Social Question

GloPro's avatar

Why do Voter ID laws offend minorities?

Asked by GloPro (8199 points ) 2 months ago from iPhone

As I gather from this article, asking for identification when voting somehow suppresses the minority vote. I don’t understand why.

Doesn’t it make sense to protect the integrity of voting by asking someone to prove identity? It isn’t hard to get an ID card if you don’t want a driver’s license. I assume they have one to buy cigs or alcohol (assuming one drinks or smokes). Also, why is it a race issue?

Someone enlighten me, please and thank you.

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135 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

The argument is minorites have less access to ID because they are more likely to be poor and more likely not to drive so it is harder to get to the DMV and also not necessary to get a drver’s license for driving, because they don’t drive. Older minorities, actually any older Americans, may not have ID, and may not have easy access to birth records to get ID.

Having said all that, I think asking for ID to vote is perfectly acceptable as long as we provide state ID’s at a very cheap rate or even for free. The law needs to be in place well before a vote so people have time to get ID. We probably should consider exempting people over 75.

GloPro's avatar

But don’t minorities have to present ID to buy ciggies and booze? I’m going out on a limb to say poor people still drink and smoke, and therefore by law should have ID for everyday use. Also, social security cards, green cards, birth certificates are all things everyone has access to. I don’t believe being poor is an excuse to not be able to get some form of ID. I’m sure there would be advocate groups that would be happy to transport people to the DMV by the bus load if it would get them votes.

Old people had years and years to get an ID. Why exempt them? Again, if it’s a voting issue then the same van that drives them to church and to the store could drive them to the DMV.

flip86's avatar

Everything offends everyone. There, now we can all get over it and get on with our lives.

GloPro's avatar

@flip86 Agreed. But is getting an ID really a big deal or that difficult? Minorities bitch about equality, which I am ALL for, but want to be treated special for having to have ID? I don’t get that.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It’s not the ID requirement alone, North Carolina also shortened their early voting time period, made it harder to get absentee ballots and changed the hours of early voting. All of these changes make it harder to vote for minorities and elderly.

JLeslie's avatar

@GloPro Older people can easily not have ID. Many of them were born at home so even a birth certificate might not be recorded. Especially women who never worked outside of the home who never needed ID. This is getting more and more rare of course.

My aunt is basically home bound so she doesn’t use her ID to buy anything because other people shop for her. I could see her easily not renewing her ID.

If they are minorities who started on visas and green cards, then yes they should easily be able to have valid ID. Not that a greencard is sufficient, obviously you need to be a citizen to vote.

GloPro's avatar

@Tropical_Willie How does changing the hours hinder minorities? Aren’t voting locations done by zoning? Theoretically, a registered voter’s location shouldn’t be too far from home. How are they getting there during any other hours?

[edit] @JLeslie an expired ID would still prove identity. I could see allowing for expired ID to be used for voting. I do hear your other very valid points.

flip86's avatar

@GloPro I don’t get the ID thing either. I have a state issued ID card, not a license. I’ve had to replace my birth certificate and SS card a few times. Anyone has access to these resources.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@GloPro NC has a period of time before the actual voting date that you can go to the county Board of Election to vote (if know you’ll be out of town, work schedule or transportation issues). Some years this will be a 25 to 30 percent of the voters. Minorities may not be able to get to their poll place on the date for voting because they are manual laborers or domestics. Also the elderly may not drive or want to go and stand in line for 35 minutes. The early voting line for our county is a handful to zero.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

Personally, I think it should be easier to vote rather than more difficult. Statistically, when voter turnout is high, it generally favorable to the Democratic candidates. Most election irregularities in recent history have been at the election administration level. Voter ID, laws, and laws that restrict voting times seem to be part of a concerted effort to keep voter participation down.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Changes to voter ID laws (not voter ID laws themselves, which I don’t think offend anyone) offend minorities because they are designed to keep minorities from the polls. Seriously, Republican politicians have admitted this. Everything about actively trying to prevent people from voting is anti-democratic and anti-American. Everyone should be offended by that.

If they want so badly for all voters to have a specific type of ID, then I don’t see why they can’t (1) provide it for free and (2) allow for it to be applied for through the mail. Require a photo if they must. If this process is good enough for a passport, it’s certainly good enough for a voter ID. Especially since claims of large-scale voter fraud have been debunked as bullshit.

JLeslie's avatar

@GloPro I have no idea if states allow expired ID’s? I assume the ID’s that are acceptable vary by state.

I’ll reiterate that generally I am in favor of requiring ID. My mom influences my thought on this because she believes strongly people vote who do not have the right to vote. It wouldn’t surprise me. It would not surprise me if back in the day when it was easier to get a driver’s license that people also signed up to vote even though they were not citizens and the local governments did not have any sort of cross check. Absentee voting probably also has some corruption with people filling in ballots that are not their own ballot. A person could easily fill out a ballot for an elderly parent or grandparent I would think.

cazzie's avatar

This is a problem the Republicans invented so that they could disenfranchise voters who don’t vote for them. There was never a problem with voter fraud. These rules make it more difficult for the poor and elderly to vote.

syz's avatar

It’s not “offense”, it’s accessibility and the ability to exercise their right to vote.

I personally know of several elderly and/or poor who do not drive, who do not use banks, and who do not have the “acceptable” form of identification. Basic life needs are an ordeal – a trip to the grocery store requires a cab or a ride from a friend of family member (rural residents have no access to buses or no other public transport) and budgeting of every penny.

