A lot of press is given to the impact that the Voter ID legislation on the destruction the democratic process in the United States – by removing tens of millions of people from having the ability to vote.
Another part of the Voter ID impact that seems to get overlooked is the cost.
It is important to remember that the ALEC and their members have historically wanted to eliminate “heart strings legislation” – as noted in a speech by then ALEC President Bonnie Cooper in 1997. “Heart strings legislation” refers to the use of tax dollars for social programs - taxpayer dollars that help the common good.
Based on past experience – ALEC would prefer that your tax dollars are spent to increase the profits of their Corporate Profit Sector members – through privatization – rather than use those tax dollars for the common good. I guess you could surmise that if ALEC profit sector members can’t have the money – ALEC believes that no one should have access to taxpayer dollars – so, just waste taxpayer dollars, through uselss, nasty ALEC "model" legislation, like Voter ID.
According to ALEC, government should spend important tax dollars on useless legislation – therefore it is not available for that horrible “heartstrings legislation”, so hated by ALEC.
In 2011, Republicans have proposed photo ID legislation in at least 35 states even though these states collectively face over $98 billion in budget shortfalls in the upcoming fiscal year.2 As demonstrated in Indiana – the first state to enact a photo identification regime – these bills are extremely expensive; in just four years, Indiana spent more than $10 million on providing identification cards alone.
In order to estimate the real cost of photo ID legislation, we analyzed the actual costs of implementing photo ID regimes in Indiana and Georgia alongside average costs predicted in 17 state fiscal notes. We found that if each of these 35 states enacts photo ID legislation, taxpayers across the country will pay at least $276 million and up to $828 million for this unnecessary legislation.
State budgets are zero-sum games – a dollar spent on photo ID necessarily means one less for education and public safety.
This waste of taxpayer dollars is even more stark when you consider a report that was released on Tuesday about the occurrence of voter ID fraud which states (my emphasis):
Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.
“Voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections,” said elections expert David Schultz, professor of public policy at Hamline University School of Business in St. Paul.
“There is absolutely no evidence that [voter impersonation fraud] has affected the outcome of any election in the United States, at least any recent election in the United States,” Schultz said.
Civil-rights and voting-rights activists condemn the ID laws as a way of disenfranchising minorities, students, senior citizens and the disabled.
I think we also need to condemn these American Legislative Exchange Council Voter ID laws a theft of taxpayer dollars from supposedly “fiscally responsible” Republicans. Taxpayer dollars that could be used for the public good - instead of destroying the US democratic process.