Does it cost $25 to obtain a "free" Voter ID in any state?

  • This article at seems to indicate that getting a free Voter ID in a state can cost as much as $25.

    Voting law advocates contend these laws disproportionately affect elderly, minority and low-income groups that tend to vote Democratic [sic]. Obtaining photo ID can be costly and burdensome, with even free state ID requiring documents like a birth certificate that can cost up to $25 in some places.

    I cannot seem to rectify that claim with this Voter ID laws by state, where every state seems to have an option to provide proof of eligibility that doesn't require any money.

    Is this claim a misrepresentation of Voter ID requirements? (I.e. The claims are:)

    • These [VoterID] laws disproportionately affect elderly, minority and low-income groups

    • Obtaining photo ID can be costly and burdensome (where costly is defined as "$25", and burdensome is defined as "unable to vote due to the requirement of obtaining iD")

    (I.e. Are anti-VoterID advocates just claiming that birth certificates can cost as much as $25. Voter ID laws require documents, an example of which is a birth certificate or utility bill, and they are just using the more expensive example.)

  • user1873

    user1873 Correct answer

    9 years ago

    No state requires paying a fee to vote. If you are unable to pay the required costs associated with obtaining the documentation to prove you can legally vote (indigent), then those fees are waived. If you are unable to travel to vote, you can always vote absentee, and similarly those people are exempt from providing supporting documentation.

    Since a majority of states use the following forms of identification, "A copy of a current Utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter." This has been abbreviated to HAVA2002. All 50 states use Help America Vote Act 2002 as a minimum for voter identification in Federal elections (president, senators, house of representatives, etc.).

    Regarding the cost of getting to the County Registrar's office. This argument is specious, especially with respect to Georgia, which Michael Kingsmill specifically used as an example in his comments before they were deleted. The Georgia Voter ID law was challenged in court. Georgia's SoS, Brian Kemp, who is required to investigate voter fraud notes that the law has withstood challenges in four courts. In one of those cases, the NAACP claimed, "a large number of Georgia voters lack acceptable Photo ID.." They failed to produce any plaintiffs that were incapable of going to their local registrar's office (all of them made trips of similar length on occasion). So, the court ruled that Photo ID requirement doesn't place an undue or significant burden on the right to vote:

    As the Rokita court noted, voters who lack Photo ID undoubtedly exist somewhere, but the fact that Plaintiffs, in spite of their efforts, have failed to uncover anyone "who can attest to the fact that he/she will be prevented from voting" provides significant support for a conclusion that the Photo ID requirement does not unduly burden the right to vote.

    Voter ID laws by state (Free Alternatives listed)

