Okay, I'm a single mom in an urban area working as a waitress. I'm not married, and you can forget affording a car, a plane ticket, or an out of town train ticket. I walk to work, or I take the bus or a subway. I get paid in cash either via cash tips or having the restaurant add the tip to the patron's credit card bill and then taking the equivalent cash from the register (which is a common practice). I don't own a handgun, I don't exactly frequent city hall, I stay the hell out of the way of the cops, and if I do have money for alcohol, I buy it at the corner store down the block and I never get carded because I've lived in this neighborhood forever and the guy knows me. And credit cards? Are you kidding? My credit is shot; I couldn't pay them to give me a credit card. Either that or I'm smart enough to realize that credit is a trap for someone as poor as I am. And I didn't exactly take the SAT. Do I still not have the right to vote?
So now I'm a college student, or a recent graduate. I haven't met the right guy yet so I don't need to worry about a marriage license. I live on campus, or I've moved in with a bunch of friends and I catch rides from them, so I don't drive. When I go home to visit my parents, I catch a ride with my best friend from high school, which is good because I don't have the money for Amtrak or airplane tickets. It has never occurred to me to own a gun, and the only times I go to federal buildings are with student protests where they don't check everyone's ID as they're entering - all you have to do is not set off the metal detector. I still use the bank account my parents opened for me on my sixteenth birthday, or I use the school's meal plan/financial account system for what I need. Besides, with all the perks they were giving up until recently on campus from banks, I don't really need more than my student ID - which isn't valid under voter ID laws because it never expires - to open an account with a bank that deals with students a lot. Again, I stay the hell away from cops and I don't need my ID to start my on-campus job. Do I still have the right to vote?
I could probably keep thinking up examples of people who very easily get along without their ID every day. I can't say I know about others, but my ID doesn't come out of my wallet unless I'm buying something and getting carded for it. I almost never need my license, even though I have one.
It's annoying to have to get by without an ID sometimes, but it's doable if you don't have the time or the money to go get one. That doesn't mean you don't still have the right to vote.
Here's the thing: I feel like you have the right to own an ID, as well as buy a handgun, go to city hall, take the SAT and some of that other stuff also.
Now, I definitely get wanting to have people show ID and having handguns registered to them. However, you should also be able to protect yourself, and statistically, if you're poor, you're more likely to live in an area with higher crime. This could explain why: it's harder to legally get a gun if you can't get an ID, while people who don't mind breaking the law don't have to worry about such things.
I'm also good with having your student ID count for voting, although if it never expires, I can see the reason for not having it. Maybe it'd be best to have an Issued date somewhere on the card so that you're not actually holding a 20 year old card for someone who looks like the original card owner? That may not even be necessary since you can tell if a card is 20 years old.
I feel like part of what you're saying is that it's a hassle, and that you have to give up privileges in order to not have to deal with getting an identification card. If this is correct, it seems like it'd be better to streamline the process instead of making it unnecessary.
Now, you do have people who "zero out" and deliberately live under the system who don't want identification cards, which I figure they certainly have the right to do. These cards shouldn't be forced on anyone, nor should they really be necessary before you're 18. These people have the right to vote if they want to.
On the other hand, you have the possibility of identity theft and voter fraud. If we aren't sure whether it happens, it would be madness just to believe that it doesn't. For example, Madison had 119% of voter turnout during the Scott Walker recall election. Now, it's possible that 6 people showed up for every 5 who are registered, but should our justice system be making sure it's all on the level, or should we just shrug and hope that it's fine?
I'll point to Vtboy's post next:
For me, what proves the lie behind these photo ID requirements is this:
Let's say your state doesn't require presentation of a photo ID to vote. On election day, when you show up at the polls, the poll watcher asks you who you are and where you live. Perhaps you are also asked for some other proof of identity and residence, for which a recent utility bill (without photo) will generally suffice. You gain entrance to the voting booth solely on the basis of your word that you are who you say you are (or are the person named in the utility bill).
Let's say you live in a state that requires you to present a state-issued photo ID to vote. If you don't have one, you go to the DMV, probably with a recent utility bill or tax return or other photo-less document, hand it to the clerk, and pay a fee. Taking your word that you are the person named in the document, the DMV clerk has you smile into the camera, and then hands you a shiny, new photo ID. You now have your key to the voting booth on election day, based solely on your assertion that you are who you say you are.
If there is anything less susceptible to fraud in the latter procedure than in the former, I fail to see it.
To me, this is a failure on the part of the DMV. It shouldn't be as simple as a recent utility bill in order to get an ID, although if not, I don't know what it would require. Perhaps knowing your full social security number?
By the same token, the DMV should give some kind of notice that an ID has been issued in your name to your address. Whenever I use Paypal, I get an e-mail notification that somebody's used the account, so that if I get ripped off, I can instantly let them know. By the same token, the DMV should mail you something to let you know that an ID has been issued to you. I don't think you get anything in the mail to confirm your vote; maybe you should.
So, here's where I'm at with everything right now. If you can't get everyone an ID, it's a bad idea, but if you don't have it, how do you possibly even try to watch for corruption?