Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Point counterpoint: Voter ID is an unnecessary burden to citizens

From the College Democrats

If you followed last year’s November elections, you are all too familiar with the hectic back and forth of voter ID laws. voter ID was hung up in courts, then was going to be enforced on election day until the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately blocked it in an emergency ruling. It has been almost five months since that election and we have the opportunity now to reflect on the law with more careful deliberation and judgment, without an election looming.

U.S. Supreme Court blocks implementation of Wisconsin voter ID law

Republicans’ dominant argument is that voter ID addresses rampant voter fraud. The problem is, voter fraud isn’t a problem. Justin Levitt of the University of Loyola Law School intensively investigated voter fraud from 2000 to 2014. In the context of more than 1 billion individual ballots cast, he found only 31 cases of fraud that voter ID would address.

Another study of voter fraud from the Brennan Center for Justice at The New York University School of Law concluded, “The type of individual voter fraud supposedly targeted by recent legislative efforts—especially efforts to require certain forms of voter ID—simply does not exist.”


An examination of inflated allegations of voter fraud in Milwaukee during the 2004 election found seven counts of credible voter fraud. However, voter ID would have remedied none of these cases. Intensive research done into the topic results in the same conclusion: widespread voter fraud just doesn’t exist anymore.

Officials expect post-election return of voter ID

Furthermore, ID’s are neither easy nor free to obtain, as Republicans claim. Anyone without an acceptable photo ID will have to obtain an ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles. According to research from One Wisconsin Institute, there are 92 DMV locations in Wisconsin, which pales in comparison to the number in other states. Indiana, which is half the square mileage of Wisconsin, has 140. Of our 92, only two remain open past 5 p.m. and only three are open on weekends.

This said, it is completely unreasonable to expect a student or full-time worker to fit time into their day to venture to a DMV to obtain a voter ID. Many student IDs, including the University of Wisconsin’s, are not considered to be valid identification.

DMV locations are few and far between in many parts of the state. The time and money it takes to travel to a DMV and obtain a voter ID is just not realistic for many Wisconsinites. Expecting students and twenty-somethings to take hours out of their day to journey to the DMV for a new voter ID is an unfair expectation and not a good use of our time.

Young minorities are hit even harder. A study out of the University of Chicago and Washington University jointly concluded voter ID laws around the country could disenfranchise between 500,000 and 700,000 minority voters under the age of 30 in the 2012 elections.

It is ironic that Republicans constantly discuss the need to reduce red tape, but are suddenly in favor of tremendously expanding it on this issue. It is less ironic that the groups voter ID disenfranchises most – young people and minorities – tend to vote for Democrats.

U.S. Supreme Court turns away challenge to voter ID law

In addition to opposing Republican voter ID laws that make voting more difficult and disenfranchise citizens, Democrats are also actively making voting easier and more accessible.

Democrat-controlled Oregon recently became the first state to adopt automatic voter registration. The state also has implemented all-mail elections, in which ballots are mailed to voters instead of having a designated polling place. Washington and Colorado have since followed suit and adopted all-mail elections. These states are on the forefront of how to make voting easier and more accessible in the future.

We need to be equipping citizens with tools to cast their vote in the easiest way possible, not restricting access to voting through voter ID laws. It’s a waste of resources and, more importantly, a huge inconvenience to voters. We need to make voting appealing to the average citizen while also capitalizing on the technology from which our generation benefits.

Voting online or through text or email are real possibilities for the very near future. Pouring time and money into archaic voting restrictions is simply hindering the advancement of accessible and common sense voting strategies fitting for the modern age.

August McGinnity-Wake ([email protected]is a freshman majoring in political science and economics.

Read the counterpoint from the College Republicans:

Point counterpoint: Voter ID is a common sense measure to prevent fraud

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *