Journalism in the Public Interest

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws

More than 30 states have enacted some version of voter ID law in recent years. How much do these laws change voting rules and what impact could they have on the general election?

« Return to Story

Sort by: Oldest Newest  1 2 >

Paul Moen

Aug. 20, 2012, 2:23 p.m.

So let’s cut to the chase and settle some of the nonsense.
1.  No stranger registered as Eric Holder, received Mr. Holder’s ballot and voted using Mr. Holder’s ballot.  Look at the video again.  The stranger never signed in or received the ballot and, therefore, never voted using Holder’s ballot. 
2.  Just because someone put “Tebow” in the last name space on a Minnesota Voter Registration Application Form does not mean that the form was ever completed or turned in. 
So for those of you who are claiming fraud, give us the details as to where it took place, etc., etc.

Thomas W. Sonandres

Aug. 20, 2012, 12:12 p.m.

Possibly, likely, or definitively true but not relevant are:

—That principles notwithstanding, the not-so-hidden Republican disenfranchisement of Democratic voters and that Dems fight to gain/retain many thousands+ more likely votes
—The very low percentage of substantiated voter fraud & the even lower substantiated percentage (zero?) of illegal votes that have decided a close election,
—That illegal votes could theoretically decide a close election,
—That fingerprinting would be better (but impractical as a nationwide quick-fix?)
—That photo-ID would not eliminate fraud, be it illegal voting or vote-counting.
—That on the voting-issue extremes are legitimate examples of (a) voter fraud and (b) of many hundreds? of times more legitimate voters disenfranchised due to extreme difficulties or inabilities to obtain documents and/or other legitimate hardships,

Given the given today (i.e., the uptick in (Republican-controlled?) state legislatures passing voter ID laws), the easier/fairer quick-fix, noted in several other comments, would be to simplify/unburden the voter ID procurement process.  For example:

—Accepting documentation other than a birth certificate in hardship cases,
—Reducing or eliminating voter registration fees in general, and for hardship cases, waiving/minimizing document-procurement fees
—Accelerated state processing of voter registration for problem cases—2%? of the voting population, with states required to periodically report stats/progress
—The two parties agree in principle and in action to minimize voter fraud AND simultaneously maximize the ability of the eligible to easily register to vote, with the DOJ following up on both.

The merits of this proposal begin with taking this issue off the table on which there are far more important ones.  Or so I think. 

NOTE TO SUEVON LEE:  In future updates of your excellent “Everything You Wanted To Know…” include a paragraph summary on analysis/trends of the difficulty/ease of voter registration in the 50 states.  Tom

Paul Moen

Aug. 18, 2012, 3:36 p.m.

to nkbay
I have to take exception to two of your comments.  You suggested that some stranger was able to get Eric Holder’s ballot for voting.  Look again at that video.  As soon as the election clerk asked the stranger to sign in, he left under the guise that his ID was in the car.  In fact, he never completed the sign in process; never received Mr. Holder’s ballot; and never voted.  Perhaps he was aware of the penalties for voting fraud and was not willing to do time and pay a fine.
Next you said that voting was not constitutional.  Look at the Constitution with its amendments.  Amendment XV (1870) guaranteed voting rights regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.  Amendment XIX (1920) gave women the right to vote.  Amendment XXVI set the age for voting at 18.  So it would appear that voting is, indeed, constitutional.  Or are you suggesting that the amendments are not a part of the Constitution?
Have a good day.


Aug. 18, 2012, 1:08 p.m.

The day that the people who are for these Voter ID laws volunteer to pay for IDs for all those who can’t afford them or go get them for those who have no transportation or have mobility issues, on that day I will believe this is not about disenfranchisement.  These people will never volunteer to do so because they abhor the poor.  It’s pretty clear this is simply about not wanting poor people to vote.  This is quickly becoming a country by the wealthy, for the wealthy.


Aug. 17, 2012, 10:38 a.m.

For those here who claim they wish to eliminate what they claim to be bogus votes being cast by enough people to game an election as their reason for demanding that a photo ID be presented, I have the following questions.

If you really are concerned about bogus voting, why are you not in favor of a test that is far better and cheaper to administer than a photo ID will ever provide? 

