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Should An I.D. Be Required to Vote?

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Congress passed the “Voter Rights Act of 1965” that was designed to put an end to discriminatory practices used against black voters during the previous 40 years. Up until that time black voters were required to pass literacy tests before they were allowed to vote. The Act prohibited states from discriminating against any voter based on race or color.

So What’s the Big Deal?

It seems that people in the US have been able to vote for the past 60 plus years, without any problem, whether states require ID’s or not. So what’s the problem? The problem is that politics has entered the picture. One party believes that voter ID’s will become the 2012 equivalent of the literacy tests of the 1930’s and 40’s. The other party is concerned about voter fraud and would like voters to be able to prove who they are when voting.

Currently 38 states have some form of voter ID in place but only six require a government issued photo ID. Most simply require something that says you live in the district you’re voting in. A bank statement, utility bill, social security card, or paycheck with your name and address on it is all that’s needed in most states. At least five states have photo ID requirements before various courts that may or may not be in place by the November election.

Who Will the ID Requirement Affect?

No one seems to have any opposition to voter registration. Political groups all over the country put up card tables in front of every Wal-Mart and college campus in the country and register anyone they can correl.

Opponents of Voter ID Laws claim that they unduly burden the poor, disabled, elderly, students and minorities. I guess none of those groups are Wal-Mart Shoppers.

These same people who are so inconvenienced at identifying themselves at the voting booth seem to have no problem proving who they are when they open a checking account, rent an apartment, apply for government programs or drive a car.

Some Final Thoughts

We spend a lot of time talking about equality in this country. When, in actuality, we are only equal some of the time. Our lives have restrictions that make our system work. Only natural born citizens of the United States can be president. Plus you have to be 35 years of age or older, (age discrimination?), and you have to have lived in the US for at least 14 years before you can run. We have age restrictions on voting too. Eighteen in most states.

Different groups of people have access to services that others don’t. It’s not a matter of equality; it’s a matter of societal need. We need these guidelines and restrictions to make things work for the good of us all. Otherwise anyone who could reach the gas and break pedal could drive. Anyone could drink alcohol and anyone could vote as many times as they wanted. Sort of like the All-Star ballots in baseball.

Personally, I know that even given the opportunity to vote more than once, I wouldn’t do it. And I think the vast majority of people feel the same way. Win or lose we all want an honest aboveboard election.

So what’s the harm in answering two simple questions before you step in that voting booth? 1.) Who are you? And, 2.) Can you prove it?

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