The escalating war on voting rights in the United States has come with a lot of discussion about voter identification, which is rightly pointed to as a form of voter suppression. Requiring people to have identification in order to vote creates another barrier to taking their rightful place at the polls, and means that voters are being disenfranchised. Inevitably, poor folks, people of colour, and people with disabilities are the most likely to be harmed by such laws; take, for example, the situation in Philadelphia, where it’s estimated that 18% of voters don’t have the documentation they need to vote.
But, as Hannah Jane Sassaman reminded readers on Reproductive Health Reality Check, identification in the United States is about more than voting. When states make it more difficult to obtain identification, and start requiring identification for more services, this creates additional burdens on already marginalised populations, and it can make those populations extremely vulnerable. It’s important to talk about these issues and bring them into the larger light, because this is an important subject.