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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Voter photo id laws.

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 3/8/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,468 times Debate No: 71326
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (48)
Votes (1)




Standard rules.

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I happily accept this debate, and will use the first round just for that. I was tempted to define the term "Voter I.D. Laws", but I really want to give my opponent the debate, they are looking for. That term/phrase can be defined in such a general way that there is no way four trouble, would have any ground to argue. It could also be defined so narrowly that I would have absolutely no ground to argue on.

I ask that my opponent offer a definition that gives us both a lot of ground to debate on and in an interesting way. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


I suppose Wylted's right about the trouble with undefined words. I didn't bother giving any definition because of my faith in Wylted's good character (and I was proven right). But I'll take more care next time. The debate's about laws passed in places like Texas, Wisconsin, or Indiana; what's required is a government-issued photo ID (e.g. a drivers license).


“There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.” McCutcheon v. FEC, 134 S. Ct. 1434 (2014). Photo ID laws abridge that right without justification.

(1) Photo ID laws place a severe burden on a significant number of voters.

Studies indicate that 11 percent of American citizens, more than 21 million people, don’t have a state-issued photo ID. These studies also show that millions of American citizens don’t have “readily available documentary proof of citizenship,” and many more – “primarily women” – don’t “have proof of citizenship with their current name.” The “Citizens Without Proof” report also found that “certain groups – primarily the poor, elderly, and minority citizens – are less likely to possess these forms of documentation than the general population.” [1] [2]

Photo ID requirements place a severe burden on these voters. Study after study has confirmed that “the more barriers placed in front of potential voters ... the less likely they are to vote.” [3] A study published by the CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project found that photo ID laws placed “significant negative burdens on voters” and thus “depress[ed] turnout … [especially] for less educated and lower income populations.” [4] Other studies echo that conclusion. [5] [6] [7] Perhaps more telling, when I googled the issue, I couldn't find a single legitimate study supporting the notion that photo ID laws don't depress voter turnout. Maybe Wylted will find some.

The problem is the difficulty some people (especially low-income individuals) have with getting a state-issued photo ID. The first obstacle is figuring out how to get an ID. That might seem easy to some, but for others, especially the less educated, it’ll be much harder. If another document (e.g. a birth certificate) is needed, they’ll also have to figure out the requirements of the issuing agency, which adds yet another layer of complexity to the process. The next step is going to the DMV. For nondrivers, which many of these people are, that can be an insuperable burden, especially if they also lack a certified copy of their birth certificate (as that means multiple trips).

The difficulty isn't just the time involved but also the financial burden: transportation costs, plus some of these folks might have to take off work (since DMVs aren't always open on weekends), which means they'll have to forgo hourly wages or use vacation time. Some states charge a fee for photo IDs. And even if a state provides free photo identification, that doesn't lessen the cost of documents needed to get the ID, most notably birth certificates. A report from Harvard Law School estimates “the expenses [of obtaining a photo ID], for documentation, travel, and waiting time are significant—especially for minority groups and low-income voters—typically ranging from about $75 to $175.... Even when adjusted for inflation, these figures represent substantially greater costs than the $1.50 poll tax outlawed by the 24th amendment in 1964.” [8]

A photo ID law could also burden those who come to polls and can't vote because they simply forgot their IDs, or because their ID isn't valid anymore. The latter category, for instance, would include people who don’t drive anymore but still thought their expired license was valid identification. For instance, a Congresswoman in Indianapolis went to her polling place to vote and was told that her photo ID issued by the federal government wasn't acceptable because, even though it was issued for the 109th Congress, it had no expiration date. [9]

Finally, keep in mind that voting is a low-reward activity for any given individual, because he or she knows that elections aren't decided by one vote. Because rewards are so low for voting, even a small cost or burden can depress voter turnout. But note that photo ID laws impose much more than a small cost; low-income individuals simply cannot afford to pay $75 to $175 just so that they can vote. That cost virtually guarantees that they won't vote, given the perception that their "one vote" won't matter.

(2) Voter-impersonation fraud is exceedingly rare and doesn't justify photo ID requirements.

