Voter Identification Law

There are currently 32 states that have voter ID laws of some kind. Photo identification will be required for voters in seven states to cast ballots this year. During the last presidential election, there were only four states that required photo identification.

Federal Law Set Minimum Requirements in 2002

Part of the minimum requirements in a 2002 federal law included all new voters to verify their identities. However, states still had room to make their own laws that were even stricter. Court challenges to stricter laws have popped up in many states. In Texas, the voter ID law was found to discriminate against Latinos and African-Americans by a federal appeals court in July. Another law was struck down in North Carolina. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the photo identification requirement in Indiana.

Many Voters Do Not Have Required Forms of Identification

Most of the states request that voters have identification; however, if voters who have voted before don’t have one of the required forms of identification, they are usually allowed to vote. It’s up to the election workers to confirm the returning voters’ identities. A provisional ballot can be cast in Florida by a voter without the right identification, then the election officials will verify the voter’s signature by looking at the one that is on file.

Some of the various forms of accepted identification include a U.S. passport, military ID, in-state driver’s license, gun license, tribal ID and an out-of-state driver’s license. Nine of the states require voters who have no identification to return after Election Day for their ballot to be counted.

Opponents Say Election Laws Unfair to Minorities, Students and Low-Income Voters

Opponents to the election laws say that obtaining the identification required to vote can take money, which many voters may not have. They may not have the resources needed to get to a local Department of Motor Vehicles branch or other government office.

Some states have made voting easier by removing some of the requirements. In West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Nebraska, Georgia and Florida, it’s easier to for voters to cast their ballot in early voting.

Have You Been Discriminated Against When Trying to Vote?

If you or a loved one have been discriminated against while trying to vote, you do have a course of action. An experienced, local attorney can help you learn about your legal options.