Laws requiring voters to present photo identification are gaining ground in many states around the country. Before 2006, not a single state required citizens to produce picture identification to vote. There are now eleven states that have adopted stringent ID laws, and there is a good chance that other states may follow suit. Some people think these laws are anti-democratic and discriminate against various groups of people (Barreto et al. 2018). From their point of view, strict voter identification laws do nothing except punish Democratic lawmakers who refuse to pander to the Republican base and hinder people from minority groups and low-income groups from exercising their right to vote. On the other hand, there have been advocates on the opposing side of the issue who have made their voices heard. They say that to protect the legitimacy of the democratic system, stringent voter identification laws are necessary (Valentino and Neuner 2016). Further, supporters of voter ID laws contend that the laws do not reduce voter turnout since they do not prevent lawful voters, almost all of whom already have identity, from entering the polling site. This is because the laws do not require eligible voters to show identification. The only thing that can be said with absolute clarity about the state of the American democratic system is that the stakes are getting higher.
The courts have been the primary site of contention on these statutes in several different contexts. The legality of nearly every stringent ID law has been questioned at some point. Crawford v. Marion County, a landmark case, saw the Supreme Court uphold a strict voter identification requirement enacted in Indiana in 2005 (Neiheisel and Horner 2019). Still, that has yet to stop others from filing lawsuits against the statute in its different forms. Voter identification laws are being challenged in at least six states primarily because they violate the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments (Iowa and Missouri). The court’s judgment has previously seemed to center on how much weight to give to the state’s interest in protecting the validity of the voting process versus the burden these laws inflict on the minority of color.
In addition, the empirical facts surrounding the difficulty these laws place on minority groups frequently appear to be the pivot point on which this balance is based. It is essential to remember that each state has its own voter identification law, and these rules may target different populations in different states. For instance, many Native Americans live on reservations, which do not have official street addresses. This may leave them disproportionately exposed to the consequences of North Dakota’s stringent ID requirement, which requires a residential street address. When it was first approved, Texas’s ID law authorized concealed carry weapons licenses but not state-issued student IDs (Anoll and Israel-Trummel 2019). This was a pattern that critics contended benefited Whites and affected Blacks and Hispanics disproportionately.
Proponents of strict voter ID legislation
Concerns about voter fraud are cited by most people who support voter ID laws. Similar to “theft,” fraud in elections” refers to a pattern of criminal action rather than a single act of wrongdoing. Laws that demand a photo ID are intended to deter a few of these offenses, the most prominent of which is impersonating a voter. When people argue that there is no major problem with voter fraud, this is the argument opponents of ID laws point to. They bring a fresh point of view to the table in support (Hood and Buchanan 2020). They argue that the lack of evidence for voter fraud in and of itself is not as serious as the inability to identify voter fraud as an issue in the first place. They say that there is no way to prevent or even detect voter fraud if identification is not required to vote. In addition, proponents of these ID laws argue that they are necessary to combat the public’s presumption that fraudulent activity is taking place, regardless of the impact on actual fraudulent activity. They assert that people’s trust in the democratic process has been harmed due to the widespread notion that voting fraud is common and frequently occurs. As a result, fewer individuals are choosing to become politically active. There may be more gray area than meets the eye when it comes to voters’ perceptions of election fraud, voters’ trust in the voting process, and voters’ participation in the political process.
The second problem is that regulations that require voters to present photo identification make it more difficult for people to cast their votes. In a similar vein, this is erroneous thinking, according to the people who support these legislation. A photo identification is required and used by everyone these days. Without one, you won’t be able to take your money out of the bank, go on an airplane, or get behind the wheel of a car. Therefore, it is permissible to require the presentation of a photo identification to safeguard our most fundamental right, which is that of citizenship. If a voter in Kansas does not have a photo identification, the law requires the state to give them with one at no cost to the voter. Laws requiring photo identification of voters help ensure that only qualified individuals cast their votes. Advocates claim that when voting is not done per the law, the voices of everyone who votes honestly are lost in the noise (DeCrescenzo and Mayer 2019). By not requiring voter identification and making it simpler for people to commit voting fraud, it is possible that the notion of one person, one vote will be weakened. The power of lawful votes is diminished when invalid ballots are counted.
Opponents of the voter identification bill contend that the measure imposes undue financial burdens and restricts voters’ rights. The supporters of this position say that the opponents are incorrect on both of these points. Despite the numerous positive aspects and the relatively little money needed for their implementation, proponents of voter ID laws assert that opponents have two valid reasons against the laws. The other factor is that they are aware of the widespread deception, are willing to accept the benefits that come from the fraud, and want to keep those benefits. Advocates of voter ID laws claim that the widespread use of photo identification in day-to-day life mitigates the law’s impact (Cantoni and Pons 2021). Most people can obtain a photo ID issued by the government, and states that require voters to present identification also frequently provide free identification to voters with modest incomes. It is believed that the possibility of election fraud justifying what is perceived to be a slight burden because it can impact election outcomes or weaken voter trust, which in turn discourages participation in future elections. Some people may claim that stricter limits are unneeded; nevertheless, Anoll and Israel-Trummel (2019) contend that they perform an extra purpose that is quite important. In particular, they enhance the public’s faith in the democratic institutions that govern our country. Because of this, supporters of voter identification laws say that passing legislation mandating photo identification at the polls can increase voter participation (Cachon and Kaaua 2022).
