The argument for voter ID seems reasonable and convincing. You need photo ID to cash a check, buy alcohol, board a plane so it shouldn’t be asking too much for people to show a photo ID for in person voting. However, the need for voter ID fails to recognize procedures that have been in place for decades to prevent in person voter fraud, which so far has overwhelming success.
The criminal penalty for voter fraud is up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for citizens and possible deportation for immigrants, that’s a significant deterrent. What is the benefit for voter fraud in the first place at least when you cash a bad check you get cash back. One-person voting for the same candidate twice doesn’t affect an election so the minimal advantage a person tries to achieve doesn’t seem to justify the risk of a huge fine and prison sentence.
Laws and legislation are either valid or bad based on the ability of the law to address a critical problem and resolve the issue rationally. For example, banning texting while driving based on the overwhelming evidence that supports texting while operating a motor vehicle causes accidents is considered by many a valid law.
Using that same logic and applying it to voter fraud, we would need to show data that states voter fraud is an overwhelming problem and requires changing current laws and procedures already in place to address fraud as voters cast a ballot.
Public records show in person voter fraud is virtually nonexistent or to put it another way, there isn’t overwhelming data to support voter fraud. In a study conducted by News 21 using analysis gathered since 2000, there were 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases. Out of the hundreds of millions of ballots cast and we are talking close to 700 million ballots, there were only 633 confirmed incidents of fraud. The analysis from the News 21 studies concluded “while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal." In another study by The Brennan Center for Justice, it states, “allegations of widespread fraud by malevolent voters are easy to make, but often prove to be inaccurate."
The GOP’s attempt at claiming fraud at the polls is nothing more than a tactic to keep minorities from the polls, plain and simple. False claims of voter fraud, limiting the amount of early voting days, and a myriad of other tactics geared to impede a particular demographic doesn’t make for fairness at the voting booth. It’s hypocritical for Conservatives to lecture on the importance for free and fair elections aboard but practice stifling the vote from Americans at home.