The Hollow Defense of Voter ID Laws

Are laws aimed at voter fraud really enabling voter suppression? In this excerpt from their interview with Bill, Keesha Gaskins and Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice rebut common defenses of voter ID laws, including “everybody’s got a driver’s license!,” “what about public transportation!” and state requirements to make “free IDs” available.

Using new research, Waldman and Gaskins argue these laws represent “the first rollback of voting rights since the Jim Crow era.”

Watch Bill’s full interview with Keesha Gaskins and Michael Waldman.

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  • Phil NIddrie

    Shocking. And transparently racist.

  • –RJ–

    The states that have passed these laws SHOULD BE REQUIRED, AT NO CHARGE, TO GO TO PEOPLE’S HOMES AND CREATE THESE ID CARDS FOR THOSE THAT NEED THEM. Anything less is just another form of poll tax or from of intimidation to discourage voting, when the emphasis, properly placed, should be directed to facilitating people’s right to vote.

  • kwk50

    I just want Americans to know mean people do not win election as POTUS.

  • Debbie Anderson

    Where I live their is no public transportation, and no County transportation that does not require 48 hour notice. While I have a car so many people here do not. Some people can not walk to a State License Bureau due to disabilities, distance or other factors (those with young kids) I personally would have no problem in theory about voters needing photo ID’s in practice the it will be too hard for all voters to acquire one.

  • Rob

    The cries of “racism” are completely unfounded. I fail to see even a shred of racism in asking an American citizen to prove who they are before allowing them to vote. As citizens, we each have the right to voice our own opinion through the ballots we cast. Asking someone to prove that they are who they say they are before doing so is not racist, it’s common sense.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Bill, what about Obama and the DNC suing in Ohio to restrict the extra 3 days military personnel are given to vote?

  • Brin Londo

    How do people access money at banks, apply for a job, start up or cancel utilities, write checks, obtain social services or seek medical care without an ID? If a person cannot travel to an ID center how can they get to a polling station?

  • Army/Marine/Navy Dad

    The challenge is not to take away anything from the military, but rather to stop the Ohio Republican legislature’s rollback of the last three days of the previous early voting period for all voters, but exempting military personnel from the rollback. This is yet another transparent case of targeted Republican voter suppression, this time by allowing a group traditionally favorable to Republicans for voting opportunities denied to the electorate at large. As a father of two military children, one with a military spouse, also, I believe they deserve most all of the privileges and benefits they receive, but the opportunity for participation in democracy should be as equal as possible for all.

  • Army/Marine/Navy Dad

    Many argued that nothing was wrong with a small poll tax. On the face of it the poll taxes could be justified as a source of revenue to help fund election operations. Yet the Supreme Court struck them down, finding that they reduced election participation by minorities, comparatively less affluent as a group than whites, and other poorer Americans. Voter ID requirements are aimed at suppression of the same groups that the poll taxes targeted. They do not, however, have even an ostensible justification like the revenue-raising purpose of the poll taxes. No one has demonstrated more that a statistically microscopic incidence of voter impersonation anywhere in the United States. Yet to “solve” this nonexistent problem, the voter ID laws place substantial obstacles before literally millions of legitimate voters, predominantly in the same groups that the poll taxes targeted. If the ID laws did address a real voter fraud problem, but did not politically benefit the Republicans, they, particularly their Tea Party faction, would howl Big Brother, loss of liberty, governmental intrusion, and their other usual exaggerated righteous complaints about how un-American a mandatory voter ID requirement is.

  • Anonymous

    And how exactly are those same people going to get to the polls on election day?

  • Anonymous

    I’d love to talk to some of these mythical people that cannot obtain IDs. I’m not saying that some people don’t currently have valid ID, but obtaining one is not hard. Take a look at the testimony in the Pennsylvania ID case.

    When cross-examiner by council, the people who did not have IDs came up with every excuse in the book. “I don’t know how to use the phone.” “I lost the paperwork” “I don’t like to use public transportation” “It’s too expensive” (it’s FREE)

    I think it’s a sad statement to our society that people are so lazy or stupid that they cannot (or do not want to) obtain a valid ID for voting. If the people complaining about this spent as much time and effort actually obtaining an ID, they would have a shiny new ID card months ago.

  • Martin Steele

    I agree it is hard to imagine difficulty getting an id card. However… Here in Texas there are some counties that do not have a DMV. Or the county is so big you might need to travel 100 miles (round trip) to visit the DMV. Or there are counties in this country that issue ID cards once a month (work that into your schedule…). What about the person in an assisted living home who’s voted every election since 1960, but no longer has ID. Enjoy making grandma go out to get new ID?

  • Martin Steele

    Perhaps the cries of racism are just as invalid as the cries of voter fraud.

  • Anonymous

    My grandparents always had IDs. And they lived in rural Wisconsin. Your post sounds like a lot of excuses.

    If you want to look no further as to why ID makes sense you can watch this:

    The left has been pushing hard on the “Only 50 people since 2001 have committed voter fraud.” This reporter seems to have uncovered a little more than that – in one state – in two months – by himself.

  • LKRH

    Video’s broken!

  • moderator

    Seems to be working now, please try it again! Thanks for letting us know.

    sean @ moyers

  • DJoe321

    The number that the democrats keep referring to was pulled from a study done by a group of republican lawyers. They were hoping to have evidence to make their case for voter id. Instead, they helped prove the case for the dems.