New voter ID laws disenfranchise many

Max Sommerfeld, Reporter

Wisconsin’s voter ID law went into effect Feb. 16. It is a popular law according a Fox News poll, which shows that 87% of Republicans, 72% of independents, and 52% of Democrats support laws requiring voters to show identification. These laws are popular because of concerns about voter fraud.

Requiring identification prevents voter fraud, right? The problem though, is that voter fraud is extremely rare. It’s virtually nonexistent.

Furthermore, voter ID laws disenfranchise many people including minorities, women, the underprivilaged, and the elderly. Identification sometimes costs money, which in turn can be a disadvantageous to the poor. Some states issue identification for free, but they often require a birth certificate, which is a catch-22. And speaking of birth certificates, it was more common for people in the 1930’s to make errors when writing birth certificates than today, and some issuers of identification refuse erroneous birth certificates. That is why voter ID laws harm the elderly, along with the fact that the elderly are less likely to drive, and thereby do not have a valid driver’s license.

Minorities statistically live in less privileged areas and are less likely to drive, so they are less likely to own identification. Additionally, women are more likely to have changed their name, and some poll workers refuse identification with an outdated or maiden name.

Now, this might seem minor, and you might think everyone has identification, but 11% of eligible voters in the U.S. lack valid identification. These laws don’t prevent voter fraud; they prevent voting, and that’s the actual purpose.