The argument given for these laws is to prevent voter-impersonation fraud. But it turns out there's virtually no in-person voter fraud nationally. In fact, a conservative U.S. circuit judge, Richard Posner, who initially upheld photo ID laws as constitutional on the basis of fraud concerns, recently changed his mind after reevaluating the evidence. He called the expressed concern about fraud “a mere fig leaf,” and said photo ID laws instead “appear to be aimed at limiting voting by minorities, particularly blacks.” [10]

Posner's view is backed up by multiple studies and reports on the issue. "A study of 2,068 alleged cases conducted by the News21 journalism consortium found that since 2000 there have been only ten cases of in-person voter fraud that could have been prevented by photo ID laws. Out of 146 million registered voters, this is a ratio of one case of voter fraud for every 14.6 million eligible voters--more than a dozen times less likely than being struck by lightning.” [8] Indeed, the most comprehensive study of voter fraud to date reveals absolutely no confirmed incidents of voter-impersonation fraud. [11]

Similarly, a recent DOJ report comprehensively surveying election-related misconduct since 2002 confirmed that voter-impersonation fraud is not a threat to the integrity of elections. [12] Not a single one of the convictions detailed in the DOJ report involved in-person voter-impersonation fraud. Other studies confirm these results. [13] [14] Even Fox News, whose passion for conservative causes has never been questioned, acknowledges that voter fraud is extremely rare. [15]

The reason in-person voter fraud is so rare is because it's such an irrational way to go about altering the outcome of an election. Just think about the risks to politicians of orchestrating a massive campaign of voter-impersonation fraud, since only a massive campaign will increase a candidate's vote total by enough to swing all but the very closest elections. And think of the heavy punishments for massive election fraud. And besides the risks to the politicians, think of how much it would cost to orchestrate an effective voter-impersonation fraud, given the number of voters who must be bribed, and in amounts generous enough to overcome their fear of being detected, and if detected prosecuted.

There would have to be too many co-conspirators with too great a chance of being detected. It turns out there's a recent study for that too, commissioned by the Election Assistance Commission, which said that "impersonation of voters is probably the least frequent type of [election] fraud because it is the most likely type of fraud to be discovered, there are stiff penalties associated with this type of fraud, and it is an inefficient method of influencing an election.” [16] The overwhelming direction of the evidence (and logic) is that in-person voter-impersonation fraud isn't a concern.


The evidence shows both that photo ID requirements discourage voting and that voter-impersonation fraud is extremely rare. This implies that the net effect of such requirements is to impede voting by people easily discouraged from voting, most of whom are low-income individuals.

These individuals tend to lean Democratic, and it turns out there's also tons of evidence that photo ID laws are motivated by a Republican political agenda. Keith G. Bentele and Erin E. O'Brien, in their article “Jim Crow 2.0? Why States Consider and Adopt Restrictive Voter Access Policies," present evidence that restrictive voter access policies such as photo ID requirements are highly correlated with a state's having a Republican governor and Republican control of the legislature. [17] Judge Posner, a conservative judge, says the same thing: “There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud,” Posner writes, “… and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.” [10]


[3] David Schultz, Less than Fundamental: The Myth of Voter Fraud and the Coming of the Second Great Disenfranchisement, pg 485.



This one of those debates that just needs to center around common sense. Common sense tells us that the voting process should have some integrity. We should be able to trust that the official elected to office was elected by a majority and not by a small group of people engaging in fraud. None of us wants our vote canceled out by somebody who voted twice.

Election fraud even if supposedly rare now is something that needs to remain rare and with the citizens of America (and probably several other countries), becoming more divided over politics are also becoming more incentivized to win by unethical practices. After all you are keeping a scary monster out of office in the mind of the average person.

It is my contention that it is better to take a proactive approach to preventing election fraud. The last thing we want is some Manchurian candidate who gets into office by the extreme effort of a small group of people. We saw something similar to that in DDO"s last election (not counting the "emergency" election that elected Ore-el). A small group of people controlled the outcome of that election and it probably wasn"t fair.

The dangers the Democratic process faces, needs to be anticipated instead of responded to. By the time we know to respond to a stolen election, it is probably too late. I"m not really alone in this either. This is basically a common sense position that most people agree with. According to one study 75% of voters agree with voter ID laws. If we were to put voter ID laws to a vote, the people would decide it is a good idea.


I do have legitimate studies that show that voter ID laws in fact do not suppress votes, but before I reveal those, I want to explain the voting process so the voters can understand why this is the case. Being turned away at the polls, does not indicate being turned away from voting.

