Strict Voter ID Laws are necessary
A vigorous debate sprung from a panel discussion on new voter registration laws at the ABA Annual Meeting on Aug. 5, 2012. One of the principal issues in the examination was the voter identification requirement that is now endorsed beyond 30 states. The panel was conducted by Ashley Taylor, an associate at Troutman Sanders in Richmond, Va. , and involved South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson; Gerald Reynolds, general adviser for a utility in Louisville, Kentucky; Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns for the National Council of La Raza in Washington, D.
C. ; Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Benjamin Griffith, associate at Griffith & Griffith in Cleveland, Miss. , and managing editor of the first and second editions of “America Votes. ” ( Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) In most states that have passed this law, the chosen identification is one made by the Department of Motor Vehicles. But more than 20 million persons have no such proof of identity.
Many people do not have the birth certificate or social security card needed to obtain a license or government-issued identification from the Department of Motor Vehicles. According to the presiding officer of this organization, everyone is affected. She states that women are extremely affected due to name changes that are encountered by marriage or divorce. Some legal experts are alarmed that the new voter laws will lead to restraint of the minority vote. Limitations on early voting, remarkably withholding back the Sunday before the election, have emotional impact blacks because churches often appealed to congregants to vote on that day.
Advocates of these laws, however, argue that they protect voters from deceptive practices. In South Carolina (DMV South Carolina State), voter identification requirements were adopted to help inspire confidence in the electoral system. “Every time someone commits fraud, it dilutes the other votes,” Wilson said. He pointed out that identifications are required for check cashing, admission on an airplane, and obtaining of prescriptions; the importance of voting arguably exceeds the significance of these activities. The panel discussed one solution to the problem some individuals have with getting identification.
Everyone could receive a government-issued identification card that would be good from state to state free of charges. “We’ve never had a debate on what could displace what is on the state level,” Arnwine said. No matter what side of the debate panelists were on, all agreed that no one should have to fight for the right to vote. “The integrity of the voting system should be a nonpartisan endeavor,” Martinez-De-Castro said. “If voter fraud is a real problem, we need to figure out ways to deal with that, and the magnitude of the response should match the magnitude of the problem. ”