Photo ID and voting: Where the real focus should be
Instead of all the effort to ban government-issued photo IDs as a requirement to vote, which opens the door for voting fraud, why not instead protect the integrity of our elections and attack the problem itself by spending the time and money assuring that anyone who wants a government-issued photo ID has an opportunity to get one? I say the opportunity, because a little personal responsibility is not too much to ask.
There can be no logical argument that requiring a government-issued photo ID to verify identity when voting reduces the opportunity for voting fraud. None. The left screams that it is somehow voter suppression to require such, since, according to leftists, if you are poor, black, or Latino, there is some magic wall that makes it too difficult or expensive for you to get a photo ID. They cite such things as the cost of the ID, obtaining a birth certificate, getting to a location for the ID, etc. These issues are the same for everyone, regardless of race. Let's look at removing these alleged obstacles for all citizens.
Recent numbers from the ACLU claim that 11% of people in America do not have a government-issued photo ID, or about 21 million people. A photo ID is required in many day-to-day activities, such as buying tobacco and alcohol and entering certain buildings, to name a few. Since Social Security checks are mostly deposited directly to an account, as are many forms of welfare, how does one open a bank account to receive such payments without a government-issued photo ID? A government-issued photo ID would also help people in other ways.
Let's first look at who does not need a government-issued photo ID at our expense: non-citizens. It is a federal crime for a non-citizen to vote in a federal election. How many of the people without government-issued photo IDs are here illegally? Regardless, this group is not a factor at all in government-issued photo IDs and voting and can be ignored.
It would be money well spent for the USG to grant funds to the states to see that a citizenship-verified government-issued photo ID is available to all citizens. Use the media to educate people about the program. The activists opposing government-issued photo ID s could just as easily and more honestly identify those who need a government-issued photo ID and help them get one. Cover the cost of the government-issued photo ID, typically very inexpensive. Each state could provide a copy of a birth certificate at no charge if needed. If need be, transportation to a government office at certain times and places could be provided. For those unable to travel, send a worker to the nursing home, for example, for the photo itself once the supporting information is verified. This government-issued photo ID would also verify citizenship for voting in federal elections. The relatively small cost would easily be justified by improving our election integrity.
For those states who choose to allow felons to vote, the prisons can issue photo IDs.
Some say there are those who are afraid to get a government-issued photo ID. Why? What are they afraid of? If the person is an illegal alien, for example, he can't vote anyway, at least not legally. As to others, again, a little personal responsibility, please.
I submit that this is a better way to approach the alleged problem, but that is not to say it will not be opposed by those who do not care one bit about voting fraud, so long as it helps give them (undeserved) power. Nonetheless, this is a commonsense proposal that would draw support from both sides. It would be interesting and maybe even amusing to hear the arguments against it, likely the standard leftist talking points that such a law would directly address and render moot.
Let's focus on the positive angle of this issue, not the negative.
Image: Tom Arthur via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.