Salon takes on Indiana's voter ID law

Dateline: Sun 20 Aug 2006

A blog reader points to an Aug. 15 article in Salon by Art Levine on the "shameful six." Those are the states, including Indiana, that have passed "Draconian" voter ID laws since 2004 with the intent of punishing poor and disenfranchised voters at the polls. The hidden agenda is to suppress the Democrat vote and insure GOP victories at this fall.

Please check it out...

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/08/15/states/print.html

Here is an excerpt from the section on Indiana:

" 'I think this is all part of a nationwide effort of the Republican Party to suppress votes, because that's the only way for them to stay in power," says William Groth, an attorney filing a lawsuit challenging the voter I.D. law on behalf of the Indiana Democratic Party, a case now on appeal. Between 8 percent and 23 percent of all registered voters in the state may lack the proper photo I.D., so the added costs -- comparable to a poll tax -- and obstacles of the I.D. law are going to make low-income and minority voters far less likely to vote, according to research by political science professor Margie Hershey of Indiana University."

FYI, the Star's political columnist Matt Tully reported in his blog Friday that "the U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit has scheduled oral arguments in the case for Oct. 18, just three weeks before many voters will experience the new ID requirement for the first time."

As I told the reader who alerted me to the Salon piece, Indiana has had some very real but largely anecdotal problems, especially in Center Township in Indianapolis and Lake County, with voter fraud in past elections. But under this new law, I wonder if my late mother could have voted? She was 90 when she died, and she hadn't had a driver's license in 30 plus years. Her birth certificate would not have passed the Bureau of Motor Vehicles elaborate sniff test -- it was her "Taufschein," an elaborate piece of paper from her Lutheran church showing she had been born and baptized. She would have needed more than that in Indiana to register.

Is the new law fair? Or is it punitive? Looks to me like it is set up to oppress minorities and others who don't have easy access to traditional forms of ID.

To many, this smacks of Jim Crow laws from the 1950s, where voters in parts of the South, for example, had to be able to interpret obscure parts of their state constitutions.

Readers, please weigh in with your comments.

Email me at ruth@ruthholladay.com.

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