‘Fix the system now’ with voter ID

by Kristin Richert

There has been much buzz around the country, as of late, concerning numerous state voter ID bills that have been proposed and some passed.

In case you don’t already know, the main idea of these laws is to make our elections more credible and to curb voter fraud. This is done by making it so every person must show a photo ID when going to vote.

Some, however, have voiced their concerns over these laws. Among them is Professor Rick Spellerberg, who wonders about the cost, disenfranchising voters and whether or not there is an actual voter fraud problem. He brought up all of these worries to the Iowa Secretary of State, Matt Schultz, while he was here on March 1.

Schultz came to talk about his bill that was introduced here in Iowa.

When it came to cost, Schultz didn’t have a concrete answer, but he assured us that it wouldn’t be as much as other bills around the country. This is due to how he has set the bill up.

What was said is that the bill’s cost would estimate between $30,000 and $200,000. This seems like a lot, but then it comes down to how much you willing to pay to make sure the credibility of the elections is upheld.

The biggest issue Spellerberg had was he felt that it could potentially disenfranchise voters, including college students. He wanted the secretary to know that even if it disenfranchises one voter, it’s one too many.

Schultz understood this point and said that he had this concern in mind when creating the bill. Under this act college students would be able to use their ID’s, which is different than other states.

Also, if you are unable to afford an ID then the Department of Transportation would give you one free of charge. In addition, if you forget your ID or you cannot get a photo taken (due to religious beliefs) you would be able to sign an affidavit.

Lastly, is the uncertainty of actual voter fraud. Mr. Schultz admitted that there are not a lot of cases of voter fraud because it is very hard to detect. He did, however, share a few examples of voter fraud that have been identified.

Also, he said that there have been a couple cases where there were more votes cast then there were people. So while there isn’t enough voter fraud to effect major election results, he felt that if cheating is occurring (no matter how much) we have the obligation to fix the system.

With elections getting more and more important, the credibility of our elections becomes that much more imperative. The elections are the best way for the people to voice opinions; this is what keeps our freedom sacred.

We should fix the system now, before there is a crisis that we might not be able to fix later. Just remember, today, you cannot do anything without an ID, so is this really an inconvenience?

Kristin is a freshman, majoring in political science and math. She is involved in debate, Campus Activities Board, Pi Beta Phi and is president of College Republicans.