It ain't about voter fraud,
it's about preventing Democrats from voting.
Voter ID laws proliferate
Thirty-one states have laws that require voters to show identification before voting. The laws can be broken down into the three categories: Strict photo ID, photo ID, non-photo ID.
Challenges to voter ID laws are building as voters cast ballots in primaries and gear up for the general election this fall.
Thirty-one states have voter identification laws, including eight — Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — that were enacted or toughened last year. Of the 31 laws, 27 are expected to be in effect for the general election this year, says Meagan Dorsch, spokeswoman for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan research group. One has been blocked by federal action; three have later effective dates.
Laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls have been around since 1970, but they are becoming more numerous and stringent. Once a voter registration card or utility bill sufficed. Now a growing number of laws require voters to show picture IDs.
Most of the new laws have been passed by Republican legislatures, the NCSL says. Supporters say they are necessary to prevent fraud. Opponents say they keep the poor, minorities and seniors — who often back Democrats — from voting because those groups are less likely than the general population to have government-issued IDs.
The Justice Department and civil liberties groups are challenging laws in several states:
•South Carolina. In December, the Justice Department blocked the state's voter ID law under its authority in the Voting Rights Act to review election laws in jurisdictions with a history of discrimination. The Justice Department said non-whites in South Carolina are less likely than whites to have a photo ID and, therefore, the new law would be discriminatory. It said almost 82,000 non-white registered voters — about 10% — do not have a photo ID from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, compared with about 8% of white voters.
"In jurisdictions across the country, both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common," Attorney General Eric Holder said last month in Columbia, S.C.
South Carolina officials sued Feb. 7 to overturn the federal move. State Attorney General Alan Wilson, a Republican, says the action "denied citizens in South Carolina protection of a law the Supreme Court upheld in Indiana," referring to a 2008 ruling that the state had a "valid interest" in preventing voter fraud. He said the South Carolina law is similar to a Georgia measure approved by the Justice Department.
"If you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed, [ If you have to have a government issued photo ID to buy Sudafed, a cold medicine you are living in a police state! ] if you have to show a picture ID to get on a plane, you should have to show a picture ID to do that one thing that is so important to us — vote," South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, said at a news conference Jan. 10.
NAACP President Ben Jealous, appearing with Holder at a rally outside the state Capitol in Columbia on the Martin Luther King holiday in January, declared the state "ground zero" in the voting rights battle.
•Texas. The Justice Department is reviewing a law that requires voters to show a photo ID.
Texas will vigorously defend its law, said Lauren Bean, deputy communications director for Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican. She called the federal move in South Carolina "an affront to voters who demand accountability at the ballot box."
•Kansas. The state goes a step further than photo IDs. Its law, effective Jan. 1, 2013, will require voters to show proof of citizenship. Secretary of State Kris Kobach is urging lawmakers to move up the start date to June 15.
Kobach, a Republican, said Kansas has had 234 cases of voter fraud since 1997. The state has 1.7 million registered voters. [ Wow! 234 voter fraud cases in 15 years!!!! That is 16 causes of voter fraud a year. Compared to the 16 liquor stores get robbed every day, that certainly isn't a problem. Well unless you need a lame excuse to prevent Democrats from voting!!! ]
He said his state discovered 32 foreigners, legal and illegal, on the voter rolls. Only U.S. citizens may vote. Once registered, he says, illegal immigrants are difficult to detect. [ Wow! 32 illegal voter registrations? Certainly sounds like enough of a problem to inconvenience the other 1.7 million plus legal voters!!! ]
The NAACP is monitoring the developments in Kansas, said Hilary Shelton, head of the group's Washington bureau.
•Wisconsin. The ACLU filed a lawsuit Dec. 13 challenging Wisconsin's photo ID law on the grounds that it will deprive some citizens of their right to vote. Voter ID laws are "misguided and unconstitutional," said Jon Sherman of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "These laws disenfranchise voters regardless of their partisan affiliation."
In October, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed a state suit against the law, arguing it violated the state constitution by creating a new group of disenfranchised voters.
Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, defended the measure, saying voter IDs increase trust in the election system.
Voter ID laws and other new measures that restrict voting or registration have the potential to affect 5 million people in 14 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a group funded by liberal philanthropist and investor George Soros.