So, here I am…back in the United States of America after a couple of long, but overall incredible weeks studying in Spain. Since returning home, I have been focused on “re-Americanizing” myself. I have caught up on all my American cuisine, television shows, and all the latest news. I have also found that there is no better way to feel American than to continue my study of the American government.
The other night my dad and I were discussing current news in America, and I was describing the AP Government class’ latest units that have been focused on public opinion, the decline in voting, the current strength of political parties, and the importance of polling. After finding out that I have been learning about voter participation and public opinion, my dad began explaining a rising controversy in our country that is connected to all that we have been studying.
My dad went on to explain that the Voter ID Law is an attempt by many states to prevent voter fraud. If enacted, this law would require voters to present some form of identification when they show up to the polls. According to Wikipedia, voter fraud can constitute as illegal voter registration, intimidation at polls and improper vote counting, and the states feel that all of these things can ultimately affect election results . However, after the Justice Department deemed this law unconstitutional, a debate arose.
So what exactly is the big controversy behind this law?
Well, let me break it down for you.
On the left side, the Obama Administration is arguing that laws like the Voter ID law would disenfranchise lower-income families and minorities because it would be difficult for them to obtain a form of identification. The Administration is also saying that an ID law would continue to decrease voter participation within the minorities groups. The administration also believes that the country needs to focus on increasing all around voter participation and not just among majority groups. The last argument is based on the belief that because affluent people, who tend to be more conservative, would have an easier time obtaining identification, they would continue to be able to vote and possibly skew the vote towards the right.
The other side of the debate contends that the identification law is the only way to prevent voter fraud. They believe that voter fraud is rampant in urban, poorer sections, and the only way to prevent that is to require everyone to present some form of government identification when they show up to vote.
No one can deny that both sides have solid arguments; however, may be it is much more difficult for those in poorer communities to obtain government issued ids, but then again, if voter fraud is actually happening the states need to find a practical way to prevent it so that the election results are much more valid.
We also may consider if voter fraud is even occurring. Is this a problem that we even hear about, or as Justin Levitt, author of Truth Behind Voter Fraud, has put it, is voter fraud just a “scapegoat…in the aftermath of a close election?” Maybe maybe states are, in fact, concerned that voters are committing actual fraud, or maybe they are just crying “wolf” to a problem that is not actually there. But what do you think?
For more information visit: Truth Behind Voter Fraud