Letters

Photo IDs: Better security or increased discrimination?

Regarding the May 9 article "Struggle over voter IDs evokes a bitter past": A law requiring citizens to show picture ID in order to vote will lead to highly uneven enforcement. I live in a small town in a rural and poor part of New York State.

At the polling place, just about everybody recognizes everybody else. It is highly unlikely that if I were to show up to vote without a picture ID that my neighbors, who run the polling place, will deny me the voting booth. They know who I am, I've voted for years, and it would create a scene.

In other words, some folks in urban settings who lack a picture ID might lose the right to vote; others, in rural areas, might not.

Adding picture ID as a voting requirement will create unintended forms of discrimination and add yet another element of chaos at polling places.
Michael Blaine
Jefferson, N.Y.

On April 27, the Monitor opined ("Picture IDs at the Polls") that Georgia's identification bill, which would require photo identification of all voters and eliminate previously acceptable forms of identification, is a "common-sense move." It makes sense, however, only if the goal is to erect new barriers to voter participation rather than to remove them.

The burden of the state's photo identification requirement will fall most harshly upon minority, elderly, and poor voters, many of whom are less likely to have government-issued photo identification. The bill will exclude individuals without photo identification from exercising their right to vote and participating in our democracy.

The argument that photo identification is necessary because alternative forms of identification, such as a utility bill, "made it too easy to cheat" also doesn't hold water.

In short, the bill is an overly broad remedy to an unsubstantiated problem with potentially severe consequences for Georgia's most vulnerable voters.
Alaina C. Beverly
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.

National ID cards - are they necessary?

I agree with the points Todd Crowell makes in his May 12 Opinion piece, "This country needs a real national ID card." However, he does not mention another identifier which has been used, completely inappropriately, in place of a national ID - Social Security numbers (SSNs).

The epidemic of identity theft that we are seeing these days makes it obvious that our SSNs have been overexposed and used as ID in inappropriate circumstances. We should not be asked to identify ourselves using our SSNs except to our employers, the IRS, banks, and federal agencies. It is high time that we had another form of national identification in this country.

A national ID card is no more an infringement of our freedom than is identity theft.
Carol Tong
Boston

Why, oh why, would Americans want to subject themselves to the nonsense of being forced to carry an ID card that (conceivably) they would be forced to produce on demand?

I understand that many Americans are frightened of terrorists, and are grasping at anything that they believe might provide them with additional security, but why should the rest of us have to put up with this nonsense just because some ninnies are scared?

We would (and do!) have more to fear about being terrorized by government than we do from some faceless foreigners.

Freedom carries risk, and this is (still) the freest society on the planet. Let's keep it that way, and not let the cowards who are afraid of a little risk ruin the place for the rest of us.
Charles E. Kestner
Merrillville, Ind.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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