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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Why I’m in Favor of Voter ID

It’s a good way to thwart GOP attempts to disenfranchise voters

Most democrats are not in favor of voter ID laws. They are often taken aback by the idea of requiring ID to vote. More states have passed laws that the Left have branded as “voter suppression” laws. Many states require some kind of voter ID, usually a driver’s license or state identity card, to vote in person. In states where they vote by mail, this isn’t as much of an issue. However, with 50 different ways to decide who gets to vote and who does not get to vote, it’s time for a national system and the best way to stop these efforts is for Democrats to embrace Voter ID. However, what I propose isn’t making everyone flash a driver’s license or ID card; what I have in mind is different.

GOP Picking Its Voters

The reality is that people like Governor Kemp of Georgia and Scott Brownback can purge voter rolls and complain about signature verification because we don’t have a one-step process to make sure that all voters are identified, and their ballots are properly cast. The easiest and fastest way to thwart the GOP plan is to issue federal (not state controlled) voter identification. Now, verifying if someone can vote has to do with their registration, proving their citizenship with a birth certificate or other document and then matching their signature when it comes time to vote. This process can be easily manipulated and needs to go. Other nations have already solved this with having specific voter ID cards.

The US is odd that we don’t have voter ID. Many other developed countries have voter ID, including France, Germany, and Mexico. Rather than create lists of various IDs that allow people to vote, I propose a whole new system. This new voting card will eliminate all the various issues around signature verification and verifying the roles. Voters could use these new cards to look up their registration, change their registration, report a new address (within the same state of course) and move their registration to a new state if they move across state lines. Many of the complaints we’ve seen about voting and voter suppression would be solved if we simply had voter ID.

Why Don’t Democrats Embrace Voter ID?

This is often a wedge issue for democrats. Voter ID laws are usually used to disenfranchise voters by selecting types of ID that many poor and BIPOC people don’t have. A centralized voter ID system solves this problem. The card should be free or very inexpensive, and people should be able to get it locally or receive it by mail. By making this a federal thing, it eliminates state by state adjusting of voter rolls. Rather than throwing people off the rolls who haven’t voted in a while or who have a different middle initial or any of the other GOP plots to purge voter rolls, this system can stay up to date and make sure that everyone who is registered and eligible to vote can do so. State Secretaries of State can match up their databases with the federal database for the most up-to-date information. Possessing a Voter ID card, would allow the person on the card to vote in their election from local to federal elections. It might even encourage more people to vote.

If we want to be serious about stopping the disenfranchising of voters, then it is important to make sure that we have a system in place that prevents the kind of voter disenfranchisement for which the GOP has become famous. Right now, the system is in the hands of state secretaries of state and is easily manipulated. The GOP is focused on taking power in just the right positions in as many states as possible to make sure that they can change any electoral outcome that they don’t like. It won’t be overt, at least not at first. It’s not like we’ll suddenly see California voting republican. But in purple states, where a few hundred votes really matter, especially at the national level (North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Colorado, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa) then the GOP can simply step in to make sure that the electorate leans their way. A nationalized voter ID program would stop them in their tracks.

Who Gets to Vote?

Extending the vote to various groups has been an ongoing conversation in most democracies for the past 200 years. In the earliest days of this country, only white, land-owning males were able to vote. Eventually, the vote was extended to anyone who wasn’t a felon (another voting problem to fix) and after the Vietnam War, we lowered the age to draft age: 18. In a modern democracy, the idea is that every citizen gets to vote in the election. That’s the ideal, but the case on the ground is far different. People are unable to vote for a variety of reasons, and voter ID laws are just one of them. If, instead, we embrace the voter ID and make it easy to get and centralized, then we can make sure that everyone who wants to vote has the chance. I realize that the chances of this happening are slim, but I felt someone should finally realize that the GOP solution to all our problems is an actual solution that could make it much easier for people to vote.

Congress does need to do something about the wave of post-pandemic voting laws that many states have passed. In several states, the state legislature can now overturn an election result at their whim. This takes power away from people and puts it in the hands of GOP state legislatures, where they can change results on a whim. Congress needs to put a stop to that. I realize that the Constitution gives the power to run elections to the states. That is no reason not to make sure that elections are somewhat standardized and people have a fair chance to vote. Besides voter ID, we could regulate how many polling stations must be put up and where they should be placed. Congress could make sure that everyone has a vote-by-mail option. GOP attempts to restrict the vote are just more attempts to disenfranchise everyone and must be stopped. A national Voter ID could be just the thing Democrats need to make sure they have a chance a winning an election in the next 20 years.

Cameron Cowanhttps://www.cameronjournal.com/
Cameron Cowan is a writer, thinker, and human being navigating the streets of Seattle.

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