The Instigator
Amontillado
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
fishinbub
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Opp-Choice: In the United States Government Issued Photo ID Ought not be Required at the Polls

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,210 times Debate No: 24699
Debate Rounds (5)
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Amontillado

Pro

First round is acceptance. Anyone is welcome to take on this debate. This may be a little confusing, but I want this to be Opp-choice. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS WHEN VOTING. OPP choose your side when you accept in the first round and let me know. I'll then begin my first constructive in the second round in favor of the side you didn't choose.
fishinbub

Con

I accept and choose to oppose the resolution for the convenience of the voters. I thank Pro for starting this debate. I would like to request that in framing the debate Pro would provide a weighing mechanism by which the round can be judged.
Debate Round No. 1
Amontillado

Pro

For voting instructions I'll ask voters to refer to http://www.apdaweb.org....

First Contention: If voters are asked to pay for these IDs it will constitute an unconstitutional poll tax. The 24th amendment requires that "the right of citizens of the United States to vote…shall not be denied or abridged by the Unites States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax." The amendment was created to guarantee Americans' most sacred right. It is supposed to ensure that financial matters don't come between the voter and their vote. Even without a formal charge there are personal costs associated with acquiring a GIPID. Simple costs like $22 for a copy of ones birth certificate, travel expenses for reaching the DMV (a considerable barrier in many of our more rural states), and the cost of missed wages weigh most heavily on the poor. This discrimination based purely on financial resources disenfranchises Americans and constitutes a very real though not literal poll tax.

Concerning the burdens the law would put on these people, Robert Wilkins, a District Court Judge reviewing the constitutionality of Texas' recently passed GID bill, asked ""How can we ask them to travel over 100 miles to get an ID?" For those in rural Texas without cars, asking them to travel even ten miles is considerably demanding. Voting shouldn't be a chore, voting ought to be a right that our government works hard to protect.

"Judges ask tough questions about Texas voter ID law at trial" Chicago Tribune. July 13th 2012.

Second Contention: Our safeguards against fraud are already good enough. In most states people are asked to present ID in the form of bills, Medicaid and Medicare cards, social security cards, or paychecks; this has served us well thus far. Voter fraud in the United States is practically non-existent. Less than one case in each state is prosecuted each year, and "from 2002 to 2005 only one person was found guilty of registration fraud. Twenty people were found guilty of voting while ineligible and five people were found guilty of voting more than once." You are statistically more likely to see someone get struck by lighting than see voter fraud. Simply put, the supposed benefit of these laws do not outweigh their significant costs.

Lorraine C. Minnite, "An Analysis of Voter Fraud in The United States," Dēmos, Undated, (Adapted from the 2003 report Securing The Vote, by L. Minnite and D. Callahan, with updates.)

Third Contention: These laws are not only burdensome to the disenfranchised, they are also unnecessarily burdensome for the states that implement them. In order to make a law requiring GIPID at the polls, ID's have to be made free for the public (otherwise it would constitute a poll tax). States then miss out on the revenue previously generated by charging people for these ID's. Even if the states decide to produce unique voter photo ID cards, they also have to eat the costs of producing these ID's "between 2007 and 2010 Indiana spent more than $10m providing voter IDs." States budgets have already been strained enough in recent years and cannot afford a costly program that provides dubious benefit.

Fourth Contention: These laws are discriminatory. Of the 11% of Americans who currently don't have GPID, most are minorities. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this week that some national studies showed as many as a quarter of African-American voting age adults lacked photo identification compared with 8 percent for whites. All Americans deserve the right to vote, and these laws unfairly target a group that has historically been disenfranchised.

"Voting rights, voting wrongs" Economist. July 14th 2012.
"Judges ask tough questions about Texas voter ID law at trial" Chicago Tribune. July 13th 2012.
fishinbub

Con

Quick road map. First I will address Pro's three contentions, then present my own. Pro did not present a weighing mechanism, but Con has decided it would be abusive to provide one, considering WM are not required on this site. So I will proceed with the debate as it is framed.

Pro Contention 1, voter ID is unconstitutional.
This is false. In 2008 the Supreme Court determined in a 6-3 ruling of Crawford vs. Marion County Elections Board that requiring voter IDs is not a poll tax and therefore constitutional. Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, South Dakota, and Wisconsin currently have laws approved by the justice department that require photo IDs at polling places.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Pro Contention 2, our safe guards against fraud are good enough, because we rarely catch fraudulent voters.
There have been 2 people in the state of Georgia arrested for video piracy, but you can obtain a pirated copy of any movie in theaters at the local fleamarket. While Pro might conclude that our safeguards against piracy are sufficient, they clearly are not. A lack of recorded vote fraud proves nothing, as this law is meant to target voter fraud that currently goes unrecorded.

Pro Contention 3, photo ID laws are too burdensome for states.
Why then do 16 states have such laws? Shouldn't the states decide if it is too burdensome. Obviously me states have decided it is not. These laws have not been forced on the states.

