by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
According to an Associated Press poll, 72% of respondents support showing a photo identification in order to vote. Between the parties, 91% of Republicans and 56% of Democrats support the policy. A similar result was found in the latest Economist/YouGov poll. People favored requiring a photo ID as a means to vote by absentee ballot, 53% to 28%.
In Georgia, support for voter ID is even higher, with 74% of voters supporting in a UGA/AJC poll for mandating voters to show a copy of their photo ID or other documentation to be able to cast a ballot by mail. Only 22% were opposed to this provision. Another poll released by Selzer & Company and Grinnell College also showed a wide gap between those who support voter ID, at 56%, and those who do not, at 36%.
Voter ID, however, has been a popular election measure for several election cycles. In 2012, Pew Research showed that voters favor a requirement that voters be required to show photo ID, 77% to 20%. In 2006, 80% of voters supported the requirement.
As of 2021, 36 states require photo identification in order to cast a ballot at a polling site. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the measures among the states that require photo ID vary in terms of strictness.
Nevertheless, opponents of measures that require voters to prove their identity argue that it discriminates against black people, Latinos, and the elderly, whom they say have difficulty covering the costs of accessing the necessary identification. Democratic activists, such as former Attorney General Eric Holder, compare the policy to a “poll tax.”
Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation scholar, told the Washington Examiner that attacks on voter ID are just partisan politics.
“Opponents refuse to acknowledge that the public doesn’t think it is a problem, and they refuse to recognize 10 years of hard data on turnout that shows it is not a problem,” he said.