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What do you think about voter ID laws?

In the 1950s and ’60s, groups of students like you were the driving force behind the push to outlaw discrimination at the voting booth.

The resulting law, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, did away with practices meant to “deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” These practices included poll taxes and literacy tests, which were historically used to disenfranchise black voters in the South. States with a track record of discrimination were barred from making any change to their voting laws without first getting the approval of the federal government.

Flash forward 40 years and the landscape is vastly different. Fears of terrorism after Sept. 11, combined with a get-tough approach to curbing illegal immigration (specifically in states on the Mexico border), resulted in a swath of new bills requiring voters to show identification at the polls. According to the National Council of State Legislatures , 700 voter ID bills have been proposed in 46 states since 2001. Of those, laws have been passed in 12 states: Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Washington.

The right to vote in America has not always been all-inclusive. When the Constitution was ratified, only white male property owners over the age of 21 could vote. In 1856, the property-owning requirement was eliminated. In 1870, the right to vote was granted to African American men (but not women, who achieved suffrage in 1921). Nevertheless, discriminatory practices at the polls persisted. In 1965, Congress passed The Voting Rights Act, which banned racial discrimination in voting and outlawed any attempts to suppress the votes of minorities.
These laws are hotly debated, since voting-rights advocates view them as a means to restrict access to the polls. What if a citizen did not drive, and didn’t own a non-driver’s license photo identification – such as a state ID or passport? But proponents argue that these forms of identification are easy enough to get and that the interest in preventing fraud at the polls – and ensuring that voters are whom they claim to be, and are indeed eligible to vote – is greater.

This year, another crop of state legislatures are proposing voter ID bills, including Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. In addition, Colorado wants to strengthen its law to require not just ID, but also proof of citizenship, when registering to vote.

Texas and South Carolina are two states on the restricted list in the 1965 Voting Rights Act; if their bills are passed, any change they make must be cleared by the federal government before going into effect. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has fast-tracked the vote on bill, declaring it an emergency and saying “the integrity of the ballot [is] critical to the people of Texas.”

Opponents say that the bill will make it harder for low-income Texans and senior citizens to vote, and that there is no evidence that fraud – by illegal immigrants, or others  – is a problem.

What do you think?

Do voter ID laws violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965? Does the need to protect against voter fraud take priority? Do you think the laws would be effective in doing so? Do the laws discriminate against seniors and low-income citizens? Join the discussion!
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john marshall
I think that they shouldn't try to take the right to vote form people that already have the right because, it's not going to be fair for thet other preson. i think they should take the right to vote form people that have been in jail before. them should be tht pelople that shouln't vote . It was a good idae for them to let woman vote because they just as good as man.

Cleveland Ohio
Deborah V.
John Marshall
I think having women to vote is a good idea because having just men it will still have less voters. I like it when everything and everyone change because i think anyone had a right to vote but it not right when some people cant. i think everyone has their rights to vote. I think voting is for any country or state because more the votes the better.

Jordan B
Mr. Galante
Voter fraud is not a serious enough problem yet to require all citizens to have an ID in order to vote. Many American citizens do not hold a government issued ID or drivers license, and until the government finds an easy way to issue an ID to everyone, they should not be required to have one in order to vote. Not having a drivers license should not take away someone's rights and prohibit them from voting. Some citizens who cannot afford cars and a driver's license, are the ones who need the most help and should be able to speak out and vote for someone who will help them, not be ignored and denied their right to vote. Unless voter fraud becomes a significant problem, requiring citizens to hold identification in order to vote would not be worth the trouble, as many people would be unable to vote until they were able to obtain an ID

Mr. Galante
Photo ID is a must, when it comes to elections because there is always a chance of identity theft. The results of th election should not be swayed by the same person voting more than once, but by what the general population wants

nasnville tn
steven decator
all must have a photo id, there is no reason not to. if you think so just dont vote


David B.
Bradley/Nimitz, Irving/Tx
In today's society, we have many flaws. Reliability and responsibility are just a few of them. By responsibility I mean how the U.S. Government is unable to keep track of the number of illegal immigrants and frauds being slipped by them. I mean they shouldn't be able to vote for another country's leaders if they are not a citizen let alone illegally immigrated to the country. Picture identifications are a very good idea to keep them at bay.


Stephanie S.
Bradley/ Nimitz, Irving/ Texas
I think that since the terrorist attack of September 11th in the United States is alright to have different ways to make sure of who people are and their intentions in our country, it has nothing to do with being racist to ask for a valid ID such as a Driver license or anything with your picture on it, its more as a security to all American citizens and for all the nation we should always have a valid ID with us and that for me that does not sound racist at all. I believe if somebody wants to be part of the elections having an ID should not be a big deal since most of the time is easy to have one, this does not mean that we don't care about the struggle of the teenagers on the 60's, this means that we want a better and secure country.


