Warrensville Heights Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge is asking Attorney General Eric Holder to examine whether voter photo identification laws that have been proposed in Ohio and adopted in several other states would violate the Voting Rights Act.
“Many of these bills only have one true purpose, the disenfranchisement of eligible voters – especially the elderly, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters,” said a letter that Fudge sent Holder today with more than 100 House Democrats.
Others who signed Fudge’s letter include Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Ohioans Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Betty Sutton of Copley Township, Marcy Kaptur of Toledo and Tim Ryan or Niles.
Republican sponsors of the laws say they’re needed to fight election fraud. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, 78 percent of Ohioans support requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls. It found 66 percent of Democrats in Ohio back the idea, as do 77 percent of independents and 93 percent of Republicans. The poll of 1,659 Ohio voters had a 2.4 percent margin of error.
Fudge’s letter says roughly 11 percent of voting-age citizens in this country – or more than 20 milliion individuals – lack government issued photo identification. Her office says their constitutionally guaranteed voting rights should not be jeopardized.
Fudge spokeswoman Laura Allen said that 25 percent of African-American voting-age citizens lack a current government-issued photo ID, and that many low-income minorities lack a photo IDs because they use public transit and don’t need a drivers’s license.