When they do vote, it’s because they are picked up by volunteer “get out the vote” organizations who transport them to the voting station and then back home again (certainly a labor, volunteer, and financial outlay on the part of the voting rights groups).

With enough effort, help, time, and money, could they get id? Sure. Is that a priority for someone who struggles daily to survive? No.

Every study, every bit of research, every bit of evidence shows as a fact, that the rate of voter fraud is incredibly low. Every study, every bit of research, every bit of evidence shows that the number of poor and disenfranchised affected by voter id laws is orders of magnitude greater.

If 1) voter fraud is a non issue and 2) minorities and the poor tend to vote democratic, then, gee, what possible reason could the Republicans have for pushing this agenda?

Every elected official in this country should be working to increase and support voter participation, not restricting it.

seekingwolf's avatar

I think ID should be required to vote. We need to have programs to allow people like the elderly to get free or reduced cost stare issued ID. There is no excuse to not have an ID to prove your identity when you’re a fully grown adult. You never know when a situation may come up. I’m sorry, that’s just common sense.

I don’t know why Democrats belly ache over the issue but it’s getting really old. It’s pretty clear that they care though because illegal immigrants and people who have a reason to far their identity are more likely to vote for them. They just care about the votes. They don’t care about voter integrity.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Caught
On
Tape

How can anyone not be offended by these tactics?

zenvelo's avatar

@GloPro Why do you keep bringing up cigarettes and booze? Do you think minorities disproportionately go out of their way to buy them?

And, does an older person get carded when they buy booze and cigarettes? That is really only an issue for younger voters.

The screed of “protecting the integrity of the vote” is a lot of hogwash, a Potemkin village of voter fraud that has been shown repeatedly to not exist.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Why is it just minorities with which you concern this question? There are plenty of White trash trailer park folk out there who have the same problem with this as minorities.

And as for buying cigarettes and booze, apparently you have not visited the poorer section(s) of a city and observed the merchants selling these items. I would bet that over 90% of those buying booze and cigs in these areas don’t get carded {I mean come on, do you really think the merchant is going to void a sale or not sell at all because the customer has no ID)?

GloPro's avatar

No, @zenvelo, I don’t think they smoke or drink anymore than anyone else. Although it has been proven that alcohol sales stay steady or increase during economic depression, so maybe poor people do drink more, I dunno. That’s not the point. I bring them up because it’s an everyday use for an ID. I doubt poor folk fly much, but there’s another reason to have an ID. I just don’t think it’s that hard to obtain some form of ID, or carry it with you to the polls. There are many reasons to go get an ID even if it isn’t a license.
@Dan_Lyons Regardless of if they get ID’ed or not, it is against the law to sell without ID, therefore theoretically anyone buying should have one.

GloPro's avatar

@Dan_Lyons I asked about minorities specifically because of the link in my details. I don’t get why being ID’ed is a racial issue either. Did you read the details or look at the link?
If you are trying to pick a fight I’m not in the mood today.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Nope, I’m not fightin’. Just because there is a story on Yahoo does not make it accurate nor complete. Besides, poor white trash are now part of the poor minority scene. As for theoretically selling or not due to ID considerations, in the real world that is kind of funny.

But okay, let’s just stick to the Yahoo story. Here is one comment after the story which might help you understand;

Weave 3 minutes ago

just from reading a few posts.. I think the problem is so many of you have a very limited view of how the outside world is. Take a trek through southern West Virginia or backwater Mississippi and let me know if you really think these people have or have the means to get an ID or voter card. By telling them that they need one to vote you are alienating the poor of the poor from the ability to Vote..which is their right.”

Jaxk's avatar

Melowese Richardson voted at least 5 times for Obama and she receives honors from the Democratic party for it. Unless someone admits to voter fraud it is very difficult to prove. So basically the Democrats are saying that if you can’t catch it, it doesn’t happen. Hell of a philosophy.

@Dan_Lyons – Yes they will refuse to sell without an ID. If you get caught selling to a minor, you loose your license (alcohol or tobacco). The license is a Very precious commodity.

chyna's avatar

Early voting in my area is not easier, it is harder. I have to go 20 miles out of my way to vote at the court house, not at my voting precinct which is only a mile from my house.
I did notice the last time I voted that they did not ask for my ID.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It is simply insane to allow a person to vote without verifying their identity, citizenship and if they have already voted or not. This to me has nothing to do with race or minority status but many like to throw that around as if it were relevant.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Jaxk Too funny. Apparently you have never made a purchase from a liquor store in Watts (or any other similar ghetto).

GloPro's avatar

It isn’t whether or not it is checked, it is the fact that it is required by law to be on your person at the time of purchase, regardless of age. It seems irrelevant to me if it is checked or not. The relevance is that if they require ID for such an everyday occurrence then it is not asking too much to require one for voting.

Jaxk's avatar

@Dan_Lyons

I have both a liquor license and a tobacco license. I know how they test for illegal sales and what the repercussions are. I think you underestimate the consequences.

Pachy's avatar

Mmmm, maybe because they know various minorities have been denied the right to vote one way or another all through U.S. history.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Jaxk Is your liquor store in the ghetto?

