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US Voters should be required to show a form of ID or proof of citizenship in order to vote

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,216 times Debate No: 34843
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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I'll start off by listing things that require ID in the US. You need ID to drive, to buy alcohol, to buy lottery tickets, get library cards, enroll in school, and of course to buy firearms. Why should voting be any different? What is the purpose of making it citizens only, when all you need to do is walk in and be able to sign your name?

A parent wants to enroll a kindergartner in school, they need to show birth certificate to show their child meets the cut-off birth date. You want to leave the country on vacation, you need to show a passport. But, you want to help choose leaders for 300 million people, sure walk right in.

Just because voter fraud is not a serious issue does not change the fact that it is illogical to make voting a "citizens only" right, and not verify a voter is a citizen. You need some form of ID to do some of the most trivial things, such as getting a library card. Is library card fraud a big issue?

If you are going to start with a rights v. privileges argument, right to bear arms, yet you still need to show ID and proof of residence to legally purchase a firearm. To legally vote, why is it wrong to ask for ID?


To start with your argument, you list that the following things need ID

1. Alcohol

2. Driving

3. Firearms

4. Lottery Tickets

5. Library Cards

6. Schools

1. To purchase alcohol you do not need a citizen you just need something to show that you are old enough. The purpose of the ID for alcohol is completely different.

2. To drive you do not need to be a citizen in the US to get a driver license.[1]
Driving is something that requires skill to not crash and kill a bunch of
people, so the effects of driving without proper training and regulations is
more clearly seen and could be more of an issue.

3. Firearms- see the #2 but replace driving and alcohol with guns and hunting.
Also Firearms may be protected by the constitution, but gun violence is a big
problem in our nation while voter fraud is not.

4. Lottery tickets- Irrelevant. I will say no more on this sub-topic

5. Library Cards- Now this is more in depth. Libraries are public services but
for many places you don't need to be a citizen to get a card or use its
services, only a long term resident. I talked to my local librarian; you just

6. For schools you need to prove that you are here legally, not a US citizen.
Exchange students, people whose parents have work visas, people with education
visas. You don't need special citizen only ID to go to school, just proof that
you are here legally.

Now on to the more relevant topics

A very simple response to my points is that all of these things require ID.
Perhaps not extreme IDs that can be hard for people to get, but IDs nonetheless.
I would say in response that in this country redistricting, propaganda and
disenfranchisement [3] should be more of an issue to voters than the small number of actual voter fraud by non-citizens. [4] To this I say that in Minnesota there
have been 10 cases of voter fraud since Bush ran for president the second time until
Obama ran in 2012. Voter fraud is such a minor issue. What we should be more focused on is other types of voter fraud, ones done by citizens who could go out and submit their one vote commit fraud instead. Also the thing that most influences the elections is what happens before the vote. Instead of wasting time and effort stopping about 200 people nationwide who are non citizens from voting what we should focus on is propaganda and redistricting which more destroy the integrity of the vote than non-citizens who vote.

Many problems can only be done by legal voters [5]

(this is only New Hampshire but the laws are about the same in every other
state. In some states certain residents can't get drivers licenses)

- This applies to all of PA (a big voting ID law state)


If you say Wikipedia is not reliable I will cry.


READ THIS Article- It's very interesting.


Debate Round No. 1


Basically, I challenge you to show me why requiring voter proof is wrong after looking at the list:
1)Want to legally buy alcohol? you need to be 21, so prove you're 21 (that's OK)
2)Want to go to this school district? you need to live here, so prove you live here (that's OK)
3)Want to legally buy a gun? You need ID and permit that allows you to have guns, so show those proofs (that's OK)
4)Want to leave the country? you need a passport so we can clear you, so show one (that's OK)

**5) Want to legally vote? you need to be a citizen, so prove you're a citizen (OH NO, that's not right. That's voter manipulation, you're putting minorities down etc.)?

I admit some forms of ID I listed do not prove citizenship, but they all boil down to proving the same basic idea: the holder is legally allowed to do something. Proof of age shows that the holder is legally allowed to buy alcohol, proof of residence shows the holder is legally allowed attend the school district, get the library card etc. Driver's License shows that the holder is legally allowed to drive a car. Different requirements, same premise.

Why shouldn't we require proof that a person is legally allowed to vote?

