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Pros and Cons of Voter ID Laws

2 min read
Good Party Politics Team · Feb 26, 2024

One of the most controversial discussions in politics in 2024 is whether to require voters to present identification to vote in an election. Each state is allowed to set its own rules, but many argue that the country should implement voter ID laws that apply to elections in every state. Let's take an in-depth look at this important issue.

The Diversity of Voter ID Laws 

Thirty-four states require voters to show identification to vote at the polls. Even among these laws, there is great variation in what form of identification poll workers can accept. The issue is further complicated by whether voter ID is required for mail-in voting.

The following examples highlight this diversity of requirements:


In Georgia, voters must present a valid ID for in-person and absentee ballots. The ID must contain their photo. Voters can present driver's licenses, state ID cards, tribal ID cards, United States passports, or employee ID cards. They can also obtain a free identification card at any county registrar's office or any Georgia Department of Driver Services office.


In Arizona, voters must present identification to vote. If the voter's picture is on the ID, they only need one form of identification, but if the ID does not contain a photo, they must present two forms of identification.


In Colorado, voters must present a form of valid identification if voting in person. If they choose to vote with an absentee ballot, voters can be asked to send in a photocopy of their ID after turning in their ballots.


In Minnesota, voters are generally not required to show identification when voting if they have voted in any election in the last four years. If they are first-time voters or have not voted in the last four years, then they must show proof of residency.


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Pros and Cons of Voter ID Requirements

People on different sides of this issue have different reasons for their beliefs. Here, we’ll explore some of the most common arguments for and against requiring voters to present identification before voting.

Pros of Requiring Voter ID

  • Preventing voter fraud

  • Maintaining election integrity

  • Protecting the democratic process

  • Standardizing voting procedures

  • Stopping identity theft

  • Enhancing voter confidence in election results

  • Facilitating voter verification

  • Promoting fairness in elections

Cons of Requiring Voter ID

  • Potential for voter disenfranchisement

  • Disparate impact on minority communities

  • Inconvenience and accessibility issues

  • Complexity in implementation

  • Potential for voter discrimination

  • Effect on voter turnout

  • Erosion of voter privacy

Preventing Fraud or Suppressing Voters?

Voter ID laws are often touted as essential safeguards against potential fraud within the electoral process. Proponents argue that such measures contribute to maintaining the integrity of elections by ensuring that individuals casting ballots are legitimate, registered voters. 

There are a number of ways that voter ID laws can prevent election fraud, as pointed out by proponents of these requirements:

First, requiring a voter to show their ID as part of the democratic process helps to ensure that the person is registered to participate in the electoral process. This verification step establishes a direct link between the voter and their registration information, serving as a mechanism to prevent unauthorized individuals from participating in elections. Proponents argue that by confirming the legitimacy of the voter, the electoral system becomes more resilient against fraudulent activities, bolstering the overall accuracy and credibility of election results.

Second, voter ID laws ensure fair elections by preventing individuals from impersonating someone that they are not. The assurance that each voter is who they claim to be adds an extra layer of security to the election process, contributing to the overall integrity of the system and reinforcing public trust in elections.

Third, voter ID laws make it more challenging for voters to vote more than once in the same election. Their information can be recorded and shared across voting locations according to election regulations. In this way, voter ID laws act as a deterrent to potential double voting.

Finally, some proponents see voter ID laws as a way of modernizing elections. This perspective draws on the idea that requiring identification to vote aligns with the norms of other contemporary transactions where ID is routinely required, such as opening a bank account or boarding a plane. Advocates for ID requirements posit that this alignment is a crucial step towards modernizing elections, bringing them in line with the security standards and practices observed in everyday business interactions. 

However, amidst this narrative of fraud prevention, concerns arise about the potential for these laws to inadvertently lead to voter suppression. 

The contested nature of voter ID laws highlights the delicate balance between preventing fraud and safeguarding voter enfranchisement. Critics argue that stringent voter ID requirements may disproportionately impact minority groups, suppressing their ability to participate in elections. These legal challenges to voting practices underscore the ongoing debate about the dual role of voter ID laws — both as tools for fraud prevention and sources of concern for potential voter suppression.

The intersection of these factors highlights the need to strike a balance that upholds the principles of electoral integrity while ensuring equitable access to the voting process.

Examples of Contested Voter ID Laws

Below are two examples of court cases that have focused on voter ID laws:

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008) was a Supreme Court case that started in Indiana and dealt with the constitutionality of an Indiana law requiring voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls. The law aimed to prevent voter fraud by enhancing voter identification measures. The plaintiffs argued that the law disproportionately burdened certain groups of voters, particularly elderly and low-income individuals, who might face challenges obtaining the required identification. They contended that the law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the contested voter ID law. The majority, led by Justice John Paul Stevens, concluded that the state's interest in preventing voter fraud outweighed the potential burden on voters. The Court acknowledged that while there was limited evidence of in-person voter impersonation, the state had a legitimate interest in maintaining confidence in the electoral system.

The dissenting justices, including Justices Souter and Breyer, argued that the contested voter ID law imposed an unjustified burden on voters and that the state's interest in preventing fraud did not justify the potential disenfranchisement of certain individuals.

Veasey v. Perry

The case of Veasey v. Perry (2015) involved election legislation from Texas. In 2011, Texas had passed a law requiring all voters to show photo identification at the polls. While the case was working its way through the court system, legislators changed the law after listening to community-driven politics. The case, which would have made it harder for Mexican Americans and Latinos to vote, was dismissed.

The Importance of Fair Elections

Proponents of voter ID laws assert that implementing voter identification requirements is essential for maintaining the integrity of the electoral system. On the other side of the issue, opponents argue that voter ID laws make it more difficult for marginalized groups to vote, limiting their ability to participate in the democratic process. 

Overall, the debate surrounding voter ID laws sheds light on the broader conversation regarding fair elections and the nuances of election laws. All voters deserve the ability to participate in fair elections, where their voices can be heard without fraud or suppression.

Want to join the movement for electoral reform and fairer elections? Become part of the growing community of independent thinkers by joining Good Party’s Discord server or signing up for our weekly newsletter, where we’ll keep you updated on the latest news from the democracy reform movement.

Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash


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Electoral Reform
Voter Education
By Good Party Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.