Voter ID is a significant electoral reform that serves as the basis for creating a more reliable voting system. It provides more opportunities for fair elections, which reduces the risks of violations of election rules. However, this policy is one of the main problems reflecting the risks that various minorities have reduced opportunities to have their right to choose. This plays an essential role in the US presidential elections since, traditionally, Democrats and Republicans target different population categories. It is correspondingly worth noting that migrants and minorities mostly vote for representatives of the Democratic Party, which indicates the contradictions that arise. The fact is that the implementation of this policy should become the basis of security and honesty, but, on the other hand, it reduces opportunities for minorities.
This is reflected in the fact that for a Voter ID, it is necessary to have some documents that may not be available to various categories of citizens or people who have only recently moved to the United States. It is definitely important to point out that this policy is still vital for implementation in the election process, as it serves as the basis of cardinal reforms. Due to this, more criteria are created that the population must comply with in order to vote. Despite the fact that this can create various difficulties, the country’s future is much more important since it is necessary to avoid the possibility of vote tampering. However, it is essential to pay attention to the needs of various minorities for whom the introduction of a Voter ID may cause specific difficulties.
There is no unified federal approach to the issue of confirming the identity of a voter in the country. The idea of mandatory presentation of an official document with a photo at the polling station has been causing a critical discussion in the United States for more than one year, even though Republicans are mostly in favor, while their opponents mainly consist of Democrats (Kane and Wilson 398). Indiana was the first state to impose mandatory picture voter identification requirements in 2005. The Democratic Party of Marion County (Indianapolis) Central Committee promptly challenged the law, claiming that it violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution by placing an undue burden on voting rights (MIT Election Lab). These claims were dismissed by both the Federal Court of First Instance and the District Court of Appeal.
The case was reclaimed by the US Supreme Court, which held in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections that states had reflected the desire to reduce opportunities to reduce fraud in elections, thus, the requirement of approval did not contradict the laws (MIT Election Lab). However, by maintaining the Indiana law, the court unlocked the way for particular circumstances pertaining to other states’ identification card laws to be used to reject them. There are a large number of weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the voting procedure in the United States, which can be exploited by attackers, and which negatively affect the ability of US citizens to exercise their voting rights fully.
Many people lose their ability to vote as a result of too stringent photo ID rules, which restrict participation and go counter to our country’s trend of including more Americans in the political process. Many Americans lack one of the government-issued picture identity cards required by state law to vote (Kane and Wilson 398). Low-income persons, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and those with disabilities are disproportionately represented among these voters. Such voters are more likely to be unable to pay or receive the underlying documentation required to obtain a government-issued picture ID card.
As noted earlier, this policy is perceived by researchers in different ways. The main concern is mainly related to the fact that Voter ID is being promoted in order to reduce voting opportunities for minorities (Lempinen). This factor is often associated with the 2020 elections, where Donald Trump actively promoted this idea to decrease the number of votes among people of color (Lempinen). Bills to protect American elections from interference should include clauses obliging voters to present an identity card when voting, and Republicans promoted such an idea at the time. At that time, each state decided independently which type of certificate to require, and it was often enough to show an account statement. A significant part of the Democrats’ electorate are migrants who have already obtained citizenship but do not have time or do not bother to get the necessary documents, such as a driver’s license.
Moreover, the promotion of this method of voting becomes a battleground between the two parties. In addition, the researchers note that Voter ID is one of the ways to covertly regulate voters since similar precedents have been encountered before, for example, with the 19th Amendment of 1970 (Lempinen). This was reflected in the fact that the black population was granted the right to vote; however, there were other ways to limit this opportunity (Lempinen). Thus, from the side of the position, people who adhere to democratic views oppose the introduction of this policy.
