A couple of months ago I delivered a speech about modern voter disenfranchisement at a student conference on my college campus. At the time I knew it was a BIG deal and needed to be addressed but I didn't think I'd be seeing it on the news every other day. I could spend hours discussing the many ways Republicans are trying to rip away minorities votes but for the sake of time...and my own attention span I'll only deal with a few. So lets start with some stats and facts.
Last May the governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley signed the R54 bill into law, it would require voters to show 1 of five government issued ID’s in order to cast their ballots. To most people this doesn’t seem like a huge deal but passing such a law could result in the turning away of a significant portion of American voters at the poll According to New York University’s Brennan Center 11% of the population is of voting age but for various reasons lacks the government issued Identifications to vote. In December the Justice department rejected the changes citing that South Carolina failed to prove that wide spread voter fraud was taking place and that the R54 bill failed to comply with the 1965 voting rights act. Unfortunately South Carolina is not the only state attempting to initiate such laws. According to the National Conference of State legislators in the year 2011 alone 34 states introduced voting rights legislation.
The main claim that state law makers assert in favor of these strict ID is that voter fraud is rampant and this is this only way to neutralize it. The only problem with this argument is that Evidence of wide spread voter fraud has never been substantiated. What has been proven however is that these law disproportionally impact traditional democratic voting blocs such as the young, minorities, elderly and naturalized citizens successfully deterring them from voting.
One of the major provisions of the Voting Rights act of 1965 was to prevent the Jim Crow era tactics of voter intimidation. Sadly however some political hopefuls and their supporters continue to use updated pervasive tactics in order to clinch electoral victories.
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