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Voter ID

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.

Published: 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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