Stop discriminatory voter ID requirements

Dateline: Thu 31 May 2007

As a member of the League of (mostly) Women Voters, not quite the same as the League of Pissed-Off Voters (but close at times) I received an email alert today that I believe is important enought to pass along.

It concerns an effort in the U.S. Congress to require every voter to provide a government voter ID in order to be able to pull the tab. As a young friend observed recently, when we disenfranchise voters, we are playing with the very fabric of our democracy. I know enough people already, including grown children, who find the whole process of voting both onerous and discouraging. Please let's not add any more burdens on our great system!

Here are some excerpts from the national office:

"Senator Mitch McConnell (R KY) has offered an amendment to the immigration bill pending in the Senate that would require every voter in the 2008 election to provide government-issued, current and valid photo identification before being allowed to vote at a polling place. This amendment would disenfranchise large numbers of legal voters and create administrative problems at the polls in the next federal election.

"Please contact your Senators immediately and urge them to oppose the McConnell Amendment to require photo ID for the 2008 election.

"Congress must not manipulate the voting process by blocking voters from participating in elections. This amendment not only discriminates against legal voters, it also discourages voter participation by adding unnecessary burdens to the voting process.

"Photo ID requirements disproportionately impact those who are least likely to have current photo ID: the elderly, young people, people of color, rural voters, individuals with disabilities and frequent movers. At the polls, acceptance of the ID would be determined by poll workers and election officials. Such tests and devices have historically resulted in discrimination and disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

"The type of election fraud that might be addressed by the amendment is, in fact, a rare problem. There is no question that election misconduct exists, but the lack of evidence of instances where voters misrepresent their identity at the polls suggests that a photo ID requirement is simply unnecessary.

"Congress should not be playing politics with the right to vote. Voter participation should be increased, not blocked by unwarranted barriers.

"This type of political manipulation has absolutely no place in American democracy!"

The League states the case well. Let's get on the stick, people, and take back the democracy!


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