The Battle Over Voter ID Bills
1 year ago
Confusing privileges with a fundamental right
In state after state, Voter ID bills are being passed or proposed. More often than not, Republicans are the ones drafting this legislation and defending the bills, claiming they prevent voter fraud. In addition, Republican politicians have been pushing the idea that voting is a privilege and not a right.
When you go to even a Burger King or a McDonalds and use your debit card, they'll ask you to see your ID [to be] sure it’s you . . . Should we have to do that when we vote, something that is one of the most sacred -- I think it's a privilege, it's not a right. Everybody doesn't get it because if you go to jail or if you commit some heinous crime your rights are taken away. This is a privilege.
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Although Zellers later downplayed this remark, his fellow Republicans continue to make similar comments. The idea that voting is a right is not something new to the right. In fact, Republicans have asserted this view for a long time. Currently, there are 15 states with photo ID bills on the books, and more states are pushing for passage of similar legislation. It should be noted that not all of these laws are in effect, and some states do not require a photo. Furthermore, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) provides an updated list along with details of what is going on with these bills state by state.