Jaxk's avatar

@Dan_Lyons

Do you think the penalties are different in the ghetto? Even a modest business will incur $5—$10,000 fine for the first offense. What is really funny is that selling to a minor is a criminal offense and guess who is prosecuted for that offense? Not the owner but rather the clerk/cashier. It may look like nobody cares but trust me they do.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Jaxk You seem to be under the mistaken belief that the ABC will risk their lives observing sales in the ghetto.

I notice you failed to answer my question.

Is your liquor store in the ghetto?

But don’t bother. I see now that there is no getting through to some people in regards to reality vs. fantasy. Have a lovely day.

GloPro's avatar

I actually have stopped at a gas station in the ghetto many times in college. It was known as the stab n grab. Maybe it’s because I was a blonde 23 year old, but yes, I was carded. There’s your reality, Dan.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I’m sorry @GloPro but since you stated you don’t wish to argue then I don’t understand why you return with an example of one person’s transactions buying (booze? cigs?) who knows what.

Lemme see, a 23 year old hot blonde getting carded. Hmmmm.

And then there’s maybe a million million similar transactions where the clerk could care less.

seekingwolf's avatar

It doesn’t matter where your store is. Police have sent in undercover people with bum IDs with “underage” birthdays on them to see if the clerk will sell liquor or cigs to that person. It’s a very serious thing.

I’ve bought liquor in the ghetto and have always, always been carded.

But you know that’s not the point. I’m sorry, but as an adult it is prudent to have some form of identification on you. Something is better than nothing. Don’t have a license? Get an non-driver ID card. Heck, even a SS card or a birth certificate will work and you can obtain those for FREE.

There are many reasons to have an ID that don’t include liquor/cigs. Healthcare, for example. Fraud is a very, very real issue with healthcare and it happens everyday. People need to be proofed for their identity. If an old person is on Medicare and someone wants to verify identity, they will need an ID.

I’m sorry, but there’s no excuse to be a fully grown, capable adult and to not have an ID.

People need to get their sh*t together.

If you don’t think it’s important for an adult to have at least one valid form of identification, I’m sorry, your priorities are not right.

GloPro's avatar

@Dan_Lyons I didn’t say I was hot, but that made my day! :-)

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Anyone who desires to be a Turritopsis dohrnii must be a hottie

Jaxk's avatar

@Dan_Lyons

At least we can agree on one thing. ” there is no getting through to some people in regards to reality vs. fantasy. Have a lovely day.”

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seekingwolf “But you know that’s not the point. I’m sorry, but as an adult it is prudent to have some form of identification on you. Something is better than nothing. Don’t have a license? Get an non-driver ID card. Heck, even a SS card or a birth certificate will work and you can obtain those for FREE”

It is seriously unadvisable to carry your Social Security card around with you. The Social Security Administration strongly warns against it and on the back of the Social Security card it has print instructing you to keep the card in a secure place (your wallet is not a secure place). I can’t imagine it’s very advisable to carry around your birth certificate ether.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Darth_Algar

I never said that a person should be carrying around with them. Just that they should have access to it, even if it’s at home. I think having an ID (like a state-issued one) on you at all times is the best but having a SS card or birth certificate in a safe location at home is better than having nothing at all. And if you had those papers and decided to get a non-driver ID in the future to carry around, the process would be really quick.

People were bringing up very old people who live at home without any valid form of ID. That’s just not acceptable. They’d be SOL if they ever had to prove their identity to receive benefits or anything else.

zenvelo's avatar

@seekingwolf Ahh! The need for ID to keep the State happy! Totalitarianism at its finest rationale.

I am amazed at the assumptions in this thread minorities=poor=high alcohol=young people.

@Jaxk do they really send in some old codger to see if you check for age? In Calfornia, even the state issued ID expectation decals say “If you look under 30…”

The Republicans have stated outright that the voter ID laws are meant to suppress Democrat voters, and make it more difficult to exercise the franchise. That is as un American a sentiment as exists today. If you don’t like universal suffrage, go move somewhere where people aren’t allowed to vote unless they are white and well-off.

seekingwolf's avatar

@zenvelo

You really think that a grown adult shouldn’t have one form of ID available at home? Really?
Psst, SS card and/or birth certificate at home don’t pay the state anything and you don’t have to renew. Ever.

What a messed up country we are that just having an ID (something like a SS card) is associated with being “well off”. Ridiculous.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seekingwolf

For that matter why would an SS card or a birth certificate be better than nothing? There’s nothing about them that proves the person holding them is actually the person they belong to.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Darth_Algar

I’ve seen them used in healthcare (along with other verifications) to prevent Medicare fraud. People apply for Medicare/Medicaid through my hospital all the time. Even current subscribers are sometimes asked to provide information on their identity to make sure that it’s really them. I’ve even heard of older people being able to bring in their forms and staff will help them obtain picture IDs that they can bring into appointments and whatnot.

Obviously it’s not fool proof and documents can be faked but people can be unable to obtain proper coverage because of ID issues.

People, especially older folks, who don’t have any verification papers are not forward-thinking. Really, there’s no excuse.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Hospitals are an entirely different matter. Medical care, by it’s nature, involves a lot of paperwork and a lot of time filling out that paperwork. We’re talking about being able to quickly ID someone visually. At the voting booth, or even the checkout line at the liquor store for that matter (since that’s been brought up) they don’t have the luxury of taking the time to look up each person to make sure the info they’re telling you jives with the info on record. You’ve got to be able to take a look at the person and their ID and make sure they match in a matter of seconds. I wouldn’t think a Social Security card sufficient to purchase a pack of cigarettes and I don’t consider it sufficient identification to vote (if we are going to require voter ID).

seekingwolf's avatar

I see what you’re saying. I agree, it wouldn’t sufficient either.