What happens to a voter if they show up without a photo ID in states with voter ID laws is that they receive what is known as a provisional ballot. They vote on this ballot and a lot of times, no further effort is needed on the voter"s part. Other times the voter may receive a letter in the mail just to check a few boxes and return to insure they have their vote counted, and that they actually cast the vote. [1]

I also want to take the time to note that reasonable accommodations are made to help people vote who would be overly affected by voter ID laws. Accommodations allowed by most states:

=607;1."Have religious objections to being photographed (Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin)
=607;2.Are indigent (Indiana, Tennessee)
=607;3."Have a reasonable impediment" to getting an ID (South Carolina)
=607;4.Do not have an ID as a result of a recent natural disaster (Texas)
=607;5.People who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking and have a "confidential listing" (Wisconsin)" [1]

The voter ID laws do not affect absentee ballots or mailed ballots.[1] So if an individual is extremely burdened to get an ID, they can just mail a form. I get these forms in the mail every election cycle. It is actually probably even way more convenient just to check a few boxes, lick the envelope and shove this stuff into a mailbox

According to on highly respected news source who used available data from Georgia and Indiana where these laws have been in place for some time:

"(Reuters) - Democratic claims that a large number of Americans could be prevented from voting because of photo identification laws are probably overstated based on evidence from Georgia and Indiana, the two states where the laws have been in place for multiple elections, Reuters found." [2]

These states have also done a lot to reduce the fear of critics. For example they have made sure to hand out free ID"s and I see no reason why other states could not replicate that, since it has been so successful.


Voter fraud does happen and since ID isn"t required in many places it is extremely hard to detect. Some other types of voter fraud mentioned in an article by USA Today include "Critics of voter ID laws also fail to note they are designed not just to stop voter impersonation but also multiple voting, non-citizen voting, people voting in the wrong precinct, out-of-state voting and voting in the names of fictitious people."

Voter fraud is hard to detect because of the secret nature of the ballot on top of the fact no ID is needed to vote. The highly touted news 21 study has a ton of flaws and is basically trash. This study was done by several college students and funded by very liberal sponsors. There was definitely a conflict of interest which is not enough to discredit the study on its own.

The news 21 study was extremely amateur and not useful in any way. " Essentially, they politely asked for public officials to send them all of their examples they had of election fraud."[5]

According to their own criticisms of the study;

"[I]t is possible that some jurisdictions which did respond failed to include some cases.

Despite the huge News21 public-records request effort, the team received no useful responses from several states.
Hundreds of officials responded with short notes " some handwritten, even coffee-stained " saying they had no cases of fraud.

Some jurisdictions insisted that their computer system lacked the capability to search for election fraud cases.
Dozens of jurisdictions flatly refused the requests.

For nearly all the data News21 received, there would be some vital piece of information that had been requested specifically but that was missing.

[T]here are cases in the database that contain so little detail that they cannot be properly categorized as one kind of fraud or another."


I appreciate Four Trouble allowing me to debate this with him. Next round I plan on contesting just about every piece of evidence my opponent has brought forward. Election fraud is real, no legitimate study has been done to know exactly how significant it is but we should proceed with caution and do everything in our power to protect the integrity of our election process. If people think their votes are being erased by those who engage in fraud they will become disenfranchised

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2


Voter Suppression

Photo ID laws impose a cost to voting on those without state-issued IDs. My [7] puts the average cost of a state-issued ID around $14 to $58. [8] puts the cost for low-income voters even higher, at $75 to $175. Wylted doesn't argue these costs.

When the costs of voting increase, turnout decreases. That’s "common sense," and Wylted doesn't argue that either. Instead, Wylted debates a different issue: "provisional ballots," "reasonable accommodations," and "absentee ballots." But neither of those reduce burdens on low-income individuals who lack both state-issued IDs and the required underlying documents.

The "provisional ballots" argument fails for two reasons. First, you're still required to provide a photo ID. "If the voter does not come back to show ID, the provisional ballot is not counted." [Pro's 1] Second, they impose a greater cost via the time wasted waiting in line to vote, the effort to get a photo ID, and then having to return to the election office to present the ID. These costs matter so much that most provisional ballots are never counted, even after voters already invested time showing up on election day. [18] That means some interested voters don't get their votes counted.

The "reasonable accommodations" argument fails because it's limited to a small group of voters with specific burdens like religious objections or victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. The "reasonable accommodations" don't cover low-income nondrivers (mostly minorities), which is the main group that's disenfranchised by photo ID laws.

The "absentee ballots" argument fails because some states require photo ID to request an absentee ballot. If they don't, they impose strict limits on who can vote absentee (i.e. must be absent from the district on election day, be ill, be older than 65, or scheduled to work during the entire 12-hour voting period). [19] Most low-income individuals without photo ID can't vote "absentee" without first getting a state-issued ID.

