Fingerprints can now be used to unlock smart phones, car engines, even guns. Why not ballots, too? A New Mexico legislator has just proposed that his state’s election officials study the feasibility of a biometric voter identification system. The idea is simple enough: Rather than require voters to show a particular type of document that not everyone possesses, the law could require election officials to collect a piece of information — a finger image or an eye scan — from all voters, which would confirm their identity at the polls. The political appeal of the idea is clear: Republicans would have the ID laws they claim are needed to protect against voter fraud. And Democrats would have a system that doesn’t disproportionately hurt minorities and the poor. Both parties could declare victory in the war over voter ID and move on.
To be sure, it would be an expensive way to prevent a crime that is all but nonexistent: voter impersonation. If that were the only rationale, it would be hard to justify the cost.
But in addition to freeing voters from photo ID requirements, it would bring other benefits. In states where felons are not allowed to vote, for example, biometric images could be cross-checked with prison records to identify anyone who is illegally registered. A biometric ID would also allow election officials to make their notoriously unreliable voter rolls more accurate.
Full Article: Want to Vote? Get Fingerprinted. – Bloomberg View.