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What's the Deal with Voter ID Cards?

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Many states have proposed legislation making it a requirement for all voters coming to the polls to present a picture identification card. This law has been met with controversy. Opponents and proponents both have strong arguments for and against this legislation.

What's Wrong With ID Cards?

Most people own a photo identification card of some type, such as a driver's license or a state identification card. The problem with a voter ID law is that in many areas many minorities and the very poor often do not have such cards or the means to get them. These people would be forbidden to vote at the polls without an identification card, disenfranchising them. Opponents also suggest that many people would be discouraged from going to the polls if they have to show an identification card with their picture on it or go through the process of having to obtain one.

Why Require Identification

The proponents for voter ID cards suggest that it is the only means to avoid voter fraud. In many areas, voter cards are pieces of paper without a photo, and someone could use another person's voter card to cast a ballot without being questioned. The argument for requiring voter ID cards is that a photo identification is needed for getting on a plane, driving a car, or signing up for a library card and should be required to vote as well.

Identification Cards

If the legislation comes into effect or passes in the states it has been approved or will be voted on, the need for ID card printers will increase. Those who do not have a driver's license will need to get a state-approved photo identification card from another source. Many of the voter ID laws have approve giving free state-issued identification cards to those without driver's licenses so they may still vote.

Where ID Cards Come From

Identification cards, whether from the state DPS/DMV or from an organization, are printed out on special ID card printers. These printers are able to instantly process the card and produce it, reducing the long waiting time to get an ID card that was required in the days of pasting photographs to a paper card and laminating it. With these ID card printers connected to a computer, a picture taken with a webcam can be added to card information and printed out quickly. Should states enact voter ID laws, the demand for ID cards will increase, especially around elections, and a fast, high-quality ID card printer can cut down on the waiting time.

What Voters Should Do

Whether a voter ID law is pending or passed, voters and state agencies should be ready. Those who live in states where such legislation has passed should be prepared to acquire a photo ID prior to heading for the polls. State agencies in those areas need to be ready with ID card printers to fulfill the increased demand for picture ID cards. States where such legislation is still pending may want to consider the possibility of needing to increase their means of creating state-approved ID cards.

How the voter ID laws will be handled in various states is anyone's guess, but if passed in a particular state, the transition will be smoother if the voters and state agencies are ready for the change.