Voter ID laws are probably here to stay. What can be done about it?

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Despite the fact that they’re expensive and useless, voter ID laws aren’t going anywhere, unless the Senate abolishes the filibuster and passes the For the People Act, or the supreme court decides to prioritize voter accessibility instead of lies about fraud.

Even without that divine intervention, there are still options for politicians, activists, and the 25 million voting-age Americans without a photo ID, which includes one in four Black Americans.

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If politicians want to expose the hypocrisy of the laws, they can push for IDs in even more circumstances. “We use the same process to confirm voter identity for petition signatures that we use to confirm voter identity for actual voting,” tweeted Grace Bannasch, a town clerk in Massachusetts. “If the process is good enough for what goes on the ballot, it’s good enough for who marks it.”

The more practical option is to lobby for the list of acceptable IDs to be “long and lengthy,” says Tammy Patrick, a senior adviser at the Democracy Fund. Still, especially considering how often these laws change, some voters will come unprepared. In that case, let them either sign an affidavit at the poll site affirming their identity or submit a picture of their ID from home using something like Colorado’s TXT2CURE. If you ask them to show up at an elections office in person, you’ll probably never see them again.

However, Patrick also points out that the foundation of the voting ID laws is – surprise, surprise – a farce.

“When someone registers to vote, the board of elections pulls a picture of their signature from the state’s DMV,” she says. “There’s no reason why it couldn’t also pull their DMV photo as well, negating the need for an ID for the 80% of people with driver’s licenses.”

But the final workaround for these laws is the simplest and potentially the most effective: put an ID in everyone’s pocket.

That’s the full-time mission of VoteRiders, a non-partisan nonprofit that s helps voters IDs by requesting (and paying for) any underlying documents, like birth certificates, and arranging (and paying for) transportation to the right agency.

To help voters comply with ID requirements for absentee ballots, VoteRiders has even partnered with a law firm that accepts photos of their documents through an encrypted website, prints a photocopy and mails it to their home.

Should voters need a nonprofit to get the ID that they’re forced to show in order to vote? Obviously not. But since a third of states have passed restrictions, it’s important to remember that these laws are cynical and discriminatory but not necessarily insurmountable.

Today’s post was guest-written by Spenser Mestel, a poll worker and journalist who writes a voting rights newsletter.

Also worth watching …

After officials in Fulton county let a third-party vendor inspect their voting machines, Pennsylvania’s department of state decertified the equipment, another warning sign for politicians considering sham audits.

Speaking of, the situation in Arizona has gotten even more bizarre. The Senate’s liaison to the ballot review, former secretary of state Ken Bennett, has resigned after being locked out of the “recount”.

A district attorney in Douglas county, Kansas, has said her office won’t prosecute violations of a voting law that recently went into effect. Ostensibly written to discourage “ballot harvesting,” she said that it is too broad and “threatens to create felons out of dedicated defenders of democracy.”

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