Opponents of Voter Identification Laws
Voter identification laws, which opponents view as a continuing strategy to roll back decades’ worth of progress on voting rights, present a serious concern. To be eligible to vote in a general election in seven states, voters need to provide a photo identification card issued by the state, which might be a select few options. Laws that require voters to present picture identification at the polls, critics argue, deny voting rights to a large number of people who are eligible to vote, discourage participation, and go against a national trend toward more civic engagement. There are a lot of people who are qualified to vote but don’t have any of the acceptable kinds of identification. These voters bias toward historically underrepresented demographic groups in the electoral process, such as those with lower incomes, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and the disabled. They are also more likely to be female than male. The process of obtaining a photo identification card from the government is already arduous; but, for these voters, the process is made considerably more difficult because they do not have the requisite supporting documentation (Norris, Cameron, and Wynter 2019). In addition, opponents contend that even though IDs are provided free of charge, applicants for government-issued IDs still have to pay significant fees (such as the cost of birth certificates). People who are unable to drive, are elderly, or who reside in rural areas without access to public transit or private automobiles typically have a significant challenge when it comes to traveling.
In a similar vein, detractors argue that rules that require voters to present identification have demonstrated to lower the number of people who turn out to vote. When it comes to voter identification rules, the strictest ones stipulate that to cast a ballot, a person must present a valid photo identification card that was issued by the government (Grimmer and Yoder, 2021). Citizens who need this paperwork have to invest time and effort into complying with the requirements in order to get it. In a similar vein, the legislation imposes a minor penalty on the act of voting for individuals who do not have the required identification. If a voter does not have the required form of identification with them at the polling place, they are required to cast a provisional ballot instead. The provisional ballot will not be counted until the voter provides election officials with a valid form of identification within the allotted time following the election. The voter will incur more labor and costs as a result of this (Norris, Cameron, and Wynter 2019). According to the economics of voting, implementing more stringent criteria for voter identification can only result in a decrease in the number of individuals casting ballots. According to Neiheisel and Horner (2019), the number of people voting is on the decline, and rules requiring voter identification make it more difficult and expensive to cast a valid ballot (Hood and Buchanan 2020).
Voter identification laws are an example of an obvious and significant source of political friction since they have the potential to affect both the demographic make-up of a particular universe of voters as well as the total number of people who cast ballots in that universe. The story of election administration has been used to refer to modern political campaigns in the United States. This antagonistic and inflamatory perspective focuses on two subjects that are connected to one another. The question that needs to be answered is whether or not certain demographics have a statistically lower probability than others of having legitimate IDs. If this condition is met, then it is possible to make the case that voter identification laws discriminate unfairly against some groups while not affecting others . A setting such as this is contradictory to the fundamental principles upon which democracy is founded, most notably the quest for equality.
In spite of the fact that opponents of voter ID legislation acknowledge the existence of voter fraud at polling places to some degree, they insist that it is an extremely rare occurrence. When it does happen, it is typically the result of an honest mistake made by either a person working the polls or a voter. Voter fraud, which is a central argument used by supporters of voter ID legislation, is not, according to critics of those laws, what the laws are intended to prevent. The present identification requirements of almost all states, with the exception of Wisconsin’s, are not intended to discourage the casting of fraudulent absentee ballots. Instead, stringent voter identification rules are primarily directed toward preventing persons from voting several times under the guise of a fraudulent identity. The process of stealing an election using this method is difficult.
Legislators are aware of the fact that the cost of voting plays a factor in determining the number of people who actually cast their ballots. Modifications to the rules governing elections can have an impact on these expenses, which can either raise or lessen the influence of certain voters at the polls (Ritter and Tolbert 2020). This information is used by policymakers to alter voting systems in a way that either produces new inequalities in voting patterns or maintains inequalities that already exist in voting patterns. It has been suggested by advocates of restrictions that restrict access to regular ballots for U.S. voters who do not possess certain forms of photographic identification (ID) that the cost of voting could be increased, which could lead to an increase in the number of people who actually exercise their right to vote (Grimmer and Yoder, 2021).
Voter identification should be necessary, but that does not mean proponents should not be more sympathetic to the notion that some individuals may lack legal identification. The government should provide free photo ID cards to everybody who requests one. Currently, there are “the same [generic] conclusions: there are racial and income gaps in identification possession,” which is implied by empirical data on who possesses documentation sufficient to fulfill most voter ID laws (Barreto et al., 2018). Importantly, survey methods have shown that people from disadvantaged backgrounds (such as low income and low levels of education) of any race or ethnicity are significantly more likely to lack acceptable forms of photo identification than are people from more affluent backgrounds (Valentino and Neuner, 2016). In a recent referendum election, non-White voters were much less likely than White voters to approve additional voter ID procedures, suggesting that such regulations may disproportionately affect racial minorities. The acquired practical information supports the opposition’s worries regarding the potential for voter ID laws to penalize specific demographic and social groups unjustly. Nonetheless, descriptive counts of ID ownership among qualified voters are likely insufficient to support a claim of real discriminatory impact. Rather, and secondly, there is the behavioral issue of how (if) voter ID laws affect individual and aggregate voter participation.
Citizens’ ability to register and vote can be greatly impacted by the laws and processes governing identifying evidence in the voting process. While such limitations can help streamline operations and increase confidence in the democratic process, they more often than not result in substantial disenfranchisement, especially among targeted communities. Recent research and discussions have focused on the potential of voter identification systems to prevent various forms of voting fraud. There hasn’t been much talk about whether or not these policies also discourage certain groups of people from participating in the voting process. This study is an initial effort to learn more about this issue and analyze the value of voter identification requirements in light of the trade-offs that must be made between preventing voter fraud and encouraging more people to cast ballots. The necessity of voter identification legislation is usually the subject of partisan controversy. The Republicans maintain that preserving the integrity of the election process against fraud is vital, while the Democrats argue that the laws put unneeded restrictions on state residents. A substantial chunk of the partisan arguments against these laws is not because they are discriminatory but rather that they impede Democratic voters from casting ballots.
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