LWV New Mexico: Why We Oppose Voter ID Laws

Recent Supreme and lower court decisions have demonstrated that photo ID laws have disenfranchised thousands of eligible voters who cannot obtain a photo ID due to disability, age, illness, transportation, or financial issues. We opposed legislation for photo ID in the 2016 session just as we have opposed proposals for photo ID in the past.

The uncalculated and incalculable burden would be greatest for citizens for whom it is most cost prohibitive or inconvenient to take off work, get transportation, stand in line at the Motor Vehicle Department, and apply for a photo ID or driver's license. Often these individuals don't have the underlying documentation that is needed to get a photo ID, thus disenfranchising the very people who currently must work the hardest to vote.

In addition, the bill called for the NM Taxation and Revenue Department to absorb what they modestly calculate at $3 per photo ID card plus $200,000 programming costs. At a time when our state is in the midst of an ongoing fiscal crisis, it seems irresponsible to use taxpayer money to create a new government program to address voter impersonation, a problem that has been proven as exceptionally rare* and already a felony offense. Why waste precious taxpayer dollars to pay for photo ID when our state has effective voter identification procedures already in place?

Besides the cost to implement and maintain a new program, photo ID requirements represent a serious threat to efforts to ensure the right of every eligible citizen to vote and have their vote counted. If America wants to live up to its promise to provide all citizens with the same opportunities, then we can't pass laws that block eligible Americans from voting and deny them the opportunity to participate equally in our great democracy.


From the Brennan Center for Justice:

(*) U.S. Government Accountability Office "Issues Related to State Voter Identification Laws," 2014.

A 2014 study found only 31 possible instances of voter fraud over 14 years of elections with a billion votes cast. Researcher Justin Levitt is a national expert in constitutional law and election law and n ow Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.