pensfan1989 wrote:I find it hard to believe there are people who can function in society without a photo ID these days. You need one to fly, take Amtrak, cash a check, rent a movie, use a credit card in many cases, open a bank account, drive, and on and on.
Secondly, if it is such a pain for those without ID to get one, even if it is offered free, how do they get to the polling places?
And yet they exist by the hundreds of thousands if not millions nationwide. My great grandmother passed away in 1996 at the age of 98 and I don't think she ever had a photo ID in her life. Granted, that was nearly 20 years ago and pre-9/11. But it's really not that hard to imagine. Estimates in PA last year ranged from there being tens of thousands to over 750,000 people who didn't have adequate photo ID, and that's in PA alone.
Now think of the PA voter ID law a bit more. Consider how different the logistics of an election are versus the DMV (where you had to go to obtain the requisite ID). There might be a polling place open up across the street from your house, or two blocks over or whatnot; you can walk to it. Voting precincts are relatively small specifically for the purpose of making it easier for people to vote by increasing the distribution of polling places. Conversely, there are entire counties in PA that are serviced by a single DMW office, and that office may have irregular hours. Total, there are only 71 places in a state of 12.7 million people where you can go obtain a voter ID card. (If you take the worst-case estimate, that's over 10,000 people per office coming in just for voter ID cards) 13 counties have a DMV office that's only open one day a week, and in 10 others they're only open two days a week, and nine counties don't have any locations at all. These offices may be 30 or 40 miles away, and if you don't have a photo ID that means you don't have a drivers license, which means getting yourself to this office to get your ID is probably going to be pretty burdensome. (Not just for the voter, but also for the person who assists them) And if for whatever reason you don't have a Social Security card or copy of your birth certificate, you then have to go to those offices and apply for replacements, with the attendant wait times (and fees), before you can even make the trip to the DMW.
And I've seen the argument made that tying voting rights to forms of ID that require fees to renew is effectively a poll tax. I don't totally buy into that argument, since the voter ID cards themselves are free. But if obtaining the voter ID card is so burdensome, then it's really just a case of a six and two threes.