No, we’re not talking about the ego, superego and id. We’re talking about ID–as in “May I see some ID, please?” Hans A. von Spakovsky has a very good article on the topic of voter IDs and the problems that do not exist if voter ID laws are passed.
The fact that Americans are even arguing about requiring voter identification shows us how far we strayed from the path of “one person, one vote.” We humans have a nearly limitless ability to abuse whatever system we are given. I’d say that this ability is the outworking of our human nature–where we find it more desirable to work the system than to make the system work. That aside, we also know that the simpler a set of rules is, the harder it is to get around it.
“Thou shalt not steal” is pretty straightforward and difficult to avoid. “Thou shall not take that which does not belong to you unless you want it more than the owner does” does not even require a legal mind to determine that this proscription is none at all.
If the rule for voting in public elections is “Thou shalt provide current ID issued by your state of residence” things are once again pretty straightforward. If the rule is “Thou shalt tell the truth when you come to the voting place about who you really are and about your legal eligibility to vote in a given election” it would appear that the rule is toothless.
Do we give a person’s own statements as to his identity the benefit of the doubt when it comes to withdrawing money from bank accounts? How about when appearing before a judge? How about using a credit card at <pick your retailer of choice>? We could go on.
Is not voting in a representative republic something to be held in high regard? Should not we be as diligent about checking ID at the voting booth as we are when establishing bona fides for a commercial transaction?
If we are not–not as concerned about fraud in voting as in commercial transactions–then are we not saying that voting is unimportant? If we have devalued voting to this state, then we are to be pitied for continuing our regular and costly charade of civilized behavior.
If, on the other hand, we still live in a representative republic, then let us guard the integrity of the voting process as well as we are humanly able.