March 12, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Justice Department Blocks Discriminatory Voter ID Law In Texas
Texas has become the second state after South Carolina to have its newly enacted voter ID law blocked by the Department of Justice.
I don’t care how Republicans want to frame this issue, these voter ID laws are for one purpose, to disenfranchise minority voters who are more likely to vote Democratic. Republicans are very good at framing debates so that their side of the argument appears to be the “common sense” position, but only if you don’t take the time to look deeper into the issue. On the surface it seems like a good idea to require proof of identification for something as important as voting.
An argument I’ve heard from the Right is, “because we must show a photo ID before getting on an airplane or buying alcohol it makes common sense to require a photo ID to vote.” First, this argument is nonsense for one simple reason, voting is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Last time I checked, buying alcohol and getting on an airplane were not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. They are not rights, and to compare them to voting is to trivialize our rights as citizens. Second, it ignores the fact that millions of minorities, typically low-income and in poverty, lack a photo ID. Regardless of whether there is an easy way to get a photo ID for free, these laws are denying a constitutional right, the right to vote. That means that these voter ID laws are unconstitutional. Does anybody think it’s right to tell someone who has lawfully voted all their life (that could be 60, 70 years or more) that they are now unable to vote because they lack a photo ID?
Where’s the burden of proof? Why are these Republican legislators not required to show adequate proof that voter fraud is a serious problem? I know if proof was required I would not be writing this article because there would be NO voter ID laws. There is no voter fraud problem in this country, period.
This is another sad example of an issue that was thought to be settled long ago, but unfortunately there are far too many Republicans willing to roll back 50-100 years of progress to gain an advantage in the next election. To be blunt: old, white, conservative men are increasingly losing influence, which means we are likely to see a continuation of these over-zealous (but ultimately futile) attempts to hold on to power.
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