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Voter ID Laws: Are They Necessary to Stop Fraud?
The Associated Press | March 13, 2012 | 09:43 AM EDT

Voter fraud in the U.S. is one of two things: It's rampant and requires strict measures like photo IDs to stop it — or — it's a devious ploy to keep certain voters from the polls.

Sorting through the rhetoric — and finding common ground — is as difficult as getting Democrats and Republicans to agree on a tax policy.

In fact, the voting fraud issue tends to fall along party lines, with many GOPers at the forefront of the movement for voter IDs while most Democrats see the requirement as a way to stop certain constituents from voting for them.

Accusations of voter fraud and stuffing ballot boxes have a long history. But a look at recent developments — and trying to separate fact from fiction — shows how contentious the issue and the need for voter IDs has become.

Do states have ID requirements to vote at polls?

Some do and some don't, and the requirements vary.

The first state laws requiring ID's at the polls were passed in 2003. This came on the heels of the 2002 Help America Vote Act that required anyone in the country who registered by mail AND had not previously voted, to show a valid photo ID or a copy of a current utility or bank statement or government check or any ID with a name and address, when they showed up to vote.

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