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View Diary: SCOTUS Upholds GOP-Pushed Voter ID Laws (315 comments)

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  •  I have a hard time with this as well (1+ / 0-)
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    bootes53

    I really do understand that it is antithetical to democracy to impose undue burdens for the economically disadvantaged to vote.

    I don't buy the "solution looking for a problem" argument though.  Why are voter verifiable paper trails a good thing?  So that someone can't hack an election.  Has this ever happened (that we can prove)?  No, but that doesn't stop it from being something we should be concerned about.

    If I were a Justice on the court, I would dissent, on the grounds that if Indiana wants to require photo identification, they need to make it easier to obtain, e.g. by providing transportation to/from the BMV, and tracking down your birth certificate on their time and dime.

    •  Voter ID Talking Points (2+ / 0-)
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      Leap Year, rhutcheson

      These will probably address some of your issues.

      VOTER ID TALKING POINTS

      Voter ID laws are a solution in search of a problem.  There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in this country, and Voter ID laws have nothing positive to offer.

      Americans do not misrepresent themselves at the polls, and politicians shouldn’t misrepresent the facts to justify unnecessary voter ID laws.

      Voter ID and Proof-of-Citizenship requirements are Jim Crow laws dressed up for the 21st Century. They serve only one purpose:  keeping eligible voters away from the polls.  Research shows that fraudulent voting happens rarely. Americans are more likely to be hit by lightning on the way to the polls than to have their votes cancelled out by fraudulent votes. But that's the last thing Voter ID supporters want you to know.

      •Voter ID document requirements are so burdensome that millions of Americans cannot meet them. These requirements fall hardest on traditionally underrepresented groups: African-Americans, Hispanics, women, the poor, the elderly, and the disabled.  

      •Two key requirements--government-issued photo ID and citizenship documents--are not in the possession of millions of voters and may be costly and difficult for them to obtain.

      Overall, 21 million Americans of voting age, or 11%, do not have current and valid government-issued photo ID.  This proportion is higher for specific groups, including 6 million of adult seniors—18% and 5.5 million adult African-Americans—25%.

      •Overall, 13 million people Americans (7%) do not have ready access to citizenship documents showing their correct legal name.  This proportion is higher for individuals making less than $25,000 per year (12%) and far higher for women.  32 million American women do not have citizenship documents showing their correct legal name (generally because of marriage).

      •Voter ID laws lead to significant disenfranchisement.  When Arizona rolled out a Proof-of-Citizenship requirement in 2004, 75% of voter registrations were rejected for improper ID.  In 2006, 17% of new Arizona registrations were rejected on these grounds.

      •The administration of Voter ID laws causes unnecessary hardship.  Although Georgia requires government-issued photo ID at the polls, most Georgia counties do not have photo-ID processing facilities, including the ten counties with the highest proportion of African-American residents and the entire city of Atlanta.  Many Georgia voters must take time off of work and travel significant distances to obtain the IDs necessary for them to vote.  

      •Individuals losing their photo ID and/or citizenship documents in times of emergency or natural disaster would be unable to vote in states with Voter ID and Proof-of-Citizenship laws.  Tens of thousands of Americans, for example, lost their ID and citizenship documents during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  

      •Only birth certificates, naturalization certificates, and passports prove citizenship and all three can be expensive to obtain or replace (the current adult passport fee is $97).  Because Voter ID laws require voters to pay for documents in order to vote, they create effective poll taxes and are in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  

      Voter ID laws are unnecessary.  They don't fix the allegedly widespread problem of "voter fraud" because studies show there simply is no widespread problem to be fixed. Existing laws provide plenty of protection to ensure voting integrity.

      •Between 2002 and 2005, across the country only 24 people were convicted of voter fraud on the federal level.

      •Voter ID laws cannot stop vote-buying, ballot stuffing, ballot purging, or even ineligible people from voting under their own names.  The only thing they are good for is keeping eligible voters away from the polls.    

      The current trend of unnecessary Voter ID and Proof-of-Citizenship laws are part of a campaign to disenfranchise select groups of voters for political purposes.

      •"Voter fraud" is a false allegation made by candidates and partisans in order to create ID rules that disenfranchise groups of potentially opposing voters.  Since the beginning of voting, partisans have tried to bend the rules to maintain power. This ruse trend was observed as far back as the time of Emancipation and is still seen frequently during close electoral contests.

      Opposition’s line:  "State IDs are cheap and easy to get.  How can anyone not find the time and money to get one in the two years between elections?"
      Project Vote’s response: While state IDs are cheap – typically under $20 – the proof of citizenship documents required for state ID application are not.  Seven percent of all American citizens lack access to proof of citizenship documentation.  

      This problem affects an even a higher proportion (12%) of those who earn under $25,000.  

      Proof of citizenship documents are both expensive and time-consuming to obtain.  A replacement birth certificate can exceed $40, and a passport costs $97.  

      For naturalized Americans, replacement citizenship documents cost $220.  Potential voters must navigate cumbersome government agencies, which often involves taking time from work in order to travel to a specific office, fill out forms, and stand in line.  

      The processing time for requests may last as long as a year, during which time eligible citizens would be deprived of their right to vote.

      Opposition’s line:  "People have to use IDs in all kinds of normal activities like driving, renting a video, writing a check, or opening up a bank account.  It is reasonable to expect people to have a government issued photo-ID."

      Project Vote’s response: Renting a video isn’t a right, voting is. Regardless of how essential you might see photo identification in your own life, 11% of American citizens, or 21 million people, do not have current, government issued identification with a photograph.  These people have as much a right to vote as you or I.

      Opposition’s line: "If you aren’t in favor of voters being required to show ID then you aren’t serious about preventing election fraud."

      Project Vote’s response: Voter ID proposals are solutions in search of a problem.  It is exceedingly rare for someone to vote multiple times, vote as someone else, or vote despite knowing they are ineligible.  From 2002 to 2005 only 24 people were convicted of or plead guilty to illegal voting in federal courts, an average of eight people a year.  There is no widespread voter fraud in America, and voter ID legislation would not improve the integrity of American elections.

      Opposition’s line: "You say these people don’t have ID, but how are they cashing their welfare checks without it?"
      Project Vote’s response: From census data we know that, in 2000, 6.4 million Americans who actively participated in the workforce fell below the poverty line due to low wages.  

      Many of these Americans, the working poor, are part of the same demographic groups that disproportionately lack access to government issued photo identification or documents proving citizenship.  

      Voting is as much a right for these citizens as it is for you and me.

      Opposition’s line: "The ACLU has opposed voter ID laws that provide free ID to persons who cannot pay for them in MO, GA, NM, MI and IN.  This proves that you only want to stop voter ID laws so that you can continue to commit election fraud."
      Project Vote’s response: While the voter ID legislation in these states proposed to provide citizens with free photo identification, the proof of citizenship documents required to apply for the free ID are absolutely not free.  

      Seven percent of American citizens lack access to proof of citizenship documentation, and this problem affects over 12% of those who earn under $25,000 a year.  

      These documents are both expensive and time-consuming to obtain.

      A replacement birth certificate can exceed $40, and a passport costs $97.  For naturalized Americans, replacement citizenship documents cost $220.  

      Potential voters must navigate cumbersome government agencies, which often involves taking time from work in order to travel to a specific office, fill out forms, and stand in line.  The processing time for requests may last as long as a year, during which time eligible citizens would be deprived of their right to vote.  

      The desire to provide each citizen with free photo identification may be well intentioned, but the high cost of the supporting documentation would be, in effect, a poll tax that makes democracy too expensive for the poorest Americans.

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