Finally, if voter fraud is an "actual" rather than "invented" problem, as Wylted claims, then "absentee ballots" that don't require photo ID are a gap in Wylted's version of the law. In fact, the evidence shows "absentee ballots" are a much more common source of fraud than in-person voting. [6] [7] Wylted cannot advocate "absentee ballots" as a solution when his stated reason for having photo ID laws is to prevent voter fraud.


Wylted ignores my "voting is a low-reward activity" argument. Extend that argument. Even a small cost on voting can depress voter turnout.


Wylted cites a Reuters article for the idea that photo ID laws don't suppress voters. But this so-called “legitimate study” isn't "highly respected" (no academic, lawyer, judge, or policymaker has cited it), nor is it a “legitimate" study (it’s written by a journalist with no background in statistics). The article says voter turnout increased in Georgia and Indiana in the 2008 election. But that doesn't mean photo ID laws didn't suppress voters.

There are two key flaws in the article's analysis. First, the article notes that 2008 was "an anomaly because many blacks were determined to vote for Obama." Of course, turnout increased across the entire country in 2008, so increased turnout alone doesn't prove that voters weren't suppressed. Second, the article fails to compare turnout in photo ID law states with turnout in non photo ID law states. When you compare states, the data shows that turnout increased more in states without photo ID laws. [7]

The Government Accountability Office, an independent agency that prepares reports for members of Congress, analyzed three data sets to compare Kansas/Tennessee (photo ID law states) with Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, and Maine (non photo ID law). The study found 1.9 to 2.2 percent less voters in Kansas, and 2.2 to 3.2 percent less in Tennessee. That's 122,000 voters that photo ID laws suppressed. Moreover, unlike Wylted's source, the GAO report "applied criteria to ensure that the [considered] states did not have other factors present in their election environments that may have significantly affected turnout." This chart summarizes the results:

Prefer my sources to Wylted's, as his source fails to consider relevant data and misapplies statistical reasoning. Also, apply "common sense": the idea that voter ID laws increase minority voting -- which is what Wylted's source suggests -- simply doesn't make sense. Obstacles to voting don't increase voter turnout. And if photo ID laws actually increase minority voting, liberals should rejoice in the laws and conservatives deplore them. Yet it’s conservatives who support them and liberals who oppose them. Unless conservatives and liberals are masochists, promoting laws that hurt them, Wylted's source is just bad journalism, and photo ID laws suppress minority voting, not increase it.

Voter Fraud

Wylted says the News 21 study is "trash." That's an unfair characterization. Yes, the study has limits, but so does every social science study. That doesn't mean the study is "trash." We do the best we can with the available data. The question is whether those limits significantly affect likelihood of the study's conclusion. They do not.

The News 21 study analyzed 2,068 election fraud cases over 10 years and found that only 10 cases involved in-person voter fraud. However, 645 cases could not be "categorized as one kind of fraud or another." To be sure, that limits the completeness of the study. But it also means 10 out of 1423 cases were in-person voter fraud, or 0.7%. That result alone shows that in-person voter fraud doesn't threaten voting integrity. If we extrapolate that percentage to the uncategorized cases, you only get 4 more cases of in-person voter fraud. However you spin the News 21 study, it's results are clear: in-person voter fraud is exceedingly rare. And, of course, other studies (which Wylted has yet to address) confirm this result. [7] [11] [12] [13] [14] Even Fox news. [15]


Wylted ignores my argument about the costs, complexity and risks of orchestrating massive in-person voter fraud. Wylted also doesn't address the EAC study, which says "impersonation of voters" is the "least frequent type of fraud because it is the most likely type of fraud to be discovered" and it's "an inefficient method of influencing an election." [16] Extend this argument.

Further note: If a photo ID law is necessary to deter voter-impersonation fraud, then such fraud would be common -- maybe even rampant -- in states that don’t require a photo ID. But there’s simply no evidence that in-person voter fraud is common in those states.

Wylted says voter fraud is hard to detect. But there's no evidence of that. And even if it's hard to detect, in-person voter fraud is still so inefficient, risky, and costly that there's no reason politicians would pursue it over other forms of fraud. Especially since [16] says in-person voter fraud is the easiest to detect.


