Letter: The future of voter ID
Dan Williams, an outgoing member of the Monitor Board of Contributors, has frequently given me some things to think about.
His swan song “Memo to Hassan, Legislature” (Monitor Forum, Nov. 19) is the closing case-in-point. And with respect to the voter ID law, I agree with Williams and disagree with the Monitor, which says we should do away with it.
Voter ID was installed by the recent Republican majority not to combat fraud, which does not exist. Its motivation was aimed to disfranchise voters most likely to vote Democratic. Outgoing House Speaker Bill O’Brien was even quoted as believing that college students tend to be idealistic and vote liberal. Consequently, let’s keep those liberals from the polls by not even allowing a student photo ID. (In the most recent election student IDs were acceptable, but their validity in the future is murky if the requirements tighten.)
As Williams points out, IDs are required to buy beer. If it helps to enhance confidence in our election system by voters showing a photo ID (and also reducing errors as ballot clerks check in voters), let’s do so. But let’s make it ridiculously easy for every voter to have the necessary identification. Rather than state law specifying what IDs are acceptable (and students vulnerable in the future as majorities come and go in the Legislature), assign the task of determining what is acceptable to the local election moderator. Moderators are residents of the municipalities where the elections are held and are most likely to know what’s good, and what is not, in their community.