Monday, September 6, 2021

Possible Future Of Voter ID

Democrats in Congress are considering a Policy that was long unthinkable: a Federal Requirement that every American show Identification before casting a Ballot. But as the Party tries to Pass Voting-Rights Legislation before the next Election, it is ignoring a companion Proposal that could ensure that a Voter-ID Law leaves No one behind, an idea that is as obvious as it is historically Controversial. What if the Government simply gave an ID Card to every Voting-Age Eligible Citizen in the Country?

Voter-ID Requirements are the Norm in many Countries. But so are National ID Cards. In places such as France and Germany, Citizens pick up their Identity Card when they turn 16 and present it once they’re Eligible to Vote. Out of nearly 200 Countries across the World, at least 170 have some form of National ID or are Implementing one, according to the Political Scientist, Magdalena Krajewska.

In the American psyche, however, a National ID Card conjures images of an all-knowing Government, its Agents stopping People on the Street and demanding to see their Papers. Or at least that’s what Leaders of both Parties believe. The idea is presumed to be so Toxic that Not a Single Member of Congress is currently carrying its banner. Even those Advocates, who like the Concept in theory, will discuss its Political prospects only with a knowing chuckle, the kind that signals that the Questioner is a bit crazy. “There are only three problems with a national ID: Republicans hate it, Libertarians hate it, and Democrats hate it,” says Kathleen Unger, the Founder of VoteRiders, an Organization devoted to helping People obtain ID.

The best Argument for a National ID is that the Nation’s current hodgepodge of Identifiers, stuffs the wallets of some People, but leaves Millions of Americans empty-handed and Disenfranchised. Studies over the years have found that as many as One in 10 Citizens lacks the Documentation needed to Vote, even though States have Free State ID if you have proper Proof of Citizenship. Those who don't are disproportionately Black, Hispanic, Poor, or over the age of 65.

Opposition to National ID remains among Groups on the Libertarian Right, such as the Cato Institute, as well as Civil-Liberties Advocates on the Left, such as the ACLU. But even they Acknowledge that the Fears of an All-Knowing Government sound a bit Ridiculous in an era when Americans Freely hand over so much of Themselves to Companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. “We do have a national ID,” Michael Chertoff, a former Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, said: “It’s operated by giant tech companies, where every place you are, everything you do, everything you search for is recorded in some fashion and integrated as a matter of managing your data. We’re locking the window, and we’ve got the front door wide open.”

The idea of linking Voting to a Single ID Card was not always so far-fetched. In 2005, a Bipartisan Commission led by former President, Jimmy Carter, and former Secretary of State, James Baker, endorsed a Federal Voter-ID Requirement. The Panel recommended that the emerging Real ID, a product of one of many Security Reforms Congress Passed after September 11, be used for Voting. The Real ID Act set Minimum Security Standards for Driver’s Licenses and State IDs, that are used to Board Flights and enter Federal Buildings. It was, and is, as the Federal Government makes Clear, 16 years later and with Covid-19 still far off, explicitly Not a National ID. Even in the Security-at-Any-Cost Posture of the years following 9/11, there was a general Recognition that there was an Allergy to a National ID. But when its fully implemented, the Real-ID, could be a Voting Photo Id for Drivers, and if applied to State ID, a National ID for Voting.

Some of the Democrats on the Ccommission believed that a National ID was inevitable. “The United States is moving toward a national ID, for reasons of homeland security,” Lee Hamilton, the former Indiana Representative and a Member of the Commission, wrote to his Colleagues in a Memo. That moment was the Closest the Two Parties have come to a Consensus on Voter ID in the past 20 years. But despite a push by Carter for a Unanimous Endorsement, Three Democrats on the Commission, including former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Dissented from its Recommendation.

Democrats in Congress ensured that the idea went nowhere. The day after the Commission released its Recommendations, Barack Obama, then in his ninth month as a Senator, stood alongside, Representative John Lewis of Georgia, to Denounce the ID Proposal as “a mistake” and a “solution in search of a problem.” The Commission, had called for Voter ID even as it acknowledged, within its Report, that the Issue the Requirement purports to Solve, Voter Fraud, was extremely rare. Carter defended the Proposal as a Corrective to the Restrictive ID Laws that Republican-led States had already begun to Pass. Other Democrats, though, now see a Damaging Legacy for the Carter-Baker Commission: It coated the Idea of Voter-ID Laws with a Bipartisan Gloss, allowing Republican-led States “to justify unnecessary restrictions on the liberty of many Americans to cast a ballot,” Spencer Overton, One of the Panel’s Democratic Dissenters said.

In 2001, just 11 States required ID to Vote. The movement has exploded in the Two Decades since, aided by a Supreme Court Ruling in 2008 Upholding a Voter-ID Law in Indiana, the 2010 Wave Election that Empowered Republicans across the Country, and the 2013 Supreme Court Decision that Stopped Preclearance of the Voting Rights Act. Now 36 States have Voter-ID Laws on the books. And in 2021, many States have added stricter Voter-ID Laws.

Spread the Vote, with a Staff of 16 and a Budget of $1.6 Million, now operates in 17 States that require an ID to Vote. The Staff and Volunteers work with People, many of whom are Homeless or were recently Incarcerated, to Assemble and Pay for the necessary Documents for an ID. Securing just a Single Valid ID can take Days or Weeks. In its Four years of Existence, Spread the Vote has been able to get IDs for about 7,000 People. The Organization estimates that the Number of eligible Voters in the U.S., who lack the IDs they need to cast a Ballot, is at least 21 Million.

The Democratic Party is taking a New look at a Federal ID Standard this year, out of desperation. Democrats in the Senate, need Joe Manchin (D-WV), to Support their push for Voting-Rights Legislation, and in June, he circulated a Set of Policies, he wanted to see in a Revised Bill. One would “require voter ID with allowable alternatives, Utility Bill, e.g., to prove Identity to Vote.” His single-line Proposal makes No mention of requiring a Photo. Many States allow Alternatives to presenting a Photo ID, although in 2021, that is changing to No Alternatives.

Possible Future of a Voter ID:

New York City uses an EBook for checking if a Voter is Registered, Voted, or has a Mailed Ballot in the Sysem. The Voter uses this In-Person Voting flow:

1. Presents a smail Voter ID with a Bar-Code and the Voter ID Number.

2. The Poll worker Scans the Bar-Code.

3. The Voter signs the Ebook screen.

4. The Poll worker can then check: your Signature and Photo; if you already Voted, or your Mailed Ballot was Counted; where your Mailed Ballot is and if you want to Cancel it.

5. The System uses Ballot Printing on Demand. The Printer is loaded with Blank paper, and the systems knows your Election District and prints a Scanable Ballot.

6. The Voter Marks their Ballot in a Security area and then gets the Ballot Scanned.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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