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Thread: Photo ID Laws

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    Photo ID Laws

    Some groups and individuals (including Barack Obama) are critical of voter photo-ID requirements claiming that they disenfranchise minorities, the poor, and the elderly. Do photo-ID laws represent an unreasonable demand?

    Obama wants official fired for comments - Yahoo! News



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskaguy View Post
    Some groups and individuals (including Barack Obama) are critical of voter photo-ID requirements claiming that they disenfranchise minorities, the poor, and the elderly. Do photo-ID laws represent an unreasonable demand?

    Obama wants official fired for comments - Yahoo! News
    No, it's not unreasonable. They disenfrancise criminals and illegals aliens, as it well should.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    It also disenfrancises me from voting 6 times for whoever Obama is running against.


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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskaguy View Post
    Do photo-ID laws represent an unreasonable demand?
    The answer to this question is undoubtedly no. However, my understanding is that if one looks at places that have implemented such programs, they tend to have a greater effect upon minority populations. That is why republicans advance the ID requirements and democrats do not (as minorities tend to vote overwhelmingly democrat).

    I think the better questions are as follows:
    1. To what extent is there a voter fraud problem that would be adequately addressed by a photo ID requirement?
    2. If a photo ID requirement is implemented, does it make elections function in a more representative manner?

    I have not seen much evidence of a substantial number of people fraudulently voting as someone else, or that those who do vote overwhelmingly for one party. If this is the case, a disproportionate impact on a minority population that thus makes elections less representative suggests that the photo ID requirement is not a wise one.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    I bring my ID with me every time because I am SHOCKED they do not ask for it. I cannot believe you can vote by just telling them some random name of a person in that district.


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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    It also disenfrancises me from voting 6 times for whoever Obama is running against.
    I'd bet everything I own that he will not get the nomination, for outcries like this if nothing else. While this may rally some behind him, to the majority it is a turn-off. I think most people know what Tanner was trying to say, he was making two points at once.

    He is giving his opponents and press too much ammunition to use against him. History has shown that outcries such as these lose votes, not gain them. It appears he's looking for press time on this one.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    The answer to this question is undoubtedly no. However, my understanding is that if one looks at places that have implemented such programs, they tend to have a greater effect upon minority populations. That is why republicans advance the ID requirements and democrats do not (as minorities tend to vote overwhelmingly democrat).

    I think the better questions are as follows:
    1. To what extent is there a voter fraud problem that would be adequately addressed by a photo ID requirement?
    2. If a photo ID requirement is implemented, does it make elections function in a more representative manner?

    I have not seen much evidence of a substantial number of people fraudulently voting as someone else, or that those who do vote overwhelmingly for one party. If this is the case, a disproportionate impact on a minority population that thus makes elections less representative suggests that the photo ID requirement is not a wise one.
    The 2004 election for governor in Washington State appears to have been such an example. The Washington State Republican Party claimed that at least 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle's King County than the number of individual voters who could be accounted for. The states leading newspaper also documented a number of cases where "dead people" were voting. There were numerous legal challenges to the election results by both the Republicans and the Democrats. Both political parties alleged the results were rigged.

    These types of claims are likely to persist in close elections. Without strict enforcement of photo ID requirements, the integrity of any close election would be suspect.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskaguy View Post
    The 2004 election for governor in Washington State appears to have been such an example. The Washington State Republican Party claimed that at least 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle's King County than the number of individual voters who could be accounted for. The states leading newspaper also documented a number of cases where "dead people" were voting. There were numerous legal challenges to the election results by both the Republicans and the Democrats. Both political parties alleged the results were rigged.

    These types of claims are likely to persist in close elections. Without strict enforcement of photo ID requirements, the integrity of any close election would be suspect.
    I'm not sure how much a voter ID requirement would have helped this. This sounds like a problem with the voter registration, not one of misidentification. I have a suspicion that much of the time when you have dead people casting ballots it is a case of corrupt party individuals that have inside access to the polls vs. individuals who come in off of the street and pretend that they are someone else.

    [edit]I would be interested in seeing more evidence though. If there is substantial evidence of voter fraud that can be best addressed by an ID requirement, then it would make sense.

    There may also be other non-ID based reforms that could also be effective without having a disparate impact, such as finger inking or something similar if it was show that people were voting more than once.


    Last edited by Kyle; 10-19-2007 at 10:35 PM.

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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Mexico recently changed their voting laws. Now every registered Mexican voter has a Voter ID card that includes their picture, fingerprint, and signature in addition to a magnetic strip, hologram and other security measure to prevent fraud.

    I just don't get it how getting a photo ID is a hardship, regardless of your income level or racial group. I presume that a significant portion of the lower income population receives government checks. How do they cash their checks anyway?



