Proponents of photo ID requirements for voting argue that because Americans generally must show photo IDs to board a plane, buy alcohol, or get a library card, it makes sense to require a photo ID to vote. But flying, drinking and borrowing books are not fundamental constitutional rights. And when many people lack the required kinds of photo ID, enforcing photo ID requirements denies eligible Americans a fundamental right.
By one estimate, 11% of Americans do not have a photo ID that would be adequate in states with a photo ID requirement. That's more than 21 million citizens. Of those without adequate photo ID, 18% are over age 65. More than 25% of African Americans lack a photo ID. In many cases, it is very difficult to remedy this problem. In order to get a photo ID, citizens must show birth or marriage certificates or other documents that many people do not possess, and which may be hard and/or expensive to obtain from government offices. The result is that eligible Americans are prevented from voting. This is an example of 21st century voter suppression.