A week from Tuesday, voters will choose an entirely new House of Representatives, a third of the U.S. Senate and the governors of 36 states. Lamentably, many qualified voters will stay home, some out of apathy or disillusionment but others because they lack the right sort of identification. In Texas, thanks to an outrageous order by the Supreme Court, voters will have to display a photo ID under a law that a lower court judge concluded was a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise blacks and Latinos, who disproportionately lack such identification. Welcome to the new world of voter suppression, the culmination of a sustained effort by mostly Republican state legislators to make it harder for Americans to exercise the most basic right afforded to citizens in a democracy. It’s an effort whose effect, if not its intent, has been to reduce the participation at the ballot box by groups that historically have been the victims of discrimination. It has been abetted by a Supreme Court that blithely gutted an important section of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act and by a Congress that has been to slow to undo the damage caused by the court.
What is most galling about the wave of photo ID laws is that they have been justified by high-minded Republican arguments about the importance of rooting out voter fraud, which indeed would threaten the integrity of the electoral process — if it existed. But impersonation at the polling place is an exotic if not imaginary phenomenon. In her decision invalidating Texas’ photo ID law, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos noted that the record showed only four instances of impersonation in Texas.
Despite Ramos’ conclusion that Texas’ photo ID violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, voters there on Nov. 4 will have to present a photo ID anyway. That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift a stay placed on Ramos’ decision by a federal appeals court pending an appeal.
Meanwhile, voters are being inconvenienced — and worse — by other laws that make it harder to vote. And the Republican Party shows no sign of relenting in its campaign to make voting more difficult, especially for the low-income and minority voters who tend to support Democrats.
Full Article: The new world of voter suppression – LA Times.