Voter ID: a racist tool?

(The great majority of democracies require voter ID. The most notable exception is the United States where most citizens want voter ID. All Republicans want voter ID, and so do many Democrats. Who does not want voter ID? That would be almost exclusively apparatchiks of the Democrat Party.

(The following guest post was written by John R. Lott Jr. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from UCLA and has held research or teaching positions at the University of Chicago, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Yale University, and Rice University. He has written for many publications including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times.)


Sixteen years ago, in 2005, the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform issued a report that proposed a uniform system of requiring a photo ID in order to vote in U.S. elections.

The report also pointed out that widespread absentee voting makes vote fraud more likely. Voter files contain ineligible, duplicate, fictional, and deceased voters, a fact easily exploited using absentee ballots to commit fraud. Citizens who vote absentee are more susceptible to pressure and intimidation. And vote-buying schemes are far easier when citizens vote by mail. 

Who was behind the Carter-Baker Commission? Donald Trump? Ted Cruz? No. The commission’s two ranking members were former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and former Secretary of State James Baker III, a Republican.

Other Democrats on the commission were former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton. It was a truly bipartisan commission that made what seemed at the time to be common sense proposals.

How things have changed.

Some of the commission’s members, Jimmy Carter for one, came out last year to disavow the commission’s work. And despite surveys showing that Americans overwhelmingly support measures to ensure election integrity — a recent Rasmussen survey found that 80 percent of Americans support a voter ID requirement — Democratic leaders across the board oppose such measures in the strongest terms. 

Voter IDs are “an assault on democracy, an assault on liberty, an assault on who we are.”

Joe Biden

Here, for instance, is President Biden speaking recently in Philadelphia, condemning the idea of voter IDs: “There is an unfolding assault taking place in America today — an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections, an assault on democracy, an assault on liberty, an assault on who we are — who we are as Americans. For, make no mistake, bullies and merchants of fear and peddlers of lies are threatening the very foundation of our country.”

But the fact is that the U.S. is an outlier among the world’s democracies in not requiring voter ID. Of the 47 countries in Europe today, 46 of them currently require government-issued photo IDs to vote.

The odd man out is the United Kingdom, in which Northern Ireland and many localities require voter IDs, but the requirement is not nationwide. The British Parliament, however, is considering a nationwide requirement, so very soon all 47 European countries will likely have adopted this common-sense policy.

When it comes to absentee voting, we Americans, accustomed as we are to very loose rules, are often shocked to learn that 35 of the 47 European countries — ncluding France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden — don’t allow absentee voting for citizens living in country.

Another ten European countries — including England, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, and Spain — allow absentee voting, but require voters to show up in person and present a photo ID to pick up their ballots. It isn’t like in the U.S., where a person can say he’s going to be out of town and have a ballot mailed to him.

England used to have absentee voting rules similar to ours in the U.S. But in 2004, in the city of Birmingham, officials uncovered a massive vote fraud scheme in the city council races. The six winning Labor candidates had fraudulently acquired about 40,000 absentee votes, mainly from Muslim areas of the city.

As a result, England ended the practice of mailing absentee ballots and required voters to pick up their ballots in person with a photo ID. 

Up until 1975, France also had loose absentee voting rules. But when massive vote fraud was discovered on the island of Corsica — where hundreds of thousands of dead people were found to be voting, and even larger-scale vote-buying operations were occurring — France banned absentee voting altogether. 

How about our neighbors, Canada and Mexico? Canada requires a photo ID to vote. If a voter shows up at the polls without an ID, he is allowed to vote only if he declares who he is in writing and if there is someone working at the polling station who can personally verify his identity. 

Mexico has had a long history of election fraud, but the last stolen presidential election occurred in 1994. Voters now must present a biometric ID — an ID with not only a photo, but also a thumb print. Voters also have indelible ink applied to their thumbs, preventing them from voting more than once. And absentee voting is prohibited, even for people living outside the country.

Those who oppose election integrity reform in the U.S. often condemn it as a means of “voter suppression.” But in Mexico, the percent of people voting rose from 59 percent before the reforms to 68 percent after.

It turned out that Mexicans were more, not less, likely to vote when they had confidence that their votes mattered.

H.R. 1, the radical bill Democratic Party leaders have been pushing to adopt this year, would prohibit states from requiring voter ID and require states to allow permanent mail-in voting.

And mail-in voting, I hardly need to point out, is even worse, in terms of vote fraud, than absentee voting.

With mail-in voting, a country is almost begging for vote fraud.

With absentee voting, a person at least has to request a ballot. With mail-in voting — as we saw in too many places in the 2020 election — ballots are simply mailed out to everyone. With loose absentee voting rules, a country is making itself vulnerable to vote fraud. With mail-in voting, a country is almost begging for vote fraud.

If the rhetoric we hear from the Left today is correct — if voter ID requirements and restrictions on absentee (or even mail-in) voting are un-democratic — then so are the countries of Europe and the rest of the developed world. But this is utter nonsense. 

Those opposing common sense measures to ensure integrity in U.S. elections — measures such as those recommended by the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission in 2005 — are not motivated by a concern for democracy, but by partisan interests.*

*This is just a polite way of saying that voter IDs make stealing elections far more difficult.

(The above, lightly edited by yours truly, was adapted from a talk delivered at Hillsdale College on Sept. 20 of this year.)

13 thoughts on “Voter ID: a racist tool?

