The notion that there should be a safeguard against fraudulent voting is far from controversial; in fact, recent polling demonstrates that a strong majority (80%) of Americans support voter ID requirements, with nearly nine-in-ten calling photo ID requirements “common sense.”¹ When there is no verification of a voter’s identity before allowing their ballot to be cast, it invites voter fraud which has occurred throughout the United States.² Most American citizens know that voter ID requirements are key to deterring fraud and catching would-be fraudsters.
Opponents of voter ID requirements frequently fall back to two incorrect claims to support arguments against them: that government-issued ID documents are unavailable to the economically disadvantaged, and that voter ID requirements are used to suppress voter turnout and disenfranchise portions of the electorate. The facts do not support these claims. Identifying yourself with approved documentation is required for many activities of life in the United States, such as entering a government building, cashing checks at the bank, attending the Democratic National Committee, and buying alcohol and cigarettes. While some states charge fees for the IDs they issue – the median cost being $16 – a number of states offer ID cards sufficient to prove identity for voting purposes free of charge.³ To the claim that voter ID requirements somehow constitute voter suppression, a recent study has shown that voter ID requirements have no negative affect on voter turnout.4 Far from being an outlier, this study only confirms previous research that refutes the claim that voter ID requirements suppress the vote.5 Implementing voter ID requirements do not represent an attempt to discriminate against any portion of the American electorate; rather, they are a method of upholding already-existing law that gives the right of the vote to American citizens, and only American citizens.
ACUF’s Center to Protect Voters & Their Voices believes that popular sensible voter ID requirements should be implemented throughout the United States to stop voter fraud and ensure that every American citizen’s vote is effective and protected.
²Heritage Foundation, A Sampling of Recent Election Fraud Cases from Across the United States, https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud.
³Shared Prosperity Philadelphia, Memorandum: Hardship Waivers for IDs in Pennsylvania (January 29, 2015) http://sharedprosperityphila.org/documents/Revised-ID-Waiver-Appendices-5.15.15.pdf; Michelle Bond, Other states give IDs to residents for free. Could it happen here? The Philadelphia Inquirer (September 25, 2018) https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/id-fee-identification-homeless-philadelphia-20180925.html.
4Enrico Cantoni & Vincent Pons, Strict ID Laws Don’t Stop Voters: Evidence from a U.S. Nationwide Panel, 2008-2018 National Bureau of Economic Research (February 2019) https://www.nber.org/papers/w25522.
5Benjamin Highton, Voter Identification Laws and Turnout in the United States, Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 20:149-167 (May 2017) https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051215-022822.