I was more responding to what people earlier have said about “oh there are elderly people who live alone and have nothing to verify their identity!”. Which is just mind-boggling to me.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seekingwolf

Fair enough.

Honestly I don’t have strong feelings about voter ID ether way. I think it’s a fluffed up non-issue. A solution looking for a problem. That said I have no problem with requiring an ID to vote so long as the states are willing to provide the requisite ID to each registered voter free of charge.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

There is no reason why everyone should have a voter I.D. They will be easy to get and free. I could go down the long list of what we have to show I.D. for in this country but why bore everybody. The reason this is being made into a big deal is because of the “Democrat talking points” nothing more. They want illegals and even “dead people” to vote since they usually vote for the Dems to get free stuff.

Do you think if I happen to be visiting Italy, Germany, France or Ireland they would just let me walk in and vote in their elections? I think not.

Jaxk's avatar

@zenvelo

They don’t send anyone in to see if you check, they send them in to see if you sell to a minor. There is no law that says you have to check. They send in a minor with a valid ID that gives their correct age. If you sell to them, you are cited, Period.

pleiades's avatar

Whatever it doesn’t bother this minority (ME half white half Asian) but to hell with these petty tactics, I’ll just go on encouraging my brothers and sisters, young or old out there to please update their IDs. To HELL WITH THESE BULLSHIT TACTICS that Republicans think is actually going to work.

The voting isn’t set up so that Joe Schmoe Minority can write down thousands of fake SSNs on thousands of ballots, it’s strictly set up to screw over not just MINORITIES as your claim seems to be focused on them, it’s designed to screw over any working citizen who does full time jobs and probably has 2 jobs and too busy making sure their kids get from point A to B and probably work weekends while the middle to upper class gets to enjoy the fantasy of a “weekend” in America on their 2 days off in a row and spend money happily and go out to restaurants and stuff like that. Also see where they set up balloting during election season, and the times they allow voting to be done. After you’ve researched all of that, tell me that ain’t some bullshit tactic to keep the poor votes out.

hearkat's avatar

[Mod says] Moved to Social with OP’s permission.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

As @BeenThereSaidThat said, there is no reason everyone should be required to have an ID.Voter ID laws are for voter suppression, plain and simple. The voting rights act of 1965 was necessary because of such laws, not necessarily ID, but poll taxes and other obstacles for minorities and the poor to vote. This has been going on since before that, but specifically, since 1980, when Paul Weyrich, conservative religious activist, made these remarks to a meeting of conservatives.

SavoirFaire's avatar

(1) There is literally nowhere in the United States where you do not have to provide proof of identity in order to vote. That is not what the debate is over, and anyone who puts it in those terms (“why shouldn’t we have to prove who we are to vote?”) has either fundamentally misunderstood the issue or is being thoroughly dishonest. The debate is over what sort of identification should be required, which varies quite a bit from state to state.

(2) The reason why this first became a controversy is because certain states attempted to change their laws so close to the upcoming election that people feared it wouldn’t be possible for those who lacked suitable identification to obtain one in time. It’s not that they wouldn’t be able to get one ever, but that the changes were seen as attempts to disenfranchise people shortly before a particular election. This controversy then spilled over into a broader (and less focused) debate on voter identification generally.

(3) The individuals most likely to be affected by these changes to the law are those who are poor or members of a racial or ethnic minority. And indeed, a few politicians were caught admitting that their proposed changes to voter identification laws were meant to target such individuals. It is understandable why people might be offended when they discover that a concerted effort was made to disenfranchise them. Moreover, it is understandable why they might continue to oppose such changes to the law even if they are not personally affected by them.

(4) Given that voting is an institution of fundamental personal and civil importance, it makes sense to ensure both that everyone eligible to vote is able to exercise that right and that only those who are eligible to vote do so. Voter identification, and perhaps even the sort of photo ID that the new laws require, is important for the latter goal. So as to accomplish the first goal as well, however, it makes sense to provide the appropriate identification free of charge to anyone who registers to vote (which also gets around the constitutional ban on poll taxes).

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Didn’t the Bush Gore Presidential Election fiasco in 2000 in Florida prove to the world that the US is no better than any 3rd world/ totalitarian regime in that elections on this level in the US are rigged?
Bush was not elected president that year, he was appointed by the US supreme court and the Florida State Supreme Court.

So all of this seems moot, does it not?

mazingerz88's avatar

Minorities are offended because these ID laws are simply BS. If there’s a Republican president in the house and majority in the Senate, see if Karl Rove or Fox News would give a rat’s…butt. LOL

GloPro's avatar

@SaviorFaire As usual, thanks for the well thought out answer.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Doesn’t bother me, since my vote was taken away, I stopped voting.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Darth_Algar

I would be A-okay with that. I DO think ID should be required to vote, but I fully support programs in every state so that everyone could get a state-certified picture ID for free if they have financial need. That’s totally fine with me.

I really think everyone should have an ID anyway, regardless of voter laws.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SavoirFaire “There is literally nowhere in the United States where you do not have to provide proof of identity in order to vote.”