Aaron M.
Bradley/Nimitz, Irving, TX
I do not believe that showing your ID is against the Voting Rights Act of 1965. However I do understand that elderly people, and/or people who no longer have a valid ID will be able to vote. The solution to this would be to have voting requirements based on two factors, both of which can be used to identify yourself: Driver’s license and/or your Social Security Number. For this to work however, the SSN would have to be linked to a past driver’s license or some other form of recorded ID to ensure that the person presenting the SSN did not obtain the number in an illegal (or even legal) way. The person presenting the SSN should be required to submit all information linked to the SSN, meaning name, address, as well as any other information that may be linked to the number. As for the protection against fraud, it’s ridiculous to think that people who are not citizens of the United States are voting in the elections. As far as we know, the number of people who are voting illegally cost certain nominees the election. I think that, as long as the law is fair, meaning either a photo ID or SSN, it would be effective. On top of that, the law would not discriminate against seniors/low-income citizens, as all citizens are given a social security number.


Braedly, Nimitz High School , Irving Texas
It is true that the United States government is not allowed to make laws that discriminate voters, but the government also has the right to take caution with procedures such as voting. The fear of terrorist has reason in the past years in the United states by people such as, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, who had almost succeed in destroying a United States Government buildings, and almost killing American citizens. I believe the voter ID law is not sufficient to protect public voters from a terrorist attack(s), because a terrorist can easlely obtain a ID. Some terrorist have entered the United State illegally, but some have come in with a visa. Just as easely that a terrorist can get in to our nation with a visa, they can obtain a ID card just as any Us citizen, but one thing they can not easely obtain is a social security card. The social security card is only given to true us citizens by the government to people who where born in the united states, or have become us citizen. I believe that the Voter ID laws should be changed. Instead of asking a person who desires to vote to show a photo ID for proof of citizenship, the Voter ID laws should allow only a person with a social security card and two photo identifications to vote. By also making the change to the law the elderly people of the United State can vote with ease in comparison to the Id law that abstain some of them from voting. In addition to the changes, the government should also enforce city police officers to check people before entering the parking to show their their required materials to vote. If a person or people would fail to have the objects the officer should have the right to immediately search the suspect(s) in a vehicle to help confirm the safety of all the people in the voting area. If the suspect(s) is or are not a threat to the voters, they should be ask to leave the premises immediately and should not be allowed to returnee unless they return with their social security card and two photos that include their name to help prove their identity. By making similar or better security law and precaution can we fully secure our American Citizens while voting.


Katy P
Bradley/Nimitz, Irving/Tx
The voter ID laws are causing such a commotion that I believe is unnecessary. All they are asking you to do is simply provide a photo identification as you cast your ballot. It is just an insurance step to determine whether or not you are a resident, and you are who you say you are when you are casting your vote. The concern about voter participation dropping to me is simply irrelevant. If the people who are wanting to put their vote in for a certain person or cause they truly care about and believe in, surely they would not think that providing an ID is such a major inconvenience. What if a person was to lose an election by one vote. Let's say that the deciding vote was invalid and could have been prevented had they used photo identification in the voting process. Does it seem like such a huge amount of effort to provide a photo in this case? “Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, said photo identification is needed in everyday life, and requiring it at the polls would allow people to feel more confident in the process.” The needs of having a photo ID today are endless. You need them to cash checks, get copies of birth certificates, etc. So having a photo ID for voting would not be an inconvenience.


Demi S
Bradley, Nimitz High School, Irving, Texas
Although the voter ID law would sufficiently decrease the amount of illegal immigrants taking part in the voter process, which may be thought of as a high achievement to some, it will also decrease the amount of voters drastically; which will be thought of as a huge failure to all. With the whole point of campaigning wrapped around the solid idea of reaching out and motivating the public to vote, it would be irrational to suddenly change that goal because of a law that will undoubtedly refrain votes. This law automatically complicates the entire voting process, making it too time consuming and leaving only the extremely passionate to vote. Seeing as the extremely passionate do not represent the view of the entire population, it would be unjust to base the election solely off of what they see fit. Through this law, many elderly, who are important voters, will be left out because of no longer possessing ID's. Teenagers, the future generation, who have just turned of age to vote will be left out if they have not yet gone to get their ID. Along with the elderly and teenagers, many others will be left out or simply not wish to go through the extra measure to vote. I, personally, do not think it is proper to stop or hinder all the people who wish to vote simply because of a discrimination upon immigrants.


Sharon J
Nimitz Bradley, Irving, Texas
The ID voter laws hinder the right to vote for a group of Americans. Requiring identification makes voting difficult, if not impossible, for the the elderly or the poor who can't afford a “proper form of identification”. The law is similar to those brought into affect after the civil war that were produced for the purpose of keeping a group of Americans (freed slaves) from voting. A group that could sway election outcomes. By keeping a specific subgroup of Americans from voting you change voting outcomes from the true wants of Americans to the wants of Americans with the proper identification.

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