Wylted says photo ID laws stop multiple voting, noncitizen voting, people voting in the wrong precinct, and out-of-state voting. Not so. Photo ID requirements don't stop multiple voting (or at least I don't see how they would). State-issued IDs are available to noncitizens. And photo ID laws generally don't require that your voting address match your ID's address. [Pro's 1]

Also, photo ID laws don’t work against other types of fraud, like vote buying, misleading or confusing ballot papers, ballot stuffing, misrecording of votes, misuse of proxy votes, destruction of ballots, tampering with voting machines, intimidation and threats of violence, legal threats, economic threats, and manipulation of demography.


Wylted should be held to his sources. [Pro's 2] states: “Data and numerous interviews by Reuters reporters also suggest there is little evidence to bolster Republican assertions that ID laws are needed to combat rampant voter fraud.” It continues: “Georgia officials could not point to a single documented instance of voter impersonation before or after the law took effect.” If you accept Wylted’s source, then you also have to accept that voter fraud isn’t a threat.

Voting Integrity

Wylted says photo ID laws increase the integrity of elections, or at least increase public perception of integrity. But there’s no evidence that photo ID laws promote public confidence in elections. In fact, “Vote Fraud in the Eye of the Beholder: The Role of Public Opinion in the Challenge to Voter Identification Requirements,” an article by Stephen Ansolabehere & Nathaniel Persily, finds that perceptions of voter-impersonation fraud aren't affected by the strictness of a state's voter ID law. [20] That means photo ID laws don't increase voters' confidence in the honesty of elections. This, in turn, means that photo ID laws won't reduce voter-impersonation fraud, because if they did, one would expect perceptions of its prevalence to change.


Wylted says we should apply common sense. But Wylted cannot win this debate via common sense. Common sense says voter turnout decreases when the cost of voting increases. And when it comes to voter fraud, common sense says in-person voter fraud is an invented problem, because politicians won't risk orchestrating a massive campaign of voter-impersonation fraud. The costs and risks are too high. I've cited multiple studies that support these common sense points with empirical data.

When both common sense and the overwhelming force of empirical evidence says that photo ID laws depress voter turnout, and that voter-impersonation fraud isn't a threat to the integrity of elections, the conclusions aren't debatable. The net effect of these two facts is that photo ID laws depress voter turnout without justification.




Rebuttal round

(1) Photo ID laws place a severe burden on a significant number of voters.

"Studies indicate that 11 percent of American citizens, more than 21 million people, don"t have a state-issued photo ID."

The study linked to does indeed show that number. What my opponent fails to show is how many of those 21 million people can still easily vote, with their military ID, government or employer ID, school ID, certificate of live birth, passports and several other methods that escape me at the moment. Claiming that 22 million people are cut off from voting as a result of a few common sense laws to eliminate voter fraud is extremely dishonest.

My opponent cites a few studies that show voter ID does effect voter turn out, but let's take a look at what these citations, actually say.

"Voter identification requirements alone do not determine turnout. Multivariate models that take into account other predictors of voting can paint a more complete picture of the relationship between voter identification requirements and turnout."

"Indiana passed its voter ID law in 2005, and it is among the strictest in the nation. The law requires voters to present a state or federal government-issued photo ID with a valid expiration date.47 If the voter does not possess an ID, they may cast a provi- sional ballot. In order for the ballot to be counted, the voter must appear before the circuit court clerk or county election board within ten days eitherto present ID or to execute an affidavit declaring that the voter is indigent or has a religious objection to being photographed.48 Indiana does provide a free voter ID card, but obtaining it requires identification documentation.

The district court found that the law placed no significant burden on the right to vote. "
Even my opponents citations, support my position.

"note that photo ID laws impose much more than a small cost; low-income individuals simply cannot afford to pay $75 to $175 just so that they can vote. That cost virtually guarantees that they won't vote, given the perception that their "one vote" won't matter."

I don't know where my opponent is getting his stats, but my ID cost me $20. In Indiana where they have voter ID laws, they made state issued ID's free for those who couldn't afford them. I think we can all afford free.

(2) Voter-impersonation fraud is exceedingly rare and doesn't justify photo ID requirements.

Voter impersonation fraud happens, and it happens frequently. We can use Occam's Razor to know this. People will get away, with what they can, and when it comes to idealogues, the ends always justifies the means. I think we can all agree that idealogues are quite attracted to the political realm.

The reason it is so hard to detect in person voter fraud is because it is almost untraceable. It is not like the person showing up, shows ID and that ID to prove their identity. We just have to have the honor factor, without voter ID laws. Do you guys actually trust the guys on the other side of the aisle not to cheat?

We know in voter fraud occurs, because every time a watchdog organization attempts to do it, they are successful.

