Thursday evening the Society discussed the issue of photo ID laws for voting with Resolved: States should require photo IDs to vote. Mr. Spagnuolo began the evening by warning about the dangers of statistics especially surveys with small sample sizes. He proceeded to explain the benefits of a national ID system for simplification purposes. Furthermore, he told how every state has unique issues and would be able to address those. Next, he showed data to support the fact that voter levels would not be affected by voter ID laws. Mr. Spagnuolo went on to the benefits of the ID system including increase of trust in the voter system and how most Americans support photo ID laws. Ultimately, Mr. Spagnuolo finished his case with how people lack confidence because of the rampant voter problems and how voter ID laws would return confidence. Mr. Prindiville responded by showing examples of how IDs are already needed to vote. He then challenged the reasons for the laws showing how they are responses to a non-problem as there are minimal cases of voter frauds. Furthermore, he argued that the laws are costly, violate our principals, and hurt those who already have barriers to the election system. Mr. Prindiville showed with statistics that there is no real problem with voter fraud and how ID laws could make more fraud worse by eliminating two forms of ID. Next, he showed how it hurts specific groups like the poor, minorities, students, and the elderly. Moreover, he explained that it is fiscally irresponsible to spend millions on these laws in tough economic times. Finally, Mr. Prindiville concluded by asserting that it hurts the most important component of democracy which is simple, fair, and transparent elections.
Mr. Taft challenged the methods employed for the negation’s statistics. Mr. Petallides responded by arguing that these laws are solutions searching for a problem. Mr. Snow challenged the use of statistics for the debate and argued for only educated citizens voting. Mr. Monod argued that these laws hurt the disabled because of the difficulty of transportation. Ms. Muldavin pointed out that only one fraudulent vote is needed to cancel out a legitimate vote. Ms. Wynter argued that it is not easy to acquire photo IDs for everyone which is the standard the affirmation must meet. Mr. Young warned of how the system must be valid in case of the possibility of a larger election problem. Mr. Miller asked for consistency in views related to the prior debate on gun rights restrictions. Mr. Kendrick stated that voting is a privilege and that getting IDs should be easy and that the apathetic shouldn’t vote. Mr. Donovan replied that the debate is about logistics and that the laws fail to pass a cost-benefit analysis test. Abby Grace (SFS ’16) pointed out that the problems that exist are because of a lack of a good system of ID making. Michael Whelan (COL ’16) reminded us that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Tim Rosenberger (COL ’16) told the story of a fraudulent voter in Ohio who voted many times. Elijiah Jatovsky (COL ’16) argued that we need to be increasing youth votes not risk decreasing it. Victor Wang (NHS ’15) said that restrictions build the legitimacy of a system. Anna Mastryukova (COL ’16) told how those who can’t speak English would be harmed by the law. Dimitra Rallis (COL ’15) argued that those who want to vote will find a way to get an ID card. Mr. Stromeyer in the process of throwing all of his IDs on the floor stated that there are many problems with the Indiana voter ID law. Vice President Arber argued that these laws won’t make much of a difference and that we need to define our citizenry. Mr. Bade told how many people simply don’t have the ability to get IDs. Mr. Dulik responded by talking philosophically how citizens have responsibilities to go along with the citizen rights. Mr. Wooten pointed out that these laws aren’t going to solve any problems, and they are just going to make life harder. Ted Murphy (COL ’16) showed that there were proportional increases in voting in states with ID laws. Ms. Regen pointed out that the state should help when people are unable to help those who have difficulty with voting. Mr. Lim closed the floor by saying that without these laws we are doing a disservice to those who fought for the right to vote.
Mr. Prindiville began his closing keynote by stating that citizenship is absolute, not relative and that voting is a fundamental right. He then brought up historical examples of restrictions on voting including poll taxes and Jim Crow Laws. He continued by arguing that the laws are about the person and that the debate had lost the personal perspective. He told the stories of Ruthel Frank and Dorothy Cooper who both wrongly lost their ability to vote because of the ID laws. Mr. Prindiville concluded that any attempt to restrict the right to vote is un-American. Mr. Spagnuolo pointed out that all the IDs have to be free. He continued by arguing that these IDs would make it much easier to prove citizenship. Mr. Spagnuolo argued that not much changed once the laws in Indiana were made. He concluded that the IDs will be a piece of paper that secure your rights and is an experiment that can work.
The Society voted 31-8-37 to negate.
Christopher M. DiMisa