Voter ID laws to prevent fraud

The right to vote is a fundamental cornerstone of our society, and to tamper or alter it in any way, shape or form, is to modify the most fundamental function of a population that is free to determine the appointment of elected leaders to public office or to choose laws for the land and the communities we live in. For a long time, it was taken as a matter of course that when you arrived at your polling station, you could basically cast your vote unmolested by bureaucratic goons.

But since 2003, over 30 (mostly Republican controlled) state legislatures have enacted some form of what’s become known as “Voter ID laws.”

The logic behind these laws is to prevent the very sinister practice of voter fraud—and to, perhaps, preserve the integrity of our most cherished societal institution.

Perhaps these measures would be justified if voter fraud were a real issue that could throw elections. But it’s funny sometimes how facts can paint a starkly different picture.

According to an in-depth study on voter fraud conducted by News21, since 2000, there have been 2,068 cases of voter fraud in the United States. If you consider how many hundreds of millions of ballots have been cast, this number is truly imperceptible.

Like teeny-weeny.

“These are major issues that won’t go away, and they effect millions of people,” said Kathleen Unger, the founder of the non-profit/non-partisan group VoteRiders. Her mission, she said, has been to spread awareness and knowledge of these onerous laws for the past ten years.

“If we’re not vigilant about how our government performs, we basically won’t have a democracy left,” Unger said.

Which is precisely why these laws are so fundamentally detrimental to the rights of voters, and therefore of all citizens. If you don’t vote, that’s your prerogative, but interfering in a citizen’s ability to try and make an impact on the issues that matter to them is worse than voter fraud. It’s voter corruption, and erodes the very fabric of our society, and that very important aspect of confidence in our system that is suffering so terribly today.

We need to be encouraging civic participation across all the different strata of society, not infecting the entire process and turning what might otherwise have been active members of society into self-absorbed cynics who think that nothing matters.

Jenna Crowley, a 21-year-old journalism student at Santa Monica College, is registered to vote; but when asked if she would be voting, she replied that she didn’t know which candidates were running for office.

“I just feel it doesn’t matter. Isn’t it just the corporations who will win the vote anyway?” she asked.

We spoke for a few minutes, and after a couple doses of straight-unadulterated common sense, she said, “I guess I have a cynical view of all of it.”