    • Alabama: HAVA2002. Social Security card, Medicaid/Medicare card, electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. (Photocopies also accepted).
    • Alaska HAVA2002.
    • Arizona: Any 2; Utility bill, bank statement, vehicle registration, property tax statement, vehicle insurance card, any US goverment issued identification including a voter registration card, any mailing marked "Official Election Material".
    • Arkansas: HAVA2002
    • California: HAVA2002, or provide the last 4 digits of your SS# (or you will be assigned a unique number) on the voter registration form.
    • Colorado HAVA2002 or Medicare/Medicad card.
    • Connecticut HAVA2002 required for first time voters, otherwise not required.
    • Delaware HAVA2002
    • Florida: Under the Myths vs. Facts it explains that, "A person who votes provisionally simply because he or she forgot ID at the polls will not have to do anything else. If the signatures on that ballot certificate and the voter roll matches, the provisional ballot is counted."
    • Georgia Voter registration application, Copy of Federal/State tax return, annual Social Security Statement, Medicare/Medicaid statement, certified school record, or other government document with the voter name and address.
    • Hawaii: HAVA2002 either during registration, or at the polls.
    • Idaho Only need to sign a Personal Identification Affidavit.
    • Illinois: HAVA2002 for first time voters, otherwise not required.
    • Indiana Exemptions for the indigent, religious objections, and those living in state-licensed facilities that serve as their precinct's polling place. Free State IDs are also available.
    • Iowa No photo ID, except for same day registrants. ($5 State ID)
    • Kansas Provides for free birth certificates, free photographic identification, and free state voter identification document.
    • Kentucky SS card, credit card, personal acquaintance, or other photo id that bears a signature.
    • Louisiana HAVA2002 and sign an affidavit. Free Special IDs.
    • Maine No photo ID requirement.
    • Maryland HAVA2002, last 4 digits SS#.
    • Massachusetts HAVA2002 first time voters.
    • Michigan Affidavit if you have no photo id on you.
    • Minnesota HAVA2002, same day registration possible with oath from another registered voter, a valid registration under a different name or address, etc.
    • Mississippi HAVA2002 for first time voters.
    • Missouri HAVA2002 for first time voters.
    • Montana HAVA2002 or last for digits of SS#
    • Nebraska HAVA2002 for first time voters.
    • Nevada Matching signature to voter registration.
    • New Hampsire Photo ID, or sign affidavit that you don't have one and get free ID from DMV.
    • New Jersey HAVA2002 for first time voters.
    • New Mexico HAVA2002 for first time voters.
    • New York HAVA2002.
    • North Carolna HAVA2002 for first time voters.
    • North Dakota Sign an affidavit.
    • Ohio HAVA2002
    • Oklahoma Sign affidavit and/or receive free Voter ID card.
    • Oregon HAVA2002
    • Pennsylvania Asked, but not required to show ID. VoterID law, still in Penn. Supreme Court.
    • Rhode Island Health Club ID, Bus Pass, Public Housing ID, Employee ID, or Free Voter ID.
    • South Carolina HAVA2002 for first time voters. Voter registration card.
    • South Dakota Photo ID, or sign a personal affidavit.
    • Tennessee Clearly exempts voters who are living in assited living homes, hospitalized, have religious objections to photographs, and the indigent. ($9.50 State ID)
    • Texas HAVA2002, but parts of a new law will be heard by the Supreme Court Feb. 27, 2013.
    • Utah HAVA2002 in 2 forms, including SS card, vehicle registration, or Medicaid/Medicare card.
    • Vermont HAVA2002 for first time voters.
    • Virginia HAVA2002 for first time voters. Voter registration card, or employer issued ID.
    • Washington HAVA2002,
    • West Virginia HAVA2002 for first time voters.
    • Wisconsin The photo ID requirement is under appeal. Free ID cards are available.
    • Wyoming HAVA2002 or SS card.

    It's kind of insane that they'll accept a utility bill, given that I could probably find 5 of them while walking my dog. Not saying _I_ would, but common. Mailboxes are just sitting out at the street untended, all day, and by very nature immediately identifiable by voting district.

    However, many states have restrictive requirements for supporting documentation that require huge costs and logistical obstacles in order to get the "free" ID. But the answer/questioner knew that before posting both the question, and then the answer to his/her own question, and choosing his/her own answer as the "best." Kind of a phony question, and more of a rant/statement being made. -1 for disingenuousness.

    @PoloHoleSet: Asking and self-answering a question is not considered "phony" on StackExchange, but explicitly encouraged. Of course, both question and answer still must satisfy the usual requirements. If you feel the question is asked in a misleading fashion, or that the answer glosses over important points, use the usual mechanisms (comment, downvote, another answer...).

    @sleske - You are responding to a comment I made, so instructing me to "use the usual mechanisms," like commenting, is kind of idiotic, since that's exactly what I did. I was not complaining just about asking/answering, but the fact that the question was posed so ***a factually inaccurate and misleading answer*** could be put out there, and then, not based on merit, be selected as "best." I commented, and I down-voted, *months before* your instructions to do so. I did not vote to close.

    @PoloHoleSet: Fair enough; I just wanted to note that self-answering by itself is not a problem. Looks like you did everything by the book, so no problem :-).

    This answer is factually inaccurate and misleading. The burdens to getting voter ID are substantial as illustrated by several other answers.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM