February 10, 2012

As a security- and risk-assessment professional who is also a Virginia poll worker, I am disappointed by pending state legislation to tighten voter eligibility [“Voter ID fight heats up in Va.,” Metro, Feb. 4]. The proposed changes won’t have the claimed effect.

Poll workers receive minimal training; in Virginia, they typically get two hours. Given the complexity of running a polling place, there isn’t time to teach how to check properly for fake IDs.

Unlike police officers or supermarket clerks, who use such a skill every day, poll workers would use the skill at most a few days a year, so they won’t have enough practice for proficiency. Because of this, requiring an ID will not prevent voter fraud.

The falling cost of creating fake IDs means that creating IDs good enough to get past a poll worker isn’t the hard part of such fraud. The hard part is recruiting enough people willing to commit felonies.

Stricter voter ID laws would increase the disenfranchisement of legitimate voters. And it would lengthen lines at the polls, as relatively untrained poll workers would struggle to determine which IDs are fakes.

Jeremy Epstein, Fairfax

The writer is a co-founder of Virginia Verified Voting.