Voter ID
The other day, Christopher Freind posted an intelligent, well-researched, common sense article on PhillyDecline.com about Voter ID laws. Coincidentally, I had been working on a similar piece to post on this site when I came across Mr. Freind’s column. Since he did such a great job with this piece, I will limit my contribution here to a few added comments.

Voting in this country is a right protected by the constitution. But there are eligibility requirements that must be met before a person can vote. You must be a United States citizen. You must be 18 years of age or older on Election Day. You must be a legal resident in the district in which you vote (local, county, state) for a certain period of time before the election. Additional requirements may vary from state to state. 


I am enough of a realist to know that no voting law will eliminate voter fraud entirely. The best that we can hope for is to develop a system that will keep it down to a bare minimum, or at least enough that it doesn’t affect the outcome of an election. The right to vote is one of the most precious gifts we possess. It goes far beyond simply voicing our opinions, it allows every eligible voter in this country to have an actual say in how this country operates – one vote, one voice.


When voter fraud is allowed to continue, or when laws are passed that make it easier to take place, each of us are essentially robbed of that voice. You can write your Congressman or Senators all you wish, but if he or she knows that they will get re-elected because of gerrymandered districts and/or voter fraud, why should they listen to you?


So why then are there so many people opposed to a law that requires a person to prove they are actually who they say they are and that they are legally eligible to vote by being required to show a valid state or federally issued photo ID? Who would not be in favor of making it more difficult for someone to commit voter fraud? Those misguided individuals who have been conned into believing they are helping the “disenfranchised” and the ones who benefit from voter fraud, of course.


As Mr. Freind points out in his article, some opponents claim that being required to show a photo ID “disproportionately impacts the elderly, the working poor, and racial minorities.” Bull.


Most elderly people I know have had photo IDs for years. Even if they are no longer allowed to drive – and therefore no longer have a valid driver’s license – they still have or can obtain other forms of ID that are acceptable.


The “working poor” – as the description suggests – have jobs. I am unaware of that many jobs in this day and age that don’t require some sort of valid ID during the application process, except when employers hire illegal aliens.


The mere suggestion that racial minorities would be disproportionately impacted reveals a number of the driving forces I believe to be behind the opposition’s true agendas. Due to local, state and federal laws – including constitutional amendments – minorities are subject to and protected by the exact same voter laws as everyone else. Are they saying that minorities should be given special privileges simply because they belong to a different ethnic group? That would be just as illegal as discriminating against those groups.


People in minority groups are just as capable of handling their business as everyone else. That includes obtaining the proper documentation in registering to vote and taking the necessary steps to vote on Election Day. Ironically, by suggesting otherwise, those who claim to be looking out for minorities are actually contributing to racial stereotypes. How does that “impact” minorities?


The only groups I know of that could possibly be disproportionately impacted by Voter ID laws can be placed into two categories. The first category is comprised of those who are legally ineligible – non-citizens, illegal aliens, under-aged voters and the deceased. And by the way, how bad has voter fraud become in this country if I actually found it necessary to include the dead in that list?


The second category would be comprised of those who wish to commit voter fraud. That group should be added to the “ineligible to vote” category due to being in prison for violating voter laws.


I find the use of such politically correct excuses to be nothing more than attempts by some to divert attention away from developing viable solutions to problems we all know exist. Problems which, because of political correctness, have become so taboo that many are afraid to talk about them in the first place.


People who engage in these tactics use the elderly, the working poor, racial minorities and others as pawns in their own political games. They pull on the heart strings of people to gain support for agendas which are far too often not in the best interest of society as a whole, thereby hurting the very people they claim to be protecting. When it is all said and done, who is really doing the disenfranchising here?


I am a firm believer that every eligible American citizen should be registered to vote and exercise their right to vote in every election. I also support legitimate efforts to convince people to do so by means of voter’s registration drives. But it has been my experience that most of the people going door to door getting people to sign up are actually only recruiting new voters to support their causes. They should simply sign them up without the politically biased sales pitch and let the newly-registered voters decide how to vote on their own. And while they’re at it, they should make sure those voters are eligible to vote in the first place.


I believe Mr. Freind sums it up quite nicely when he says:


“What could be easier and more common sense [than] simply documenting who you claim to be when participating in the most fundamental American right?”


Sounds like common sense to me.

 

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