This position can be understood as it genuinely shows that there are some ethical problems. The country has been developing the idea for quite a long time that everyone has the opportunity to choose a president. However, this idea is now undergoing changes, as it is under several restrictions. This issue should not be removed from the agenda, as it directly concerns the capabilities of each citizen. It is essential to introduce changes that will meet the needs and values of various population categories and political views. It is impossible to remain in a position where there is a desire to reform the electoral system only in order to reduce competition and earn a reputation dishonestly.
There are other data that show that the issue of voter identification openly affects turnout. Based on various studies, it is argued that these laws can influence the fact that voter turnout increases significantly (MIT Election Lab). This is due to the fact that a particular effect is created that affects the people against whom the policy is directed (MIT Election Lab). Thus, even this fact allows researchers to point out that there is no significant evidence of fears that the number of minority voters will decrease.
On the other hand, if we consider the idea of Republicans, which is connected with the fact that Voter ID allows increasing voters’ confidence in the elections, some contradictions arise. They are reflected in the fact that there is no evidence of a significant correlation between the strictness of identification and increased confidence in elections among voters (MIT Election Lab). It is important to note that the use of strict identification is relatively popular among voters who traditionally support Democrats (MIT Election Lab). However, on the other hand, the adoption of this idea is mostly supported by supporters of the Republican Party (MIT Election Lab). Consequently, the very essence of the problem arises precisely when there is a clear and open struggle for voters between parties in a particular state. The implementation of this policy has become the leading cause of these contradictions, which should be eradicated so that the attitude towards this law is more positive and approving on the part of the population.
However, it is necessary to understand that there are many different approaches to considering this problem despite the contradictions and disputes that arise. It is especially important to note that similar methods of voter identification exist in many countries of the world that are perceived as democratic, for example, Canada, France, Sweden, and others (Shapiro). Thus, this system is not an innovation, and there are several reliable countries whose experience can be relied on. All this may manifest itself in the fact that with proper reform of the electoral system, this system’s positive aspects and disadvantages can be taken into account in other examples of electoral systems (Shapiro). Thus, the perception of this problem should lie in a slightly different area, allowing us to focus on meeting the interests of various categories of citizens.
Returning to the main problem of the fact that Democrats assert concerns about the fact that Voter ID can have a negative impact on minority voters. However, studying this issue directly with representatives of this population group makes it possible to observe fairly reliable statistics. The article claims that various polls show that 56% of Democratic voters agree with introducing the voter identification system (Shapiro). It correlates directly with representatives of the African American population, in which 69% of people agree that the Voter ID does not pose a danger for election fraud (Shapiro). Similar statistics are demonstrated among other ethnic groups. Therefore, relying on these data, it can be noted that the population itself perceives the introduction of this voter identification system relatively positively (Shapiro). Thus, the perception of the problem itself rather lies in the plane of the struggle for power between parties interested in different outcomes of implementing this policy.
To conclude, it should be noted that the introduction of Voter ID causes much controversy both among the population and various researchers. There is much controversy regarding the use of this method of voter identification. They mainly consist of the fact that there are concerns about the impact of strict identification on the ability of minorities to exercise their right to choose. However, after conducting an extensive analysis, it was found that the population itself treats this phenomenon more positively. However, despite this, various disputes continue to arise among politicians, which affect the possibilities of full implementation of this system. Reforming the electoral system is a rather responsible step, so many variables that can affect the whole process should be considered. Even if there are the slightest fears that someone’s rights will not be respected, it is necessary to calculate various probabilities. However, the importance of introducing voter identification is reflected in the fact that it will positively impact the entire system, as it will become more reliable.
Lempinen, Edward. “Stacking the Deck: How the GOP Works to Suppress Minority Voting.” Berkeley News, 2020.
Kane, John V., and David C. Wilson. “Controversy and Costs: Investigating the Consensus on American Voter ID Laws.” Political Behavior, vol. 43, no. 1, 2020, pp. 397–421, doi:10.1007/s11109-020-09643-0.
MIT Election Lab. “Voter Identification.” Voter Identification | MIT Election Lab, 2021.
Shapiro, Ilya. “The Voter Suppression Lie.” Cato.org, 2021.