Hi! I’m Kathleen Unger, an attorney and the country’s foremost expert on the issue of voter ID. I’m the founder of VoteRiders, the country’s leading nonpartisan organization focused on voter ID.

Voter ID laws are on the rise across the country, potentially disenfranchising millions of voters. Fourteen states have passed new or harsher voter ID laws since 2020, and many more are considering enacting new measures in 2023 and beyond. An estimated 25 million Americans lack government-issued photo ID, and voter ID laws are likely to confuse millions more.

VoteRiders is in the solutions business. We help citizens cut through red-tape voter ID laws. We work with 1,000 partner organizations and 8,000 volunteers nationwide to help every eligible American cast a ballot that counts.

With just about two months before the November midterm elections, we’re getting voters ready to cast their ballots by ensuring they’ve got the ID they need to vote. For some people, getting an ID is easy, but for others there are time-consuming challenges. That’s why we’re here today answering questions, so citizens who need help have time to get the ID they need to vote in their state. 

We’re also making sure voters who already have an ID understand these laws so they’re confident when they go to the polls on Election Day, knowing they cannot be turned away. I’m here with a team of VoteRiders staffers to answer your questions today!

Ask us anything about voter ID laws and what you need to do to make sure that nothing stops you from exercising your freedom to vote.

PROOF https://twitter.com/VoteRiders/status/1567218528851472384 

Comments: 77 • Responses: 22  • Date: 

jevole21 karma

What are the typical explanations you hear about why someone doesn't have an ID? I understand some city dwellers might go their whole lives without needing a driver's license, but I can't imagine not having an ID, period, just for routine purchases like alcohol or cold medicine.

VoteRiders17 karma

Here are some reasons why citizens who may have had an ID don’t have one that is acceptable ID for voting:
It was lost or stolen.
It has expired.
It is from another state.
It doesn’t match the name on the poll list (women who marry).

You might want to check the Voter Stories (https://www.voteriders.org/stories/) at VoteRiders.org. KU

VoteRiders16 karma

Here are reasons why some citizens cannot get an ID:
- They don’t have the underlying documents like a birth certificate, social security card or proof of residence needed to get a replacement ID – including having all those documents in exactly the same name and as originals (most times copies are not accepted).
- They don’t have the financial resources to acquire a certified copy of their birth certificate and any name-change legal documents or to pay for an ID or replacement ID.
- There are errors on their birth certificate or other identifying documents that prevent a state from issuing an ID.
- The DMV or other government office that issues IDs in their state may be far away and have limited opening hours, and public transportation might not be available. Not every voter can afford to take the time off from work to wait in line at the DMV, especially if they end up having to make multiple trips because of document issues.

Some citizens may never have needed the limited types of IDs that are now acceptable to vote under their state’s new voter ID law. They may have disabilities that prevent them from working, so they live with their families. Even if they have a birth certificate, they may not have proof of residence documents needed to obtain an acceptable ID because they don’t have bank accounts or utilities in their names. KU

funforyourlife0 karma

There are errors on their birth certificate

How do spontaneous birth certificate errors happen? Do you have any examples of a birth certificate suddenly containing an error after 10+ years? And what kind of error is stopping someone from getting an ID?

VoteRiders9 karma

Who said birth certificate errors happen spontaneously?

Sometimes, a citizen has photo ID in one state, but they when they move to another state with a voter ID law, they find that they need additional documentation like a birth certificate to get an ID to vote. When they get their birth certificate, they find their name is spelled differently so it doesn't match all their other documentation. We've had many cases where a misspelling like that means the DMV bureaucracy won't issue an ID.

For example, Dennis, a Marine veteran, moved from Illinois to Wisconsin to take care of his sick mother. His Illinois driver's license wouldn't work for voting in Wisconsin, so he went to get his Wisconsin ID, but the DMV rejected him because he didn't have his birth certificate. It took months of effort by VoteRiders and Dennis to track down his birth records from Arkansas. It turned out that the French Creole midwife who attended Dennis’ birth had written his name as “Denet” on his birth certificate instead of Dennis. Fortunately, his initial Social Security application also specified Denet; otherwise, Dennis would not have been able to obtain his Wisconsin state ID to vote. By the way, Dennis also had a veteran's ID, but at the time, Wisconsin wouldn't accept them for voting (they changed the law later).