Don’t you realize that the photo IDs you are promoting are a false positive fix for a problem that most of us do not believe acturally exists? Have you never known someone who has obtained a false ID for some purpose they believe justified the deception? Many people have done so, and not all of them for totally illegal purpose, either.

You counter this fact with the simplistic statement that you want to promote an assurance that the people who are voted into office are the true choice of the electorate. A very laudable objective That I believe we can all share, but our quest had better not stop at positive voter identification if that can be expected to be achieved some day.

Personal identification is best proven by the individual proof of same that every one of us already has, all at no extra cost or inconvenience, which identifies each of us in a way that can NOT be effectively altered throughout our life time. That existing ID is at the ends of their finger tips. It, for a generic understandable single word is their fingerprint.

You may ask if there is a danger in supplying a copy of it for a purpose such as voting, or cashing a check, or any other purpose you might care to offer as an excuse to demand such a display of originality and positive ID, but if you are who you claim to be, there shoud be no hesitation to leave this personal proof of your identity to register your action and presence - UNLESS you are attempting to break a law or falsify your identiry for whatever purpose.

Why do you not join me in demanding that the Photo ID is NOT the way to remove fraud from the voting booth, but rather an invitation to committ more of the same to the point where it then does serve to game the system as well as add increased cost to a system that would have to be overwhelmed with reasonably current photographic records of the individual assigned to vote at each precinct location on a real-time basis and then still not eliminate the possibility of the same individual registering at more than one voting location with modified photographic backup through either simple disguise techniques designed to fool the inexpert observer?

Fingerprint comparison of the uniqueness of the individual patterns and locations of significant areas within the fingerprint pattern does not require a great amount of digital data per individual.  Certainly nowhere close to that which would be required to differentiate between people who closely resemble each other.  This means that over a period of time and with a much more reasonable expectation of effective result, an automated system can automatically verify that each individual recorded data record was not been duplicated within a practical distance of any particular location.

In my view, even the threat of a random sampling of such records would serve to detear most individuals who might otherwise be tempted to risk being caught voting illicitly or illegally from doing so.  Do you believe that even the most brazen individual would be willing to leave such self identifying evidence behind?

Stack that up against your photo ID for improved assurance of a fair vote.

Chris Hughes

Aug. 17, 2012, 3:14 a.m.

I think Ms Denise Chartier Dorsey correctly identifies a key problem.  The production of voter ID is a discouragement to people who may lack confidence, demotivating them from trying to vote, for fear of the humiliation involved in being refused.  In the UK or at least in GB (I declare an interest - British citizen and former election candidate for local councils) a registered voter receives a poll card about a week before the election at their registered address telling them where and when to vote.  On going to vote you can either produce the card or simply give your name and address.  Even that is a discouragement; when “knocking up” voters on polling day a constant issue was “I’ve lost my card, I can’t vote” and the need to reassure electors that they did not need the card to vote.  In democracies under the rule of law the erection of barriers which discourage voting is of concern, especially where there appears little evidence of any irregularities which would be stopped by the voter ID system.


Aug. 17, 2012, 12:13 a.m.

I raised the question of getting Eric Holder’s ballot and voting.  I note that he never got the ballot nor did he vote.  He came up with the, “I don’t have my ID here.”  My guess is that he wouldn’t go ahead for fear of doing jail time or financial penalty.  As far as the O’Keefe guy registering Tim Tebow and Tom Brady, that scenario supposedly took place in Minnesota.  The requirement for voter registration here is that the registration has to be completed 20 days before voting so the identity of the voter can be checked out.  What address do you think Tim Tebow would have used and do you think that he would have been registered in Minnesota?  Further, you can download all the registration forms you want so what do you suppose O’Kefe did with the 20 forms he got?  You haven’t yet proved that fraud actually took place.


Aug. 16, 2012, 11:21 p.m.

Let me state first I am black and I find these liberal arguments pathetic. You guys just want to ignore the fact that to do many important and not so important things in this country you need a picture id.

For example…
Get a bank account
Apply for food stamps
Buy spirits
buy cigarrettes
Rent an apartment
Get a job
Buy a house
Apply for unemployment
and so on….

Now…no matter how poor we “helpless poor black people are” we find away to do all the above.

And let’s make no mistake about it…you liberals want this to be a racial thing.

How is it we poor hopeless folk are required to have ID for all the stuff I listed above, but you think we should not have one when we vote?

Color me confused!!!!!

