When voters in Georgia and Florida want to poll by mail in 2021’s races for Governor, they would have to make sure they take an additional step to ensure they receive a ballot, providing their identification.
In 2020, just two states had ID requirements for voters requesting a mailed ballot. In 2021, GOPs across the nation have zeroed in on mail voting and enacted new restrictions on a manner that exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 epidemic.
According to Voting Rights Lab’s compiled information, along with Georgia and Florida, lawmaking to require additional identification for mail voting was introduced in Louisiana, Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, Texas, and South Carolina.
GOPs, seizing on baseless and false claims by former U.S. President Trump of extensive fraud in 2020’s White House election, said identification is needed for mailed ballots to prevent fraud and improve confidence in elections. There is no proof of extensive fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. Courts rejected numerous claims by Trump and his allies, a coalition of federal, state, and local election authorities called it the most secure election in American history, and Trump’s own Attorney General stated he had seen nothing that would change the result.
Criticizers say adding ID requirements to request a mailed vote isn’t only unnecessary but creates one additional opportunity for voters to make a mistake that could leave them unable to vote absentee. They say identification is already needed when registering to poll and when voting in-person for the first time.
Director of the democracy program at the ‘Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law,’ which supports increased voter access, Wendy R. Weiser, every additional requirement they add would lead to more ballot rejections, persons who inadvertently fail to comply or do not comply correctly with those requirements.
A GOP proposal in Michigan has drawn particular concern from Democrats because it would require voters to submit their ID’s printed copy when requesting a mailed ballot. Although the state’s governor, a Democrat, is expected to veto any voting limit, the state has a unique process that could permit this and other voting bills to become law if enough citizens petition for it and the Republican-controlled Legislature passes it.
130000 of some seven million registered voters in Michigan do not have a state ID or driver’s license
Jocelyn Benson, Michigan State Secretary, a Democrat, has pushed back against Republican claims that IDs are more reliable than the current process, which relies on matching a signature of the voter on ballot applications or return envelopes to the signature on file at the election office.
Benson said that there is no evidence this modification decreases or prevents fraud. Actually, it makes it harder to detect deception because those seeking to request an absentee ballot fraudulently need only to submit a fake ID’s copy to do so, whereas it is much tougher to forge a signature.
Republican Mike Shirkey, the Michigan Senate’s majority leader, has said voters favor ID requirements and that it was essential to ensure registered voters are Michigan residents. He said that the best means to do that is through a state-issued ID.
Benson noted that 0.13 million of some seven million registered voters in Michigan do not have a state ID or driver’s license. A Democrat, Mike Duggan, Detroit Mayor, said that one-quarter of Black residents in his city do not own a car, and many do not have printers at home.
Duggan said that if anyone’s family has got a car, has got a personal computer and a printer copier at home, and these bills aren’t so bad. They have formed a series of bills that a poorer family without a car, without PC’s, has a far stricter time voting than the other families. This is voter suppression at its core.
ID claims have long been a flashpoint in the battle over voting, with earlier efforts focused on rules surrounding in-person voting. As of 2020, according to the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures), thirty-six states had ID requirements for voting at polling sites.
Going to photo ID is very objective
Most tolerate a wide range of non-photo identification, such as a utility statement or bank statement. Many states permit voters to sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury that they are who they say they are.
Florida voters would have to provide their state ID number, driver’s license number, or last four digits of their nine-digit Social Security number (SSN) to request a mailed ballot under a recently signed law. Whereas, in South Dakota, those trying to vote by mail must submit a photo ID copy or a notarized oath.
The new elections law of Georgia requires voters to provide their name, birth date, address and driver’s license or state identity card number when requesting an absentee ballot.
Georgia state Senator Brian Strickland, a GOP whose district is south of Atlanta, told the media in April 2021 that the goal of the requirement was to move away from having to rely on local election authorities to match voter signatures on file to applications and ballots, which he described as ‘not a workable process.’
Strickland said that this was a big complaint they heard from both sides.
Republican Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s State Secretary, said he has long supported an ID requirement. He stated he had faced lawsuits from both Republicans and Democrats over signature matching and said the process is subjective.
He said that when they go to photo ID, it is very objective.
In response to challenges by Democrats, lawful settlements in several US states have assured voters they would have an opportunity to fix issues that arise with a mismatched or missing signature.
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