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Congress Asks DOJ To Look At Voter ID Laws

Congress Asks DOJ To Look At Voter ID Laws

Last week sixteen senators, led by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to investigate whether the Voting Rights Act prevented states from implementing restrictive “voter ID” measures.

The laws require, among other things, that eligible voters receive some sort of acceptable government-issued ID prior to casting a vote.  What qualifies as an acceptable ID varies from state to state.  For example in Texas a conceal-and-carry permit qualifies but a student ID from the University of Texas does not.

According to the request, the effect of these laws is to illegally disenfranchise thousands of elderly, disabled and low-income voters.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act mandates that states with a history of systematic voting discrimination preclear any widespread changes to their voting laws to make sure such changes do not effectively disenfranchise minority voters.

The timing for the request is crucial as the Supreme Court has made it clear that it has Section 5 in its sights and, if given the right set of facts, will strike the preclearance requirement.

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46 comments

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8:14PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Many older people don't have IDs because they don't drive or own cars (driver's license being the usual form of ID). These laws are an attempt to disenfranchise large numbers of people who traditionally vote Democratic. If they voted Repub, these laws would not exist.

7:36AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Repubathugs can't get elected on their merits, so they need their monkeyshines to win.

11:05PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Don't let the old sick and poor vote. Than we can take away there S.S. medacare medacade and unemployment insurence then they will die and we can get there kids to work for fifty cents a day. Go Repubs Go!!!!!!

10:55PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

If they are so concerned with voter fraud, yet want to encourage more people to vote, then these states should opt for mail in ballots. Oregon implemented mail in elections a while ago, and as someone who works in my county's Elections Office, I know it clears up many headaches associated with our elections process. This is also great for elderly and disabled persons, who can vote right from home and not have to worry about getting to the polling stations and whether there will be someone there who can legally assist them in the process. If raising voter turnout and making the whole elections process smoother for the people who make them happen, as in the county employees, was actually important to them then these legislatures would approve mail in ballots.

8:22PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Federal laws should be the law when it ocmes to voting rights period.

5:23PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

What elderly and disabled people don't have ID's? I have relatives in their 80's and 90's and they have valid ID's and they vote. The only reason not to have ID's is to fix elections. I guess it could work both ways and the republicans could go to democratic states and vote there. How would that be? No, my mistake. That is the liberal way.....lie, cheat and steal, frighten senior citizens to get your way and if that doesn't work.....riot. And you know, you'd better be careful what you wish for. My neighbor is here, LEGALLY, from Mexico and in the last election, he had a McCain sign in his front yard. While I don't agree with illegal immigration or people voting that don't have the right to, Hispanics are by nature very hard working people. They are not coming here to collect welfare. They are coming to realize the American dream.

4:55PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

We have got to stay on top of this because the Republicans are going to stop people from
voting every way they possibly can.

3:24PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Despicathugs! Another descriptive nick name hits the blog!

2:08PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

after reading some of the comments regarding how the republicans are trying to stop people from voting are you kidding me all there asking is for a dam i.d. it's a shame to think that you people dont have enough common sence .

2:02PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Paul P. : "The Republicans know the Supreme Court (5 Republican appointees vs. 4 Democratic appointees--and that's how the court has been deciding a LOT of its cases lately) is gunning for sections of the Voting Rights Act for some time, so they pass laws they know will get challenged and eventually end up. . . ."

I'm afraid Paul has the game right. Republicans have been stocking up their ammo for this push for decades now, thinking "If only I get the chance, here's what I'd do..."

Well, now they have their chance (we gave it to them, by our own devaluing of the democratic, electoral process), and they have pulled out the stops. Next stop is the end of the line, now; and we WON'T stop their train by being as nice as we really are.

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