Skin in the Game
Require Voter ID, but provide it free of charge when voter's identity and eligibility have been verified.
What if you owned a small company and were having a board meeting, and you only had a set amount of money to put down on a building to expand your business and you obviously didn't want your competitors to know this and outbid you? Having only board members that wanted your company to succeed would be important. But what if your competition was at the board meeting? Assume they have gained the legal right to be there. You obviously want to avoid showing your cards, but have to bring the issue to a vote. Should your company purchase the property or not? To your surprise, your competition votes the motion down, not even allowing you the chance at bidding on the property. They shouldn't have that right, but they do. Then, to your utter horror, they make a motion to have your company draw out a contract with their company to purchase only from them, at retail prices! Sound like a nightmare? It is, but this is one reason that companies, associations, clubs, and countries have historically excluded non-members, non-citizens, or outsiders from attending their meetings, and even if they have an open meeting, they still exclude observers from voting.
Outsiders are not guaranteed to seek success for something of which they are not a part. Sure, they can say they like it, and support it, and they might even have financial ties to it, but without actually joining it, going through the process, and verifying who they are, there is no way to know or guess at their intentions.
The graphic above shows that, in a state that requires photo ID to vote, there isn't a large margin between whites and blacks, as a percentage of their respective populations, who have the necessary IDs to vote. When comparing the seventeen states that require photo ID to vote, the lowest percent of population that carry required ID, is 85% while the largest percent in a Voter ID state is 95%. This may be statistically relevant, but an analysis between non-Voter ID states and the actual number of eligible voters vs ineligible voters on their rolls would need to be assessed.
It seems like race is often brought up when discussing voter ID laws. There may be the assumption that minorities are less likely to be able to afford to vote or understand how to apply for voter ID. More research will need to be done to determine if photo ID requirements actually function toward exclusion of minority citizens, but on first blush, it appears that there isn't much difference between white and black voters, so if there is, it is probably more due to language barriers and cultural differences than a direct attempt at rejecting minority voters.
There is some contention as to how often voter fraud happens and whether it is even statistically relevant.1,2,3 Some say it is quite common and that one party buses people across the border, registers dead people, and uses all sorts of other devious means to inflate their votes, and push for stronger voter ID laws. On the other hand, people from the other aisle believe they contend with a party that disenfranchises real voters by requiring the poor and uneducated to have to go through difficult paperwork and pay exorbitant fees just to vote, and move to not require voter ID. Costs for voter ID would seem to be something that would prove quite expensive. On the contrary, of all the states that required photo ID for access to the polls, only one didn't offer a free option.4 Florida IDs cost $255 and are good for 8 years.6 That is an astronomical $3.125/year or less than a penny a day. This sounds like those life insurance adds that state your family can get millions when you die if you just pay a few cents a day. Obviously it isn't as cheap as it sounds. The cost to vote is most expensive when it comes down to choosing whether to feed your children or vote.
If there is an issue with voter fraud from ineligible and repeat voters, photo ID with a central check-off database appears to be the easiest method. Making these IDs free would decrease the number of poor citizens from being disenfranchised. It would seem to be the best of both worlds. One side wouldn't be worried about ineligible people voting or repeatedly voting, while the other side wouldn't be worried about the poor being excluded from their right to vote.
1Debunking the Voter Fraud Myth (September 1, 2016), Accessed September 6, 2016 from: https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/debunking-voter-fraud-myth
2Leef, G. (August 18, 2016), The Vote Fraud Problem is Real and the Fourth Circuit Just Made it Worse,
3Edge, S. & Holstege, S. (September 1, 2016), No, Voter Fraud Actually isn't a Persistent Problem, Accessed September 6, 2016 from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/09/01/voter-fraud-is-not-a-persistent-problem/?utm_term=.aac2a3004ecb
4Elections Issues Related to State Voter Identification Laws (September, 2014), Accessed September 6, 2016 from: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665966.pdf
5FLHSMV, Fees, Accessed September 6, 2016 from: https://www.flhsmv.gov/fees/
6FLHSMV, Questions and Answers for Law Changes Effective October 1, 2008, Accessed September 6, 2016 from: http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/newslaws_Oct2008.html
Writes about politics from a Conservative Libertarian viewpoint. While pushing for a government that is Fiscally Conservative and Socially Liberal, he personally appreciates the Socially Conservative lifestyle.
Copyright R. A. Welkin