According to the National Review:

"But New York City"s watchdog Department of Investigations has just provided the latest evidence of how easy it is to commit voter fraud that is almost undetectable. DOI undercover agents showed up at 63 polling places last fall and pretended to be voters who should have been turned away by election officials; the agents assumed the names of individuals who had died or moved out of town, or who were sitting in jail. In 61 instances, or 97 percent of the time, the testers were allowed to vote. Those who did vote cast only a write-in vote for a "John Test" so as to not affect the outcome of any contest."

Even if one of these voters were caught (highly unlikely), it would still be difficult to prosecute them.

"Lawyers say that fraud is the most difficult crime to prove because showing that the act complained of actually happened is not enough. It must be proven that the perpetrator had intent to defraud. Like any fraud, voter fraud is by its nature generally very difficult to detect and prosecute.
Voter fraud in the form of actual fraudulent balloting is especially hard to demonstrate in court. A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person voted without having the right to vote, used fraud (deception) in the process, and intended to defraud the victim (in this case, the public). These facts can be hard to establish after the voter leaves the polling place."

If this was election time, I'd take a hidden camera into a polling place and commit voter fraud to submit for evidence, right now.
Debate Round No. 3


I'll start with an overview of the case and conclude with rebuttals. I'll show exactly why, if my sources are correct (and they are), Wylted cannot win this debate.

== Overview ==

Wylted has dropped almost every piece of evidence I offered. He briefly contested the News 21 study in Round 2, but dropped it in Round 3, as well as dropping the rest of my sources throughout (note: Wylted mentions [1], [5], and [6] but doesn't argue them). At this point, my uncontested evidence must be taken as true; Wylted cannot argue the evidence anymore because I won't be able to rebut what he says. This dooms Wylted's entire case.

Suppression. The argument here is simple: photo ID laws impose a severe burden on voting by increasing the cost of voting. For low-income individuals, this cost is up to $175. [8] The impact: when the cost of voting increases, voter turnout decreases. Wylted drops this argument in its entirety. I supported this argument with multiple studies, including the unbiased GAO report discussed in Round 3. [7] Wylted also drops my "voting is a low reward activity" argument (see Round 2 and 3 for elaboration). The impact: even a small cost depresses voter turnout. These arguments -- especially when taken together -- weigh heavily against photo ID laws.

NOTE: Wylted abandons his "provisional ballots," "reasonable accommodations," and "absenteee ballots" argument (i.e. he drops my rebuttal in Round 3), so those arguments carry no impact.

Fraud. There is virtually no evidence of in-person voter fraud. I cited multiple studies which show that in-person voter fraud is extremely rare (e.g. the News 21 study says 0.5% of voter fraud is in-person voter fraud). Wylted also drops key arguments here. First, Wylted drops my argument that in-person voter fraud is the "most likely type of fraud to be discovered" (this point is discussed in the EAC report). [16] Second, Wylted drops my argument that in-person voter fraud is an inefficient and irrational way to influence an election (i.e. it's costly, difficult to coordinate, the easiest type of fraud to detect, and imposes heavy punishments). Finally, Wylted drops my argument on public perceptions of voting fraud (see section on Voting Integrity from Round 3). I discuss Wylted's "fraud is hard to detect" argument below.

== Rebuttal ==

(1) Wylted wrote: "The study linked to does indeed show that number. What my opponent fails to show is how many of those 21 million people can still easily vote, with their military ID, government or employer ID, school ID, certificate of live birth, passports and several other methods that escape me at the moment."

Wylted's statement is utter nonsense. The study says: "
11 percent of United States citizens – more than 21 million individuals – do not have government-issued photo identification.” [1] The term "government-issued photo identification" includes all forms of ID relevant to this debate. The debate isn't about whether to require an identification document (e.g. a birth certificate). The debate is about whether to require a "government-issued photo ID." The study speaks directly to that issue. Wylted's attempt to discredit the study's impact simply has no bearing or relevance to this debate.

(2) Wylted quotes this from [5]: "Voter identification requirements alone do not determine turnout. Multivariate models that take into account other predictors of voting can paint a more complete picture between voter identification requirents and turnout" (emphasis mine).

The first sentence in this statement says photo ID laws affect voter turnout. Of course, other factors also affect voter turnout. So what? The study concludes: "The results presented here provide evidence that as voter identification requirements vary, voter turnout does as well....The overall effect for all registered voters was...statistically significant....It appears that stringent requirements can reduce turnout."

