From Lee Presser:
On election day, poll workers normally do not ask whether the person standing in front of them is a qualified voter. That decision should have been made when the person registered to vote. Poll workers must determine if the person standing in front of them is the same person who registered to vote. That is why there is a need for each voter to show a photo ID, but it is not Missouri law.
Missouri Democrats postulate voting is a right not a privilege; therefore nothing should inhibit voters without a photo ID on election day. Some, including Denise Lieberman, senior attorney for the Advancement Project, believe that requiring a photo ID requires voters to give up a “fundamental right.” Missouri Republicans believe voting is a right, but fairness requires poll workers to ensure the person standing before them is the same person who registered.
Some columnists have stated flatly that the requirement to show a photo ID is a racist attempt to limit minority participation in the election process. Opposing columnists write they believe there is a conspiracy to determine the outcome of some elections by sending unqualified voters to the polls on election day for the express purpose of skewing the results.
(Example – What if 0.01% of voters in one state were permitted to vote without a photo ID. Could that hurt the process? What if that happened in Florida in November 2000? 0.01% of the nearly 6,000,000 votes cast for President equal about 600 votes. What if all 600 voted for George Bush? Since the margin of the Bush presidential victory was 537 votes; the 600 votes by people who may or may not have been the actual registered voters could have made an important difference in the outcome of the 2000 Presidential election).
For argument sake, let’s assume a voter photo ID law is part of a racist plot to disenfranchise minorities. How hard would it be for minorities to sidestep this attempted disenfranchisement and have their votes counted? Compared to what minorities accomplished in the twentieth century against legal disenfranchisement, overcoming this plot seems easy. If the effected minority community actually wanted to overcome the problem, they could take it upon themselves to help that small number of people without a photo ID acquire one.
Not acquiring a photo ID (especially when it is offered for free) and then demanding to vote while not proving you are the same person who registered, makes it appear that some Americans have their own set of rules. (One can understand how it might anger those who play by the rules.)
If a benefactor offered free seven day family vacations to Disney World or Las Vegas (transportation included) and all a voter needed to do to earn the vacation was show a photo ID, would those few without the ID get one fast before the vacation deal expired?
Acquiring a photo ID seems to be a matter of motivation. Free vacations motivate. Proving you are the same person who registered to vote; not as much motivation.
Personally, I do not know people who cannot show a photo ID when asked. Everyone who drives a car has one. People who cash a check usually need one. People usually need one to get a library card or use the free computers at the library.
There is a community interest to ensure elections are free from fraud. It is a mystery why some would not want to know that the person at the voting machine is the same person who registered to vote. Perhaps they are the ones looking for a particular outcome rather than an honest election?