I propose a national identification card to be issued by the government to all citizens of the United States when they turn 16. This identification would serve not only as required voter identification when someone reaches voting age, it would also serve as their voter registration. There are many benefits to this proposal, including one that should appeal to Trump: reinforcing a virtual wall to better track who is and is not an American citizen.Many democracies around the world have national identity cards, while experiencing no ill tendencies towards authoritarianism. Indeed, my proposal echoes one made by former president Jimmy Carter. Following the 2000 election, the Carter-Baker commission issued a number of recommendations, including voter identification if — and this is an important condition — all persons are given identification.
Having the government take responsibility for voter registration is actually a very old idea. It is how elections were run during America’s first century as a country. Local governments created lists of the people who owned property or paid taxes, which defined the eligible voters.
I advanced a similar idea in my 2012 book, The Voting Wars.