It was mere days past when outrage about the new voting laws in relation to required photo identification, and how the people seen as more likely to vote for Obama would be the same people most adversely affected by such laws.
I decided to assemble a list of each state’s website pages that a prospective voter would encounter in order to obtain a valid, state-issued, photo ID. As I went through the websites, I noticed a striking disparity between sites that had clear labeling, logical site mapping, and adequate search functionality, versus sites that placed a strong enough emphasis on driver’s licenses as to eclipse any information on non-driver photo identification cards. I made a star-based ranking system, as follows:
* very poor: links are broken, and/or non-driver ID information was hidden
** poor: hard to find information, not especially well-designed
*** serviceable: information was found, but it took four or more “clicks” to find everything
**** very good: information was clear, fees fair, and it took three or fewer “clicks” to find everything
***** Excellent! These sites blew me away with user-friendly functionality and/or phenomenally low fees
Only 12 states achieved my (incredibly prestigious?) five star ranking, and far too many –being, any— got a three or below. No one should have difficulty getting valid photo identification. And states that require it for voting need to either repeal that stipulation, or at very least make it so that their citizens can acquire photo ID for FREE. The only states that do this explicitly is WISCONSIN and INDIANA, while Kansas has a fee waiver (meaning extra paperwork) for free voter photo ID . On the other end of the spectrum, Oregon charges the highest fee, at $44.50!
The following is a list of state website pages for obtaining valid photo identification cards in every state and the District of Columbia. Provided are fees and notes correct at date of publication†.
[Use CTRL+F to find things quickly!]
- Alabama (second page, under “non-driver identification card”) $23.50 ***
- Alaska $15 (free for aged 60+) ****
- Arizona $12 (free for aged 65+ and anyone receiving federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments) *
- Arkansas $5 *
- California $26, free for aged 62+, $7 for reduced ****
- Colorado $10.50, free for aged 60+ ***
- Connecticut $22.50 ****
- Delaware $20 ****
- Florida $25 ****
- Georgia $20 for 5 years, $32 for 8 years ****
- Hawaii $15, or $10 for aged 65+ ***** Excellent!
- Idaho $10 for 4 years, $20 for eight years (AKA: exactly the same value; you just don’t have to renew as often) *
- Illinois $20, free for the homeless, disabled, and aged 65+ ****
- Indiana $13 for 6 years, $10 for aged +65 or disabled, free for those acquiring a photo ID card for voting purposes if no other ID is acceptable ****
- Iowa $5 for five years, no expiration for aged 70+ ****
- Kansas ($14?) fee can be waived for acquiring a photo ID card for voting purposes *
- Kentucky $12 for four years ****
- Louisiana $21 for four years; free for aged 60+ *
- Maine $5 ****
- Maryland $15 ****
- Massachusetts $25 ****
- Michigan $10, or $30 for an Enhanced State ID Card (which acts as valid ID for travel to and from Canada, Mexico, and select U.S. Territories); free for blind and/or aged 65+ *****
- Minnesota $17.25, or $11 for aged 65+; $0.50 for disabled or with mental illness ****
- Mississippi $14 ***** Excellent!
- Missouri $11 ****
- Montana $8 for four years ***** Excellent!
- Nebraska $7.50 to $21.50 for 1-5 years ***
- Nevada Under age 18: $6, age 18-64: $12, age 65 or older: $7 ****
- New Hampshire $10 ****
- New Jersey $24 ****
- New Mexico $10 for four years, or $18 for eight years, free for aged 75+ ***** Excellent!
- New York $10 for four years, $14 for eight years, reduced to $10 for SSI recipients and aged 62+ ***
- North Carolina $10, free for legally blind, aged 72+, for homeless and/or disabled ***** Excellent!
- North Dakota $8 ***
- Ohio $8.50 ****
- Oklahoma $10 ****
- Oregon $44.50 (Damn! That’s expensive!) ***
- Pennsylvania $13.50 *****
- Rhode Island $26.50, aged 59+ is free ***** Excellent!
- South Carolina $5 age 5-16, age 17+ is free ***** Excellent!
- South Dakota $20 ***** Excellent!
- Tennessee $5 for under 18, otherwise $9.50 ****
- Texas $16 for six years, aged 60+ is $6 and does not expire ****
- Utah $18 ***
- Vermont $20, or for SSI/SSD recipients reduced to $10 ****
- Virginia $10 ****
- Washington $20 (and site has an online pre-application option) ***** Excellent!
- Washington DC $20 for eight years; free for homeless, 65+, and ex-offenders (< 6 months issuance) ***** Excellent!
- West Virginia table of many prices between $2.50 and $12.50 for aged under 21, and $7.50 – $17.50 for aged 21+, based on last digit of age (in order to sync with age-based expiration of said ID) **
- Wisconsin FREE for those voting, otherwise $28 ***** Excellent!!!
- Wyoming $10 for eight years ***** Excellent!