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COLUMN: A defense of voter ID laws



One of the things that makes American democracy so important is the right to vote. The right to vote is not one that should be taken lightly: it is our say in political proceedings on the local, state and federal levels.

With the 2016 elections fast approaching, this is an issue that will heat up in the coming months. Many people will be discussing this issue, but I believe that voter ID laws are necessary to preserving the integrity of elections.

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution outlines the right of citizens to vote. In the amendment, Section 1 reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The constitutional amendment clearly states that all citizens have the right to vote. But does the Constitution grant non-citizens the right to vote?

Voter ID laws are clearly constitutional. In the case Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circut held that the Indiana voter ID law was constitutional, stating that the photo ID requirement was closely related to Indiana’s legitimate state interests in preventing voter fraud. The slight burden the law imposed on voters’ rights did not outweigh these interests.

There are several types of voter fraud. In cases such as the 2000 presidential election where dubious circumstances created a close race, in Florida specifically, it’s possible that voter fraud confounded the true vote counting process. In several states and cities, dead people vote, as they’re left on the registered voter lists after their deaths and living people cast votes for them. According to NPR, 1.8 million dead people were registered to vote in 2012. Other types of fraud include stuffing ballots, voter intimidation, etc.

Voter ID laws simply uphold the will of the Constitution. It makes sense that the collective government would want to uphold its sovereignty. Having the deceased, and non-citizens, vote is madness. It’s simply counterintuitive.

Many people are against these laws, but why? State IDs are available for low cost in most states. Plus, a driver’s license is also sufficient, as long as it has a picture. To add, a military ID or passports also serve the same function of a state ID or driver’s license in up to 17 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The idea of these voter ID laws are not to prohibit people from voting: they are in place to maintain accuracy in the vote counting process and ensure that fraud and votes from non-citizens aren’t tallied. Why would we allow non-citizens to vote, or voter fraud to determine the will of the American electorate? Voter ID laws are sensible, but most importantly, uphold American sovereignty. With the hotly contested presidential election, and thousands of other elections occurring, voter ID laws will be key in ensuring the accuracy of the results.

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