Fresh off commanding electoral victories in November, Republican majorities in many state legislatures want to require voters to show photo identification at the polls, a move Democrats say is cynically designed to help the GOP during the next election cycle.
Voter identification laws have been a demarcation line between Democrats and Republicans for years. Democrats claim the measures disenfranchise poor, elderly and minority voters who tend to vote Democratic but may not have appropriate photo ID. Republicans say the laws are necessary to prevent fraud, particularly when important statewide contests — such as the 2008 election for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota — can be decided by just hundreds of votes.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s photo ID law in 2008, providing a legal framework for other states to pass their own versions. But while only a few states followed Indiana’s lead after the ruling, the movement is gaining much more momentum now that Republicans have taken control or consolidated their power in dozens of statehouses.
Eight states now have photo ID laws in place. More than 30 others, many of them with new GOP majorities, are considering legislation this year to create or expand photo ID requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. If approved, the new voting rules would take effect in time for next year’s presidential election, raising the stakes for both political parties as President Obama seeks a second term.
Full Article: Newly empowered GOP pushes voter ID.