Opinion: New voter ID laws silence thousands

Casey Sugilia

Abbi Pittman

Casey SugliaWith the election only few weeks away, thousands of potential voters might not have the opportunity to vote, as a result of the new voter ID law that’s passed in 17 states across the nation, according to The Charlotte Observer.

The terms of the law vary from state to state, but for the most part, it requires people to have a state-issued photo ID or driver’s license in order to vote.

North Carolina might be next to follow suit.

In this day and age, I believe the voter ID law is extremely restrictive, limited and plain ridiculous.

Only just last year, North Carolina passed a voter ID bill in the general assembly that was vetoed by Gov. Bev Purdue. And for good reason.

“The right to choose our leaders is among the most precious freedoms we have – both as Americans and North Carolinians,” Perdue said, as reported by WRAL. “North Carolinians who are eligible to vote have a constitutionally guaranteed right to cast their ballots, and no one should put up obstacles to citizens exercising that right.”

However, Republican Gov. candidate Pat McCrory supports the bill. “You need to protect the integrity of the voting system,” McCrory said in The Charlotte Observer.

That sounds honorable, but the truth is that voter fraud, which the bill aims to prevent, is “both irrational and extremely rare,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

In its essence, the voter ID bill does nothing but make voting less accessible.

State-issued identification cards usually cost $10 In North Carolina, but they are free to anyone over 70.

Many elderly people who do not drive and don’t have an updated form of identification have a hard enough time getting to the polls — they will now need to make a separate trip to a DMV.

And students will have to purchase a state ID if they don’t drive – something that seems a little excessive. That demographic is already known for its voter apathy, so wouldn’t forcing them to take inconvenient steps to vote be counterproductive in combating this apathy?

The same goes for anyone who doesn’t drive – some minority groups, for example, and the disabled.

They will now need to buy their ability to vote.

Ten dollars doesn’t sound like much, but voting is a right. Nobody should have to pay a dime to submit a ballot. And nobody should have to jump through hoops to vote.

It’s discrimination, plain and simple.

The candidates running for office who have support for the elderly, student and minority groups will not get the necessary votes from these thousands of people excluded.

That’s thousands of voices silenced.

Sugilia, a sophomore journalism major from Pinehurst, is a blogger.