Ps. I will stipulate these new laws are politically motivated by the republicans but that does not mean they are not fueled by their concerns about voter fraud.

But as a black man…I really don’t care what their motives are. My concern is this law fair or unfair. And to me it is a fair law. We are required to have ID’s for far less important things than voting yet you liberals don’t complain about that. Could this be because your motives are politically motivated too?

Like Public Enemy said….“Beware of the other hand..especially when it’s coming from the left.

Jim Linder

Aug. 16, 2012, 4:12 p.m.

My only concern, is that now all it takes to keep someone from voting, is to steal their ID.


Aug. 6, 2012, 10:03 p.m.

you asked how a young white guy got Eric Holder’s ballot. I showed you. Don’t go off on another track. He got the ballot with no effort whatsoever. Deal with it. Enough. Bye
Don’t forget Brian Terry

Zelly Kurtlen

Aug. 6, 2012, 9:15 p.m.

How can you not mention ALEC, the org. behind this law and “stand your ground law”, and every other repressive law on the books?  Look up ALEC Watch for yourselves and you will see what I mean.


Aug. 5, 2012, 4:36 p.m.

Check this out to see how easy it is to get someone else’s ballot


Aug. 5, 2012, 12:48 a.m.

1.  what proof do you have that some stranger can go in and get a ballot under the name of Eric Holder and use that ballot to vote?
2.  You say that voting is not constitutional.  However, amendments to the Constitution become part of the document.  See Amendment:
a)  XV.  Guarantees all the right to vote regardless of race, etc.
b)  XIX.  Gives women the right to vote.
c)  XXVI.  Gives citizens over 18 years of age the right to vote.
So let us spend our time making it easier for all eligible voters to exercise their right.  Any effort which could possibly be a barrier to exercising that right should fail by its own weight.


Aug. 1, 2012, 12:52 a.m.

1)  Can you provide the proof on what you suggested about someone saying he was Eric Holder and being given a ballot to vote?  Where did this happen—state, city, precinct.  I would like to have that verified.
2)  You suggest that voting is not Constitutional.  Originally, only male property owners could vote.  The right to vote regardless of race, color, of previous servitude was provided in 1870 through Amendment XV to the Constitution; women were granted the right to vote in 1920 through Amendment XIX to the Constitution; and the right to vote at the age of 18 was set in 1971 through Amendment XXVI to the Constitution.  So i would submit that voting is constitutional.  Or do you have other information?

Jerry Buerge

July 31, 2012, 8:30 p.m.

Let me say this again, just in case anyone did not understand me the first time.

Every one of us has the best ID available, bar none!

Right at the end of our finger tips. Always available and never to be lost OR duplicated when offered in person anywhere you may be and then never to be swiped and used by another person within reach of your location.

If you really are sincere about wanting to make sure that each person voting can be recognized as an individual, this is the only practical way to do so economically and assuredly.

Why would any forthright person wished to do this any other way?


July 31, 2012, 2:58 p.m.

Ted - Thank you very much. You have hit the nail on the head. People like you should be running for office.


July 31, 2012, 2:52 p.m.

It is amazing to me that our society has become this crazy over something as trival as showing ID. This is crazy and please people stop using the word disenfranchised, what does that even mean? I am 55 and have never used it, now since our great president started using it the word is all the buzz.. stop being sheep, think for yourselves. No one is being put out, no one is being stopped from voting and when did this become a race issue, I am black and I do not see this? when did the Democrates become the only people in America that think they can talk for me? I have ID, I have a job stop trying to help me by acting like you know me. This is insane, if you don’t have ID go get it, short and simple.


July 31, 2012, 12:52 p.m.

Cheryl - This is the standard democrat argument. First, you assume that none of these elderly and minorities ever participate in any of the 60 or more activities that presently require Photo ID, including applying for government benefits or entering a federal building or courthouse. Second, how would you assure that the person casting a ballot is entitled to vote?? The honor system? Third, the state, when requiring Photo ID must simplify the process of obtaining an ID. Fourth - did you read about the young white male who went to Eric Holder’s polling place, asked for and was given Eric Holder’s ballot. How would you, in your simple democrat mindset, stop this.

Cheryl Schillingowski

July 31, 2012, 12:07 p.m.

