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+Tim O'Reilly retweeted this a couple of days ago on twitter and mentioned that this was a form of voter suppression. Of course when I questioned if other states accepted student IDs as valid voter identification, no one answered.

Some things to consider in all this.

1) Gun licenses (though they don't specify what they mean by this so I'm assuming it's Concealed Handgun Licenses or CHLs), are given out after a background check and proof of ID (you have to send in a color copy of your current ID or driver's license), it also has information on it like your address (just like a driver's license or state ID card). So in order to get a "gun license" you have to prove your identity. Makes sense to me.

Example CHL image can be seen at:

2) Every student ID I've seen and had did not have the address of my residence on it. And in TX you have to vote in the precinct you're registered to vote in. And you have to show your voter registration card and a valid form of ID and that ID has to have your current address on it. If it does not, you have to bring your ID and a utility bill (proving that you do in fact live & receive mail at the address on your voter registration card). Student ID cards also vary from school to school, so some might have addresses on them, the one's I've seen and had here in Houston don't. Unless that's changed in the last 2-3 years.

With that in mind, I fail to understand how requiring that someone

A) Show an ID with an address and
B) Ensure that it matches the address on their voter registration card

is somehow voter suppression. You want to make sure that vote is nice and legal right? Also, a State ID in TX costs $16 ($5 if you're over 60) and requires you to show a birth certificate and a social security card. So I fail to see how getting an ID card is considered "expensive" (

Some please, someone explain to me how exactly accepting CHL licenses and not student ids at the polls is voter suppression, when a CHL license is provided by Texas Department of Public Safety and a student ID is not.
Clinton Gallagher's profile photoJonathan Jeckell's profile photoMichael Koby (mkoby)'s profile photoEvan Kaufman's profile photo
Social Security cards don't prove anything about a voter's address, and don't have a photo. If you want voters only voting in the proper elections, you need to be sure they live in the right place, Demanding proof of address to keep voting correct is hardly suppression. None of the requirements listed seem extravagant.
I would like to know why any changes are needed. My question goes to motive. Reports note that there is no significant voter fraud. So why change anything? And big changes nationwide right before an election is obviously motivated by something, and it appears to be voter suppression. Why not just use a utility bill. Just keep the bar low. Keep it open to everyone, unless there is a problem with voter fraud. And there is not, except per Fox News. Is that at all debated?
Social Security cards aren't particularly good ids. They're incredibly easy to forge and have no picture on them. Why in heaven's name would any one think they were acceptable identification?
"So I fail to see how getting an ID card is considered 'expensive'"

There are more than purely monetary costs going into obtaining your state ID. You have to wait in line at a government office for a few hours (or several, depending on where you go), which is only open during regular business hours...that means taking time off work and travelling, often quite far out of your way. That adds up rather quickly for students and blue collar workers.
I can see how not allowing student IDs as proof of residency will affect city/county elections, but if you're attending a school, it's near certain that you'll be living near it and thus a resident. Unless of course you go to the University of Phoenix or take online courses and then you could live anywhere.

As for the gun licenses, not all states require residency to obtain one or are as strict in enforcing the background checks and address verifications.
+Mike Barton I agree with most of what you're saying (except for obligatory Fox News references, not sure why you needed to throw that in).

In the case of TX voter fraud is very light and in most cases not even fraud at all. But since you have to vote in the precinct you're registered in, showing an ID with valid address (or utility bill if the address on your license is outdated) is hardly suppression. 

I'd go as far to say, requiring someone show a photo ID isn't suppression either as a state provided ID card can usually be had for not much money. If you can pay for a cell phone (even prepaid) you can afford a state ID card.

Granted specific voting laws vary state to state, as Tim mentioned some states have provisional ballots for when a person's ID might need to be further verified. I'd be okay with that.
+Evan Kaufman Most jobs require you to have some form of ID when getting the job. Even my minimum wage Dominos Pizza job I had at 16 required me to bring copies of my ID and Social Security card. So if you have a job, you most likely have an ID of some form that probably qualifies when voting.

You can't do a lot of things without an ID. You can't open a checking account, buy cigarettes or alcohol, go to a bar, heck even buy things (as some places will check ID when buying with a card). And since voting is one of the most important rights we have as citizens, going to get an ID to vote is pretty important. So it's worth the time. If one doesn't think so, then this whole debate is meaningless to them.
Requiring photo ID has been shown to suppress the vote for older and poorer people. And I never showed an ID to get prepaid. I assume I needed a check or Visa card, because I set it up online.

You can only vote under my name once in California, so if I came in to vote and they said you already voted, it would be investigated, I assume. But it is not a problem in California, like most states.

I threw the Fox News bit in because that is the only place I have ever seen voter fraud reported as if real and a big problem. I think that -- lack of a problem, hence why the new potentially suppressive, election changing rules for voting across many states? -- is the problem here, and also right before an election. 

I reckon (can you tell I lived in Australia) that voting should be compulsory like in Australia. Why: We need to increase the number of voters, not decrease it.
+Mike Barton My point about prepaid was the "expensive" argument. I've known people who claim to be poor but have cell phones. If you can afford to have a cellphone (even a prepaid one) you can most likely afford a state ID card. Also the poor qualify for government services that require some form of ID to acquire, so again, not sure how they'd be suppressed. I know I can't apply for welfare and just get handed checks, also if I get a welfare check, how do I cash it without ID? So again, I fail to see how that suppresses the poor.

The elderly, you might have an argument there. But I'm not sure on the specifics as to why they feel suppressed by requiring photo ID. Can you point me to you data on the "photo ID has been shown to suppress" so that I can see exactly what you mean?
+Michael Koby Good point, though as someone whose drivers license is coming up for renewal myself, I can easily understand why someone in a worse financial situation than myself would be caught with their pants down.
Oh, regarding having a cellphone. Not true though. Having a cellphone is dirt cheap now. They have plans on my Verizon MVNO, Page Plus Cellular, at $8 a month, or even $80 a year. That's cheaper than most VOIP home phone accounts. Being having at least one phone number is important for everyone, I just do not think that argument about having a cellphone means you are not poor, and possibly working two jobs to make ends meet.

One article on how many votes may be suppressed: Report after report has noted how the laws will affect older and poorer voters the most.

One reference: "A recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, which opposes such laws, estimated that the new laws could harm 5 million voters. About 18 percent of seniors and 25 percent of African-Americans don't have photo identification, according to the study." From:
A mobile phone is a necessity to function in modern society, it's not an indicator of wealth. Voting isn't a daily survival need. But democracy is improved by making it easy for people to vote; the law should be removing obstacles, not creating them. Excluding classes of people from participation makes the state illegitimate.

It's not just standing in one line for hours, it's all the rigamarole involved in obtaining documents required to be able to stand in that line. (I had to have my mom come with me to the post office so that I could get a passport.) One of the defining characteristics of non-free societies is the requirement for papers in order to make it easier for the state to control people. 
+Mike Barton But what is stopping those people from getting a photo ID? Is it transportation issues? Monetary? Health issues? Do they not care to get one? These are questions that need answers.

Simply saying "voter id laws disenfranchise voters that don't have IDs" isn't really telling the whole story. It does to a degree disenfranchise them, as it means they can't vote without an ID. But that's not the whole picture. Why do they not have one is an important piece of that puzzle. Maybe they don't have one because they don't plan on voting. Maybe they can't afford one. Both of those are possible answers to the question of "Why?" You can find a way to solve the latter, solving the former though, only the person in question can do that.

The answer is not to let anyone walk into a polling station and just vote. Checks and balances are important. I'm for getting as close as we can to allowing everyone who can vote to be able to, but no checks and balances isn't really a solution.
+Alex von Thorn So having a cellphone is a necessity to function in modern society but having a valid form of identification is not? I think you have that a little backwards.

Besides you miss the point of why I brought up the cellphone, you have to buy the cellphone, and since according to you it's a necessity (I would argue this) one must be able to purchase that cell phone (with money). Therefore, since even prepaid cell phones (the device) start at $10 and go as high as $200, if they can afford to buy this necessity (as claimed by you), they should be able to buy an ID since

1) The state ID card is going to run around the same cost as the cellphone they have to buy and

2) as previously stated many things these days require ID, not just voting. 

Opening checking accounts, buying cigarettes or alcohol, buying things at some stores using a credit card, many private things can't be done without a valid ID. Heck you can't even get many jobs without a valid ID.
OK, but if this was not about trying to gain an advantage in an election, then there would be an outreach effort to all people to make sure they are registered to vote legally in their state, complete with transportation and services for folks who may need help with documents. I could see -- and do not generally disagree with showing an ID -- but it's the way it's being implemented that is suppressive. And it's transparent in that those services are not in place to help people get registered that the moved by Republican legislatures and governors is motivated by gaining a political advantage, which is illegal.
Recent "studies" also indicate 25% of Negroes that do not have a photo ID happens to be because 24.9% of those Negroes have outstanding arrest warrants and the other .1% lied on the survey form to stick it to whitey.
+Mike Barton I'm not sure why you downplay the existence of voter fraud.  Some places are notorious for it, and it comes up periodically, but only really gets media attention if a race is close.  I also fail to see how asking for proof of residency to vote infringes on someone's liberty as long as each instance where someone is turned away is documented and has oversight to prevent systemic abuse.  What does infringe on group liberty is having some people disproportionately represented by fraudulent voting practices.
+Mike Barton I'll agree that implementation is the biggest problem. But let me ask you this. Remove the issue of politics for a second. Say this isn't about political gain as you say.

How much is the government suppose to do?

Monetarily $16 for a state ID card that last 4 years is $4/year (we're going to stay with TX since that's what I'm most familiar with). That's not unreasonable, given the state has to pay for the materials, employees to man the DPS, utilities for the DPS building etc.

Then there's the issue of transportation. If they can't get to a DPS location, how are they going to get to their polling location? How do you show up at the polls without an ID? If you drive there without your ID, you're breaking the law. If you took a bus to get to the polling location, why can you not take a bus to get to the DPS to get an ID? If someone drove you to the polling place, why can't they take you to the DPS to get the ID?

The only way you could really show up at a polling place without an ID is to have walked there. And one could argue that if you can walk to your polling location than you can most likely walk to a bus stop to get to a DPS location to get an ID.

I live in Houston and know of 3 DPS locations on the west side of down alone, so there's generally one near you. Other states and cities might be different.

So how much work should the government do and how much should it spend to make sure you can do something that's currently personal choice?
+Michael Koby I honestly don't think the primary reason for all of this is intended political gain, I think the primary reason is just laziness and bad user experience in local government.
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