The facts on voter ID

This afternoon, the General Assembly will begin consideration of proposed legislation that would mandate all voters display a government-issued photo ID for in-person voting.  The good government advocates at Democracy NC have produced a fact sheet that spells out several of the enormous problems with such an idea, which we have reproduced below. You can view the original by clicking here.


It may seem like common sense to some people, but requiring voters to show a government issued photo ID before voting is a bad idea. Here’s why:

Voters choose politicians, not the other way around: Voter ID is just one voting restriction among many that politicians in states across the country are pushing as part of a partisan agenda to create laws that could disenfranchise millions of eligible voters. It’s wrong for politicians to place restrictions on eligible voters for their own personal gain.

Preventing voter fraud is important, but voter ID could disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters in the name of election integrity. In North Carolina, the State Board of Elections reports that upwards of 500,000 people may not have a driver’s license or state issued ID card. People who often move, lower?income adults, seniors who don’t drive and women who change their names after marriage are all less likely to have current ID. The bottom line is that no eligible voter should be turned away from the polls because they don’t have a certain type ID.

Voter ID unfairly impacts some voters far more than others.The new push for voter ID laws and other restrictions mirror past efforts to intentionally create barriers to the ballot box for some groups, particularly African Americans and poor whites. Whether voter ID laws are intended to discriminate or not, the truth is that they do. In North Carolina,

  • African Americans are 22% of all active registered voters, but they are 31% of the active registered voters who do not have a NC photo ID.
  • Women are 54% of active voters, but 66% of those without a NC photo ID.
  • Seniors are 18% of active voters, but 26% of those without a NC photo ID.
  • Youth are 13% of active voters, but 16% of those without a NC photo ID.

Voter ID Will Cost Taxpayers: If Voter ID is required, the state must provide free ID to anyone who doesn’t have it. That cost alone could be in the millions. If local elections boards are tasked with providing the free IDs, the cost of making those falls on county budgets, which are already strapped in this economic climate. Is Voter ID really worth increasing property taxes or diverting money from education or other needed public programs?

Hidden Costs: Even if voters who currently lack ID were given free ID, they still have to pay for the legal documents needed to get ID, such as a birth certificate or social security card. These documents can be hard to obtain and cost money. It also costs money (and time) to get to the DMV, the social security administration, or a county records department to obtain these documents. For low?ncome voters, these barriers are significant and unfair.

Does is really stop fraud? Photo ID for in person voters doesn’t stop honest mistakes or fraud caused by errors in voter registration or computer glitches. It also does not safeguard elections against voter fraud via mail in, absentee ballots (which have been shown to lead to far more fraud than in person voting). More research about voter fraud is needed so elected leaders can determine the best approach to making elections more secure.


  1. Doug

    March 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Well, your number two is quite hilarious. Let’s do sacrifice our integrity in elections. Maybe you could ask Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Vlad Putin how to run elections then.

  2. Doug

    March 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    The last point is funny too. The “mistakes” are not what we should be worried about. What concerns rational people is when you read stories of the nursing home (or group home, I can’t remember which) that signed up people en masse and then sent someone to vote for the disabled people. That is blatant fraud that could be easily caught if there were an ID present.

    I for one am fine with issuing and paying for ID’s for people who may not have one. It will allow them access to a lot more perks. They could do things like get a bank account, get a job, get welfare, get their food stamps, take an airplane to some far off place…there is a lot you can do with that ID that costs $5 and wiould be available at a multitude of DMV sites.

  3. Doug Gibson

    March 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Nice, Doug. First you object to point two, which says, essentially, “let’s not disenfranchise thousands of voters because of a handful of fraudulent ballots and a slightly larger number of apocryphal stories of voter fraud.” And then by your second comment you were reinforcing point two by citing an apparently apocryphal (or anecdotal, I can’t remember which) story of voter fraud to support your argument.

  4. Jack

    March 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    If voters are allowed to voter only if they present a valid government issued ID at the poll then voting is no longer a right but rather a privilege granted by the state.

    A privilege can be denied by the state once the state removes the right to vote. A Voter ID bill signed into law would remove the right to vote and replace it with a state controlled privilege.

  5. Doug

    March 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    But if you do not prove you are a citizen in some way, then you are infringing on a right of others. It is up to the state to protect your rights to vote. How else would they be able to do so without some ID that has a photograph that proves you are truly you. Remember, this is not 1840 when photography was a new technology…we are in 2013 when almost every device being made now has a camera and there are ample ways to mosey down to the DMV or wherever else is set up to obtain an ID.

