In state after Republican-controlled state (now more than two-thirds of all states), there’s a tactical imperative high on the legislative agenda. No, it’s not job creation; it is, in fact, more
along the lines of empire creation. That lofty ideal of the “permanent Republican majority” is again enjoying a chilling resurgence. Under the guise of prevention of “voter fraud,” onerous and costly “voter ID” bills are in various stages of life in state houses across the country, reports the New York Times. In a few states, bills have already passed and are law.
So extreme it has been labeled an effort at voter disenfranchisement and suppression, the state of Kansas’ law requires a birth certificate, passport, or some proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, according to Redding. And Colorado is threatening to pass the next. The effect these laws will have on registering those newly eligible to vote is easy to predict.
Forget about those registration drives at festivals, fairs, sporting events, schools, colleges, public transit stops, public assistance offices or shopping centers, Kansas. Forget about those tables outside of grocery stores – who shops with his birth certificate in his pocket? And programs like the League of Women Voters (LWV) High School Registration Project, which registers students in schools nationwide, will, well, no longer be nationwide.
Voter suppression does have historical precedent. It was employed by conservatives all over the South until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 made most of the practices illegal. Traditional tactics once included poll taxes and literacy tests aimed at African Americans and working-class whites. Fast-forward to present day, and add a proof of citizenship and a government-issued ID requirement for any young people who haven’t already succumbed to the suffocating cynicism they are unrelentingly subjected to about their government.