You can’t fly on an airline without providing ID. You can’t open a PayPal account without verifying your identification. But, according to both those companies, asking for voters to provide ID is “racist”.

Curiously, the reasons critics give for opposing voter ID sound, well, really, really racist.

But is voter ID such a draconian, un-democratic, “racist” idea?

A database on voting rules worldwide compiled by the Crime Prevention Research Center, which I run, shows that election integrity measures are widely accepted globally, and have often been adopted by countries after they’ve experienced fraud under looser voting regimes.

Of 47 nations surveyed in Europe — a place where, on other matters, American progressives often look to with envy — all but one country requires a government-issued photo voter ID to vote. The exception is the U.K., and even there voter IDs are mandatory in Northern Ireland for all elections and in parts of England for local elections. Moreover, Boris Johnson’s government recently introduced legislation to have the rest of the country follow suit[…]

Seventy-four percent of European countries entirely ban absentee voting for citizens who reside domestically. Another 6% limit it to those hospitalized or in the military, and they require third-party verification and a photo voter ID. Another 15% require a photo ID for absentee voting.

Similarly, government-issued photo IDs are required to vote by 33 nations in the 37-member Organistion for Economic Co-operation and Development (which has considerable European overlap). Only the UK, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia currently do not require IDs.

This is not correct. Australia does in fact have voter ID requirements.

Anyone registering to vote in Australia (as all adult citizens must) is required to provide ID such as a driver’s licence or passport. Polling days in Australia are pretty relaxed affairs, but even then, voters are required to identify themselves. The process is pretty basic: you give your name and address, the elector crosses it off on their copy of the roll. Post-polling day, all copies of the roll for your district are cross-checked to eliminate any attempts to lodge multiple votes.

Where there is no voter ID at all, vote fraud is invariably rampant.

In Northern Ireland, where a bitter sectarian conflict extends to hardball electoral machinations, voter fraud has been described as “widespread and systemic” on all sides[…]

One study of vote fraud in Northern Ireland before the 2002 reforms interviewed Brendan Hughes, the former IRA Belfast commander. Hughes explained that he had a fleet of taxis to ferry fraudulent voters from one polling station to another and that they “dressed up volunteers with wigs, clothes, and glasses, and said this practice continued for decades.” Young women were usually “used for voter impersonation because they were more likely to be let off if there was any doubt.”

When Northern Ireland moved to tighten voter ID rules, total registrations immediately dropped by 11%. That’s a lot of obviously fraudulent votes.

But hey, surely voter ID discriminates against minorities like Hispanics? Not in Mexico itself, apparently.

And as a result of [widespread] fraud, Mexico in 1991 mandated voter photo IDs with biometric information, banned absentee ballots, and required in-person voter registration. Despite making registration much more difficult and banning absentee ballots, voter participation rates rose after Mexico implemented the new rules. In the three presidential elections following the 1991 reforms, an average of 68% of the eligible citizens voted, compared with only 59% in the three elections prior to the rule changes. Seemingly, as people gained faith in the electoral process, they became more likely to vote.

So who are the people opposing voter ID?

Criticisms of the British leader’s voter ID push are similar to those heard in the U.S. The Scottish National Party claims his voter ID push targets “lower income, ethnic minority and younger people” who are less likely to vote for Johnson’s conservatives and therefore represents “Trump-like voter suppression”[…]

Despite the record of Europe and the vast majority of the rest of the developed world, congressional Democrats are pushing to remove identification requirements for voting. The House recently passed the For the People Act of 2021, which replaces state voter ID rules with a signed statement from the voter, and makes permanent the pandemic’s mail-in ballot voting. The mailing out of blank absentee ballots en masse would become a fixture of American elections.

Real Clear Investigations

If you wonder why anyone is against voter ID, you only need to look at who is against it.

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Voter ID Is the Norm Around the World
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Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...