As we grow nearer and nearer to election day (November 6), I chose to look at a controversial law that hits close to home. Recently, Pennsylvania has come under fire for its controversial Voter ID law. The law requires voters to show proof of identification through a PA drivers license, identification card, or Passport. The goal of the law is to prevent voter fraud.
The attempt of the law is to discourage voter fraud. In theory, this seems important, but looking closer, it is clear that the law will not make a significant impact on fraud at polling booths. In the 10 states that passed voter ID laws this year, there have been less than 70 voter fraud convictions in the past ten years, among 40,000,000 annual registered voters. I can’t imagine that voter fraud at that individual level is a huge concern. Unless someone is dressing up in 1000 different costumes wearing the glasses with a connected nose and mustache, I cant see individual voter fraud swaying a decision in a state. The government should focus on more severe forms of voter fraud like the interception of absentee ballots, and the hacking of voting machines. These forms of fraud have much bigger potential impact.
I personally believe that the law is unethical because of its hidden agenda. When I first heard about the law, I admit I thought it sounded like a good idea. What could be wrong with requiring voters to prove who they were. What I didn’t think about were the thousands of voters who did not have a form of identification. This law seems to target a particular group, as many of those without ID are young, poor, and of a minority. All of these groups tend to vote democrat. This law seems shockingly similar to Arizona SB 1070, the controversial law that allowed police to stop individuals for “looking like they were in the country illegally”. The commonality here is that both laws target a particular minority group. The idea here is that seemingly good natured “ethical” laws are not really what they seem, and sometimes have much more malicious agendas.
The law has almost zero potential for stopping serious cases of voter fraud, while at the same time creating more loopholes for minorities to jump through in order to vote. In a way, this law to prevent voter fraud has created a new form of fraud by making it more difficult for certain groups to vote.