We all know why they want voter ID laws. They want to disenfranchise democrats. There are a lot of people that don’t have photo ID’s. Elderly that don’t drive anymore, a lot of elderly don’t have birth certificates so they can’t obtain one. A lot of the poor don’t have ID’s. They don’t have drivers license because they can’t afford to own a car. A lot of students don’t have the proper ID because some states won’t let them use their student ID’s. There are plenty of people out there that don’t have them. If people would just think they would realize how difficult it can be for a lot of people. No one has any empathy anymore. What a sad country this has become.


July 30, 2012, 1:35 p.m.

MsMarie, it’s not that people do not have different types of photo id’s.  The issue is that in some states, like Texas, the proposed changes make so that even school/college photo id’s are invalid.  I agree with the use of a photo id of some sort, but not to the extent that many of these laws are taking it.


July 30, 2012, 11:38 a.m.

Barbara, I think the flaw in your logic is the assertion that there are politicians that stand for anything other than their own interests.  Despite rhetoric to the contrary, nobody gets themselves elected to government with the intent of getting themselves less authority.  It’d be like going to your boss and asking for a lower salary.

That’s the problem with a national-level voter ID law:  Once the ID is required, what else will it be required for and how will it be tracked?  Remember, it’s not too long ago when everybody you came in contact with asked for your Social Security Number to do business.

More generally, it’s worth pointing out that any law is a balance between false positives and false negatives.  In this case, that’s letting people vote illegally versus stopping legal voters.  A lack of a law allows all false positives.  Jim Crow would have many false negatives.  The question shouldn’t be “should we have to show ID,” but “what kind of law minimizes the chance of both errors?”

To Denise’s point, her situation is bad, but it’s not the fault of the concept.  It’s that the law puts too much power in the hands of someone who doesn’t care and ignores false negatives.  But you could have “weird” votes cast provisionally with a follow-up, for example, that would solve most problems.

But, as I said above, without transparency in vote-counting, none of these laws can make a difference.  Unless you can be sure your vote counted, your vote can be overturned by whoever does the counting or whoever writes/runs the program that does the counting.

Denise Chartier Dorcey

July 30, 2012, 10:45 a.m.

To those who think voter ID laws are a good idea, think about this:

Last week, I took my 18-year-old son to advance vote at our county clerk’s office. It was his first time voting. As he does not have a driver’s license (prefers to walk), ...I had verified ahead of time… that any government-issued ID would work including military dependent IDs. Being the son of a Viet Nam vet, his father and my husband served for 24 years in the military, I thought my son’s newly issued military dependent ID would allow him to vote with no problem.

Not so!

The lady at the clerk’s office made the comment that the picture didn’t look like him and hesitated to continue the voter process. I asked her if there was a problem, since he provided her with a government-issued ID. She made the comment again that it didn’t look like him. I referred her to the picture, stating that though it is a high black-and-white contrast picture, it was in fact my son. I also offered to show her my own dependent ID picture and my driver’s license to compare the two. She appeared to reluctantly accept his ID as in fact his and proceed.

The question I have is, what would have happened had I not been there?

My son, being a first time voter and rather shy, may have not said anything and accepted her not believing it was a picture of him. He may have walked away without voting and very well may have not attempted to vote again because he thought he was not acceptable.

Not the this should make ANY DIFFERENCE AT ALL, but we are a family of white, Anglo-Saxons with Christian beliefs. I worry what will happen—in my county, my state my country—to other people whose “picture doesn’t look like them” according to one person?????


July 30, 2012, 10:28 a.m.

Jerry - What a bizarre set of comments.  First, voting is NOT aconstitutional right. It does not appear in the constitution. Second, your comment that State and Federal governments don’t set aside money for elections - what is your point? Local voters elect local, state and federal candidates. Municipalities budget for it - what’s your point? Third the problem is the few states that require NO ID. How do dead people/illegal immigrants vote?
If you want to talk about unfunded federal mandates - Every time the President attends a fund raiser, States and local communities are on the hook for thousands of dollars for security. Get the campaign to pay for that and there will be more than enough money to pay for ANY form of Photo ID program.
BTW, is the President’s fund raising visit a hidden tax???


July 30, 2012, 10:10 a.m.

In the US, voting is a constitutional right. And voting is a *local* matter. There is no funding set aside from state or federal govt to pay for the cost of having an election.

