Voter identification laws in the United States require that a person wishing to vote must provide some form of official identification before being permitted to register to vote, receiving a ballot or to cast their vote in elections.
Supporters of voter ID laws argue that they reduce electoral fraud without placing a big burden on voters. Opponents of voter id laws argue that electoral fraud is extremely rare and that these laws often put up unnecessary barriers for minority groups and those less likely to possess photo IDs.
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, voter ID laws can be categorized in two ways:
- Whether the state asks for a photo ID or accepts a non-photo ID
- What actions are available for voters who do not have an ID
Photo ID states require voters to show documentation that has a photo such as a driver’s license, passport, state-issued identification card, military ID, tribal ID, etc. Non-photo ID states accept forms of identification without photos, such as bank statements with a name and address.
If a voter does not have identification, states provide alternatives. These laws are either considered strict or non-strict. Strict laws state that voters without acceptable identification must vote on a provisional ballot and take additional steps after Election Day in order for their vote to be counted. Non-strict laws state that some voters without acceptable identification have the option to cast a ballot will be counted without further action taken by the voter.
Thirty-five states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the election polls. The remaining 15 states use other methods to verify the identity of voters.
States that require photo ID (strict):
- North Carolina
States that request photo ID (non-strict):
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
States that require non-photo IDs (strict):
- North Dakota
States that request non-photo IDs (non-strict):
- New Hampshire
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
States that do not require a form of ID at the ballot box:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York