Voters disenfranchised by new law

March 31, 2012 Editorials Print Print

Mike Wormley

We as the people of the United States want our citizens to vote. This is the reason that our country is a federal republic and allows for the democracy that the framers of the Constitution envisioned. It is also the reason that voter drives happen. So why would we put any hurdles in the way of that process? One such hurdle is the requirement to submit a state-issued identification card at polling places in order to vote.

People who support the laws that have passed in several states including Oklahoma and, in recent months, Texas, claim that having such requirements reduces voter fraud. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been proof that this claim holds true for the kind of voter fraud such actions could prevent.

What these law actually do is disenfranchise people who would under normal conditions otherwise vote. These people include the elderly who may not have a state-issued photo ID, nor the ability to drive to location to get one. College students and military personnel who are living in states other than their home state also are affected because their ID may not be from the state in which they are currently living or, in the case of school IDs, not have an address listed at all. Other voters who are greatly reduced in numbers because of the laws claim they are the “new Jim Crow” laws. Those are people of ethnic heritages, particularly poor African-Americans and Hispanics.

The problem lies with the fact that state-issued identification is not universal nor are they free. In Oklahoma, a state-issued ID card is $10 plus tax.

A solution to that problem might be a national identification card that is both universal like Social Security cards, and reliable like the current state-ID cards. Overall, though, the argument seems to be sliding toward the support of these laws. It will probably rage on for some time due to how these laws infringe on the individual’s right to vote.

—Mike Wormley

Online Writer

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