October 11, 2006

Voting Integrity Is Bigger Than Diebold

Markos writes about how enforcement of proof of citizenship requirements keep many citizens from being registered to vote and hampers the efforts of registration drives. But that's just the fallout from state laws.

As olvlzl noted at Echidne, a recently passed House bill would require all citizens to have a passport or birth certificate in order to vote by 2010. The survey discussed at the link found that:

  • Roughly 11 million native-born citizens have neither a birth certificate nor passport in their home.[3] Under the House bill, those without these documents would be unable to vote in federal elections as of 2010.

  • Low-income people (those making less than $25,000) are nearly twice as likely to lack these documents as people with higher incomes. Nearly 3 million low-income citizens lack the required documents.

The list of others negatively affected by this proposal include: the elderly, African Americans (particularly the elderly), rural residents, people from the South and Midwest. All of these groups are disproportionately more likely than the general population not to have a birth certificate, a document they would have to then pay to acquire in order to get an approved form of identification that they could present in order to vote.

Why do Republicans hate our citizens?

Posted by natasha at October 11, 2006 05:15 PM | Civil Liberties | Technorati links |
Comments

If we have til 2010, is it possible that we could introduce reforms to fix the issue with people not having access to ID? I was talking with a Republican recently, and he was arguing for increasing the number of DMV locations, and eliminating all fees for getting an ID card (and lowering the fee for a driver's license to reflect that you're only paying for the license, not for the "ID aspect" of the license). He also would have the ID/license explicitly show a "Eligible to Vote" mark, to defuse the "licenses for immigrants" issue. Anyone could come in and get a license, but they'd only get the eligibility mark if they were eligible...

While I'd also want to fund free aid for people who need to establish eligibility in the first place, I think this might be workable... Given how many aspects of life require ID, and the fact that the vast majority of people do need to drive, reducing the expense of getting a license is appealing, on the grounds of making our tax/fee system less regressive...

Posted by: RM 'Auros' Harman at October 12, 2006 11:02 AM

Incidentally, another thing we could do in this process is automatically register everyone who has a license or ID card. What percentage of the eligible population is currently registered to vote? What perecentage has a license or ID? I'll bet the latter is much higher than the former...

Posted by: RM 'Auros' Harman at October 12, 2006 11:18 AM

"If we have til 2010, is it possible that we could introduce reforms to fix the issue with people not having access to ID? I was talking with a Republican recently, and he was arguing for increasing the number of DMV locations, and eliminating all fees for getting an ID card (and lowering the fee for a driver's license to reflect that you're only paying for the license, not for the "ID aspect" of the license). He also would have the ID/license explicitly show a "Eligible to Vote" mark, to defuse the "licenses for immigrants" issue. Anyone could come in and get a license, but they'd only get the eligibility mark if they were eligible..."

Yes, that would be fine and good. I agree that at the very least, a state ID card should be free, given the growing number of venues that require one.

But the issue here is also about access to a birth certificate or passport. And forget about a passport, because that's just completely out of range for many of the people discussed in the article. What needs to happen is that people have to be able to get this initial proof of their personhood, or some kind of alternate verification process established in cases where there never was such a document issued to begin with.

Posted by: natasha at October 12, 2006 01:01 PM