Edward White

A recent business trip got me thinking about those on the Left who oppose the movement by States to increase the security of elections by requiring people to produce photo identification (“ID”), generally a driver license or government-issued identification card, although there are other forms of permitted ID, before they can vote. As this is an election year, this issue is back in the news.

On this trip, it seemed that every time I turned around I was having to show people my ID: the TSA agent inspected it before I could get through security at the airport; the man at the car rental desk wanted my ID before I could rent a car; the lady at the hotel reception desk asked for my ID before I could check in; the guard at the courthouse asked for my ID before he would let me enter the building; store clerks asked for my ID after I handed them my credit card to buy something; and I had to show another TSA agent my ID before I could get on the plane to come home.

The more I thought about it I realized that, even when you are not traveling, you need an ID in this country for everyday events such as cashing checks, getting a loan from a pawn shop, obtaining a library card, and, depending on how old you are or how young you look, buying cigarettes and alcohol.

Yet, despite the frequent need in everyday life for Americans to display an ID, those on the Left oppose it when it comes to casting a vote. Their main claim is that it disenfranchises the poor, in particular, because obtaining an ID is a burden that discourages voting. In this claim, the Left seems to focus on obtaining driver licenses, rather than government issued photo IDs. Granted, not everyone drives so not everyone wants or needs a driver license, but that is no reason not to obtain a photo ID.

Unlike getting a driver license, you do not need to take a test to get a photo ID. All fifty States and the District of Columbia offer them to their residents who do not have driver licenses. As a general rule, to obtain a photo ID you need to provide proof of residency/citizenship and your Social Security number. There are organizations to help the poor, specifically, with the process.


Edward White

Edward White is an accomplished attorney with a 20-year legal career that includes extensive experience with federal law.