forms of government-issued photo ID at the polls, prompting the Washington Post and New York Times to question why the country is fighting what is essentially a war on voting.
The rub: Strict photo ID laws result in disenfranchisement, unnecessary costs, and unequal treatment of voters and simply are not a proportionate response to any legitimate concerns about potential voter fraud. What may seem like common sense is actually a real barrier for those who want to participate, and a significant expense to all of us.
Our voting system badly needs to improve to meet 21st century standards. Yet here we are fighting to stop politicians from turning back the clock and making it harder for people to vote. It is distracting and disappointing to see proposed laws that use tomorrow’s money to solve yesterday’s alleged problems when real problems are staring us in the face.
Let’s put this issue to rest and move on to envisioning a real 21st century system.
Full Article: Thomas Bates: Why Photo ID Laws Are Not the Answer.