Young Voters Speak Out: Each day, RR.com will spotlight politically minded youth writers from throughout the U.S. speaking their minds on Election 2012. First-time voters, student journalists and new graduates will debate the Obama vs. Romney race to the White House. Young Democrats, Republicans and ‘Undecided’ Americans are eager to play politics and choose the next Commander & Chief.
Read Steven Aiello's thoughts from a right-leaning perspective:
Voter ID requirements -- fundamental to the integrity of the American political system, or an affront to our basic civil rights? This contentious issue has divided voters and candidates alike in recent months. I believe that voter ID requirements are not just palatable, but a necessary and overdue policy change.
Free elections are the heartbeat of a liberal democracy. It is vital that the electoral process be implemented in a manner which is of unquestioning integrity. A failure to uniformly require ID casts doubt on election outcomes. Disputes over the fairness of election outcomes occur annually, the most notorious case being the 2000 election, which was subject to a Supreme Court ruling. We must do everything possible to ensure not just the integrity of the system, but also the appearance of integrity, avoiding anything which might detract from the reliability of elections.
An essential characteristic of the democratic system is the equality of all citizens inside the ballot box. Regardless of age, gender, race, wealth, or other discriminators, when it comes to vote, all citizens are equal. This objective is challenged when the possibility of voter fraud exists. If individuals can manipulate an antiquated voting process to vote multiple times, others' votes matter less. When the system is exploited, all suffer.
Voter repression? Critics of voter identification requirements maintain that it is a discriminatory rule, intended to disenfranchise specific groups, especially minorities, who may not have driver's licenses or other valid identification. But such ID regulations are not Jim Crow's laws, tailor-made to exclude a specific group or groups. Proving your identity in order to establish your eligibility to vote is essential to the electoral process.
After all, when you make a credit card purchase, board an intercity bus, or enter a corporate building in major cities, you show ID. Nobody protests that these situations violate the rights of minorities? If this argument had any credibility, then all bars in NYC would be guilty of drinker repression. Moreover, formal identification is of a very minimal cost, offers numerous benefits and can be used for all subsequent elections.
Certainly transitioning to require voter id warrants creation of a program to allot identity cards to every citizen, at minimal or no cost. There are many countries, where adults of all socio-economic backgrounds carry valid government-issued ID. If implemented properly, this can become an equalizer, not a divider.
Voter identification is a no-brainer. It upholds the integrity of the electoral system, promotes equality not discrimination, and it offers the holder additional benefits as well. Criticisms of such a requirement are petty and contrived. The next time you enter an airport, order an alcoholic beverage, or try to make a purchase with your debit card, ask yourself whether your rights have been repressed. It is time to update our system. Vote yes for voter identification.