Voter ID says we are guilty until proven innocent

In our country, everyone is innocent until proven guilty; voter ID requirements say everyone is guilty until they can prove themselves innocent. According to our Declaration of Independence, legitimate governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. That consent is gained through the process of voting.

The act of voting is a sacred American rite. Voting says that the government is accountable to the people; Voter ID says the people are accountable to the government. Voter ID turns American democracy upside down.

Voter ID says voters must have the consent of government to participate in our greatest ritual.  The irony is that the political party that screams so loudly against “government interference” is the same party that seeks to enact the greatest governmental interference of all time, by changing the very nature of the American compact and putting government in charge of voters.

The United States of American has survived more than 200 years without a need for ID at our polling places. Voter ID diminishes our sacred pact. Voter ID diminishes our democracy. Voter ID is wrong.


Today, January 7, is the

Today, January 7, is the anniversary of our first presidential election held in 1789. White men who owned property got to vote.

Voter ID will cost at least $100 million in the first year alone

Aside from the constitutional challenges, the fiscal impact of voter ID in North Carolina could easily exceed $100 million in the first year. Progressive Pulse raised the issue this morning.

One in 10 currently registered voters don't have an identification card that would qualify under DAG McCrory's vision. That's more than 600,000 people, who are disproportionately poor, black and elderly.

Based on an excellent paper on the costs of Voter ID in Minnesota, we can expect the first year costs of Voter ID in North Carolina to approach $100 million. (Their population of voters without IDs is less than a third of ours.)

Drawing upon estimates from the vetoed 2011 Voter ID legislation, the fiscal note
accompanying 2012’s Voter ID Amendment projects $32.9 million in combined state and local
government first-year costs. These costs are broken down as follows:

• $1.1 million to issue new voter identification cards
• $29 million to implement electronic poll books ($28 million from local governments)
• $2.7 million dedicated for public education and voter outreach efforts

Of note, this estimate assumes implementation of electronic poll books for 50 percent of the state’s live precincts and does not offer any estimate of the cost to implement provisional balloting or increase staff levels to meet increased work requirements. Aside from omitting these key factors, it is also likely that these estimates are conservative in overlooking many of the costs that will be born onto county, municipalities, and townships.

So this is how our new Deputy Assistant Governor is going to approach fiscal responsibility? Spend $100 million in taxpayer dollars to solve a problem that doesn't exist? Gotta love these "small government" hypocrites.

Price tag

We already e-poll books....

...for Early Voting.

Why would we need e-poll books for precinct-based voting? What do e-poll books have to do with voter ID?

I think the cost of issuing IDs to the 600K voters who don't have them is way too low! $1.1 million split by 660K voters isn't a little over a dollar an ID.

My mother was born at home in 1933, and didn't have a hospital-issued birth certificate. That did not keep her from going to public schools in two states (PA and NY, where she graduated with a Regent's diploma), enrolled in college at Berea in KY where she graduated with a degree in teaching, taught in KY and PA, went to grad school, taught in NY (all states she was required to get a teaching certificate), got married, got her driver's license, and bought a house ALL with no problem. They didn't even have pictures on driver's licenses back then. Oh - and she voted ever since she was 21.

Then my dad got transferred to South America with IBM in 1968. Mom needed a passport and a visa, so she needed to get a birth certificate. Something to prove she was who she was. She had to hire a lawyer to contact any family who was present in the home when she was born and who could testify to her live birth (her father had died in 1939, and her mom died in 1946 - but she was the last of 9 children). So an uncle and an aunt who were home when she was born signed some papers and my mom had something like a birth certificate. That cost her almost $1000 in 1968 - God knows how much it would cost today.

So there's no way that 600K people will be able to get picture ID for only $1.1 million dollars.

Part of the problem that I have with Voter ID is that the documents that folks need to show for ID have ID as a secondary purpose. A driver's license isn't even an ID - nor is a passport. One is a permit to drive a vehicle and the other is a permit to travel across our nation's borders.

I'd rather see a free national ID that all those other permits are tied to - but a slightly higher cost. That way when my permit to drive expires, I can still use the ID for the primary purpose of proving to the bank teller or the poll worker that I am who I am.

But until we can issue a free national ID to everyone - I think Voter ID is an idea in search of a problem. All the voting fraud I am aware of wouldn't be prevented by ID.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting