Senator Kevin Cramer has introduced a bill requiring states that mandate proof of vaccination against covid to also mandate voter ID. In his media push for the proposal, Cramer said part of the reason he was introducing this federal change was to, “shine a light on those who hypocritically oppose Voter ID laws but support vaccine passports.” In doing so, he may have inadvertently shown a glimpse of his own hypocrisy.

Rather than trying to score political points housed in headlines, perhaps we should be focusing on making the process of voting as easy as it is for Americans to get vaccinated. Want voter ID? That’s fine, but make the ID free, easy to obtain, and provided just as the shot and proof of vaccination are free.

To the point of hypocrisy. By introducing this legislation, Cramer acknowledges he supports election law changes at the federal level. That seems to fly in the face of his opposition to laws introduced by Congressional Democrats to protect voting rights against efforts by Republican-led states to create barriers to voting in upcoming elections. In a statement, Cramer claimed their proposal was, “a partisan power grab designed to give states’ election authority to the federal government.Weeks later, he is dipping his toe into federal mandates on election laws.

Let’s be real. A lot of the 2021 election law changes in Republican-led states are because their guy lost in 2020. It is not unlike the NDGOP changing our state’s election laws in 2013 because their guy lost to Heidi Heitkamp in 2012. And just like ND’s changes disproportionately impacted our Native American neighbors’ ability to vote because of new voter ID requirements, analysis says some of the changes adopted in those states will disproportionately impact minority communities.

Don’t take this as some anti-voter ID posting. I don’t have much of a problem asking for proof at the ballot box as long as it isn’t meant to create an additional barrier for the voter to fulfill their right to vote. Unfortunately, easier access to fulfilling that right doesn’t appear to be the real motivation behind these proposals.

The vaccination is free. The vaccination ID is free. Keep voting free. Make the voter ID free.

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