Supreme Court Legalizes Voter Suppression

Project Vote Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in Crawford v. Marion County Elections Board

On Monday, April 28, the Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to Indiana's law (Crawford v. Marion County Elections Board) requiring voters to show a government-issued photo identification before they may cast a ballot. Crawford plaintiffs argued that Indiana's strict photo ID requirements disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters. Donna Massey, Project Vote Board Member and a supporter of voting rights, issued this statement:

"The Supreme Court ruling is disappointing for Americans who want the next president to be chosen in a free and fair election in which all eligible voters have an equal opportunity to participate. The voters most harmed by the ruling are first-time voters who are registering this year in record numbers. If legislators in the 24 states where strict photo voter ID rules have been introduced take the Court's decision as a green light, voters across the country will find it more difficult to cast their ballots this Election Day. Our democracy works best when every American participates.

The real purpose of strict photo voter ID rules is to make it more difficult for some Americans to vote. It's the voters who are less likely to vote who are also less likely to have government issued ID, such as young people, the poor, elderly, and Americans of color. A University of Washington study, for example, found that in Indiana 22 percent of African-American voters lack proper identification compared to 16 percent of white voters. Twenty-one percent of voters earning less than $40,000 a year lack the necessary ID compared to just 13 percent of those earning more than $40,000. All Americans have a right to vote, even if they don't have a photo ID.

The only reason politicians support these laws is to give their party an advantage over the other. The Supreme Court took note of the partisan nature of the photo ID rules. The Court's opinion in the case said it was "fair to infer that partisan considerations may have played a significant role" in enacting the photo ID law.  This ruling sends an unfortunate green light to legislators in the 24 states that are still considering strict photo voter ID laws.

The right to vote has been under assault for the past eight years by partisans who put winning elections above the right to vote. Requiring voters to show photo ID is just one of many hurdles partisans put in front of voters on their way to the ballot box. Too many Americans of color are met at their polling places with long lines, partisan challengers, faulty equipment and needlessly strict photo ID requirements.

Strict photo voter ID laws are a solution in search of a problem. There is no evidence of widespread fraudulent voting in this country. Indiana even acknowledged that there hasn't been a single case of voter impersonation in the state's history. Americans take voting seriously and do not misrepresent themselves at the polls, so politicians shouldn't misrepresent the facts to justify unnecessarily strict photo ID laws.

As the country's premiere nonpartisan voter registration organization, Project Vote wants to make sure that the Americans we help register to vote can vote and have their votes counted on Election Day. Nothing should come between Americans and their right to vote."

Tags: ballot integrity, Project Vote, SCOTUS, voter fraud, voter suppression (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Supreme Court Upholds G..O.P. Voter Suppression

An onerous obstacle created for voters to solve the non-existent "problem" of voter impersonation. The Ruling Clerics have found a state interest in preventing voter impersonation when the State of Indiana can't even point to a SINGLE case of voter impersonation. Indiana can't show any state interest in forcing voters to produce government issued picture I.D.

by Lefty Coaster 2008-04-28 04:22PM | 0 recs
Project Vote

What has Project Vote's position been on the Florida and Michigan primaries?

by DaveOinSF 2008-04-28 04:23PM | 0 recs
This is not the appropriate diary

for this topic.

by psychodrew 2008-04-28 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: This is not the appropriate diary

Exactly. They aren't analagous situations. One is the limiting of the right to vote in elections across the board, the other is a party primary designed to selected delgates to a national convention.

As a non-partisan organization, Project Vote takes no positions on party rules or their enforcement beyond the most general support for Supreme Court decisions like Alright that banned whites-only primaries...

by Project Vote 2008-04-29 09:51AM | 0 recs
Bayh

How did Bayh vote on Roberts and Alito?

by Alice Marshall 2008-04-28 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Bayh

NO and NO

by DaveOinSF 2008-04-28 05:20PM | 0 recs
Democrats Must be United!

This ruling makes it clear why we absolutely must re-take the White House in November.  No matter who the nominee is, we must unite and support him or her --hopefully her ;).  Unless we want 50 years of bullshit rulings like this, the supporters of the loser must rally around the winner and carry the nominee to victory in November.

This Clintonista pledges to vote for Obama.

by psychodrew 2008-04-28 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Must be United!

It also shows how important it is to support Democrats for Secretary of State at the state level.

by freedom78 2008-04-28 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Supreme Court Legalizes Voter Suppression

Admittedly I don't know a lot about this topic, but is it really that onerous to get a free photo ID to vote or verify your identity somehow within 10 days of casting a provisional ballot?

by bigdaddy 2008-04-28 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Supreme Court Legalizes Voter Suppression

Over 40 years ago the Supreme Court struck down the poll tax, which was about $1.50 in 1965 and about $9.50 in today's dollars.

The money required to get the two corroborating docs to get your "free" ID, is substantially more than that. A notorized copy of a birth certificate can run $200 and you have to apply in person.

Also, the groups affected by this are disproportinoally poor, young, elderly, and of color.

This is really a voter suppression effort and it is the culmination of the US Attorney's scandal. This is the kind of thing they were setting the stage for: permanent exclusion from the voting pool of voters who don't like them.

This isn't about "free" ID. It is about state's restricting the right to vote, rather than creating policies that faciliate the exercise of the franchise.

by Project Vote 2008-04-29 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Supreme Court Legalizes Voter Suppression

Actually, if you live in a city and do not drive it can be very difficult.  In my state (MA) you have to go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, with your birth certificate and several other pieces of ID, wait on line for a substantial time, then finally fill out the forms and have your picture taken for it.  It is not a terribly easy process and can only be done during the work day.  There are so many non-photo IDs that are much easier to use and should be enough.  

by mady 2008-04-28 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Supreme Court Legalizes Voter Suppression

In CT you show a photo ID.  You don't have to drive to have one.  The DMV issues them.  Why in the world would anyone question the fact you must verify who you are to vote.  You do it to cash a check, fly a plane, even to use a credit card at some locations.  I think not having to verify who you are to vote is the sure way of stealing an election.

by orion1 2008-04-29 03:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Supreme Court Legalizes Voter Suppression

Because none of the examples you mention are constitutionally guaranteed rights. There is no right to fly, no right to a bank account or right to credit.

There is a right to vote.

Since it is a right, the burden is on the state to prove that the measures it adopts to implement voting assist more people than they hinder. Voter ID laws are designed to stop voter impersonation, a vanishingly small problem in the US. The Department of Justice spent the entire first 6 years of the Bush Administration seraching for this stuff and could only find 23 cases out of over 200 million votes cast.

This problem doesn't exist. But Voter ID laws DO stop poor folks, elderly folks, folks of color, and young people from voting. Voter ID laws are really voter suppression laws and they are aimed at core progressive constituencies because conservatives do not want to have to make their case before those voters. Because they are scared they will either lose or have to change their position on issues.

The passage of these laws was the culmination of the all the stuff behind the US Attorney's scandal. USA's insufficiently militant about pursuing voter fruad charges were dismissed. And peopel like David Iglesias were "insufficiently" militant because organized voter impersonation simply doesn't exist.

This is a solution in search of a problem whose real raison d'etre is to suppression the votes of underrepresented communities.

by Project Vote 2008-04-29 09:48AM | 0 recs

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