(3) Wylted quotes this -- "[t]he district court found that the law placed no significant burden on the right to vote" -- from [6] and then claims "[e]ven my opponent's citations, support my position."

Wylted's quote mining. The article states: "This Essay surveys the voter ID controversy and describes original empirical research finding ID laws to have a negative impact on voter turnout." Yes, the study notes that some courts have upheld photo ID laws, but the entire study was about those courts being wrong. The mere fact that the study "surveys the voter ID controversy" doesn't mean the study agrees with the courts that have upheld the laws. Contrary to Wylted's claim, the "citation" clearly found that photo ID laws depress voter turnout.

(4) Wylted wrote: "I don't know where my opponent is getting his stats, but my ID cost me $20. In Indiana where they have voter ID laws, they made state issued ID's free for those who couldn't afford them."

First, I'm not sure how Wylted doesn't know where the stats come from, since I've meticulously cited them throughout the debate. The stats come from the GAO report and from a study published by the Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School. [7] [8] I cited both in Round 2 and discussed them again in Round 3. Second, $20 is a severe burden for some low-income voters, and it's certainly enough of a burden to influence turnout, because of the perception that voting is a low-reward activity (i.e. even a small cost lowers turnout). Third, just because a state-issued ID is free doesn't mean obtaining the ID is free. Voters must still pay for underlying documentation (e.g. birth certificates), travel and transportation costs, and waiting time (often having to take off work). I explained this in Round 2, but Wylted ignored that argument (i.e. pretends I never made it).

(5) Relying on "Occam's Razor," Wylted says in-person voter fraud happens frequently because voter fraud is hard to detect.

Occam's razor is the idea that "among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected." Wylted's argument -- or rather, narrative -- requires more assumptions than mine, so under occam's razor, prefer mine. Wylted's argument rests on at least 4 or 5 assumptions. Wylted names some of them in his argument: (1) the idea that politicians will do anything they can get away with; (2) the idea that in-person voter fraud is harder to detect than other types of fraud (which is wrong as noted in [16]); (3) the idea that in-person voter fraud is economically feasible (it's not); (4) lack of evidence is irrelevant (also false). The number of assumptions underlying Wylted's position make occam's razor inapplicable. The argument I make rests on a single assumption: If there's no evidence of something, it's probably rare. If anything, occam's razor applies to my position, not Wylted's.

The problems with Wylted's argument don't stop there. First, in-person voter fraud is the easiest type of voter fraud to detect. I made this argument in Round 2 and 3, and Wylted ignores it entirely. Wylted cannot argue this point now because I'd have no chance to rebut it. There's simply no reason politicians would use in-person voter fraud when other types of fraud are much harder to detect. Again, under occam's razor, politicians are going to choose the cheapest, least difficult to orchestrate, and hardest type of voter fraud to detect. I explained earlier that in-person voter fraud is not the cheapest, it's inefficient, it's difficult to coordinate and bribe thousands of voters, and it's the easiest to detect. Occam's razor suggests that in-person voter fraud simply isn't how politicians would go about influencing an election. This is especially so because of the heavy punishments that attach to in-person voter fraud.

Second, in-person voter fraud requires a massive campaight by politicians. Wylted says politicians will engage in in-person voter fraud because it's difficult to detet, but that ignores the practical difficulty of orchestrating a massive campaign. The reason a massive campaign is necessary is because you can't influence an election with one vote. Politicians need to coordinate and bribe thousands upon thousands of voters. Occam's razor suggests that politicians won't go through that trouble, not only because of the complexity, but also because of the economics (it's simply too expensive). Think about how much each person would charge to break the law and face the risks of detected. Consider the risks: if even a single one of these thousands of people is caught, the entire scheme falls apart. The logistiscs are simly so complex and impractical, not to mention how inefficient in-person voter fraud is at influencing an election.

I offered a study on these very points in Round 2 and 3 -- the EAC report -- which talks about all these practical difficulties with in-person voter fraud. The study makes the opposite argument that Wylted's making: It's simply so complex, impractical, inefficient, and expensive that politicians are going to choose other forms of voter fraud to influence an election. I also cited a study on public perceptions of voting fraud, which suggests that in-person voter fraud simply doesn't happen, for reasons relatating to public perceptions of it.

Third, there's an easy solution to the kind of in-person voter fraud (using dead people's names) that Wylted talks about: update the voter rolls. That solution won't suppress voters. Wylted's given no reason why we can't do that instead of photo ID laws.