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Our ability to freely elect our leaders is one of the fundamental rights that we have. Any safeguards that are put in place to ensure the accuracy are good and necessary. If you want to bring up that it disenfranchises minorities, my natural question would be why? If anyone can provide an answer that doesn't involve avoiding arrest warrants, child support or immigration status, then I will listen.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclonepride View Post
    Our ability to freely elect our leaders is one of the fundamental rights that we have. Any safeguards that are put in place to ensure the accuracy are good and necessary. If you want to bring up that it disenfranchises minorities, my natural question would be why? If anyone can provide an answer that doesn't involve avoiding arrest warrants, child support or immigration status, then I will listen.

    Another way to look at this would be whether this is actually addressing a real problem? Admittedly, my views are just based on being a keen observer during elations, including reading all news articles I see regarding election irregularities. I haven't done any actual research on this topic. Given that disclaimer, voter fraud doesn't seem to be real problem. No election is 100% accurate, and my casual observation is that counting errors dominate errors due to either over-voting (cheating) or disenfranchising.

    I donít think requiring photo IDs is an unreasonable demand at all. However, if the motivation behind the requirement is political grandstanding, rather than solving a real problem, then Iíll become obstinate and be against it!

    I think a bigger related problem is that politicians have stopped conceding with grace. If you loose a very close election, but you suspect some minor voting irregularities or inaccurate count, you simply concede anyway! To me that is the responsible thing to do for the good of the democracy. This situation has become much worse in wake of the 2000 election, as all sorts of special interest groups are now putting pressure on candidates never to concede.

    I guess my main point is that I don't agree that "[a]ny safeguards that are put in place to ensure the accuracy are good and necessary." If we really carried that out to its extreme then elections would probably take a month, participation would go down to 10%, and there would still be inaccuracies! Safeguards should be put in to address real problems and there is usually a trade-off between safeguards and effort (including time). They must thus be balanced. In the current system(s) it seems that the vast majority of elections is determined by a margin that is much larger than the margin of error. There will always be a handful of elections that is within the margin of error (maybe 1 in a 1000, or so right now), but if candidates would only put the good of the country above their own ambition, then those would not be a problem either.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclonepride View Post
    If you want to bring up that it disenfranchises minorities, my natural question would be why? If anyone can provide an answer that doesn't involve avoiding arrest warrants, child support or immigration status, then I will listen.
    From my understanding, it is really more about wealth. Poor individuals who do not drive have little motivation to get a drivers license, which is the primary form of government issued identification. It just so happens that a disproportionate number of poor people are minorities.

    Taking a look at my own wallet, the only forms of photo ID I have are my drivers license and my college IDs. If I did not drive, and did not go to college, there is a decent chance that I would not have any form of photo identification.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    From my understanding, it is really more about wealth. Poor individuals who do not drive have little motivation to get a drivers license, which is the primary form of government issued identification. It just so happens that a disproportionate number of poor people are minorities.

    Taking a look at my own wallet, the only forms of photo ID I have are my drivers license and my college IDs. If I did not drive, and did not go to college, there is a decent chance that I would not have any form of photo identification.
    How many poor people who do not drive or have form of identification also would like to vote? I'd be willing to guess that that is a fraction of a percent of the population. So we stay with a system that can compromise the security of an election for a tenth of one percent of the population? Perhaps we could just have a mobile voting booth that can drive to each of their lazy butts, so that they can vote without lifting a finger. Someone would have to probably carry them out to the booth, as it may be too much effort to walk. And maybe we can hire someone to do the physical act of pushing the button for them too.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    From my understanding, it is really more about wealth. Poor individuals who do not drive have little motivation to get a drivers license, which is the primary form of government issued identification. It just so happens that a disproportionate number of poor people are minorities.

    Taking a look at my own wallet, the only forms of photo ID I have are my drivers license and my college IDs. If I did not drive, and did not go to college, there is a decent chance that I would not have any form of photo identification.
    Lets see, there are a number of things that require photo IDs; boarding an airplane, leasing a car, getting a passport, cashing government checks at a bank, purchasing liquor, qualifying for the Alaska PFD, etc.

    Come up to Alaska. There are many people who don't have a state issued driver's license. Many people have no need for a driver's licence because they live in a village where there are no roads and no motor vehicles (other than snow machines and four wheelers) But guess what, even though they don't posses a drivers license they do have a State of Alaska issued photo ID. Why is this the case? Because a photo ID is initially required to establish eligibility for the Alaska Preferred Dividend. I haven't heard anyone complaining about this requirement here either.

    It is not a hardship to obtain a free government issued photo ID. It is no more of a barrier to voting than requiring people to register to vote in advance of an election.



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    Re: Photo ID Laws

    I don't see how anyone could say it's bad for people to prove they are who they say they are before they vote. If people are to lazy/stupid/poor/ugly to get a driver's license you can get a state issued ID for about $5.



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