According to an article in the Washington Post the contentious Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, is challenging the voter ID law in the state of Texas. The case is to be heard in the US District Court in Washington, DC.
Governor Rick Perry signed the law in 2011 but implementation was blocked by the Department of Justice claiming that it would disenfranchise many Hispanic voters.The DOJ blocked Texas’ law under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Approximately two dozen states have some form of voter ID law on the books, including our own state of Tennessee. Supporters of the law say that is necessary to contain voter fraud while those that oppose the law claim that it is simply a form of voter suppression and it particularly affects black and Hispanic voters. The law(s) require that a person present a state or federal photo ID.
The claim is that older voters that no longer drive, students, the unemployed, and minorities are being prevented from voting by those whom would not want them to vote by requiring a photo ID which places an undue burden on them because of the difficulty of obtaining such documents.
This is a specious argument at best. According to the Tennessee State Department of Homeland Security which oversees the ID requirments, "If you are a registered voter and do not have a government-issued photo ID, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will provide you with a photo ID at no charge. Citizens may obtain these IDs at 48 of the Driver Service Centers across the state." Other states have similar accommodations for the elderly, non drivers, and students.
Another problem with the claim that requiring a photo ID is oppressive is the fact that if one wants to cash a check just about anywhere in the USA, and probably the world, you must produce a valid photo ID. Are we saying that millions of elderly people in the US have millions of dollars just lying around because they could not cash their Social Security checks? Students have not cashed their financial aid checks? Welfare recipients and their children are starving for lack of photo ID?
Whatever happened to Motor Voter registration? We seemed to have no problem getting people to the DMV and registered to vote. Why not have them pick up their ID's while they are there? And do we not see busloads of people coming from senior centers, homeless shelters, and drug rehab facilities pulling up to the polling place in order for those citizens to cast their ballots courtesy of the local political party campaign machines? Why not arrange for buses to take them to the nearest place to obtain a photo ID?
Those that claim requiring a photo ID in order to vote is suppressing anyone are simply attempting to raise an issue which lacks any evidential support. With all the claims that had been raised in the last election of voter suppression or intimidation, apparently none were true based upon the lack of prosecutions.
On the other hand one could cite several recent elections right here in the Memphis area in which some dead people rose up and cast their ballots for a candidate. When Ophelia Ford ran for the state senate some campaign workers used the names of dead people to cast multiple votes on her behalf.
If the voter ID law is upheld one can only wonder if the dead community will feel that they have been disenfranchised.