  1. Seems kind of obvious. Common sense is quite unpopular in the USA these days among a large number of folks.


    1. Ricardo: You Americans — not you personally, of course — are a collective of nincompoops. The only exception is the vocal segment of Trump fans. I weep for the nation.


  2. Change is a part of life. We all know this. Unfortunately, the changes in our society have become as my 3-year-old nephew would say, “yucky.” Years ago, we as a society appreciated the fact that voting is a privilege and not a right. Sigh.

    Did you know?
    In 2003, Rep. Charles B Rangel, D-NY, introduced H.R.163 Universal National Service Act.
    It was intended for all young people regardless of gender between the ages of 18-26 to give two or more years of service. For those who did not want to join the military for whatever reason. Young people could join Red Cross/Red Crescent, NOAA, etc. The purpose was for young people to learn the value of contributing to society.

    Just a bit of “food for thought.”

    Have a great day, and please enjoy the beautiful weather for me.


    1. Vitamina: Your nephew is sharper than lots of today’s Americans. As Trump would opine: Sad.

      I did not know of that bill introduced by Rangel. I was never a fan of his, but he was right on that one. I see it failed to pass in the House, however. I also see this morning that the Democrats are pushing a bill to require women to register for the draft. Rangel’s idea was far better.

      It is indeed a lovely day here. We just raised the upstairs terraza curtains. More on that mañana. Enjoy the day!


      1. Wasn’t Rangel the last Congressman to be censured? He really did a lot of good, and was probably a good person but as we know, power corrupts.


        1. Nomad: Last congressman to be censured? I do not know. I just looked up his bio online, and it’s way too long for me to be bothered with. Skimming it, I see he did some good stuff and some bad stuff. Compared with some Democrat pols these days, he would come off as a saint probably.


  3. This was illuminating to read as I am not informed about voter regulations in other countries, not to mention Jimmy Carter’s reversal here. I can hardly recognize the U.S. anymore and look forward to moving permanently to Mexico. And on that note, I appreciate your humorous descriptions of the culture from direct experience over your years of living there and being married to a Mexican, not to mention more practical concerns like water issues! After reading your post about the pump and cistern, I told my husband we need to know more about where any of this is located in our house since we acquired it sight unseen and just spent three weeks there recently, and we are happy with our purchase. We know there’s a tank on the roof, but that’s it.

    I think our friends and family are doing their version of the Mexican smile upon hearing that we are moving to Mexico — “How exciting, what an adventure.” (They really think we’re bonkers.) One of my siblings was an exception, and his honesty was fueled by a few martinis. “Mexico??!!” You’ve got to be out of your minds. Why Mexico?” “Well, for a list of reasons, and would you like to know them?” “NO!” Nothing like an open mind…

    So I look forward to hearing more from your blog, which is very well written. As a former English major, I recognize exceptional writing and am ashamed that mine has become more than a bit sloppy over time. I have noticed though that another’s creative writing pushes me to try a little harder, so thank you.

    Terry Brown


    1. Terry: What a great reaction. I appreciate it very much. Regarding the post, it comes from Imprimis and Hillsdale College, what appears to be one of the few remaining nonpolluted institutions of higher learning in America. Go here to subscribe to Imprimis:

      They put out occasional astute observations like the one I reproduced here.

      As for your upcoming water issues, you will find out how it all works, one way or the other. It’s not complicated. Friends and family think you’re nuts for moving south? I think they’re nuts for not doing it, but their reaction is understandable. People think of Mexico and immediately think of narcos, etc., but it’s far more than that.

      Where did you buy your place? Not near the border, I hope.


  4. None of the objections to voter ID hold even the tiniest drop of water. If requiring ID is so racist why do we require it in order to get medical services including Medicare? Doctors’ offices have been asking for ID in the USA for years now as a condition of service, even if they already know you. And of course you need ID to board a plane or to buy a drink. You need it to get into sporting venues. And of course you need it to drive a car. You need it to get into a federal building, and you need it to pick up packages at the post office. And these days you also need it to accompany your vaccine certificate in those wholly racist, blue states that are requiring vaccine passports.

    And let’s not even get into the matter of matching signatures on absentee ballots. The variance in the acceptance rate for signatures varies widely with the “Swamp’s” approval of whatever the question might be. Asking for a photocopy of someone’s ID for absentee or mail-in voting seems entirely reasonable.

    Really, fair, open, transparent, and auditable elections are the cornerstone of democracy. It’s nothing short of scandalous that the Democrats want American elections to resemble those in a corrupt, African dictatorship.


    Kim G
    Ajijic, JAL
    Where every Mexican accepts the above.


    1. Kim: Of course, the Democrats don’t want voter ID because, as the post points out, it makes voter fraud a lot easier. There is no other reason for their stance. And, like everything else they oppose, it’s “racist.” Lordy, I really do not get why honest, intelligent people continue to vote for that party. At least you and I wised up.


      1. When these friends said (with perfectly straight faces) that the president has no effect on the economy, I just had to roll my eyes. It’s just astonishing how this propaganda works so very very well.

        As for wising up, very few people will ever consider that they might be wrong. So they literally hallucinate something so they can maintain their worldview. That’s cognitive dissonance, and you can tell it’s happening when you argue a point with someone, and they make the argument into something else. It means they can’t absorb your point and maintain their world view, so they hallucinate instead. That’s what keeps most of humanity from ever changing their minds.

        Liked by 1 person

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