Are there any other democracies that don't require voter ID?

Sure, but if someone can’t manage to arrange all that ***once every 12 years ***, it seems to me that it says more about how much priority that person puts on being able to vote, rather than anything about the system itself.

I remember some elections in places like Iraq using election ink so they didn’t have to worry about people casting multiple votes.

Switzerland allows men to use a sword as their evidence of ability to vote.

In my state, it’s every FOUR years for a regular adult license, not twelve. Further, if you don’t have the resources to spend possibly as much as several hundred dollars to obtain the necessary documents, take one or several days off work (with attendant loss of income), and so forth to get that first photo ID, the ability to spend an hour and $12 every couple of years thereafter is basically irrelevant.

You only have to do it once with the documents; after that it’s a simple renewal, and doesn’t require much at all.

I mean, I had to show up with my birth certificate (which they mail you when a kid is born, so no excuses for not having it, unless you’re an idiot) when I first got my driver’s license at 17, but since then, I’ve been able to renew it either online/mail without a new picture, or periodically have to go in and get a new picture.

Even every 4 years isn’t really an imposition, IF you’re serious about wanting to vote.

And really… what sort of dark, dank hole divorced from civilization do these people live in that they don’t need photo IDs by the time they’re adults? I pretty much needed one when I was 18 and ever since.

[/hijack] To get back to the OP, in Quebec, you usually need both the card you got in the mail telling you where to vote and an ID. But everyone has a health card, so that is not an issue. And there is a provision for voting even if you don’t have the ID.

I’m sure they mailed my mother a copy of my birth certificate when I was born, too; babies don’t receive mail, however, and when I needed one as an adult I had to buy my own. How exactly and precisely does that make me an idiot?

Every time there’s a major tornado in Kansas, the Office of Vital Statistics heads out to help people who lost their documents to the storm’s fury. If it’s only a “minor” natural disaster, though, or a fire or a burglary at your home, you’re on your own. How does a fire make you an idiot?

My state requires voter ID, and does not permit any form of online or mail renewal of a driver’s license or state ID (unless you are active-duty military or a military dependent with documentation of that status). If you can’t get yourself to the office in person to have a new picture taken for each and every renewal, the ID will expire and no longer be valid for voting.

And for what purpose do you need photo ID all the time? I haven’t traveled by plane in more than two decades, I’m old enough that I don’t get carded at the liquor store, my paycheck is direct-deposited, my doctor knows me and doesn’t ask for ID anymore, etc. The last time I had to pull mine out was the last time my work took me into a prison, and that’s not exactly an everyday occurrence for most people.

Which is the big issue with new voter ID laws being enacted. It makes voting more difficult for people who haven’t been renewing their IDs - e.g. elderly people who no longer drive.

Again, a whole long thread went through this topic. (Last year?)

If you are a typical middle-class person, you have the health card, the drivers license, the passport, Socail Security card, credit cards and bank cards, who knows what else. If you are someone who’s been living on the streets and can barely afford that bed at the shelter the last decade; or someone working minimum wage at McD’s and the closest you come to ID is your bank card for depositing pay cheques - how do you kick start your ID? You can’t get a birth certificate without an ID. They don’t give them to just anyone. You need someone to vouch for you - if you work at McD’s who can vouch for you other than fellow minimum wage nobodies? If you’ve been a stay-at-home mom in the low rent district? Senior with just a social security cheque?

Then there’s the issue that yo actually have to take time off work, go to some office (bus fare) and stand in line for ages, get some complex forms filled out, etc. The forms might seem easy to you, but some people have literacy issues. Some people may want to vote, but not so badly they will give up 2 or 3 days’ pay. If you moved half-way across the country from where you were born, good luck with that birth certificate application…

the problem is that the people who have real difficulty with these processes are also the ones more likely to vote a certain way. As Bernie Sanders said about blocking felons from voting - “Someone is benefiting from you not voting. Who would that be?”

In New Zealand, before the EasyVote cards came in you gave your name and address to the volunteers staffing the polling station and they crossed your name off the roll when they handed you the papers. No id presented as I recall.

The system seems pretty robust though - it managed to detect 19 fraudulent enrolmentsin a city election. I’m not aware of any recent examples of voter fraud in national elections, and with our proportional representation system you’d need pretty huge numbers to get any real advantage - roughly 20,000 votes to get another seat for a party.

You would think that would work against the Republicans, not for them then.

Still… didn’t your parents give you your birth certificates when you weren’t their responsibility any longer? Mine did.

Huh? No. Is this some right of passage I missed out on?

ISTM the answer to the thread title is YES, other developed democracies still allow voting in the manner the USA did until the end of the 20th century, with just your evidence of registration and no need for an “official photo ID”.

And that many of the ones that do, issue a universal ID document that every citizen or resident gets *at no additional cost * (but which in the US political culture would be anathema).

Or the Verified Copy of Certificate of Live Birth (what most people actually go around presenting, Birthers notwhitstanding) as used in that particular state gets so abused and vulnerable to ID theft because of bureaucratic bungling, the government has to put an expiration on those issued before a certain date and print a new format.

My mom arranged for a copy of my BC to be sent to me when I was a junior in college, only because she needed a copy of her own, and we were born in the same county, so while she was at the office she got a copy of mine for me.

My husband didn’t have a copy of his BC until after we got married. He’s adopted, so we had to write to the state to get his (amended) BC, we couldn’t just go to the county office. He said he had asked his mom about it years earlier, but she “got weird” about it so he never pursued it.

And mine didn’t. Do you fondly imagine that everyone grows up with Ward and June Cleaver for parents?

If your parents thought you were incapable of getting your own birth certificate if and when you needed it, was it maybe a little premature of them to conclude that you “weren’t their responsibility any longer”?

That’s the case in France. An ID card is necessary to vote, but it’s delivered for free (and also essentially mandatory, not by law but because you’ll need one in many circumstances : opening a bank account, getting a certified letter at the post office,… so pretty much everybody has one).

Same in South Africa (Although they do charge for replacing lost ones). The idea that you’d have to pay to get the one document that makes you recognizable as a citizen, and is used so often in civil life, is abhorrent to me on a visceral level.


In Australia you can vote in any of the polling stations within your electorate as best suits your goodself.
If you are away from your electorate on polling day you can cast an absentee vote at any polling booth in your state. Similarly if you are interstate or overseas.

Since voting is compulsory getting your vote cast is deliberately made as flexible as possible so as all can be enfranchised.

What’s a silent elector?

Someone whose name, but not address, is on the public electoral roll eg in the case of a re-settled victim of domestic abuse.