61586753092 karma

Not who you asked the question of but I suspect the issues aren't spontaneous. I had an error on my birth certificate, and it wasn't noticed for 30+ years. I got driver's licenses, passports, etc. all with the error on there. An attentive DMV clerk noticed my middle name was spelled wrong/differently. It was incorrect on the actual birth certificate....was fun getting a license from that point on

VoteRiders3 karma

Exactly. Sometimes DMV clerks will issue a license or an ID card when there are errors like that, and sometimes they won't. When there's a problem, VoteRiders is able to help.

kkehoe55 karma

What is the racial make up of your clients? We keep hearing pundits on the news say how people of color have a more difficult time to get an id.

VoteRiders3 karma

We don't track the race of the citizens we help get an ID to vote, so I can't answer your question directly.

Studies have shown that on average, 11% of citizens do not have a current, government issued photo ID. They may have some other photo ID that's not current, or is from another state, etc. , but that isn't acceptable to vote in their state.

Of the general population, there are three groups who lack ID at higher than average rates. Those groups are elderly citizens (18%), minority citizens (25%) and citizens with comparatively low incomes (15%). https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/citizens-without-proof

We help any citizen who needs an ID to vote. We partner with organizations such as homeless and battered women's shelters, food banks, law enforcement, etc., that have relationships with citizens who may be more likely to need VoteRiders services.

VoteRiders2 karma

That’s a wrap – thanks for joining us today! We’re signing off but invite you to check out our website for more information. https://voteriders.org/

Frankx8882 karma

can illegal immigrants also get a voter's ID? or are they allowed to vote?

VoteRiders10 karma

VoteRiders helps US Citizens get ID to vote.

Frankx8883 karma

oh ok. what those who are residents but not citizens?

VoteRiders3 karma

We only help US Citizens get ID to vote.

mad_bears2 karma

Can you give some examples of voters you've helped?

VoteRiders14 karma

Laura was staying at a women’s shelter in Columbus, Georgia when VoteRiders met her at our inaugural Voter ID Clinic sponsored by Aflac and hosted by Open Door. She needed to obtain a Georgia ID, not only so she could exercise her right to vote, but also to secure employment and housing.

We were able to leverage Laura’s old out-of-state ID to make an appointment for her with the Georgia Department of Driver Services. Before that all-important meeting, we reviewed with her the documentation she would need to be successful. This person-to-person experience helped Laura feel confident when going to her appointment – and she is now the proud holder of a Georgia ID. We also know that Laura is on her way to stable employment, housing, and a better life.

Daninmci3 karma

And she has ID to vote. Thanks for helping her.

VoteRiders2 karma

You're welcome. Helping citizens like Laura who just need a hand is one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do.

VoteRiders9 karma

Arizona couple Stephen and Mary Beth Wagner, who are visually impaired and needed assistance getting their state IDs to vote after moving from another state. VoteRiders helped them navigate the system and ensure they had all the right documents to get their Arizona IDs and register to vote.

VoteRiders2 karma

Ask us anything!

mad_bears2 karma

Thanks for all you're doing! How can I help?

VoteRiders10 karma

VoteRiders has many volunteer opportunities, including both in-person and virtual events such as direct ID assistance, as well as letter-writing parties and text-banking.

You can learn more about volunteer opportunities here.We provide training for every volunteer opportunity; no experience necessary!

We've got TONS of fun stuff lined up for this fall and lots of ways for everyone to plug in. If you're looking for last-minute plans for tonight or next week, you can join our letter-writing or texting events.Last but certainly not least, you can support our work by making a tax-deductible donation at or helping us spread the word on social media by sharing some of the graphics in our social media toolkit.

pepperpat641 karma

How do you help voters get ID if the states they live in close the offices where they can obtain such IDs?

VoteRiders6 karma

That was definitely a problem during COVID! We’re seeing less of that now that most restrictions have been lifted, office are open. But it can be a long wait to get an appointment. We try to help with that by partnering with local DMV and SSA offices to help people get the ID they need. We’re also sometimes able to help people replace IDs or renew them online. Whatever the barriers are, we don’t give up! PMP

usedatomictoaster0 karma

Can I get a fake ID?

VoteRiders2 karma


mad_bears-1 karma

Do you believe in voter fraud? Because that’s what voter ID laws prevent.