Your argument that "what we should be focused on is other types of ..." does not answer that question. There will always be other things to worry about. Yet, this problem went so court, so people(elected and non-elected) thought this problem was worth discussing. If there is a problem (you admit there is small voter fraud) where the fix is as simple as bring your passport or some other proof of citizenship with you when you vote, why shouldn't it be fixed? Small problem, simple fix. You make it sound like checking ID at the polls is a tedious task that will require much effort. Tell me, how long does it really take to look at a passport photo and see if it matches the person holding it. It could be done in less time than it takes the person to sign his or her name.

Con - this is why voter ID laws are bad. Legal citizens who have residencies and polling places cannot vote because their college ID, birth certificate and drivers licenses are not proof enough.

I have a question. Why, if voter fraud that can be stopped by ID's, is enough of a problem that it effects national, state, or township elections and delegitimizes the vote is this a partisan issue? I will tell you why Republicans push this and democrats do not. It is because the legitimate voters that this causes a hurdle for or those whom it stops completely are almost all democrat. The young, the intercity poor and the old retired who may have trouble getting the right ID become disenfranchised and won't make their voices heard because they can't be "trusted". In fact, in PA alone, since voter ID laws came in to place voting , which had been moving steadily up, slowed. More people were barred from voting then all the voter fraud in the state for 10 years earlier until now. You say that you are protecting voting when your causing less people to vote. My parents are democrats who live in a republican area after redistricting. For many elections their vote counts for nothing because the republicans always win. We need to be looking at the other ways we are destroying the vote, not the negligible amount of fraud.

To answer your question I refer to my previous statement that most of the voter fraud is not done by non-citizens or done in a way that allows for requiring ID. Basically when you move to an area or reach 18 your polling place will contact you and set up your account using government records to identify you as a citizen. If every person eligible in this country voted instead of barring young and poor than fraud would be impossible. By making it harder for people to vote you are making fraud more effective by giving those who commit large scale fraud in ways that do not require ID (electronics rigging, absentee voter impersonation) more potential votes to use.

By the way, firearms, alcohol and driving can kill other people. Voter fraud has never effected a major election or even on a county level.

Why bar legitimate voters to stop the 10 people casting 1 illegal vote each when the votes of those barred is much greater than fraud that can be stopped by ID laws.

You say that it is harmful enough to the people that blocking thousands of voters is important enough to catch them. I say, then why is this an issue of Democrats vs. Republicans and not something agreed upon. I would suggest that republicans are trying to block the Democrats voting base. Is it a coincidence that the legitimate voters barred from voting the most are the young and the poor?

Sorry if I made spelling, grammar, punctuation errors or my sources didn't get on. I'm trying to type from an iPod touch, which is difficult.
Debate Round No. 2


The point you drew from the time article is a completely different issue. The residence of college students is a grey area. The student's story you are citing as an example is irrelevant to this debate. She was not allowed to vote b/c she didn't have an ID that said she resided in that area, NOT because she couldn't show she was a citizen. Residency has always been checked in polling places. But I thank you for pointing out all of the other forms of identification she brought along. A birth certificate would have proven she was a citizen if that had been a requirement.

It is not that difficult to get a proof of citizenship. You can show, a birth certificate (if you were born in the US), a passport (or even just a passport card which is cheaper), or a certificate of naturalization that you get when you become a naturalized citizen. Every citizen is capable of getting proof if they hadn't already received one of the above already.

Naturalized citizens regardless of economic status have to be given some sort of documentation when they become citizens. So how is asking for proof of citizenship, which they were handed when they became citizens, barring voters?
Why do democrats as you claim, have a hard time getting proof of citizenship?

You also haven't addressed why it is illogical or bad to say "You need to be a citizen to vote, so prove you are a citizen".
"You need to be 21 to buy alcohol, so prove you're 21" is ok. You say alcohol and guns have the POTENTIAL to cause harm so ID is ok. The thing about democracy is, voting has an effect, and if non citizens skew the vote, it also has the POTENTIAL to be harmful. Just because non-citizen voting is small now doesn't mean it will stay that way. Can you absolutely guarantee that voting by non citizens will not be an issue, 10,20, or 30 years from now? Regardless of how small, we know it happens, so why not stop it?

You also keep bringing up other issues that are irrelevant. Just because redistricting is a problem does not mean we shouldn't check voter citizenship. The two have nothing to do with each other. Other issues do exist and need to be dealt with, but they are not relevant to this debate.


