Monday , 22 December 2014
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Voter IDs are an obstruction to democracy
Illustration by America Banuelos

Voter IDs are an obstruction to democracy

In what was supposed to be a deterrent against voting fraud, the recent Texas Voter ID law has caused some unexpected trouble for women and senior citizens looking to fulfill their civic duty.

An article by TIME Magazine states the law is unfairly discriminating against minorities, low-income voters and women.

The new law, according to propublica.org, could be seen as a form of poll tax. Obtaining a photo ID can be costly and troublesome since even free state ID requiring documents like birth certificates can cost up to $25 in some states.

For women, the problem comes from name changes as a result of marriage or divorce. The law requires that the name on your personal ID card is “substantially similar” to the one on your voter registration card.

When it isn’t, voters are required to sign an affidavit that affirms they are who they claim they are.

To get the necessary IDs, however, you need to be able to produce documents with your current name. According to TIME, 34 percent of women in the United States don’t have those documents.

This same dilemma also plagues the transgender population. TIME states 29 percent of transgender men and women in states with strict photo ID laws do not have IDs that reflect the gender they present. In Texas, that number is 27 percent.

Proponents of this new mandatory photo ID law claim it is a method to combat voting fraud.

While the law may have meant well, there is little to actually suggest that it was necessary. According to a study by the New York Times back in 2007, there were only 120 cases of voter fraud over the course of five years.

The study suggests that many of those people accused of voter fraud mistakenly did so, filling out registration forms or misunderstanding eligibility rules.

Therefore, it seems unlikely that voter fraud will ever be a serious problem. The law, on the other hand, is a problem in that it bars some groups from voting as easily as others.

It’s reasonable to assume that the proponents of the

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law did some research on voter fraud. Surely they could reach the conclusion that it wasn’t a serious problem. This begs the question: why did the Texas Congress pass the law?

Only one answer seems likely: It was an intentional attempt to obstruct the Democratic demographic from voting.

This strict voter ID law borders on the unreasonable and should immediately be dealt away with. At the point where a law begins to prevent people from voting, it is an absolute affront to democracy.

 

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