Now on to my contentions.

Contention 1,
Voter fraud can significantly impact our country. In 2000 George W Bush won the state of Florida, and essentially the election, by less than 600 votes. In a state f 19 million people, or a nation of 300 million, 600 fraudulent votes could easily go undetected. That is why it is of the utmost importance to ensure every vote is legitimate.

Contention 2,
To exercise your Second Amendment rights, you must display a government issued photo ID and submit to a background check. That is to buy one firearm. The voters of the United States essentially control the largest weapons arsenal the world has ever seen. Logically we can conclude that controlling said arsenal is of greater importance then a simple .22 rimfire.

Contention 3,
There are millions of non-legitimate voters in the US. The illegal immigrant population of the United States in 2008 was estimated by the Center for Immigration Studies to be about 11 million people. http://en.wikipedia.org... That is approximately 18,500 times the margin of victory for George Bush in Fl in 2000. It's now believed as many as 18,000 of these immigrants could be registered to vote in Fl. That is 30 times the margin of victory for Bush in 2000.

Obviously voter fraud could play a huge factor in our national elections, and states should do everything in their power to prevent it. This includes requiring photo ID at polling places.
Debate Round No. 2
Amontillado

Pro

I'll rebuild my case and then address my opponents:

Current photo ID legislation is just a new form of gerrymandering. It is used to exploit a demographic trend that the minorities tend to vote Democrat and are less likely to have government issued photo ID. It's not an accident that Democrats across the country oppose these initiatives and that Republican dominated state congresses are pushing for them left and right. Regardless of one's political affiliations, however, disenfranchisement is unconstitutional; and the American government has an obligation to protect people's right to vote. These laws are unnecessary, costly, and pernicious and ought not be enacted.

Contention One: Implementing photo ID would introduce a poll tax.
Voter ID is not unconstitutional. Implementing a mandate that you need a government issued photo ID to vote and then charging voters for said ID is a poll tax. It's similar to the Stamp Act the British imposed on the colonies in 1765. You are charged for a legal document that you are required to have to in order to vote, just as the British charged colonist for special paper that they were required to use to conduct legal business. Indiana's ID's were made available to the public for free Con because charging for them would have been considered a poll tax. (economist article cited earlier)

Contention Two: Our safeguards are good enough.
Actually 400 cases are prosecuted each year ( formal charges are raised), "only 20 were voting while ineligible and five voted more than once." We are hyper vigilant when it comes to voter fraud. The stakes are too high not to be. Does con honestly think either party doesn't scrutinize every single election for the chance that they might have been cheated? Both parties have armies of lawyers at the ready, prepared to descend at the slightest hint of fraud. As for cons comments on piracy, argument by analogy is a logical fallacy; I invite con to bring evidence that actually applies to our safeguards and election fraud to the table. We aren't talking about video piracy.

Contention Three: Costly program
Photo ID's are costly. States are cutting education left and right. Indiana's photo ID program cost them 10 million dollars. Voters would rather see that money in their pockets or in their schools then in a superfluous program whose only purpose is to make it harder for the impoverished to vote.

Contention Four: Targets minorities
My opponent dropped this contention so just carry over my arguments from 2nd round.

On to Con's contentions:

Opp's Contention One:
Voter fraud has no impact on our elections because we work hard to prevent it. My opponent is arguing that fraud is a possibility, ignoring all the while that the probability that it could happen and go undetected is almost zero. Yes, there are close elections, but that says nothing about the current state of our safeguards. America does enough when it comes to elections to prevent voter fraud. Apart from the government, each party is so invested in the outcome of an election, they would be happy to throw out an election they lost at the slightest hint of fraud. Con has failed to show that voter fraud actually exists in this country.

Opp's Contention Two:
Everything else equal, no, a citizen exercising their right to vote shouldn't be harder than obtaining a gun. As this is a democracy, we value everyone's input and ideally want everyone to participate in an election. All citizen's ought to be given the opportunity to vote. We don't want to exclude citizens from elections just because they couldn't come up with $25 for a driver's license. We regulate gun purchases to exclude people, but we should never disenfranchise people.

Opp's Contention Three:
…Facts please… give me a record of votes cast by illegal immigrants… or a document that shows they registered to vote. Debate is not about speculation. Right now the only evidence we have of voter fraud shows that it is rare and discovered quickly (Economist article). It has not influenced any election because the safeguards in place are very good.

Implementing photo ID now would simply be about disenfranchising the impoverished and goes against the ideals of democracy this country is supposed to stand for. It would also be costly for the states, and the money would be better spent where it is needed (education and infrastructure).
fishinbub

Con

fishinbub forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Amontillado

Pro

Cross apply all arguments from Third Round. Proud to propose.
fishinbub

Con

fishinbub forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Amontillado

Pro

See fourth round comment, thanks for the debate.
fishinbub

Con

fishinbub forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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