The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Policy Primer: Voter ID laws


  Although the 2012 Election is looming nearer and nearer, many students find themselves asking “Why should I care?” The Red Ledger will be profiling a hot-button issue featured this election season every week until Nov. 6, and provide each candidate’s stance on that issue, background context and how it applies to students like you.


This past year has seen a massive push toward strengthening security at the polls for the 2012 election. Over fears of voter fraud, 35 states have introduced legislation requiring government-issued photo identification at polls, with the bills being signed into law in 8 of them- including Texas.

However, most of these laws have been struck down by federal courts. Federal judges in Washington, D.C. felt that these laws violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act, originally instituted to ensure that southern states did not unfairly discriminate against minorities, as they had previously done in the past with poll taxes, literacy tests and intimidation techniques to prevent African Americans from voting.

The federal court rulings have caused uproar among Republicans, who feel that the electoral process is becoming increasingly insecure and praise from Democrats, who feared that the new laws would unfairly turn away low-income and minority voters. Currently it is estimated that over 21 million American citizens do not have government-issued photo ID that they would be required to present at polls.


Not only are racial minorities and low-income citizens the least likely to have government-issued photo ID, but students are as well. Had the Texas law remained intact, if you were registered to vote but left your driver’s license at home – or didn’t have a driver’s license or other government ID to begin with – you would be turned away at the polls. Even though these laws aren’t immediately being put into effect, the political party that takes Congress of the White House come January will continue to push for either their reinstatement or their repeal.


Republicans were the prime supporters of the new laws. They saw the new laws as an opportunity to clean up a much-bloated voter registration system and cut down on voter fraud, a serious albeit infrequent crime. Under these laws, citizens who did not have government-issued photo ID and couldn’t afford it would be given a free identification card by state governments- a service that would cost millions of dollars. However, for many Republicans, there is no step that is too big to take to ensure the validity and safety of the democratic process.


Naturally, Democrats all over are worried about these laws, and it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why: poor people, minorities and students almost always tend to vote Democratic each election season. They view the Republican effort to strengthen voting laws as a political ploy to decrease turnout for president Obama and other Democrats in congressional races. Additionally they point to the infrequent occurrence of voter fraud to make their case: the first half of the last decade, only about .00000013 percent of the total votes cast, resulted in convictions or guilty pleas of voter fraud.

Have an opinion on Voter ID Laws? Want to share your suggestion for next week’s policy primer? Or just want to learn more about this week’s topic? Let us know in the comments!

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Adam Schasel
Adam Schasel, Staff Reporter
As clever as he is strong, as charming as he is quick, and as smart as he is intelligent, Adam Schasel was born in a hospital somewhere but immediately regretted being so mainstream. Accordingly, he spent the next 14 years of his life being raised by courage wolves and honey badgers until it was time to enroll in Lovejoy High School, at which he is currently a senior. This is Adam’s second year writing for The Red Ledger, and he still hopes to attain that coveted columnist position so he can shove his radical views down your throat. His passion for the political process is paralleled only by his love of Brian K Vaughan’s Saga and Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra (He ships Borra, in case you were wondering) and his penchant for playing both Pokémon cards and poker.  When he is not engaged in these activities Adam likes to catch up on current events, particularly from sources such as The Economist, Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, NPR and Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog. Please don’t ever talk to him about prom dresses.

Comments (1)

The Red Ledger values the opinion of its readers and encourages them to discuss its content. All comments are subject to approval by The Red Ledger staff. The Red Ledger does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Comments are reviewed as often as possible. Comments with inappropriate content will not be published. Once submitted, comments become the property of The Red Ledger. To see our full Comment Policy, visit
All The Red Ledger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • T

    Tess MairOct 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Hey. So I think this article is a little biased and doesn’t support both sides equally. However, it is really interesting to read and enjoyable.