Which is Racist?

Which is Racist? Requiring an ID to buy alcohol or requiring an ID to vote?

My answer is “neither”, but, I would also accept an answer of “both”.

On an objective level, the concept of Voter ID laws are pretty easy to explain. They seek to reduce election fraud by verifying the identity of any individual intending to vote, and then determining if they are eligible to cast a ballot. Even though the goal is a reduction in election fraud, when states have decided to adopt Voter ID legislation, they are met with stiff resistance from those that oppose such laws.  The basis of this opposition is often that Voter ID laws are “racist” because they seek to “suppress” the votes of minority populations. In an abuse of correlation and causation, they cite studies that show that minority voting participation is lower in states that have Voter ID laws in place without ever proving that the requirement for an ID is the driver of the lower voter turnout.  The only way their argument could be true is if minorities in America are less able to get the ID cards needed to identify themselves.

Essentially the central premise of the opposition is that it is somehow “racist” to require that minorities have an appropriate ID card to vote since minorities somehow have a lower ability to obtain the ID cards in question.

Oddly, these same groups that purport to be defending minorities from the onerous discrimination that they claim Voter ID laws create, never seek to remove the burden of requirements for presenting ID cards that are in place for other common activities such as buying alcohol, opening a bank account, purchasing cigarettes, etc.

Requiring ID is either racist/discriminatory or its not. If it is racist to require ID to vote, then it is equally racist to require ID to buy alcohol. On the other hand, if needing an ID to buy booze is OK, then needing an ID to vote should be OK also.

So decide if you think ID is racist or not. While I may disagree with you, at least I will acknowledge that you are being logically consistent. Just don’t raise the “but requiring ID is racist!” argument only in the face of Voter ID legislation while doing nothing about the other uses of ID that are mandated by law.


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