Politics

Republicans Revisit Jim Crow Laws: Want to Require Photo ID to Vote

Wed., Jun. 8, 2011 10:44 AM EST
by Torrance Stephens

Across the nation, Republican state legislatures and governors are pushing the idea of requiring that voter’s present picture identification at the voting booth. The GOP is rewriting voting laws in at least 13 states thus far and more may be on the horizon. These efforts are being implemented under the guise of “fraud prevention.”

In South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley and Republicans, although there is no evidence of fraud in any recent elections, have changed laws to require picture IDs at the poll in order to vote. Just last week Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Governor Rick Perry of Texas signed into law the requirement for a valid picture ID to vote. This week, in Florida, Governor Rick Scott is expected to sign a similar requirement into law. In Ohio, changes will reduce the number of provisional ballots cast on election day and do away with the five-day period in which new voters can register and then immediately vote, a rule that some say invited fraud.

Democrats argue that these laws are aimed to discourage voters, particularly those who don’t have photo IDs, typically the poor and minorities. They also contend that such laws are equal to those implemented, albeit unconstitutionally, during the period of Jim Crow in America where literacy tests and poll taxes were put in place to keep poor whites and African Americans from participating in voting.

Although the 15th amendment forbids laws that obviate voting based on race, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 protects the rights of minority voters and eliminates any voting barriers obstructing voters rights, the Republican Party strongly support these measures.

Strange, it seems, given that these strict constitutionalists cannot point to any reference in the constitution’s bill of rights requiring an ID to vote. Another concern is that many, including disabled, students and the elderly, may not have “officially” accepted IDs, such as passports or driver’s licenses. GOP-controlled statehouses nationwide are also restricting early voting and imposing stricter rules on those who can register to vote.

These changes, for some, equate to a new poll tax. IDs cost money, and some people just don’t have the money to get them. A study conducted by the New York University’s Brennan Center in 2006, claims that 11 percent of the American voting-age public — that means tens of millions of people — don’t have a photo ID.

torrance t. stephens, phd

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • vixenth

    What’s wrong with showing ID?  They do it to get in “da club”

  • ladyjane

    Georgia already does it. I worked the polls this past season, and we required ID. Some organization needs to start a fund and a drive to promote everyone getting an ID. You can get a state ID for nearly nothing at the DMV. The issue might be having the identification to get the identification!

    • GG

      You are so right.!! Even with homeless people..they cant get into shelters without ID..Issue is paperwork which cost money. Birth certificates at health dept are 20.00 $$  and georgia ID are 20.00 $$. Poor people can’t afford it. That will keep republicans in office!!  SAD

      • http://twitter.com/paoligarcy Paolina Garcia

        You can get a waiver for the cost of the identification at most government agencies. There is usually a hardship provision. Or if you are REALLY that poor someone in the building will give you $20 to buy it. That is just a lazy excuse at trying to paint others as racists. Also, the Republicans did not pass Jim Crow laws. That was the Democrats.

        And frankly an idiot who has no job and can’t afford his own identification and is no doubt living on welfare or on the generosity of others has no right to force his opinions on others by voting. Votes require citizenship. Good citizens require good civics which means working hard and not leeching off others.

        Otherwise you get a disaster scenario of a poor lazy person who lives on welfare voting himself more welfare. That means the death of the Republic, and right now 40 million people are on food stamps. Add social security and it’s likely a MAJORITY of the country is on welfare. That means they likely will vote themselves more welfare.

        It’s a conflict of interest. Like having a corporation have the ability to vote on how the government spends money. Everyone hates “special interests” but allowing welfare voters to vote is just one big special interest group.

    • vixenth

      Why can’t these ” poor” people take their money can get a card.  They eat at all the fast food joints, buy the latest fashion and cell phones! Get an ID!  Shoot I’m so tried of poor people looking for people to give them something.  Invest in yourself!  I’m a black woman who has been given NOTHING and when I did need help last year couldn’t get a thing because they said my husband made too much with 4 mouths to feed but his little 12K was too much? 

      Thank God I went back to work and he went back to a better paying job!  Do it yourself ain’t nobody holding you back but U! PERIOD