“Bloody Sunday” Reminds Voters that Restrictive Voter ID Laws Don’t Work


Thanks to Ohio’s rigid efforts to suppress voters’ rights, an 86-year-old World War II veteran with a government issued ID was unable to vote.  

The veteran, who no longer drives, obtained a new photo ID from the Veterans Administration.  But when he went to vote, the poll worker denied him access because his new ID did not include his address.  Current Ohio state law requires photo identification that includes an address.

Ohio’s new voter ID laws are sure to promote this kind of injustice. The poll worker’s  strict interpretation of the law has caused civil rights activists to draw parallels to “Bloody Sunday,” the peaceful 1965 protest for voters rights that erupted in devastating violence in Selma, Alabama.

Legislative moves to change the voting laws began in earnest in 2011.  Photo-ID bills were signed into law in Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin and Ohio. In context this means 11% of American voters — over 21 million people — are eligible to vote but cannot do so.  According to the Brennan Center, five million Americans could be affected by the new rules, more than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.

In the National Urban League’s  State of Black America report released earlier this week, the Urban League calls for an “Occupy the Vote” movement. Their goal is to maintain the levels realized in the 2008 election when one in four votes were cast by non-whites. Data from the Pew Research Center indicates the turnout rates of minorities in this election were unprecedented.  The National Urban League hopes to continue this trend.

The new state voting laws are particularly restrictive and exclude common forms of photo and non-photo-ID that were acceptable in the past.  Individuals like my mother, who was born at home, are recorded on Census Reports, but without birth certificates, they are in a jam.  Student ID and Social Security cards are not valid. So youth away at college may also have difficulties.

Supporters of the new state voting laws say stricter requirements will stem voter fraud.  However, the Justice Department’s statistics covering all fifty states report that voter fraud is rare.

You may have seen the video on the evening news where conservative activist James O’ Keefe attempted to demonstrate how easily voter fraud takes place.  O’Keefe is seen making a big deal about the fact that he does not have identification when he goes into the polling station. He is told by poll workers this is okay, and he is given a ballot. Upon watching the video I was thinking, this is so fake. He is white, male and somewhat youngish. He states he has no photo ID, gives a name that can easily be found and that is the end of story. It is not as though he was someone unexpected.

In addition to the photo ID laws, 12 states introduced proof of citizenship legislation. Previously only 2 states had passed these laws and that number has doubled.  Thirteen states have introduced bills to end same day voter registration.

These changes will affect the poor, minorities, college students and seniors just as they did in the case of the 86-year-old veteran.  To ensure that citizens vote, the Cost of Freedom Project, a citizen-led initiative, is looking for $10,000 funding to complete the development of a location-based app to help citizens who have no official photo ID figure out where to get a certified copy of their birth certificate or how to get to the Department of Motor Vehicles. They have raised $1,320 of the $25,000 and have until April 4 to reach their goal.


Related Stories:

Sample List of South Carolina’s ‘Dead Voters’ Show No Ballots Actually Cast By Dead People

DOJ Rejects Texas Voter ID Bill

James O’Keefe Voter Fraud Stunt Could Land Him in Jail


Photo from Kevin Saff via Wikimedia Commons


marc rosati
marc rosati4 years ago

Harry Reid won in Nevada with Sharron Angle 7 points ahead of him in the polls. The unions were in charge of counting the votes! Voter fraud?

Robby C.
Past Member 4 years ago

And whom do you listen to seth? I'm sick of liberals saying that people who are not liberals (hence independents like me) only get their news from Fox. Only a fool would believe that voter fraud only works one way & we've all heard how every die-hard left-winger thinks GW's win was a result of fraud (& I don't care at what level). It's BS. There is always voter fraud & it's unacceptable. Now, why don't we need to at least have photo ID to be able to vote? I have to have it to get a job so my taxes can support illegals who most certainly do, often vote. Now go be a good little boy & believe what your media source tells you. And maybe you should finish reading my reply. I won't repeat it. You're a moron if you think the republicans cater to the rich & the democrats don't. BO has done almost nothing BUT help the wealthy. He's bought & paid for by unions & his already rich cronies only get richer. And how about Biden saying the middle class is dissapearing at a $10,000/couple fundraiser...? LOL! Yeah, the democrats are in touch w/the people. They're the voice of the poor & downtrodden... LOL!Don't believe the 2-party BS. BOTH parties are rich & powerful & greedy beyond belief.

marc rosati
marc rosati4 years ago

If anyone thinks that you shouldn't need identification to vote I question your intelligence, your loyalty to America and your motives.

john hall
john hall4 years ago

Mary. Do you have a valid I.D why do you have one if you don't think you need it .

Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle4 years ago

And US fascism takes more steps forward. We are the frogs in the pot of water sitting on the burner.

seth c.
seth c.4 years ago

Robby C. - your comment is that of somebody who is very ignorant and listens to others instead of finding the facts for yourself. The facts are that voter fraud is rare, even Republican Governors acknowledge that (check prosecutions for voter fraud also). These laws will restrict millions of legal people from voting, and it doesn't matter what political party they are affiliated with. This undermines our Democracy and our inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote. There is a reason we went so long without having to obtain/show I.D.'s or paperwork to vote; our right to vote supersedes the paranoid suspicion that people are out to somehow vote illegally. I'll bet your one of those ideologues who cling to "democracy" yet are willing to trample all over democracy when it best suites you. That's about as unpatriotic as one can be. Oh, who protects the rich from paying their fair share in taxes ? That would be the Republicans. Who opposes Obama's proposal to end the billions of dollars in oil subsidies (corporate welfare if you will) to oil companies who already make billions of dollars each QUARTER ? Republicans ! Who wants to deregulate Wall-Street so the super-rich can destroy our economy again ? Republicans. If you vote Republican and your not rich, your voting against your very own economic interest.

Robby C.
Past Member 4 years ago

voter fraud is rampant & will only get worse. People somehow have $ for cell phones, IDs to buy liquor & to drive, etc, etc, so I have no sympathy that they are required to vote. It's no secret that the dems want illegal aliens to vote for them (although i'm well aware that reps would take illegal votes whenever they could, as well). The dems are just a party of filthy-rich control freaks who have no interest in anything but gaining even more power, just like reps... Anything that curtails the prob w/voter fraud (no matter how big a prob it really is) is good w/me.... I do not, however, think that people should have to jump through hoops, but if one can't afford a $20 DL for pic ID (that lasts YEARS), then they shouldn't be able to vote. People find $ for everything else & I have to have ID for everything under the sun, so I have no sympathy....

Mary L.
Mary L.4 years ago

Trolls belong underground. It's been proven time and again that voter fraud is minimal. Screaming about voter fraud is a right wing code for keep white men in power.

There is proof I'm wrong? Where is it? There is more that one source when things are true not statements, but actual proofs.

Except of course to those who believe Faux new and the ilk, for them there is no such proof possible.

john hall
john hall4 years ago

Jason W. there is absolutly no reason in todays world that anyone shouldnt have valid i.d. if you are a legal citizan of this country and you want to do your civic duty you will find away to do it no questions asked .

Charles P.
Charles P.4 years ago

If true, that just frosts my onions.