The case for voter ID

By Anne K. Deupree

Yesterday I went shopping in spite of my knowledge that people would be armed with a valid photo ID.

They seemed to have no compunction about showing the thing to other people. One man cheerfully showed his at the pharmacy when he asked to buy cold medicine. A woman showed hers to some nosy person who wanted to see it in order to accept her check. I have even heard of people producing theirs to buy beer or cigarettes.

They didn’t even seem like members of some sort of privileged class. I even have one, even though I fit into a couple of the categories that allegedly have problems getting one.

I wonder about the common sense of those who get hysterical about the idea that people should have to show one in order to vote. Their energies would be better spent in finding and aiding eligible voters who have genuine troubles getting one instead of questioning the motives of their fellow citizens who think voting is even more important than getting on an airplane.

I definitely wonder about their sense of history. To say that voter fraud “has not been shown to exist” is only possible if you think that history started sometime around last Tuesday.

When you’re pushing an idea so opposed to experience and common sense, you have to meet a pretty high standard of proof.

Unfortunately, those who are scared silly at the photo ID requirement can’t, so they resort to yelling Jim Crow instead. 

[Ms. Deupree’s letter appeared in the morning’s Des Moines Register. Last week, they ran the Doonesbury comic strip which ridiculed those in favor of voter ID. Thanks to Ms. Deupree for her perspective.]


  1. Lisa Bourne on July 31, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Clearly, those against voter ID requirements have not-so-good things at the forefront for motivation. The fact that so many innocuous requirements for an ID exist in our world renders the whole violation of civil right argument without merit.

    • quinersdiner on July 31, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Good point.

    • illero on August 1, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Agreed! The whole argument against voter idea is specious. And while I respect the problems with tying voter ID to absentee voting, I’m sure that problem is solvable.

  2. johnatprairiemeadows on July 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

    There’s really only ONE reason to be AGAINST voter identification at the polls … because it means you can CHEAT more easily.

    • quinersdiner on July 31, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Makes sense to me.

    • illero on August 1, 2012 at 9:27 am


  3. joe on July 31, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I was under the impression you had to show an I.D. when you used your food stamp card; if these people are that bad off, you know they are getting some kind of government assistance that requires and I.D. to access. The only way they aren’t going to take advantage of that is if they fear getting an I.D. because they are in the U.S. Illegally.

    Although there is this scenario, a guy I grew up with, in a place and time far away ad long ago, has a 23 year old son who doesn’t have an I.D.; he never has. Doesn’t have a driver’s license, and doesn’t want one. He thinks he is somehow flying under the radar. I guess his parents haven’t told him they’ve been writing him off on their taxes.

    He quit school and lives in his parents basement. He has no intention of voting; from what I understand he thinks the man is out to get him. Perhaps the gov’t might ask him to perform jury duty or something.
    Like the ol’e song from the Kinks . . . “Paranoia, the Destroyer”

    • quinersdiner on July 31, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Thanks for writing.

    • Bob Vance on July 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      You don’t need an id to use an EBT card, which I question. I have no doubt more fraud goes on with EBT cards than voter ID.

      I always made sure I had my ID whenever I voted. At the same time, I don’t see it as much of a deterent to fraud. The most obvious problem is how would you handle absentee ballots. What would the costs be to insure all those who wanted an ID for free got one? What if you decide last minute to vote? Is a office going to be open to insure you can get your ID before the booths close?

  4. juwannadoright on July 31, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    For a prospective employee to complete a Form I-9 (which verifies his legal right to work in the U. S.) he must either present a valid passport or must present two other documents, one being a picture ID such as a Driver’s license or State-issued ID card, the other being a birth certificate.

    If we can require that to get a job, requiring ia picture ID of voters doesn’t seem like a real reach.

    However, having spent my life watching politics as played in Chicago, we should never forget:

    It’s not who votes or how he votes but who COUNTS the votes that really determines the outcome of elections.