In 18 years of voting I’ve never once had to show ID at the polling place.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central

Why can’t you vote?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seekingwolf “I DO think ID should be required to vote, but I fully support programs in every state so that everyone could get a state-certified picture ID for free if they have financial need.”

Nah, it’s got to be free of charge for every registered voter, not just the ones in financial need. A poll tax is a poll tax even if you’re Warren Buffett.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Darth_Algar I think it’s a good idea but get the tinfoil out that sounds like a national ID card…

I think it would be better left to the states to issue picture ID cards. Hopefully that would satisfy the conspiracy nonsense.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me

Huh? How on Earth did you get national ID card out of that?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Darth_Algar Why can’t you vote?
I can, I just don’t. Can’t see any point if voting if your vote means nothing.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central

Ok. Just wondered by the “since my vote was taken away” bit.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Darth_Algar I didn’t but that’s one reason folks on the right will both call for and rally against a universal voter ID.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me

I gotta admit, you’ve lost me. I’m just not making the connection between providing any required voter ID free of charge and equating that with a national ID.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

This will have far right wingers in a tussle

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me

Yes, I understand the concept of a national ID card. I’m just not seeing the connection between what I’m saying and that.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me They don’t mention that to get the new Nationalist Socialist USA ID card you will also have to accept an Identity Chip Implant.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Darth_Algar I was not specifically referencing you. I’m just saying that it will be hard for the far right to have it both ways on this. A “free” voter ID card will probably bring out the tinfoil. There will likely be internal friction between those who want voter ID reform and the right wing conspiracy crowd.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me

Right. What I’m saying is that I’m just not getting the connection between free and national.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Because it can be easily repurposed for use in things other than voting.

Darth_Algar's avatar

By being free?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

By being mandatory to vote.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me

Oh, I think I see where we’re getting hung up here. I think you may have misread me. I wasn’t saying anything about it being mandatory to vote, but rather the question of a requirement of showing an ID in order to vote. My standpoint is that I don’t take issue with such a requirement so long as the state provides the ID to all registered voters free of charge.

Jaxk's avatar

Just out of curiosity, if I already have an ID why do I need the state to provide with another free of charge?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Darth_Algar I have a feeling you may be equivocating here. I said “provide proof of identity,” not “show ID.” There are various ways of providing proof of identity without showing an identification card. When I lived in New York, for instance, signature matching was used to verify that the person who registered and the person voting were one and the same. Are you saying that you’ve never had to go through any sign-in process whatsoever to vote? That strikes me as unlikely. But if so, then your local polling area is breaking the law.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SavoirFaire

A signature is hardly proof of identity.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Darth_Algar Why would a signature be required for anything if it were not proof of identity? It’s not the only one, and perhaps not the best one (depending on the circumstances), but it’s nothing if not a proof of identity.

JLeslie's avatar

I used to sign my mother’s name very well. I wonder how good the signature matching is?

Paradox25's avatar

I don’t know, I’m up in the air about this because some stats claim that voter fraud is prevalent, while others claim it’s not. I had always thought that you’ve proven your identity just by obtaining a voter registration card though.

I don’t oppose the principle behind proving one’s identity in order to vote, but I tend to be sceptical when partisan politics are at play here. If id is going to be required in order to vote then it needs to be a universal type that should be easily affordable and accessible to everyone, and I’m not a fan of giving voters too short of notices when changes are implemented.

From what I’ve read though concerning voting fraud it appears that Republicans are involved in more of these scandals than Democrats are, so I just can’t help but smell a rat here. To think that people on fluther don’t consider me to be a sceptic now.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The voter fraud prevention thing might squeak by as an excuse for the sudden need for voter ID were it not for the fact that the hottest and most intense efforts to institute the policy are all in places where examples of voter fraud are all but non existent. The covers are snatched off the real agenda, when the effort is lumped in with the other tactics currently fashionable from the right. There’s the denial of college IDs as qualifiers, the shutting down of polling places, reduction in polling hours, elimination of early voting. I mean there’s not even a pretense of logic in the farcical excuses involved with obstructing the weight of demographic reality. I mean if your college ID doesn’t qualify you, but your license to carry a gun will do the trick`, which demographic might you suppose is being targeted for suppression.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@dappled_leaves “Why would a signature be required for anything if it were not proof of identity? It’s not the only one, and perhaps not the best one (depending on the circumstances), but it’s nothing if not a proof of identity.”

I’ve never been of the understanding that a signature was considered proof of identity. Example: some parcels require a signature simply to prove that the package was received by someone at the address. Anytime I’ve ever seen a package that was to be specifically delivered to the addressee a photo ID has been required.

seekingwolf's avatar

A signature isn’t really a proof of identity. When you receive a package that needs ID proofing, they ask you for your ID. I pick up my Amazon packages at a UPS store and get asked for my ID and then sign for it. The signature is more of a physical (or digital) confirmation for their records.

When you buy something on a credit card, you sign for it too. It’s not proof of ID. It’s a confirmation and agreement to pay the creditor what you owe and if they suspect fraud, they can go back and look at the signature.

In high school, I did tons of errands for my parents and they gave me one of the credit cards to use, with their permission. I signed my name all the time, I never forged. It really doesn’t mean much.

