Tuesday, April 29, 2008

If you are who you say you are, prove it!

Put your fake IDs away! To vote in Indiana next Tuesday, you’re gonna need the real thing. The Supreme Court Monday upheld an Indiana law passed in 2005 that requires voters to show a government issued photo identification when voting at the polls, a decision that many young people need to be aware of going into next week’s primary.

Why this decision is a good one: Requiring identification is intended to prevent voter fraud. Voters can no longer show up at the polls and simply say who they are and sign that name because this system could allow a person to vote multiple times under multiple aliases. By requiring proof of identification, the law will ensure that every person gets only one vote. That’s the democratic way, after all!

Why this decision is a bad one: Even though voters can choose to show a driver’s license, a passport, or a free government issued voter ID card, it is still a concern that this law will discriminate against many elderly and minorities. Some people in these categories may not have a driver’s license or a passport and may not have the means to get the free voter ID card, an unfortunate circumstance that would prohibit them from voting. It also could affect the youth negatively. The ID presented must have the voter’s current address. Youth are more inclined to move regularly, and unless their ID reflects this move, their voting right will be denied (college students excluded).

It is a complicated, multi-sided issue that is reflected in the Supreme Court’s 6-3 vote. Seeing as we are a youth voting initiative and obviously want as many youth to vote as possible, here’s our question: Do you think that the voter ID law will affect how many youth vote on Tuesday? Do you think turnout would be higher if IDs were not required?

Moral of the story: Don’t forget your IDs on Tuesday Indiana!