Election integrity starts with voter ID

November 23, 2021

By Hogan Gidley

By Hogan Gidley in The Washington Times

The results of the Virginia gubernatorial election shocked the political world with an unsuspected, unpredicted red takeover of a traditionally blue state. While the Republican candidate prevailed, the Commonwealth’s election process was not without its share of many documented problems.

There were reports of voter intimidation regarding poll workers lying to voters, telling them “wearing a mask was required to vote.” It wasn’t. Tens of thousands of mail-in ballots were found to have addresses that did not match the voter’s address on the voter rolls. Attempts were made to count mail-in ballots without social security numbers – which is illegal.

Whether you like or loathe the Virginia election outcome, these problems are gravely troubling. Similar issues have occurred in many other states proving that much work still needs to be done at the local level if we are going to have faith, trust, and confidence in the results of our elections.

That effort starts with ensuring that a government-issued photo ID is required to vote. 

We live in a society where showing a government-issued photo ID to participate in the simplest of things is a constant necessity – making the liberal’s concerns over this common-sense, simple security measure quite confusing. A government-issued photo ID is needed to buy alcohol, buy cigarettes, open a bank account, get on a plane, buy a house, rent an apartment, pick up tickets for a game at “Will Call,” and collect food stamps.

In fact, while you know liberal officeholders enacted a law in New York City requiring a vaccine passport to eat at a restaurant, what you may not know, is that as a required companion piece of documentation – it is mandated you show a photo ID to prove the passport is yours. A liberal New York City council member correctly – but without a single shred of self-awareness regarding his inconsistent position – pointed out a requirement to produce a photo ID is “to help reduce fraud.”

“Reduce fraud?” Yea, you’re telling me. (If you are keeping score at home, it is now more difficult to eat out a restaurant in New York City than it is to vote, but I digress.)

That politicians’ admission of simple truth acknowledges what every study proves – photo ID prevents fraud.

Even Europe knows this. Forty-six out of the forty-seven countries in Europe require a photo ID to vote. In fact, the United Kingdom is the only country that has been holding out, but it is changing course – announcing that a photo ID will be required in future elections. The move comes on the heels of a recent report showing massive voter fraud in European elections, and that voter ID is an integral component to fighting against it.

So, why does the need for photo ID in our everyday life not evoke the same vitriolic venom and outcry from liberals that are requiring a photo ID when voting does? It’s an interesting question when you consider polling data proves photo voter ID is a wildly popular issue.

A recent poll conducted by Scott Rasmussen shows 82% of the American people believe you “should show photo ID in order to vote.” This includes 69% of African American voters, 78% of Hispanic American voters, 60% of Democrats, and 77% of Independents. Another poll shows that nine in ten Americans believe voter ID in elections is “common-sense.” Furthermore, 72% of Americans say photo ID requirements increase their confidence in elections. While detractors use false, divisive language to describe supporters for photo ID, it’s clear by the numbers that the American people aren’t buying it.

Photo voter ID does not suppress voter turnout either, as a recent Harvard Business School study shows: Voter ID laws have no negative effect on registration or turnout overall for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party.

Furthermore, requiring photo voter ID in just about every other aspect of our lives does not spark cries of “racism,” nor should it.  So why does requiring a photo voter ID to vote spark such outrage?  The bottom line here is voter ID is a crucial component in protecting the sanctity of a citizen’s vote. For that reason, the Center for Election Integrity (CEI) feels it is important for state governments to provide photo identification free of charge if necessary – like in Georgia and eight other states.

CEI has a clear mission: “Easy to Vote, but Hard to Cheat.” We believe requiring government-issued photo ID to vote is a vital measure needed to protect voters and the integrity of the electoral process.

Regardless of whether you like the outcome of Virginia’s elections or any other political contest for that matter, the data proves measures like voter ID are popular, will prevent fraud, and help bring back confidence in the outcome of elections. With all of that in mind, why are so many of the progressive elites and members of mainstream media so vehemently opposed to it?

You decide.

Hogan Gidley serves as Director, Center for Election Integrity for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).