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Voter ID Laws: Necessary or Likely to Disenfranchise Voters?

As the November election approaches, the arguments for and against strict voter identity laws heat up.

Election season is heating up, and so is the debate on voter identity. One side of the issue argues that stringent voter identity laws are necessary so as not to dilute the vote of legitimate voters. The other side argues that the strict controls have the effect of disenfranchising legitimate voters. 

A recent story in the Huffington Post cites examples from both sides of the argument, ultimately claiming that it appears more legitimate votes are disenfranchised than fraudulent ones prevented.

More than two dozen states have some form of ID requirements, and 11 of those passed new rules over the past two years. According to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's website, voters are required to show one of several forms of photo ID:

  • Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free Voter ID Card issued by your county registrar's office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)
  • A Georgia Driver's License, even if expired.
  • Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state.
  • Valid U.S. Passport ID.
  • Valid U.S. Military photo ID.
  • Valid Tribal photo ID.

Republicans have been the driving force behind this, claiming that in previous years convicted felons and the deceased have voted. Democrats and voting rights groups claim the ID laws suppress votes, particularly among the elderly, poor and minorities. These groups tend to lean Democratic.

In each of these cases, the numbers are not particularly high when you look at the big picture. But when you take into account that the 2000 presidential race was decided by a 537-vote margin in Florida, it’s not hard to see why this is such a hot-button issue right now.

Will tougher voter ID laws ensure legitimate elections or disenfranchise legitimate voters? Tell us in the comments.

S Bailey July 16, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Again, you attack personally. I tired of this greatly. You do not know me nor my past. I know that I do not share many of your thoughts & only agree with you on some superficial topics. Corruption is anywhere you look, whether in Congress, the White House, under the Gold Dome or in your own home. I noticed that you failed to talk about the points that I made but rather tangented off to attack some of things I did reference. Diffusion & misdirection is a common tool of those that cannot bring substance to an argument. As to the Constitution....you failed to point out either by mistake or intent...the Constitution is a Living Document that can be modified and has been modified to reflect the current times. AND not all minorities were slaves or servants from the beginning of this country. Even whites came to this continent as Indentured Servants (a polite name for slavery). No race has been completely blameless or exempt from oppression. We are a Society, made up of many nationalities, we have been since the beginning. We will continue to be. Your own personal divisiveness will only serve to disenfranchise those who buy into the false premise that they are oppressed. I'm oppressed, you are oppressed, my neighbor is oppressed, your neighbor is oppressed.....where does it stop ??? Under your thinking, it never does. I choose to be a 'glass is half-full' kind of guy, you, on the other hand, sees only that the glass is half empty, but someone never got a sip.
Kenya July 16, 2012 at 08:48 PM
LA, exactly! The best way to let our leaders know how we feel about this is with our votes. It only takes a few to turn an election around and how nice would it be if we actually got more people to turn out and this backfired. Richard, I'll be emailing you to find ways I can help. You should post volunteer opps on Patch too. I thought I asked a simple question on whether this was genuinely a top priority for supporters, but I guess the answer is no since I was just called a political shill or 'plain ignorant' after that but didn't get a straight answer. LOL!
Pam J July 16, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Well, I look at this way - if you don't have to show any ID to vote, who's to say that someone you know wants to vote for a different person than you. And that person knows that you aren't going to vote till later in the day. Then that person goes to the voting place and they say that they are you and the person "manning" the table gives them the ballot and they vote the person they want. Then the real person shows up later and, gosh, I'm sorry, but you have already voted. Maybe that doesn't happen much, but in smaller jurisdictions, it will only take a few times to change an election.
S Bailey July 16, 2012 at 11:09 PM
It HAS happened.....rare occasions to be sure, but it has happened at Precincts in South Cobb. One person has voted under another person's name & then that person has come in to vote. I know because I was there & had to investigate what happened & who actually voted. Even with a system in place mistakes can be made. So gearing up a system to Insure that YOU get to vote, seems to me, to be the proper thing.....& a non-issue, except to those that choose to "use" the system to their own nefarious intents. If you feel that you were singled out as a political shill or plain ignorant....perhaps you should rethink & restate what you wanted, instead of taking it as an insult. SB
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino July 18, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Hi Kenya and other friends: Feel free to contact me at pilgrim1@mindspring.com to get on my email list for volunteer opportunities with the Cobb United for Change Coalition (which is composed of many human & civil rights orgs). Right now we have voter registration & get out the vote initiatives, human rights "report cards" for candidates, as well as other initiatives like police oversight and home foreclosure defense, aid for the poor. (Working on our website now and will post once complete.)

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