Voter ID Silliness

13 05 2008

I simply do not understand how photo voter ID advocates can push for more restrictive laws as a means of preventing undocumented immigrants from swaying close elections. If you are in the country illegally why in the world would you show up at the polls? Too many immigrants are afraid to go to the hospital much less show up at the polls to cast a ballot.

That would be the last place I would go.

Plus, actual U.S. citizens are the ones who bear the brunt of these laws whether are foreign or native born. Access to or affording to pay for a birth certificate or a passport or some other type of government issued identification document to obtain a photo ID card may in fact be too expensive for some people, particularly if they have to renew those IDs often. The elderly, the poor, people of color and immigrants will be disproportionately affected by these voter ID laws.

According to the Brennan Center, “as many as 7 percent of U.S. citizens do not have ready access to citizenship documents.” The same study also found “citizens earning less than $25,000 per year are more than twice as likely to lack ready documentation of their citizenship as those earning more than $25,000.”

The New York Times is also found that since Arizona adopted Proposition 200, a measure that made voting contingent upon proof of citizenship, more than 38,000 voter registration forms have been rejected even though the vast majority of the applicants swore under penalty of law that they were native born citizens. Under federal law such penalties may include jail time and stiff fines.

Meanwhile there has been scant evidence of voter fraud being a pervasive problem. In fact, after the Bush Justice Department made prosecuting voter fraud cases a top priority for more than five years only “about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted” in 2006. This is after two midterm and one presidential election where millions of people voted.

Unsurprisingly, most of those arrested were Democrats.

The partisan advantage of these laws and who they target is unmistakable. Royal Masset, a Texas GOP operative, reportedly told the Houston Chronicle in 2007 that Voter ID laws could lead to a reduction in legitimate Democratic voting and even add as much as 3 percent to the Republican column.

Score one for voter rights.

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