I just read this article by Theodore S. Arrington, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, on the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN).
The Scholars Strategy Network seeks to improve public policy and strengthen democracy by organizing scholars working in America's colleges and universities, and connecting scholars and their research to policymakers, citizens associations, and the media.
Although I do not believe photo identification laws are justified, there are ways to implement such rules without harming anyone’s legitimate right to vote or discouraging turnout. Laws can allow for the use of a wide range of types of photo identification, as the states of Georgia and New Hampshire already do.
Allowing the use of photo student identification cards from public colleges and universities significantly expands the proportion of eligible adults with appropriate government-issued identifications. In addition, any citizens should be able to obtain an approved identification free of charge at election offices and other convenient public offices.
However, many people want to register to vote online, by mail, or during registration drives. And millions of previous voters who lack the required new kinds of identification may think they are registered only to find out otherwise on Election Day.
There is an easy corrective:
•Every early voting sites and Election Day voting places should be equipped with inexpensive digital cameras. When a person comes in to vote without mandated photo identification, election officials should take their picture and allow them to vote. The ballot could be “provisional” – but only to allow a few days for evidence of impersonation fraud to be uncovered. Otherwise, election officials would have to count the ballot without any discretion.
•After the election, the state could use the photo to make a “for voting only” identification card and mail it to the address of the voter, to be available for the next election.
He expects fraud would be discouraged, because few would risk having their picture taken in the act of a felony. And detection would be improved, because a voter who gets a new identification card in the mail could report any impersonation to authorities. In the first couple of elections, many previously registered voters would need the new photo cards, but in subsequent elections the need would be limited to new voters who register by mail, on the Internet, or in registration drives.
No one should dismiss the inconvenience to citizens of being photographed and perhaps being asked to put the ballot in a provisional voting envelope. But this compromise approach to photo identification for voters accommodates those who say they want to prevent fraud without preventing entire groups of citizens from exercising their right to vote.
He misses the point that one of the main problems is the cost of collecting the necessary documents to turn the provisional ballot into a vote. And why does the states whenever they photo a citizen not automatically transfer that image into their voter id database, if one does not already exist or is an older image?
Another improvement at the polling place would be digital poll books. This would include a photo image of the voter and a signature pad similar to store checkouts, but one that really works. This would eliminate the need for a voter id card.
NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker Technorati Tag in Del.icio.us