Because voting is a local matter, it is paid out of local funds (which are collected via taxes). That means costs shifted from the state to the election system are an unfunded mandate on taxpayers at the local level.

Without Voter ID, people bring their existing appropriate ID (if any is needed) to vote. They are allowed to vote and their vote is counted. This is how the system has worked—successfully—for over two centuries.

With mandatory Voter ID, individuals are required to have a specific type of ID in order to vote. This interferes with the individual’s right to vote, but the states claim they will issue a “free” Voter ID card for those who need one. In an ideal world, people would simply have their “Voter ID” card and use it for their lifetime (updated as needed). Such a card would be a de facto National ID card. However, there exists no such National ID card in the US (yet).

Due to the lack of such an ID card, the unwillingness to create yet more bureaucracy and paperwork, and primarily to save money, states chose instead to *permit* the substitution of an *existing* ID card in lieu of a “real” Voter ID card. One example would be a state-issued driver’s license.

But, all that does is mean the cost of issuing Voter ID cards is reduced—not eliminated. People are still required to have one of a limited type of ID—one they might not have (non-drivers). Thus, they have to go and get the *specified* ID they did not need previously (but do need in the future—purely to vote, no other reason).

Because this Voter ID is a cost borne by the local govt and/or the state system, it is an *extra* cost added to taxes.

Voter ID is a tax increase.

And everyone thought conservatives were *against* tax increases….


July 30, 2012, 5:28 a.m.

The former president of the Florida Republican party has publicly admitted the agenda of the party is to disenfranchise voters they believe to be Democratic voters.


July 29, 2012, 5:03 p.m.

The law in CT must have changed in the past few years. When I lived there, the requirement was for a photo ID to vote. I lived there for 20 years and never heard of a concern raised about “discriminating”. The State should make it very easy and inexpensive (or no cost) to obtain a photo ID. Then there should be minimal problems.
There is a problem when a young white male (looking nothing like the AG) can go to Eric Holder’s place of voting and be given his ballot by simply asking for it.


July 29, 2012, 4:35 p.m.

Suevon….I live in CT also, you don’t really need a Drivers License for an ID you can use a Social Security card, a bill with name and address etc…but my mother went to vote the year this past and was told she had to show a picture ID she did not have one never drove we tried to explain to them ask to show ss card or Medicare card they gave her a hard time shows how much the people checking you in know. They were wrong.. Funny I was just reading the requirements of the Connecticut ID Law….If you need ID have your bills, SS card, Medicare Card EBT card Rent receipt etc Why make people go to extremes when some of or most of these show who you are because they check up on you to get them.


July 27, 2012, 3:10 p.m.

The effort (and money) expended in fighting photo ids for voting could have been directed at making sure all those who wanted a photo id to vote had one.  It makes me suspicious as to their true motives.

Another solution would be to have photo id creation available when these individuals show up to vote.  They show a utility bill, etc., get their picture taken, slap it on an “official” plastic card and they can vote.

Also,these individuals who have no way of getting to a place that can issue a photo id somehow have means to show up to vote.


July 27, 2012, 9:48 a.m.

It seems odd that conservatives who have traditionally championed individual rights and have resisted government intrusion into people’s lives now want laws requiring official documentation of its citizens if they are to be allowed to play any role in deciding how we want to govern ourselves.

If someone chooses to live as self-sufficiently as they can, they may be giving up their right to weigh in on whether such independence will be tolerated in this country. Perhaps the threat of terrorism has made required intrusion into our lives for the purposes of sorting us out from the bad guys inevitable and acceptable to people who once resisted it as a threat to individual freedom.

Politics, I guess, always demands compromise.


July 27, 2012, 9:45 a.m.

It seems odd that conservatives who have traditionally championed individual rights and have resisted government intrusion into people’s lives now want laws requiring official documentation of its citizens if they are to be allowed to play any role in deciding how we want to govern ourselves.

If someone chooses to live as self-sufficiently as they can, they may be giving up their right to weigh in on whether such independence will be tolerated in this country.

Politics, I guess, always demands compromise.

Andy from Beaverton

July 26, 2012, 9:55 a.m.

There are 190 recognized countries, ONLY 4 DO NOT REQUIRE IDENTIFICATION.  Doesn’t anybody read anymore or do they just ignore facts?

