Insistence on Photo Ids Can And Will Disenfranchise Millions of US Voters.

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Topic Republicans pushing for the requirement of photo IDs for voting nationwide.

Mathew Ryan Republican member  of the US House Ways and Means Committee is proposing that voters present some form of photo ID.  He proposes either a birth certificate or a passport. The problem with this is how many poor persons own a passport.  Plus one can lose a birth certificate and it may be difficult, or too costly for these voters to obtain a new one.  I strongly suspect in the guise of protecting honest voting , the Republicans are doing their utmost to disenfranchise mostly Democratic voters.

Photo IDs will bring on new hardships to election administrators.  This very well could mean a very real possibility of  more poll workers, the updating of election and other relevant forms,  websites, training on the processing of provisional ballot processes and possibly other burdens. And of course more expenses for deficit strapped states.  

Many studies nationwide show that voter fraud is quite a rare happening and virtually never because of the fault of faulty voter IDs.  A little over ten percent of otherwise eligible voters don’t possess the currently acceptable photo ID forms.  Minorities such as African Americans, Hispanics, new immigrants are much less likely to own such IDs.  

My take as a disability advocate at a rehab center in Philadelphia, PA is this. It may be quite difficult for people who are low income to produce a photo ID. This includes many people who are disabled, seniors and college students. Besides quite a few seniors, by virtue of getting older are handicapped. There just arn’t that many folks who are poor who possess passports. Plus there are a significant number of people with disabilities who can’t get drivers licenses because their disabilities. There are many states who don’t require photo ID with little or no problems in voter fraud and/or voter registration. The point is that a lot of these photo IDs are very difficult for people with low incomes, ie, disabled, seniors and others on fixed incomes to get. This population mostly votes Democratic. Hmmm Pattern?

The time and money used to get a photo ID is like a poll tax – a barrier long used to deny African-Americans the vote. The photo ID bill is a biased, modern-day power grab

Here is a partial list of states that don’t require a photo ID.  This information is as of April 28,2011.  The non photo ID requirement states are as follows: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnosota, Missouri, Nebraska,  New Hampshire,  New Mexico,  South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin. There is something else these states hold in common.  To implement the new photo ID legislations the cost would literally be in the millions in each state. In the environment of deficits, rising costs, do we really need the expense to implement photo ID requirements.  Some Republicans are proposing to pay for those without enough money to obtain such forms of identifications.  Can you imagine what the cost would be to implement this?  In the meantime thirty five states and Puerto Rico are suffering from serious shortfalls in this fiscal year.  Some gaps in some states as high as 32% NJ 26%, NC, close to 5%.  Can we really pay for the implementation of those photo ID proposals.  I’m experiencing real doubts here.

Below is what the Brennen Law Center says on the so called problem of voter fraud and requiring photo IDs to vote.  While it’s certainly true that voter fraud is  a terrible crime literally effecting the outcome of the integrity of elections, the actual incidence of such crimes are rather minimal.
Voter ID The Solution in Search of a Problem. Source Brennan Law Center.

Some of what they wrote is paraphrased by yours truly.  Rest assure I did not change any meaning or message.  Presently there are eight states requiring some form of ID.  They are Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, S.D.   There are 20 or so states who require an ID but not necessarily a photo type.  There are proposals in over 30 states to show tangible proof of citizenship.

Politicos who are pro photo ID claim they want to cut down on voter fraud.  The Brennan Center for Justice study shows individual voter fraud is extremely rare.  Many reports of suposed voter fraud were later proven to be untrue.  The claimsof voter  fraud and/or misconduct must be carefully studied before there is any decision for action, especially legal action.  Photo IDs won’t solve voting fraud but will make it harder for some groups of eligible voters to vote in elections on any level. That is be it municipal, state or federal.

As many as 12 percent of eligible voters in the U.S. do not have a government-issued photo ID. The percentage is even higher for seniors, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income voters, and students. Getting an ID often requires that you already have one.  
   

Besides making it harder for eligible citizens to vote, ID requirements are expensive to states to implement.  This in light of the fact many states are at serious deficits. The  education of voters, election workers and officials is quite costly.  Plus there is a very real possibility of costly challenges in court. One typical example is MO $.10,000.000

Brennan Law Center site. “Based on a comprehensive review of every court case in which a photo ID law has been challenged, the Brennan Center produced a report outlining the costs (PDF) states will incur if they decide to implement photo ID requirements for voters. While the results of lawsuits challenging photo ID laws have been mixed, several basic principles have been established:”
 

Photo IDs sufficient for voting must be available free of charge for all those who don’t possess them. States cannot limit free IDs to those who swear they are indigent.  Photo IDs must be accessible at  all times to every voter sans hardship or burden. At the very least most states will  probably need to expand the number of ID-issuing offices and stretch operating hours to meet this need.  Republicans claim they will provide photo ID. My question is this. What is the cost involved for this endeavor.  I think it would be much cheaper and easier to permit non Photo IDs to vote.   This goes for the cost of voter outreach and education if this law is enacted in the states its being proposed in.
Some courts may require states to ensure that all the documents required in order to obtain photo IDs are free and easily available to prospective voters.
Lastly the official organization for election reform and fair elections, “Common Cause” is totally against requiring Photo IDs to vote.

Here are some talking points. One can get a non driver’s ID.  Fact is its usually the case where one needs a picture ID to get a non driver’s ID.  If one doesn’t own an ID  with a photo than one can’t get a non driver’s license.

Photo IDs help prevent illegals from voting.  Well the truth is if an illegal alien tries in any way to vote in any election in whatever level he or she can be immediately deported and/or pay a fine of at minimum $20,000.  I doubt that many illegals will risk deportation.

Just issue photo IDs for folks without one.  Here’s why this doesn’t make sense.  It costs money to make and distribute such forms.  In states that did this , the cheapest cost was in Mississippi.  The expenditure for that state was eight million dollars!!!  With states being srapped for money for much needed services I don’t believe they need unecessary ones.

And I do believe insistence on Photo IDs are unfair, disenfranchising to the disabled, senior citizens, many Blacks  and Hispanics for an issue, ie voter fraud that occurs at an extremely rate. 

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