Voter Registration Controversy Intensified as Elections Approach

I once lived in a town where citizens did not have to show identification to vote. But they did have to show an ID with a current address in order to dispose of grass clippings at the city dump. I’m not making this up.

With the midterm elections just days away, the topic of voter registration is heating up again. Big time.

To generalize, Republicans want all voters to prove through a government-issued ID that they are registered to vote in that district, in an effort to prevent voter fraud.

Democrats do not want that restriction imposed on voters. That’s because among those who don’t have IDs showing their current address, most tend to vote for Democrats.

Divided Along Party Lines

It’s easy to see why both parties want their voter registration agendas pushed through.

And with the midterm elections on November 6, this battle is becoming larger and louder.

In fact, civil rights groups in Georgia are suing Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp over the issue.

Approximately 53,000 people in the state have registrations that have been put “on hold.” Why? Because of mismatches on their driver’s licenses or other forms of ID. Those discrepancies violate the state’s “exact match” requirement.

Natives Americans are P.O.’d

A similar problem is occurring elsewhere, including North Dakota. Native American tribes are required to have an ID that includes a current street address.

Many of them live on reservations or in rural areas that don’t have street addresses.

They only have P.O. boxes. They are concerned they might not be able to vote.

Other areas where voter registration battles are ongoing include Texas. It has a strict voter ID law. And North Carolina, where restrictions were placed on early voting.

Supreme Court Rules in Ohio

In most cases, voter registration disagreements have been local in nature. That was also the case in Ohio… until it reached the Supreme Court.

In June of this year, the highest court in the land upheld the state’s “use-it-or-lose-it” voting law.

The law gives the state the right to take voters off the registration rolls. But only if they fail to return a mailed address confirmation form and then don’t vote for the next four years.

Some believe that Ohio’s law violates the National Voter Registration Act. But the Supreme Court disagreed.

Republicans Cite Voter Fraud

Why are Republicans concerned about voter fraud? One of the reasons is a recent study by the Pew Center. Here are three of its findings:

  • Approximately 24 million voter registrations in the U.S. – about one in eight – are either invalid or inaccurate.
  • More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as current voters.
  • Approximately 2.75 million people have voter registrations in more than one state.

Races Are Tight, Stakes Are High

One of the reasons tensions are so high is that these upcoming elections will determine which party controls the House and Senate for the next two years.

The U.S. Senate elections in particular are full of tight races. All the polls seem to be telling us that.

Right now, Republicans hold a 51 to 49 majority of seats in the upper chamber of Congress.

But if a few seats flip, the Democrats will take control. They could then become more effective at blocking Republican initiatives. It won’t be easy for them. They face a challenging map.

There are roughly equal numbers of voters who consider themselves Republicans or Democrats. So, the elections will come down to two things. Which party convinces more people to get out and vote, and how Independents vote.

What Do You Think?

Once again, the country is deeply divided over a political issue. And hanging in the balance could be the results of upcoming local and national elections.

I’d love to hear what you think about this controversial issue.

In order to vote in a national or local election, should a citizen be required to show an ID that includes a current address?

If so, should there be any exceptions to this rule? What should those exceptions be?

And if not, why should citizens be allowed to vote without that type of ID?

If you’d like to participate in our reader poll, please leave a comment below.

As always, let’s be civil with our comments.

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