The following is from
Harvard Law & Policy Review 3,2 (Summer 2009)
Is Everyone Else Doing It? Indiana’s Voter Identification Law in International Perspective
Frederic Charles Schaffer* Tova Andrea Wang**

Countries that do not require identification include Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom (with the exception of Northern Ireland). In Norway and the Netherlands, voters are required to present identification only if it is requested by a poll worker. In Switzerland, every registered voter is sent a registration card prior to an election, and if the voter brings her registration card to the polling place, no additional identification is needed.

K. Hamele

July 25, 2012, 5:14 p.m.

“Football mentality” indeed, like PSU athletics, victimizing people who can’t fight back. All in the name of privatizing every government everywhere. The fraud in US elections is in the counting, not the balloting. All this noise about people voting illegally is to cover camouflage the real crime: We are so screwed.


July 25, 2012, 4:28 p.m.

This is voter suppression!  We seam to have a football mentality in our politics, what ever it takes to win! Doesn’t matter whose rights we have to take away, as long as our side wins. But here is the problem, when that happen we ALL LOOSE! It is only a matter of time before we are all in that loosing side! To protect the disadvantaged right to vote, is to protect YOUR right to vote! It is JUST THAT SIMPLE!

Paul Moen

July 25, 2012, 2:59 p.m.

Why don’t those of you who, “know” of cases of voter fraud notify the officials so that the frauders can be prosecuted.  I have a birth certificate.  What does that prove?  I could give it to a friend of about my age and it wouldn’t prove that the certificate applied to him.  It has a footprint of a few-hours-old baby but . . . . .  With regard to my need to prove my existence in other matters, the constitution does not address any of that but it does say that if I am 18, I can vote.  It puts no other requirements on me.  I wish the current effort would be directed toward making it easier for more people to vote.  The current efforts would seem to make it more difficult for some to vote and that, by itself, should cause this effort to fail.


July 25, 2012, 2:49 p.m.

To Steve. You really need to get your head out of the sand. I know you would never read Fox News but you might just want to occasionally check. There is an article today titled “Drug money funds voter fraud in Kentucky”. You might also want to check pending voter fraud cases across the country. I lived in a state that required photo ID for many years. I cannot remember a single instance of complaints about “voter suppression”. How do you find voter fraud if no identification is required?

BTW, I went to pick up a small package at Walmart today. Guess what - I had to show a photo ID. There is almost nothing you can do without a photo ID.
You progressives consider yourselves the Anointed. Anyone who disagrees just can’t understand your superior intelligence and logic.
Your hero has already destroyed the economy of this country in just 4 short years


July 25, 2012, 1:10 p.m.

Here’s the, you should pardon the expression, elephant in the room. 

There have been only a handful of cases of voter fraud in the last several years.  There is absolutely no evidence that non-citizens or people whose voting rights have been suspended aren’t sufficiently deterred by the laws in every state making casting a vote you are not legally entitled to vote a felony punishable by prison time. 

There is, in short, absolutely no evidence that we have a problem that need’s solving.  And yet here we have the Republican Party, the party that purports to just hate, hate, hate bureaucracy and “intrusive big government” and “wasteful spending” demanding that we spend tens of millions expanding the bureaucratic burden on ordinary citizens, taking down names and addresses all to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. 

Anyone who looks that that anomaly is compelled to conclude that there is another agenda.  And to determine what that agenda might be, one need only look at which part of the electorate is most likely to find these laws sufficiently burdensome to just take a pass on exercising their fundamental right to vote.   

The entire Republican argument is transparently pretextual.  And they get away with it because or media culture insists on treating Republican arguments that are self-evidently made in bad faith as being serious and avoiding asking question that might tend to expose that fact.


July 24, 2012, 7:57 p.m.

If all States enacted similar voting requirements and all demanded a photo ID for proper and necessary recognition. Then only legally registered and qualified voters would be allowed to vote. This would eliminate most voting fraud activities. Legitimate voters would not be disenfranchised by ‘Chicago’ Style voting fraud.

Jerry Buerge

July 24, 2012, 5:06 p.m.

The only way to prevent dead folks, illegal’s, non-existent or disguised people from voting is to require ALL voters to leave a finger print behind that will allow the authorities to put them in jail should they vote without the authority to do so. That is, as long as there is no tampering with the official records of the jurisdictions involved.

