The U.S. Justice department recently shot down legislation in Texas requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. The department claims this rule discriminates against Hispanic voters, since 11 percent of Hispanic voters do not have government-issued photo IDs.
There are a couple of reasons this law is under fire — one of them being Texas’ history of voter discrimination — but I want to discuss the inherent concept of showing photo ID to vote. First I want to address the issue of not having a photo ID.
Aside from driving, a photo ID is required to enter bars and most clubs, do a return without a receipt at a retail store, purchase certain prescription medication, write a check and even obtain a library card.
Furthermore, the Texas law does not limit official ID to just drivers licenses — other forms of acceptable ID include non-driver ID, military ID, passports and gun licenses. That any citizen over the age of 17 would not have a single one of these baffles me.
That being said, photo IDs do help decrease voter fraud.
I don’t entirely agree with the Texas law, since I believe non-government IDs (i.e. school ID or work badge with photo) shown along with a voter registration card should suffice to prove who you are and that you’re eligible to vote in that precinct.
But a city or state that has problems with voter fraud and knows showing a photo ID would decrease it, should be allowed to implement such a law, presuming the only barrier for a person to obtain an ID is that person is ineligible to vote anyway.
Showings ID should not be a hassle. I don’t believe that showing a photo ID should be mandatory for all places, but I do believe if a city or state feels they need to take such action to decrease voter fraud, they should be able to do so.
To contact Mary McAtee, email firstname.lastname@example.org.