Voter ID laws could block millions of voters
A new study says state laws requiring voters to show photo identification will hinder ballot access for millions of Americans and drive down turnout among minorities, the poor and elderly, according to Reuters. The report comes as voter ID laws face legal challenges in several states.
The report, issued Wednesday from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, said one in 10 Americans lack government-issued photo IDs required under new laws in 10 states. Those laws affect potential voters this year in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
The report said about one-quarter of African Americans, 16 percent of Hispanics and 18 percent of Americans over age 65 do not have ID required under the new laws. It said more than 10 million eligible voters live more than 10 miles from the nearest full-time state ID-issuing office, with many of those voters lacking vehicle access and living in rural areas with limited public transportation.
Supporters of the new rules say requiring photo ID helps reduce voting fraud. They say getting the required ID is no more difficult than getting to the polls to vote.
The new laws face challenges and setbacks in court. In Wisconsin, two state court judges have issued injunctions against implementing the voter ID law, according to The Huffington Post. In the most recent case, an injunction issued Tuesday, a university political scientist testified that more than 301,000 eligible voters, making up 9.3 percent of registered voters, do not have a driver’s license or state ID card.
Voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas, blocked by the U.S. Justice Department, are currently being weighed in federal court. The American Civil Liberties Union has also filed a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s voter ID law.