A signature would be a bad proof of ID anyway because it’s so easy to fake.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Darth_Algar It is irrelevant whether or not you think it is a good proof of identity because nothing in my argument rests on the claim that it is. In fact, I very specifically noted that the debate is over what sort of proof is sufficient. You obviously think that signature matching is not enough. But that doesn’t contradict anything that I actually said. In fact, it only confirms my point.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SavoirFaire

It’s not that I don’t think a signature is a good proof of identity. It’s that I have never, in my 37 years on this planet, encountered any situation where a signature was considered proof of identity at all.

cazzie's avatar

Votor ID laws should offend everyone and anyone who values democracy, human rights and equality.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Darth_Algar I still don’t understand what you think a signature is for if not a proof of identity. I get your comment about packages, but if a person claims a package was not delivered, and the signature is proof that it was delivered, the first thing the company will do is ask if that is your signature -> proof of identity. Similarly, in the olden days before chips, we would sign credit card slips. This was not to show that the card was in possession of “a person.” It was to show that the card was in the possession of the cardholder. John Hancock’s John Hancock was needed on the Declaration of Independence to show that he personally had read and approved the document. So it is with all signatures. They are a proof of identity.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Darth_Algar I doubt that’s true. Moreover, you’ve already been given examples to the contrary (credit cards, package deliveries, etc.). But even if it were true, it would be irrelevant. That you have not personally experienced something does not mean it doesn’t happen. And as I noted above, New York State uses signature matching as its proof of voter identity (or at least, it did when I lived there). So as far as the context of this discussion about voter identification goes, the example holds.

hearkat's avatar

@SavoirFaire – New Jersey does the signature matching and has for the 30 years that I’ve been voting.

A few yeas ago, when I moved to another town and county and completed the online change of address for my driver’s license, it asked if I wanted the new information forwarded to the voter registration office and I just had to check a box on the web and it was done. Similarly, my son registered to vote and for the draft through the motor vehicles office. This is very convenient for those who drive; but useless to those who can not afford to or have no need to drive.

JLeslie's avatar

@SavoirFaire I’m not so sure the signature is used as ID, or just used to say you showed up. Seriously, I could easily sign as my mom. I signed documents once for her for vehicle registration or DMV or something when I was with my dad and she failed to sign something and he wasn’t going to come back another day so he had me sign it. We waited 20 minutes and then walked back in to complete whatever paperwork he needed done. I have signed checks for her, notes at school, and so on. Is the signature check just some volunteer checking the signature? I sign my husband’s name. A friend of mine complained to the judge during her divorce that her husband signed paychecks of hers and cashed them without her permission. They were cashed, no problem. On my credit card I write, “check ID,” because a signature is nothing in my mind unless a signature expert is analyzing it and even then I am not so sure how easy it is to catch fraud, deoending on the signature.

seekingwolf's avatar

@cazzie

What if we had programs that allowed every single citizen to get a FREE state or federal picture ID free of charge? including help with filling out the forms and doing a mail option (if getting to the DMV is too much hassle)? Would your answer still stand?

cazzie's avatar

@seekingwolf If they demanded that everyone have one, and then actually GIVE everyone one, free of charge, it wouldn’t be an issue. But that isn’t why they are doing it.

seekingwolf's avatar

@cazzie

Well I definitely support voter ID laws but I think people who can’t afford it/have trouble getting to the DMV should still be given one.

Not everyone supports voter ID for nefarious purposes.

cazzie's avatar

@seekingwolf It’s introduction and motives are nefarious. It may look neutral, but like all things, its practical application will lean one way and in this instance, it is to disenfranchise a certain voting public.

seekingwolf's avatar

@cazzie

Well, my motives are not nefarious. You don’t speak for me.

The demographic that is worried needs to have legal IDs anyway. No excuse not to have one. If it takes voter ID laws to make programs to get these people FREE IDs, then that’s good. If you just “can’t be bothered” to get a free ID by mail or whatever through the programs, then you can’t be bothered to vote. Just my opinion.

cazzie's avatar

@seekingwolf I’m not saying your motives are underhanded.. geez.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@seekingwolf “Well I definitely support voter ID laws but I think people who can’t afford it/have trouble getting to the DMV should still be given one.”

“Not everyone supports voter ID for nefarious purposes.”

This is what some of us have been explaining repeatedly. The offence is not being taken over the fact that voter ID is required – I assume that all polling stations already require some form of ID (whether it is the best form of ID or not, whether it is checked or not). The offence is being taken specifically because Republicans are changing voter ID laws, often very close to elections, because they want to discourage a certain part of the electorate from voting. Watch the videos I posted above. That is why people are upset. From what I quoted you saying above, it sounds like you agree with them. And rightly so.

If Republicans want to change voter ID laws, then let them suggest it after an election, when there is a lot of time for people to learn that the laws have changed, and get the ID that’s required. And let the ID be free, so that it is not a poll tax, which effectively punishes poor people for voting. Then the real question will be whether the expense of such a change is warranted, given that voter fraud is practically nonexistent.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves Then Democrats need to stop trying to fight against ID checking, and stop saying it is racist and start making the laws to get everyone an ID. Statemen’s like it was never a problem and no one fraudulently votes just sounds wrong. No one is voting who shouldn’t? To me that sounds impossible. It is an over-statement by the left just like the right is making over-statements and the extremes fighting get us nowhere. You did not say that, but I hear it all the time, someone mentioned it above.

We should have national ID’s in my opinion. It could be the passport card, we already have a system set up for that. Then the states can’t do anything, they won’t be able to refuse a federal ID like a passport card. Everyone citizen should have an official ID in this day and age, especially under the age of 70.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie “no one fraudulently votes just sounds wrong”

That’s what we call anecdotal evidence. But no study of voter fraud has actually shown that it occurs in numbers that would sway an election. The third video I linked also addressed this point. I doesn’t matter whether you feel that it can.

seekingwolf's avatar

@dappled_leaves

Fair enough, but I do feel like people like me (who don’t have any nefarious intentions) who bring up voter ID are often called racists/bigots/otherwise knocked around for even the mere SUGGESTION of requiring voter ID, even if we support free IDs for everyone.

Instead of arguing, we should move toward a compromise (voter ID is required, but give everyone a free ID) and then many people will be happy except for the people who have bad motives. (certain Republicans, people wanting to commit voter fraud, people who are so paranoid that they don’t want an ID – their loss!). So there you go.

And voter fraud is notoriously hard to prove and track, so saying that it is “basically nonexistent” doesn’t fly with me. Just because people have trouble catching many instances of it doesn’t mean that it’s an issue that we should just shrug our shoulders over and look away.

I also think it’s silly that you need ID to buy alcohol and cigs, but not to vote. It makes little sense to me.

@JLeslie

National IDs are preferable, IMO, to state IDs. Because they would be universal and you could develop ways to check for authenticity. I don’t think it should be a passport (some people shouldn’t have passports, like felons) but it should be similar to one, yes. I would fully support that, 100%.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@seekingwolf “instead of arguing, we should move toward a compromise (voter ID is required, but give everyone a free ID) and then many people will be happy except for the people who have bad motives.”

Yup, I totally agree with that.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves Then the Democrats need to say, “good idea.” Imagine how that will take the wind out of the Republican sails who are trying to trip up the voting of some of our minorities.

cazzie's avatar

It wasn’t a problem. They made it up to deny the vote to people who don’t vote for them. If you think this was a neutral move that was only to fix ‘voter fraud’, you are naive.

JLeslie's avatar

I do not think it was a neutral move, but I also don’t think no one was committing fraud. I am sure they have examples of fraud, so why argue that point. I personally know people who absentee vote so they can vote for relatives. They do it with good intentions, they are making sure the vote is done, and it is being done with how the person would indeed vote, but easily they could change it to say whatever they want.

I think asking for ID is perfectly reasonable. I have no idea where my voters card is, but I have ID. All minorities who came to this country themselves who are able to vote have ID. However, their ID might be expired. If they have children who were born here I just can’t understand someone that young not having ID. When I say young I am thinking under the age of 50. Black people who have been here for generations are less likely to have ID of all the minority groups I guess since they never had a green card or some other sort of visa.

State ID is usually very cheap, around $25 for a ten year ID. For someone who is poor who doesn’t need ID I can see why they would not bother to get one. But, if someone collects Medicaid or works or has worked they have some form of valid ID or can get one. I wonder how many people really don’t get to vote because of a lack of ID? My inlaws have plenty of valid government issued ID’s and can’t vote.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie your inlaws were foreign born, right? Yet, their legal residency does not allow them a federal vote, but perhaps only a local or State?

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie They cannot vote and they shouldn’t be able to. They are not citizens of this country. My point is, when they finally do get their citizenship they will already have had plenty of ID’s. So, which minorities cannot prove their identity? If we include expired ID’s all the foreign born minorities who are citizens have had government issued ID’s as part of their process to becoming citizens.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie are they residents? Do they pay tax? Last I remember, taxation without representation is a big no-no to the American morality.

Jaxk's avatar

^^^ Aha, so you want non-citizens to be able to vote. That seems to be at the root of the objections.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@JLeslie It is used as ID. That’s why poll workers are supposed to check that the signature given at the time of voting matches the one given at the time of registration. I learned this both the first time I voted and again when I was trained as a volunteer poll worker. If you can sign in to vote as your mother, then someone isn’t doing their job. That might prove that signature matching isn’t a very good form of voter identification, but it does not prove that it is not intended as a form of voter identification at all. As such, your various anecdotes are irrelevant to the point actually being made.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I have signed for my parents, I have signed for a grand parent, I have signed for my wife, for that matter I have used her credit card and signed my own name (no, I’m not listed on the account and we don’t even have the same last name). I have signed for packages addressed to other people with my name. So no, a signature is not proof of identity.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Darth_Algar I’m not sure how many times this has to be said: an offer of proof and a good offer of proof are not necessarily the same thing. This is a very simple concept. In fact, it’s a basic point of logic: not all X’s are good X’s. I have already stated my support for better forms of identification than signature matching. It remains the case, however, that signature matching is a form of identification—regardless of how well or poorly it does the job.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SavoirFaire

You don’t have to keep saying it. Trust me, I understand full and goddamn well what you’re saying and I’m saying it’s not true. Understand?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Darth_Algar This is not complicated. The fact that you have signed for someone else does not change the purpose of the signature, it merely proves that a signature is not a foolproof method. I can only think you are being deliberately obtuse here. If you genuinely don’t believe that is what a signature is for – well, then you’re just flat out wrong, whether you believe it or not.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I have a friend who’s been a delivery driver for FedEx for 11 years. I’ve asked him if the signature is suppose to be for ID. He said “no, it’s just to show that somebody, anybody, received the package.”

dappled_leaves's avatar

Still. Not. The. Point.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The.Point.Is.That.Anyone.Who.Takes.A.Signature.Alone.As.Proof.Of.Identity.Is.A.Damned.Idiot.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Darth_Algar If you want to say it’s false, then give an argument for it being false. All you’ve given is arguments against the normative claim (that signature matching is not a good form of identification). You have given no argument against the descriptive claim (that signature matching is sometimes used as a method of identification). Furthermore, random anecdotes from a FedEx driver are irrelevant because FedEx doesn’t use signature matching. They are taking signatures for later legal purposes (some of which do involve signature matching for the purposes of identification).

I don’t mean to harp on this; but if we can’t get past the very basic concepts, we’ll never be able to have a productive conversation about things that are actually open to reasonable debate.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Darth_Algar Voting is not package delivery. I worked for many years in the package business, and I know what you are talking about. But the fact is that all voters have a signature on record in order to have the voter registration card. According to The Nation, Judge Richard Posner, the very judge that upheld the voter ID law in Indiana’s Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, stated that the vogter ID laws represent “...a type of law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.”

Sounds to me those who were in support of voter ID laws are realizing exactly what effect these types of laws are having.

I am convinced that there is more effect from electoral fraud done at the county, state or federal level than would ever occur given recent history. Between 2000 and 2010 there were 649 million votes cast in general elections and 13 cases of in-person voter impersonation. According to my calculator, that is a percentage of 8.037036978370556e-28. I am not sure how to write that small number in everyday percentage, but it is an infinitesimal number, highly unlikely to affect the outcome of any election.

JLeslie's avatar

@Yetanotheruser 13 cases that they know of. I’m sure the number is relatively low no matter what, but why would you think they caught everyone who committed a fraud?

@SavoirFaire I believe you that they use signature as an ID, I just think it is a stupid ID. Just like I think it is stupid for credit cards.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SavoirFaire

The crux of the issue here is making certain that the person showing up to vote is in fact the person they claim to be. How does a signature alone accomplish that?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

It matches the signature on the voter registration card (that every registered voter should have).

@JLeslie Even if the 13 voters represent 10%, or 1%, or eve 0.0001% of cases of actual voter fraud the effect on a given election would still be minuscule.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Yetanotheruser

Right. I’m sure they’ve got handwriting experts at every polling place checking each and every signature.

Notwithstanding that fact that you’re not required to bring your voter’s registration card. Well, at least not in my state. Maybe it’s different in others.

cazzie's avatar

@Jaxk The legal resident voting issue is completely different and I bring it up for a different reason. Sorry, I don’t mean to derail the thread. I don’t know how that specific issue works in the US. I am a US citizen, non-resident and I can vote in your US elections. I lived in a country where I was not a citizen, but a legal permanent resident, worked and paid taxes and was allowed to vote in all elections and referendums. I now live in a country where I work, pay taxes and am a permanent resident and I can vote in local elections but not in national ones. I can explain how those other two countries validate a persons right to vote if anyone is interested.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar Thank goodness we don’t need our voter’s registration card.

@Yetanotheruser Here are some close elections. It shows more than the US, but it is easy to find the US elections on the list. Sometimes every vote counts.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@cazzie please do. I’d like to know just out of curiosity.

I’m skeptical about signature matching. That is simply not identification. I really doubt the signature on my registration card matches my signature now. I don’t recall ever having to provide it or when it was last signed. I doubt they are doing instant computer comparisons of signatures before you vote. I usually just provided my address and/or id to vote in my precinct

JLeslie's avatar

It might be worth pointing out there was a case about ten years ago where a Permanent Resident (Cuban born, came here as a child) voted illegally. She voted. She wasn’t using someone else’s name. She thought she was a citizen having been told that her whole life by her parents. Actually, as I write that now I wonder if she is even legal in the country if she was not renewing her Permanent Resident status? When you register to vote I think you just swear you are a citizen and sign. It probably depends on the state. I don’t think there are good checks or cross references.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I haven’t even seen my voter’s registration card in years. Intellectually I know it’s sitting in a drawer somewhere in this house, but it may as well have disintegrated into nothingness for as much as I’ve needed it.

jca's avatar

@Darth_Algar: I sign for packages almost every day at work and I don’t show my ID. I could actually sign “Zorro” and that would be good enough for Fed Ex, UPS and USPS.

cazzie's avatar

You have to be registered to vote. Period.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie What’s your point with saying you have to register to vote? I don’t mean that as a challenge, I just don’t know where it is coming from. The woman I referred to who was Cuban born and never was a citizen registered. She voted.

cazzie's avatar

You have to be registered for your vote to count. There are ‘bad ballots’ that are tossed out. She may have voted, but if she wasn’t registered, her vote, depending on the system (in my hometown county an unregistered voter’s vote would be tossed.) it wouldn’t have been counted.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie I think the systems in some towns and states aren’t very good and don’t check if someone is actually eligible to vote, it just works on the honor system. Here is an article about the woman I referred to up above who voted and she is not a citizen.

In this article she talks about truly believing she was a citizen. I believe her. Obviously, the system has never bounced her as not being a citizen. The article states it is not illegal for an immigrant to register to vote, but is illegal to vote.

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