July 11, 2017

Eight states move to suppress voting

NBC News - Missouri is one of eight states that have passed or are implementing laws with more rigorous voter identification requirements this year.

Fueled by President Donald Trump, who has claimed, without evidence, that voter fraud deprived him of the popular vote in 2016, there's more energy behind election legislation than ever before. Trump has appointed a federal commission to find and combat voter fraud — a problem experts say doesn't exist on a large scale.

With turnout in the United States already low — 55.7 percent of voting-age Americans cast ballots in 2016 — critics say voter ID legislation disproportionately affects minorities, low-income Americans and younger voters. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University has estimated that as many as 11 percent of Americans — 21 million of them voting age by 2000 Census data — were without photo IDs, while 4.5 million more have IDs that may not reflect their current names or addresses.

Some studies have found that ID laws depress turnout: One study that controlled for outside effects found that they depressed turnout among both Republicans and Democrats but hurt Democratic and minority turnout the most, while other analysis has noted that turnout can be influenced by everything from the weather to that year's batch of candidates, indicating that the effect of voter ID requirements is hard to measure.

Opponents say the real intention is not to guarantee the integrity of elections but to disenfranchise certain groups, those that often vote Democratic.

Texas and Missouri are requiring affidavits — legal documents that voters without the required ID must first sign to cast ballots. Any falsification is a felony.In Georgia, voter registration forms must exactly match other state data, which means a data error or a misplaced hyphen could derail voters. Iowa has mandated that voter rolls be purged of suspected non-citizens.

"Those things are just tattooed in my lexicon in thinking about what's right and fair for people," she said. "It's immensely taxing to think that we'd go back to revisiting something I thought was fixed — fixed in our souls." New laws, new restrictions

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Missouri, or anywhere else, and yet voter fraud legislation has never been as popular as it is now.

At least 99 bills to restrict access to the polls have been introduced (or have been carried over from previous sessions) in 31 states this year; that's already more than double the number last year, according to data compiled by the Brennan Center. Voter ID — requiring voters to prove who they are with identifying documents — is the most common requirement, but changes to the voter registration process, such as asking people to prove their U.S. citizenship, are a close second.

"The problem is when a law prohibits a certain class of people" from voting because they lack "access or ability" to obtain one of the approved forms of identification, said Myrna PĂ©rez, who leads voting rights efforts for the Brennan Center. "They offer our society very little public benefit, in that they only stop an incredibly rare type of voter fraud."

Six state laws have passed this year, double the number in the previous two years, while two more are being implemented. Six of the eight came after courts stepped in to stop past efforts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

US Social Security cards are used as a form of national ID, and this is accepted by most without complaint.

About half the world's countries require a national photo ID card.

Why not have a US photo ID card - for citizens and immigrants - and stop all the bickering?