== Conclusion ==

Wylted cannot in this debate with the arguments he's made. He's dropped almost all my evidence. He's banked his entire case on the idea that in-person voter fraud is hard to detect so therefore it's happening frequently. But as I've shown, there's a number of other reasons why in-person voter fraud doesn't happen (e.g. practical issues orchestrating it). I've also shown that photo ID laws suppress a significant number of votes. The net effect of these laws is to suppress voters.


Okay, real quick. My opponent says that new arguments don't count in the last round, implying I can't make counter rebuttals, so I demand that nobody considers any new arguments, counter arguments, rebuttals etc. he has made in the final round. My evidence that his studies agree with me still stand since his counter rebuttals don't count.

Here is one point my opponent can't contend with, and I think this argument should be weighed heavier than anything. No matter how many studies are done on in person voter fraud, we will never be able to come up with even a close estimate to how much of it takes place. Every single investigative journalist who attempts to place a fraudulent vote, has been succesful. The stats may lie, because it is impossible to know when in voter fraud has happened (because they don't ID people, these people just come in, vote and leave, without leaving a paper trail other than the vote.)

My opponent is asking us just to believe people are who they say they are and just had the "honor factor" when it comes to voting. He doesn't believe people will be dishonest, under this "honor factor" system, despite the fact that investigative reporters have shown that in person voter fraud is extremely easy to commit.

I don't know about you guys, but I want to know my vote isn't being erased by people who are ineligible to vote or who vote multiple times. I want my vote to count. If you want your vote to count, I urge you to vote pro.
Debate Round No. 4
48 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
What side am I taking in the debate, retard?
Posted by Times 2 years ago
How old are you? Why do you keep trying to call me names when clearly it is not getting you anywhere?

You are dodging my question why?
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
What side am I taking in the debate, retard?
Posted by Times 2 years ago
How old are you? Why do you keep trying to call me names when clearly it is not getting you anywhere?

You are dodging my question why?

And the side you are taking is irrelevant, you may as well be on the other side with as weak as your debating the ID laws is, you can't even list current results that prove that the ID laws have had zero effect on actual Black votes.

I think you are intentionally taking a dive, or you are just too uneducated to know any better, that would explain all your childish attempts to call me names too........
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
What side am I taking in the debate retard?
Posted by Times 2 years ago
And yet you refuse to debate the fact that people already have ID and all of the studies claiming otherwise are done by biased sources.

More childish insults and name calling? Grow up kid.

You simply are too lazy to do any research and are giving an extremely weak debate in support of voter ID laws.

In the States with well established voter ID laws we see a clear "INCREASE" in Black voter numbers:

Missouri: Black voter turnout higher by more than 6.0 percent
Georgia: Black voter turnout higher by 4 percent
Tennessee: Black voter turnout higher by more than 6.0 percent
Indiana: Black voter turnout higher by 4 percent
Virginia: Black voter turnout higher by 5 percent

The rest have seen zero effect on voter turnout for Blacks.

Reality, not fantasy.

And how about you answer my question and stop dodging it?
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
@times, don't forget to vote on the debate, when this is said and done.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
What side am I taking in the debate, retard?
Posted by Times 2 years ago
So your so scared of the question I ask that you can only turn to personal insults?

You should try to avoid that kind of childish behavior because it says more bad things about you than those you attack.

Did you even bother to research those behind the studies that were offered? Almost every one of them with deep ties to purely Liberal agendas, does that even hint at biased information to you or do you just swallow anything with "scholarly" attached to it?

Read the true results of voter ID laws:

""Turnout among black and Hispanic voters increased from 2006 to 2010, dramatically outpacing population growth for those groups over the same period.""
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
You should keep from reproducing.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: The way this debate shook out was pretty simple in the end, and I think that result comes from a relatively short R3 from Pro and a very short R4. I actually thought Pro's case in R2 was a decent counter to Con's strong opening, but it just didn't get continued throughout the debate. The end result is that I'm getting near certainty that voter ID laws suppress voting, and I even get a number to go with it. I get plenty of reasoning as to why that's happening, the most deadly of which goes uncontested - that making it even slightly more difficult to vote dissuades many voters due to the perception of low impact. So I balance that against voter fraud, which even Pro admits is highly uncertain. He says that we should favor the view that there's a lot of people out there we can't detect doing this, but that's extremely nebulous, and there's no way to assess their impact. Occam's Razor actually works against him, showing why that impact is small. Ergo, I vote on the certain harm for Con.