Fourteen members of Congress have co-sponsored a bill that would override a recent spate of voter identification laws, passed in more than a dozen states to require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Washington Democrat, has introduced the “America Votes Act of 2012,” which he and other Democrats hope will counter the wave of new voter ID legislation passed by Republican-led legislatures across the country. The bill would allow voters to sign a sworn affidavit to prove their identity in lieu of providing government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport. The voter would then be able to cast a standard ballot and not a provisional ballot, the latter of which can be contested or thrown out for any number of procedural reasons under current voting ID laws.
“We will fight to the death to make sure that any voter, be they independent, Republican or Democrat has the right to vote and that their vote be heard,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland (D) during a conference call this afternoon. “The fact is that the opportunity to vote affords the janitor in the company to have the same power, on that day, Election Day, as the president of the company … I think when these efforts that suppress the vote are put forth it does serious damage to our democracy. That’s why I strongly support this legislation.”
Since 2008 more than a dozen states have passed some form of voter ID law, which Democrats and civil rights organizations say will have a disparate impact on key Democratic voting blocs including students, minorities and the elderly, large percentages of which do not have the required forms of ID or will likely have trouble acquiring them. Recent reports suggest that as many as one in four African Americans and one in six Latinos would be barred from voting under the current voter ID laws. About one in 10 voters overall don’t have the required ID to vote and an estimated 1 million young minorities under the age of 30 could be barred from voting.
Full Article: Voter ID Laws Countered In Congress With New Legislation.