A photo ID, legal or otherwise can be faked, legitimized and authentic in every respect including a voter being fully vetted and listed on the voter roster in MORE than one jurisdiction, all without detection as long as that vote is cast year after year in most systems.

Fingerprints can be easily compared with a standardized technique that is cost effective and tolerable.

Physical disguise can easily produce multiple photo IDs that will pass any test you can create if enough yet minimal effort is invested to establish official documentation to permit their use at multiple locations.

Therefor, the current demand for photo IDs is nothing more than an open invitation to wholesale fraud and will simply delay the adapt ion of realistic measures to solve a problem that does not realistically exist in most jurisdictions.

Suevon Lee

July 24, 2012, 4:13 p.m.

Mr. Brockman,

Under existing Connecticut law, there is no requirement for registered voters to show ID, except first-time voters who didn’t provide valid ID upon registering. Even then, a photo ID is not specifically required. Please see this link for more information:

Suevon Lee

Ken H

July 24, 2012, 3:53 p.m.

The New York Times study found that 86 out of 120 cases they investigated resulted in convictions. That’s 71.6% of the cases showing VOTER FRAUD.

Pull your head out of the sand, people! Voter fraud is happening, and it is REAL.

Al Brockman

July 24, 2012, 3:38 p.m.

If you’re going to report on Voter ID laws, GET THE FACTS RIGHT. You state that “But prior to the 2006 election, no state ever required a voter to produce a government-issued photo ID as a condition to voting”
You are wrong. I lived in Connecticut for a number of years until 2001. For quite a while,  had to produce a driver’s license in order to vote. There may have been other states.
I all the years that CT had a Voter ID law, I never saw a single instance of anyone showing any “voter suppression”


July 24, 2012, 12:56 p.m.

With today’s technology, there are better means than photos id’s.  There should be a system based upon biometrics; either finger print matching or some other means.

Only US citizens who are alive and breathing should be allowed to vote. The “fact” that only a “few” cases of fraudelent voting has occurred doesn’t hold water.  There have been many close elections decided by a handful of votes.  Fear of voter fraud undermines confdence in our system.

Unfortunately, disenfranchisement has and will always exists, for example, non-ambulatory people and in particular, the very elderly.  Nevertheless, technology should be installed to put an equitable end to this argument once and for all.  (sames argument applies to voting machines)

Steve Gilbert

July 24, 2012, 12:52 p.m.

With today’s technology, there are better means than photos id’s.  There should be a system based upon biometrics; either finger print matching or some other means.

Only US citizens who are alive and breathing should be allowed to vote.

Unfortunately, disenfranchisement has and will always exists, for example, non-ambulatory people and in particular, the very elderly.  Nevertheless, technology should be installed to put an equitable end to this argument once and for all.


July 24, 2012, 9:17 a.m.

(Not the other one…the usual one that rambles for pages…)

First, I don’t see a problem with an ID requirement, as long as there’s no burden in getting the ID.  And by “no burden,” I mean we spring the twenty bucks (or whatever) for the homeless guy who wants to vote ON THE SPOT at the voting station.

Keep in mind that this is 2012, after all.  I can have an accurate model of the Statue of Liberty custom-printed for me in under an hour.  An ID doesn’t need to be expensive, or even something the voter takes home.

Along similar lines, a point system (like everybody else in the world uses) would also work fine.  An EBT card and a bank statement should be fine.  Add in attestations (under threat of perjury), as in, “these people (who have valid ID) say this is where I live,” and I think it can work without much burden to anybody.

However, that’s only a fraction of the problem.  Really, how many non-residents can you really sneak into a polling place and how many elections can that swing?

The remainder of the problem is that the government needs to make the counting process transparent, from bottom to top.

Here’s the thing, a million years ago, before voting was industrialized (and it’s still like this in a few small towns, here and there), each “counting” point posted its interim results where anybody could see them.

If your district has a hundred people in it, and three hundred voted, or if everybody you know votes solidly for one party and the other candidate wins, it’s clear that something’s wrong.  Likewise, the town counts need to match the districts, the county the towns, the state the counties, and the country the states.

If the government can’t provide this, then it doesn’t matter how many illegal voters there are, because it’s trivial to steal the election AFTER the vote.  And since it’s well-known that the Diebold (or whatever their name is, this week) machines are easy to hack, that possibility is kind of a big deal.

