Voter ID Laws Disenfranchise Millions by Tackling Non-Existent Problem

Tue Sep 30, 2014 18:28:22PM

African-American children gather around a sign and booth to register voters in 1960By: Cornell University
What is it about a United States citizen exercising their greatest Constitutionally mandated right that scares so many Republicans? It's a question that should bother everyone on both sides of the aisle because voting is not a Republican or Democratic right, but is a right for every legal citizen in this country. Unfortunately, there are many leaders who are trying to make it harder than ever for citizens to exercise this right that so many Americans have fought and died for throughout our nations history.

The idea that we need to pass laws to protect against voter fraud is one that's based on a false premise. There have been ten confirmed cases of in-person voter impersonation since the 2000 Presidential election, which averages out to one case of voter fraud per fifteen million votes cast. Think about that for a moment. Dozens of states are passing strict laws that will make it difficult for millions upon millions of legal citizens to vote based off a ratio of one in fifteen million. Why so many states feel that this is a problem that has to be addressed by systemically disenfranchising millions of legal citizens baffles me and frustrates me to no end.

There is not one word in our Constitution that says a citizen has to provide a photo identification to exercise their right to vote. In fact, the Constitution is very explicit about who is able to vote and what safeguards must be in place so citizens can exercise that right. The 14th and 24th Amendments to the Constitution provide the language to ensure that every legal citizen who wants to vote is able to. The 14th Amendment was one of the three Amendments passed during reconstruction meant to give protection to African Americans wanting to exercise their new rights and the 24th Amendment was passed during the Civil Rights era and explicitly does away with poll taxes and other taxes.

It is very difficult to see how a voter identification law is not a backdoor way to enact a new poll tax on legal citizens. Millions of American citizens lack the proper identification to cast a ballot and many states do not have protections in place for those individuals who do not have the proper identification. Some states make their residents pay burdensome fees in order to get proper identification, which means there is no other way to look at this than as a poll tax. The law also does not take into account the huge number of poor and minority citizens who can not afford to purchase a state issued identification card.

Stand with me to begin the push back against these restrictive anti-voting laws. There are a variety of organizations that are leading the drive to do away with these laws and they need citizens like us to stand with them. Voting is a fundamental right in this country that is enshrined in our Constitution. No one should be denied this right regardless of their political affiliation, race, gender, or religion. And no one should be denied this right because they can't afford the costs of a voter identification card. Let's end this back door poll tax now, before it's too late.

See what identification you will need in order to vote in your state:
Voter Identification Requirements by State

Then register to vote and get any questions answered by visiting the USA Election Assistance Commission voter resources page:

Contact your Governor and tell them you stand for the voting rights of all citizens by visiting our comprehensive database of all governors and their contact information:
Republican Governors List
Democratic Governors List

Join the ACLU in their fight to reverse these burdensome laws:
ACLU voting rights page
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