Poor People, Non-Whites, Those With No Cars Face Harder Time With Voter ID Laws
Though an appeal is a certainty, there was still reason to be proud of the actions Tuesday in a Dane County courtroom in relation to the odious voter ID law rammed through the legislature by out-of-control Republicans. There is not now, nor has there ever been, a long list of offenders when it comes to election fraud in the Badger State
A Dane County judge permanently barred enforcement of the voter ID requirements of Wisconsin’s voter law, holding that it imposes too great a burden on voters in Wisconsin than the state constitution allows.
What I cringe at are news stories, like the one from CBS News this afternoon, that links Wisconsin with Alabama and Mississippi. God, help us!
Anyone who has followed the debate in this state over the past year-and-a-half knows that the partisan move by the majority Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature was a solution in search of a problem. There was no evidence of voter fraud that necessitated the draconian move of enacting a voter ID law in the state, except for the sole purpose of undermining the rights of citizens, especially certain demographics from having easy access to a most basic right.
Amid ongoing controversy surrounding a spate of new voter ID laws being enacted in the U.S., a new study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law argues that the laws sets up a series of hurdles that could prevent thousands of voters from getting to the polls this fall.
Ten such state laws have so far passed in the United States, adding fuel to the debate over whether or not voter ID laws prevent fraud, as proponents argue, or lead to disenfranchisement, as opponents contend.
The study, written by NYU’s Keesha Gaskins and Sundeep Iyer, who oppose voter ID laws, supports the latter argument, contending that free photo IDs are not equally accessible to all voters – particularly those who live in areas with high poverty rates, black and Hispanic voters, and voters who don’t have cars.
“We really are talking about a population of individuals that could very well influence the outcome” of the November elections, said Gaskins, in a Wednesday conference call. “These laws undermine the principles of fairness and equality promised by the Constitution.”
Citing long distances between state ID-issuing offices, limited hours of operation during which these offices are open, the high costs of documents needed to obtain an ID, and government bureaucracy, Gaskins and Iyer say thousands of voters will be unable to vote in upcoming elections due to their lack of government-issued ID.
According to the study, there are about 500,000 eligible voters without access to a vehicle who live more than 10 miles from a state ID-issuing office open more than two days a week.
For instance, in Wisconsin, Alabama, and Mississippi — three of the states that have passed these voter ID laws — fewer than half of all ID-issuing offices are open five days a week, according to the report, and none are open on the weekends. Some offices, the report states, maintain what it calls “truly unusual” hours, such as the ID-issuing office in Woodville, Mississippi, which is open only on the second Thursday of each month.