Think about your web browser when you make a purchase.  Yes, Amazon or whoever needs to make absolutely sure that you’re you, but you also need to make absolutely sure that they are who they say they are.  Authentication needs to go both ways, or it’s useless.

1.  Good ID laws are good.
2.  Burdensome ID laws are bad.
3.  No voting law is relevant unless counting the votes is transparent.

Jimmy Wingnut

July 24, 2012, 8:56 a.m.

Someone earlier posted that those who can’t differentiate between a kitchen cabinet and a can of soda should not be allowed to vote. I couldn’t agree more. If that were the rule, Obama would win by a Saddam Heussein like margin.


July 24, 2012, 8:54 a.m.

To the commenter who said it would take that elderly woman 200.00 for an ID, then your state has crooks in offices such as ID offices and is committing fraud and theft. You need to turn them in to Dept. of Justice and your local District Attorney.
That said, you better wake up and open your eyes to the things citizens HAVE to have an ID for to have. Just about everything here in Okla.
Is the point of this is to leave the door unlocked to let thieves come in and take EVERYTHING?
Geez, even the bible warned about that! More logic than then greed the size of the titanic, and it is going DOWN.
WHY aren’t such people being helped? Or do you really not care and cover it up with babble?


July 24, 2012, 8:06 a.m.

John… the European Union does not require every citizen to carry ID on them at all times. Laws concerning ID vary throughout the EU, just like it does in the US. Looking at the comments, its amazing how ignorant we are of the conditions that the poor in our country live in. So many of you live right next to them and have no idea. The US has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the democratic world. We love to fly the flag and cheer our veterans, but many of us can’t be bothered to do the one thing that our veterans were fighting for. The US also has practically no voter fraud whatsoever. It is a non-issue dressed up to hide the true motives of the people pushing it.


July 24, 2012, 8:02 a.m.

I have talked to several people who are being cut out by the PA law.  One had only his birth record, which his parents never filed to turn it into a birth certificate, and being disabled, it’s non-trivial for him to navigate the process of filing it, waiting, and then coming back to try (again) to get an ID.  Another has a mother who was born in a sharecropper shack in the south, and her birth certificate was that the family carved her name into a tree outside the door.  Another young woman had to spend $95 for a birth certificate, because she was born in an army hospital in a base that is now closed, and some minor details were mis-spelled, meaning that a database search would not pull it up, so she had to pay for a hand search of all of the records from several closed bases. Many students in our state do not understand why some college ID’s will work (because they have expiration dates printed on them, or officially added) while others will not (no expiration dates, or unofficially added).  Ditto people with nursing home ID’s (who ever heard of a nursing home ID with an expiration date?  That’s macabre.) They will be surprised when they get to the polls.

Please note that in all cases, these are not the “freeloaders” that some folks like to complain about—these are people who worked hard, paid their own way, and never found a need to have state-government issued photo ID before. They have social security cards, they go to school, to work, pay taxes, and there is ZERO suspicion that they are anything other than US citizens (their family trees go back generations in the US). But getting an ID for voting is somewhere between an expensive burden and a near-impossibility. True, for 93-96% of society, showing an ID is no problem.  But elections are commonly decided by a few percentage points—and unlike everything else that we use ID’s for, voting is a right, not a privilege.


July 24, 2012, 7:56 a.m.

My late mother never drove a car, hence, no license; never had a credit card or checking account; never traveled abroad, hence, no passport; but resided at the same address for 43 years and voted in every election until her death.  It’s doubtful she would have been able to do so in some states today.  When I took up residence in my home 22 years ago, I signed a form the signature on which is compared with one I must provide at each election to obtain a ballot.  Unfortunately, I have since been aflicted with essential tremor which renders my current signature very different from that provided two decades ago.  Would some require I bring a medical certificate to substantiate the condition?  My driver’s license issued four years ago pictures me clean shaven.  I have since grown a beard.  Must I shave or get a new license at a cost of $150 to vote?  Those so quick to embrace the obsticles being raised to the exercise of our most precious right as citizens should consider we are not all identical peas in the same pod.


July 24, 2012, 6:38 a.m.

Senior citizens who receive Social Security Checks must do so by direct deposit to a financial instution, How did they get an account or even the check. It is time just get one and quit the crying, dead men do not count any more nor will illegals…......

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Get Updates

Our Hottest Stories