A birth certificate is technically not enough to prove citizenship for an election. It needs to be a semi-recently updated photo ID, which not everyone has.

Polling places know if your a citizen or not. You just need to prove who you are. Forged IDs of non-voters are easy to get. If someone wants to vote illegally they will.

I said that the poor who may not have jobs that give the ID's that can be used for voting and the young who may not have jobs or colleges that issue the ID's because not all colleges issue the ID's and most college jobs aren't full time and won't provide it. By solving a virtually non-existent problem you are creating a hassle to the voting process causing voter apathy, which destroys the vote much more than fraud.

You repeatedly claim that even if voter fraud that can be stopped by voter ID laws are non-existent, than why not have the laws? I will address several claims made by you and many other people. (not all you)

1. Even if it is not a serious problem, if someones a citizen then they have nothing to hide.

For those that are unemployed or do not receive a legitimate ID regularly it can be a large hassle to get the ID needed. A common refutation of this is that a right isn't a privilege. I would argue that you are creating voter apathy. Voter apathy is the main reason why people don't vote. Imagine you are a voter. (not sure your age) You hate both candidates, but agree with one just a little more than the other. You prefer one over the other just enough to go out and vote. Any small hassle would make it not worth it to go out and vote. I have described most of the non-voting population and the close to non-voting population. Whether or not it is a privilege or a right by inserting a law that would knowingly cause many people to stop voting all together is an awful way to stop the minor incidences of voter fraud that could be stopped by this.

2. It might become a serious problem later, why not attack it now?

I want you to ask this question to yourself. Why now? Why during an era where the democrats are fast gaining power are the republicans pushing these laws. You yourself have admitted it might not stop most of our small amount of fraud. Who are the people who are most likely to be stopped at their polling place for lack of an ID. It is the young and the poor, the core of democrats base support. 11% of voters do not have the ID already, most democrats or left leaning. WHY IS THIS A PARTISAN ISSUE IF IT IS A SIMPLE CASE OF SECULAR RIGHT AND WRONG?! I WANT TO KNOW!

3. Even if it isn't a big problem it de legitimizes the vote.

Purposefully creating voter apathy is a bigger problem and a side affect of these laws. We would lose about 3% (this is low-balling) of the voting population if we enact these laws. That de legitimizes the vote much more. Redistricting and propaganda destroy the vote much more than illegal voters that could be stopped by these laws. So why don't those who push ID laws push non-partisan districting?
Debate Round No. 3


Abob forfeited this round.


Since Abob has forfeited the round, I will not make any further arguments. I would like to say though that through further research I have found areas of this country where there is just enough voter fraud that could be stopped by voter ID laws to warrant discussing the possibility of these laws being enacted.
Overall though, this country (minus a few counties) does not need voter ID laws,
1.11 percent of true Americans do not have the ID. Many Americans already have so much voter apathy that any hassle might cause them not to vote. That being said it is immoral to create a law, knowing that it is going to make people not want to vote.
2.Why is it a partisan issue? It is being pushed by Republicans because out of the 11 percent of Americans that do not have the ID, most of them are young, poor, homeless, unemployed or living in cities, the base of the Democrats vote.
3.Why are we attacking this? In a country where we have partisan districting, purposefully confusing ballots, disenfranchisement of the voters and lack of voter turnout, why are we pushing a policy that will decrease voter turnout and increase disenfranchisement? If these people really want to make the vote more legitimate, why aren"t they also speaking on these other problems? Why aren"t they trying to come up with a solution to voter apathy, perhaps the thing most detrimental to the vote?

By the way, I thought this was funny. I typed in "voting problems in America" in google and its third suggestion was "voting problems in America Idol". What the heck America. Vote for LordGrae
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Lordgrae 3 years ago
Sorry some of my links got cut off.

Here are the important ones. The others I could not find again

[1] This says that you only need to be a resident to get a drivers license

[2] This says that in PA you only need to be a resident to get a library card

I'm very sorry. I'm new to this site.
Posted by Lordgrae 3 years ago
I agree with Oregon

Thinking about accepting your challenge...
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
I live in Oregon, where we just mail in our ballots. Which is a far superior system.

A lot of the issues has to do with past abuses of the poor. Such as "Only the literate can vote," then not funding minority schools to keep literacy down.
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