The Supreme Court heard arguments today on the legality of voter ID requirements, which have sprung up in 24 states since the 2000 election. The laws are designed to guard against polling-place fraud, which studies show is non-existent. Proponents say requiring ID preempts potential fraud and builds voter confidence, NPR reports; opponents say it’s a pointless burden depressing voter turnout.
The debate mostly breaks along party lines, since such laws often present problems for traditionally Democratic voters, like the poor. Supreme Court doctrine, opponents argue, protects against seemingly reasonable laws that turn away voters. Most states issue free IDs, but getting one can be cumbersome. “I believe that I should have a voice,” said one woman who’d lost her birth certificate.