Letter to the Editor: IDs don’t always mean people can vote



In a recent letter to you, one of our fellow Clark County residents expressed concerns about a federal program in which migrants at our borders would receive a so-called “Secure Docket Card” to serve as personal identification. I wholeheartedly support the author’s First Amendment rights to expression and opinion, and, indeed, having differing opinions and the luxury to debate those is what makes our democracy great.

That being said, the statements made seemed to arrive at a conclusion that I do not agree with, and so I would like to exercise my own privilege in responding to the same.

It seems the Democrats cannot win a fair election, so they intend to give IDs so illegal aliens will be able to vote for Joe Biden.”

This statement seems to draw a clear line from “giving IDs” to “illegal aliens will be able to vote,” which is thankfully not how our democracy works. In case the author is unfamiliar with the voter registration process, the cliff notes are: having a federal- or state-issued ID is not sufficient to register to vote.

In fact we already have many people within our borders with legal IDs, and yet are ineligible to vote. Lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, as they’re referred to, are immigrants who came to our nation legally, have achieved the right to live and work here for good, and yet are not citizens, and therefore are not eligible to vote.

These people have federally issued ID cards already — the “green card” or Permanent Resident Card, as it is known officially —  walk among us and are eligible to receive state issued driver’s licenses. But despite all of those things, they cannot register to vote or indeed cast a ballot in any of our elections. That right is reserved for citizens.

As another example, teenagers become eligible to hold a Washington state driver’s license at age 16 and yet cannot vote until their 18th birthday. They, too, have valid, government-issued ID cards but cannot use those cards to cast a ballot.

On the contrary, it would appear to me that issuing these people IDs might help combat any fears of illegal voting: If we can clearly identify the person who voted illegally, it should be much easier for law enforcement to track down the offender or indeed for the Department of Homeland Security to deny the offender permanent resident status in case such a felony was committed.

Whichever political party you support, I hope I’ve made my case clearly: A person holding an ID card does not make them a voter.

Philip Mallegol-Hansen

Battle Ground