This student demonstrates a superb command of language and fashions well-reasoned arguments. I’m told she has amazingly persuasive powers over University admissions offices. The winner for Print Journalism with her entry “No ID? No Problem!”, DANA SIEGEL. Congratulations, Dana! — Grant Bixby
*Featured in the October 2012 issue of The Beacon
No ID? No Problem!
Maybe it’s just me but…
Why is the issue of photo voter identification so controversial? You can’t go to an R-rated movie without showing your driver’s license at the box office. You can’t take the SAT or ACT exams without presenting two forms of matching identification. You can’t board an international flight without taking out your passport. You can’t attend school concerts, sporting events, or any of our dances without your photo identification card. Our society has accepted and understands the necessity for proof of identity for all these activities, some of them relatively trivial. Why does so much controversy and argument swirl around the simple requirement that every voter show verification of identity before exercising his or her constitutional right to cast a ballot?
It has become one of this election season’s political footballs. It seems like common sense to have to show proof of citizenship to be able to vote. However, only twenty-seven out of fifty states require ID, and out of those twenty-seven only four insist that the ID contain a picture. California demands neither photo nor non-photo identification. Our state, which has the most Electoral College votes, 20 more than the next highest state, does not carefully monitor who is voting in elections. Mighty California, the most populous and arguably the most influential state in the union has almost no oversight and little control at the ballot box. What could possibly be wrong with that? Ah, yes, the potential for numerous variations of voter fraud.
Fraudulent voting is a long-standing, time honored, American tradition. It’s well known that it occurred with regularity during the Tammany Hall controlled 19th century. In the Kennedy-Nixon 1960 Presidential Election there was a suspicion that the ballot boxes were stuffed in Illinois at the direction of mob controlled union interest groups. Some scholars believe that Kennedy may have won the Presidential votes he needed in that remarkably close election as a result of fraudulent votes.
Everything from casting votes in the name of deceased citizens, voting under the age of eighteen, non-citizens participating in elections, and multiple voting by individuals takes place as a result of inefficient monitoring and poor regulation. It’s difficult to judge the extent of voter fraud problems because of the difficulty in tracking it. If done ‘right’, it’s undetectable. As a result the statistics for fraudulent voting are almost certainly inaccurately low. All of this occurs as a result of unacceptably lax voting ID requirements.
Americans should proudly carry photo identification as a symbol of their right to vote and their endorsement of an honest and fair election process. The argument that requiring photo ID would somehow disadvantage the poor and uneducated minorities is a straw man. It is not comparable, in any way, to the illegal “literacy tests” of the 1950s. 21st century technology would make proper identification easily accessible and available to anyone legally entering a voting booth for local, state, and federal elections. A federal law mandating that requirement should be passed and enacted now. It’s one thing to sneak into an R-rated movie, it’s an entirely different and much more serious offense to illegally participate in an American election.