Here’s Why The Govt’s Proposed New Voter ID Laws Are A Bunch Of Racist Bullshit

Proposed voter ID laws are racist in the way they exclude First Nations people who don't have formal ID.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison could be doing a lot of things to help improve ‘democracy’. Decreasing police powers and condemning far right anti-vax extremists are just a couple of things that come to mind. But no, instead his government has decided to introduce racist US-style voter ID laws that actually gate-keep voting from certain classes. Of course.

Under the new proposed laws, voters at the next federal election would have to show their ID to cast their ballot. Which might not sound like a big deal, but this potential legislation has insidious consequences.

The Coalition claims that mandatory voter ID checks will prevent  people from committing voter fraud. The thing is though, voter fraud is basically a non-issue.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the rate of multiple voting during the 2019 election was a tiny 0.03 percent, and that even when there are people voting more than once, it usually has more to do with mental health issues than voter fraud.

SMH also reported that The Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said multiple voting is a “vanishingly small” issue, and that the committee is pretty satisfied with the measures they currently take for voting security.

You’d think if the actual electoral commissioner reckons we don’t need more measures to identify voters, then our government wouldn’t waste time introducing new, vastly unnecessary legislation. Unfortunately you’d be wrong, because it seems this government never denies an opportunity to further embed structural racism.

So, by now you’re probably wondering why these ID laws are such a problematic issue. Well, all the evidence from the US voter ID laws (which is what our government is mimicking) shows that these measures just stigmatise and alienate marginalised communities from voting — typically people of colour and especially Black people in the States, as well as students, the elderly. and disabled people.

In fact, strict voting ID requirements are classed as forms of voter suppression by the Brennan Centre for Justice, a US-based research organisation.

Not everyone has equal access to forms of identification, and Indigenous leaders have pointed out that the new voter laws could prevent First Nations people from accessing their democratic rights, especially for those that don’t have birth certificates or formal ID and live in more remote areas.

The Coalition has argued there’ll be a declaration form that people who don’t have ID can fill out to vote, so it’s fine. But that’s been criticised as “clumsy”, or as I would say, pretty fucking useless.

“It’s unrealistic to think that people without ID, who may have poor language and literacy skills, and perhaps a mistrust of government officials, will be able to fill in a complex ‘voter declaration’ form,” Donnella Mills, chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said via The Guardian.

“The new arrangements defy common sense and most people without ID will be confused, and most will become embarrassed and walk away if they are challenged.”

Considering this country’s history of genocide against Aboriginal people and its effort to dehumanise and exclude them from society, it’s a pretty fucking bad move. Even Bob Katter, of all people, has called out Morrison for pushing such a shit law, saying: “This is blatantly racist and will prevent First Australians living in the community areas from voting.” That’s when you know there is something truly wrong, hey?

At some point you have to wonder why our government is trying so hard to make voting more difficult for those that are already marginalised. Who benefits from potentially suppressing First Nations and other marginalised, typically poorer communities from voting? Who benefits from having a voting class that’s comprised of more privileged Australians? Yeah, we know who.

These new voter ID laws are bullshit. Don’t let our racist, classist government’s claims of voter fraud fool you.