VoteRiders16 karma

Voter ID laws prevent one very specific kind of voter fraud – voter impersonation, meaning someone showing up to vote under someone else’s name. Studies have shown that voter impersonation is extremely rare. Voter ID laws and confusion over these laws can prevent many people who are eligible to vote from casting a ballot. Our organization wants to make sure that voters understand voter ID laws so they can comply with them, and to assist those who need help getting an ID to vote.

saehay-6 karma

Voter ID laws are very popular with voters – even many Democrats – why do you oppose them?

VoteRiders17 karma

We don’t oppose voter ID laws. We don’t support them either. We focus on helping citizens to get the ID they need and to educate voters about these laws so they can follow them. Our mission is to ensure that every eligible voter has some form of ID that is acceptable for voting – and getting one may be difficult or create a financial hardship. That is where our ID assistance program comes in.

Zoetje_Zuurtje4 karma

You don't have an opinion on the very thing your organisation is built around?

VoteRiders12 karma

VoteRiders doesn't engage in direct policy advocacy, but we've got a whole lotta feelings about the impact of voter ID laws on eligible voters being able to cast a ballot or not! And we don't need to just trust our feelings here -- these feelings are based on fact.

Since our founding in 2012, we've seen the impact of voter ID laws every single day via the voters we assist to get ID documents who were previously never able to obtain one due to legal, logistical, transportation, or financial barriers. We also see firsthand the overarching confusing that results from voter ID laws via the thousands of voters who call or text our Helpline or use our Chatbot.

From now until November and beyond, we've got our heads down and are working nonstop to help voters overcome these barriers. At the same time, we are proud to capture, amplify, and elevate their stories to inform public opinion and the narrative around these laws.

Electricpants16 karma

even many Democrats

Since this needed to be included it is obvious this is a fear conservatives have.

I moved from Indiana to Colorado some time ago.

I rarely voted in Indiana because it was a real pain in my ass. I know there is no excuse, but I can't go back and change that.

Since moving to CO, ballots are mailed to my house, they are individually bar coded so my ballot is traceable. It comes with a book detailing all the issues and candidates being voted on and explains in simple terms what a vote for or against each other would result in (this mitigates legislative doublespeak).

It is fucking great. You know what isn't? Wasting people's time with inefficient bullshit.

Why not adopt voting methodologies that are more effective at increasing voter participation and highly traceable?

VoteRiders9 karma

As you know from your experience in Indiana, which is a strict voter photo ID state, voters sometimes must navigate through a seemingly insurmountable bureaucratic maze. VoteRiders focuses not only on helping people to obtain their ID but on educating voters about what they need. Voter ID confusion can be pretty intimidating. We really appreciate the opportunity to make sure voters feel confident that they have what they need so their ballot will count! KU

seriousbangs-2 karma

Have you run into politicians trying to criminalize what you're doing? A lot of places made it a crime to drive someone to the polls....

VoteRiders6 karma

VoteRiders doesn't give people rides to the polls on Election Day.

We will arrange free rides to the DMV or other ID-issuing offices for people who need an ID.

Popcorn53-31 karma

Absolute bullshit excuse the people can't obtain and ID. Tell me which race is too stupid to get one? The truth is it interferes with the corrupt who want to have people vote multiple times.
Only someone with nefarious intent would argue that no identification need be presented to vote

VoteRiders17 karma

If you’ve never tried to get an ID starting from zero (meaning you don’t have an ID, birth certificate or ss card), it’s not easy. You have to know how to get the ID/document, which means good access to and understanding of technology, and the costs can be high! Plus there’s what I call the “circle of doom” - that is, you need an ID to get a birth certificate or SS card, but you need your birth certificate and SS card to get an ID. Pmp

Popcorn53-2 karma

That is a very extreme case, and not the motive for fighting against having an ID to vote. It is for corrupt intent.

Now as to the difficulties a very few may encounter- there are plenty of other aspects in that Unfortunate's life in which they meed to get at it and obtain one- voting being the least, when considering day to day needs. I call bullshit on your pearl clutching to justify an thousands of unknown persons to present themselves to polling locales to vote.

VoteRiders4 karma

You're making the wrong assumption that VoteRiders opposes voter ID laws.

Our mission is to ensure that no eligible citizen is prevented from voting due to voter ID laws. That means educating people about voter ID laws and helping citizens in need get an ID that works in their state so they can vote.