  6. david esmay

    March 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Voter fraud is non-existent, it didn’t become an issue until the 2000 presidential election got punted to the SCOTUS. Republican fear, fanned by Karl Rove created a non crisis in order to suppress the vote.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-unger/karl-rove-super-pacs_b_1910561.html



  7. gregflynn

    March 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Some rural counties don’t have a DMV office. They are served by a mobile office that visits a single location once a month.

  8. Doug Gibson

    March 13, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Wow, Doug, you keep swinging and missing.

    You said, “But if you do not prove you are a citizen in some way, then you are infringing on a right of others.”

    Of course that’s only true if a) you’re not a citizen, or b) you’re a citizen who’s ineligible to cast a ballot. (And if it’s (b), then it’s not clear how requiring an ID will automatically help things, or prevent you from vote fraud by mail.)

    Even if (a) or (b) is true, you could claim that no harm has been done unless your vote actually decided an election. We’ve criminalized voter fraud in order to avoid even the possibility of that outcome, of course, but that doesn’t mean that we need to impose an additional burden on eligible voters, does it?

  9. Frances Jenkins

    March 13, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Georgia had 26,000 people without voter ID. It is a fear factor of Blueprint/Bluepoint to spin the number of 500,000 in NC without ID. More miniority voting and more participation resulted in Georgia in 2012. Demonization and creating fear were the practice of the day, yesterday. Nothing said happened in Georgia and it will not happen in NC. More than 70% of the people in NC want voter ID. They know first hand of voter fraud and getting an ID is not a PROBLEM. Progressive Pulse knows it is happening. PP chose not to address the 11,000 people registered in violation of NC law.

  10. Doug Gibson

    March 13, 2013 at 9:21 am


    Nobody has any proof at all that those 11,000 people were registered “in violation of NC law.” None. Republicans, in fact, seem mostly miffed that they didn’t have the same system for registering their voters. Not to mention that each and every one of them was a first-time voter, and would have had to show I.D. when they voted. You can throw that number around as much as you like, but you do not have 11,000 examples of voter fraud.

    Demonization? Show the harm caused when an eligible voter who doesn’t have an ID votes. You can’t. But you want to impose an additional burden on them, mostly because, well, you’re using numbers like your 11,000 to create fear.

  11. Doug

    March 13, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Doug Gibson, every vote decides an election. Otherwise we would not be having this discusssion. The fact is that there is voter fraud out there, read the Carolina Journal as they are the one’s that will highlight it until some Republican gets elected because of it.

    Although I am surprised that here on this blog it has not been something they try to uncover, what with the huge power swings in this state over the past several years. Probably the main reason is that the progressive clientele is the main party likely to commit fraud since there is really no rational argument against proving who you are in order to get in that voting line unless you are commiting fraud.

  12. Doug Gibson

    March 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm


    Every vote decides an election. Yes, true enough. But does the apparently illusory threat of voter fraud providing the margin of victory justify imposing an additional burden on those who are voting legally? That, in a nutshell, is the question progressives keep asking, and which conservatives keep answering with scare tactics, anecdotes, and paranoid fantasies about ACORN.

    So, here’s the thing, Doug: North Carolina has about 6.5 million voters. If the Governor and the General Assembly will make the ID requirement contingent on certifying that every single one of those 6.5 million people a) has an ID, b) knows to bring it to their polling place, and c) will be denied the opportunity to vote no matter how well known they are by their precinct judges, no matter what the color of their skin, no matter where they live – then I’m sure progressives would concede the point. But until we know that fewer honest citizens than fraudulent voters will be denied a vote over a technicality, we will oppose this measure.

    So, Doug, go on. Tell me how the state will guarantee that fewer than 23 voters will get turned away from the ballot box. Because that’s how many recent, confirmed, cases of voter fraud we have. And the burden of proof is on your side of the argument.

  13. Doug

    March 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    So you are ok with no requirements like we have now other than knowing an address and precinct? If so, can I get your name and address? I could guarantee I am at your voting place before you, and there is no way your workers will know it is me or you. I can infringe on your right, just by seeing a check you wrote….or just following you home for that matter. You say only 23, but there has been no confirmation or investigation or audit of the true nature of fraud in our election system (which is surprising that it has not been called for what with the “R” takeover in the past few years)…and that is the way progressives like it as it is easier for them to gain power. It works in places like Venuzuela, Russia, Iran and we are no better.

    Now one point I can agree on..make it as easy as possible to get the ID. What with the ability to scan documents these days you could have contractors facilitate the process in the same way you get your car inspected. They take the documents, scan them to the state, and some kind of validity check is performed, and your ID is mailed to you just like your DL. Pay like $10 an you are on your way to vote, or do all kinds of other activites that valid ID holders participate in. Heck, you could even use it when a cashier asks for ID while buying groceries, or get a bank account if you do not already have one, go to the doctor, all kinds of things. Just think of the benefits!

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