Voter ID

October 15, 2012

Every voter should demonstrate that they are who they say they are before voting. That form of proof should not include restrictive documentation requirements like overly burdensome photo ID or redundant proof of citizenship requirements that serve to block millions of eligible American citizens from voting.

Studies show that as many as 11 percent of eligible voters do not have government-issued photo ID. That percentage is even higher for seniors, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income voters, and students. Many citizens find it hard to get government photo IDs, because the underlying documentation like birth certificates (the ID one needs to get ID) is often difficult or expensive to come by. At the same time, voter ID policies are far more costly to implement than many assume. Instead, Improvements in voting technology and modernization of our voter registration system will both increase efficiency and close the door on mistakes and fraud.

The Brennan Center conducts research on voter ID, proof of citizenship, and in-person voter fraud. Brennan Center attorneys also assist policymakers and advocates seeking to oppose unnecessarily restrictive ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements and improve the security of elections without compromising American citizens’ right to vote.

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