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 Adam Poltrack's thoughts from a left-leaning perspective:
Studies have shown that being struck by lightning is more common than committing in-person voter fraud, yet Republicans have gone all-in on voter-ID laws, touting them as necessary to preserve fair elections.
The myth of widespread voter-fraud has taken on a life of its own, making its way into the lexicon of conspiracy-hunters and taking its place in American fiction next to sasquatch, Area 51, and the Illuminati. Never has a non-problem garnered so much attention from so many powerful people. In-person voter fraud happens at a negligible rate and I think Republicans know it; but the fear of fraud is all they need to accomplish their goal -- voter suppression.
How do we know that Republicans' claims of rampant voter fraud are false? Their own studies prove it. A study conducted by the Republican National Lawyers Association, between 2000 and 2010, determined that 30 different states had 3 voter fraud convictions or less in the decade studied. A similar, non-partisan study, done by The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU's Law School, found that an individual is more likely to get struck by lightning than to commit in-person voter fraud.
So why don't we legislate against lightning? We could require massive conduction towers and spend millions in taxpayer dollars to ensure that it doesn't strike us. It would make more sense than instituting voter-ID laws. The result of being struck by lightning is likely death; the result of being struck by in-person voter fraud is one mis-tallied ballot.
The idea that we need voter-ID laws is absurd, we have existing laws that address voter fraud. It is already a felony. If an individual is that determined to vote illegally, what's to stop them from getting a fake ID? The fact that voting illegally will land you in jail is deterrent enough.
Still the knee-jerk reactions continue. More than half of all states have now adopted legislative measures that would alienate huge -- largely Democratic -- swaths of the electorate. Of the states that have adopted new laws, 11 now require voters to produce a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. By requiring such ID's you are targeting demographics who disproportionately don't have that type of documentation. Included in that group are minorities, immigrants, and the impoverished. Still, those won't be the only groups affected, the ACLU estimates that as many as 11 percent of the American electorate lacks a government-issued ID.
New laws that are supposedly being adopted to address voter-fraud will catch a few scattered felons, at the expense of thousands of law-abiding, legitimate voters. Do we really believe this is being done in the interest of fairness? More likely it's a case of Republicans pulling out all the stops in a general election where Romney fears he will be out-campaigned and out-classed.