In 52 weeks, we’ll hit the polls in the next national election — but more than 3.2 million may not make it past the check-in table. By then, new laws may go into effect requiring voters to present a government-issued photo ID at polling stations in Kansas, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Most other states — including, for the time being, New York — still accept signatures or utility bills, making it easier for would-be voters to verify their identities.
According to data from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, an estimated 3.2 million potential voters don’t have state-issued IDs in Kansas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Add in the other two states, and the number is sure to be higher.
Proponents claim the laws would prevent voter fraud and keep undocumented immigrants from trying to influence our political process. But Department of Justice research indicates that, not only have there been very few cases of documented voter fraud, but also that most of them have resulted from confusion in the registration process, rather than deception. Simple improvements in registration would be far more effective in preventing “fraud” than ID laws.
Some opponents to these laws claim that they’re designed to limit votes for Democratic candidates, suggesting that the majority of people excluded by them — the young, the poor, the elderly and minorities — are likely to vote Democrat. Certainly, voter ID bills have almost exclusively been proposed by Republican politicians. The NAACP has announced that it will join several minority rights and labor groups in a national protest against these laws next month.
Full Article: Rajagopalan: Millions denied voting rights.