Jul 19, 2012

Voter ID Laws Will Affect Millions

A new study by the Brennan Center for Justice has revealed that, in the ten states that have significant voter ID laws, more than 10 million eligible voters live 10 or more miles away from an office that would issue the proper photo ID necessary to vote, and half a million of those voters don't have access to a vehicle.

Of the states included in the study, one in 10 eligible voters do not have the proper ID required.  The Brennan Center, part of the New York University School of Law, found that there are a number of major difficulties that these one in 10 people may come across when trying to obtain the right identification. Even though there are free state photo IDs, they are not necessarily easily accessible for the 11% of voters who do not currently have them.

About 1.2 million black voters and 500,000 Hispanic voters live more than 10 miles away from their closest ID office, and the study noted “people of color are more likely to be disenfranchised by these laws since they are less likely to have photo ID than the general population.” Of course, minorities traditionally side with Democrats, and architects of these laws are betting on them creating a big problem for President Obama as he seeks reelection. 

Even if these eligible voters can reach the government offices where voters can obtain the proper IDs, these institutions have limited business hours, the study shows, citing an example in Sauk City, Wisconsin where the ID office is open only on the fifth Wednesday of any month — but only four months in 2012 have that fifth Wednesday. Sounds fishy to us.

Over a million voters from the states with strict voter ID lawa- Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — fall below the federal poverty line. These voters could find it difficult to pay for the documents required to obtain the proper voter ID. Birth certificates can cost between $8 and $25 and marriage licenses go for between $8 and $20. “By comparison, the notorious poll tax — outlawed during the civil rights era — cost $10.64 in current dollars,” the report stated. Although the poll taxes of lore sound much steeper than paying $8 for a birth certificate, its a much bigger problem when that $8 will decide whether one votes or puts dinner on the table that evening.

Members in Atlanta rally for voting rights
“The result is plain: Voter ID laws will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of poor Americans to vote,” the report concludes. “They place a serious burden on a core constitutional right that should be universally available to every American citizen. This November, restrictive voter ID states will provide 127 electoral votes — nearly half of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Therefore, the ability of eligible citizens without photo ID to obtain one could have a major influence on the outcome of the 2012 election.”

To read more about the serious voter ID problem plguing the 2012 elections, visit the Brennan Center website or check out this article from Politico.

1 comment:

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