I am alarmed with the dismissive position you take in your “Vote barriers not that high” editorial on Sept. 13 concerning new voter ID laws that have been enacted in 17 states that have Republican governors or Republican-majority legislatures.
In your opinion, if Democrats give “poorer people a program and candidates they believe in, photo ID isn’t going to be an insuperable barrier to getting out the vote.” This opinion, combined with your belief that Rep. John Lewis’ “blistering critique of new voter ID laws was a bit overblown” shows your lack of, or unwillingness to understand, the importance of this issue.
To have 180 restrictive voter registration bills introduced in 41 states since 2011, 25 laws and two executive actions passed since 2011 in 19 states, and 17 states that account for 218 electoral votes who passed restrictive laws that could impact the 2012 election. Of these, restrictions from 19 laws and executive actions are currently in effect in 14 states.
Prior to the 2011 legislative session, only two states had ever imposed strict photo ID requirements, but the number of states requiring voters to show government-issued photo ID quadrupled in 2011.
These new photo ID laws,voter ID laws, and proof of citizenship laws, combined with making voter registration harder by restricting voter registration drives, limiting voter mobilization efforts, eliminating voter registration days, same-day registration, and reducing early and absentee voting days, all in the name of reducing voter fraud when little or none has been proven.
These acts give Rep. Lewis the right to have given such an emotion-filled speech and say that “he has seen and lived this before” when these laws have been proven to suppress the votes of African and Hispanic Americans, and the poor.
Though you acknowledge these changes are aimed at defeating President Barack Obama, they also raise the question that 47 years after the 1965 Civil and Voting Rights Acts were passed that the right for all Americans to vote is still not accepted by some, and they will use any means to suppress it.
When you consider the statements that have been made by the Republican officials in the states where these laws have been passed and the silence on this issue from the elected Republican officials in this state, the barrier is higher than just Democrats having a program and candidates they believe in to get out the vote.
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved