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LostInParadise's avatar

How can voter ID laws be seen as anything but an attempt to deprive people of their right to vote?

Asked by LostInParadise (24938points) September 10th, 2012

In order to justify a law, it must be shown that it does more good than harm. Let’s investigate voter ID laws from this perspective.

The justification given is that it is supposed to prevent voter fraud. How big of a problem is this? Firstly, are we able to detect it? Absolutely, we can. While you can rob a house anonymously, you can’t vote anonymously. You have to first register and have your name checked by poll workers. If two people try to vote using the same name, there is clearly an irregularity. If you vote using the name of someone deceased, there are regular checks performed to check for this.

Secondly, how much of an incentive is there to commit voter fraud? In exchange for one vote a person faces fines, imprisonment and, where it applies, deportation. Is it really worth it?

Finally, what do the records indicate about the incidence of voter fraud? All records indicate that, as common sense would dictate, it is extremely rare, a fraction of a percent.

Now, let’s investigate the consequences of voter ID laws. Studies indicate that a significant number of eligible lower income voters would be kept from voting, far higher than the number of voters engaged in fraud.

The conclusion is that voter ID laws cause more harm than good and should therefore not be implemented. What makes it worse is that the sponsors of these laws do so knowing full well what the consequences are, and are in fact motivated to keep poor people from voting so as to take votes away from the Democrats.

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