Voter ID put on hold by DOJ

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Elections, Right Wing Lies at 8:24 am by wcnews

Via TPM, DOJ Has More Questions On Rick Perry’s Voter ID Law.

The Justice Department hasn’t yet precleared a voter ID law signed by Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). In a Friday letter officials wrote that they need to know more about how the state would alert voters to the changes to the law.

Federal officials also want a detailed description of when and where the state will make free identification certificates available, as well as specifics on how they will educate the public about when such certificates will be available.

Texas officials said that 605,576 residents do not have a Texas drivers license or photo ID card. DOJ wants to know how many of those residents without IDs have Spanish surnames.

Because Texas has a history of discrimination, the state is required to have changes to their voting laws precleared by federal officials under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

President Obama has called the new restrictions a “big mistake”. And the Brennan Center is out with a new study on Voting Law Changes in 2012.

Ahead of the 2012 elections, a wave of legislation tightening restrictions on voting has suddenly swept across the country. More than five million Americans could be affected by the new rules already put in place this year — a number larger than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.

This report is the first full accounting and analysis of this year’s voting cutbacks. It details both the bills that have been proposed and the legislation that has been passed since the beginning of 2011.

Here’s an article on the report, New State Rules Raising Hurdles at Voting Booth.

The Brennan Center estimates that 11 percent of potential voters do not have state-issued photo identification. By that measure, it finds that the new laws would affect 3.2 million voters in the states where the change is scheduled to take effect before the 2012 elections.

While other groups have made similar estimates in the past, Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation who oversaw elections at the Justice Department during the administration of President George W. Bush, argued that the number is too high.

But there is little dispute that the new laws will have an effect on a large number of voters.


The Brennan Center argues that the type of fraud that such laws are intended to combat — impersonation — is extremely rare. The South Carolina State Election Commission “knows of no confirmed cases of voter identification fraud, defined as a person presenting himself to vote as someone he is not,” Chris Whitmire, a spokesman, said in an e-mail.

But proponents of the stricter identification laws say they make sense.

“The left always says that people who are in favor of this claim there is massive fraud,” said Mr. von Spakovsky, of the Heritage Foundation. “No, I don’t say that. I don’t think anybody else says that there is massive fraud in American elections. But there are enough proven cases in the past, throughout our history and recently, that show that you’ve got to take basic steps to prevent people from taking advantage of an election if they want to. Particularly close elections.”

The GOP has long said the reason this needs to be done is because of massive vote fraud, which never has been proven, and never will be true. Voter ID has always been about limiting those who can vote, most of them Democratic leaning voters, by the GOP - a solution in search of a problem.

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