Molly McGrath is laser-focused on a job no advanced democratic society ought to require: Making sure properly registered voters do not lose their right to cast a ballot on election day because of new, stringent ID requirements they may not even know exist. McGrath is the national campaign coordinator for VoteRiders, a nonprofit founded by two Los Angeles attorneys that devotes itself to ensuring citizens are not tripped up by the voter ID laws, many of which are being introduced this year. Since last summer, McGrath and her team have been visiting food pantries, churches, university centers and high-end condo complexes in Wisconsin, one of the states with the strictest requirements. Some of the people the team helps are transient, poor or elderly; they not only may have no driver’s license or state-issued photo ID, but they also may have difficulty getting their hands on the underlying documentation required to get one.
Others are students whose college IDs may not conform to the new rules (only 3 out of the state’s 13 four-year colleges issue IDs that meet the requirements). Still others are newly arrived workers who struggle to understand why they can get on a plane with their out-of-state driver’s license but cannot use it to vote. “Nobody’s immune to the confusion that these laws bring,” McGrath says.
By one estimate, as many as 300,000 — 9% — of Wisconsin’s registered voters fell short of the state’s photo ID requirements before the April 5 primary. That’s more than enough to decide a close race. If November’s presidential election comes down to a percentage point or two in Wisconsin — or another swing state with similarly strict voter ID laws, such as Indiana or Virginia — we could be looking at a rerun of Florida in 2000, with voter ID as the new hanging chad. The next occupant of the Oval Office might be determined not by the will of the people but by lawyers haggling in court over voter access and the constitutionality of the ID rules.
Full Article: Are voter ID laws the next hanging chads? – LA Times.