Voteridentificationlawsharmourdemocracy This new wave of voter restrictions not only includes photo ID laws but also proof of citizenship, reducing early and absentee ballot voting, ending same-day voter registration, and restrictions to restoring voting rights after incarceration.
requirements to implement photo ID legislation. For one, voters cannot be made to spend any money in order to exercise their right to vote or else the proposal could be unconstitutional. Photo ID proposals therefore must cover costs of providing ID. Indiana, which has the strictest photo ID law in the nation, spent more than $10 million to provide IDs to voters who needed one.
In addition, states would need to spend a substantial amount of money to educate voters about changes in the law, facilitate the process of obtaining an ID, and incur increased administrative costs to implement these measures.
Yet as bad as the fiscal (and legal) repercussions are, what’s most at stake is the impact on people’s right to vote and their ability to participate fully in our democracy. And as is often the case, those who have the most to lose are the ones bearing the brunt of these legislative efforts: the elderly, low-income workers, and people of color, since they often lack forms of identification and/or sometimes do not have the means to get the necessary documentation to get their photo IDs.
According to the Brennan Justice Center study, efforts to implement photo ID laws, for example, could affect 3.2 million voters in just five states (Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin)—the estimated number of people in those states who currently lack ID.
And the efforts to make voting harder—such as restricting voter registration drives, ending early voting, and making it more difficult for people with past felony convictions to get their voting rights restored—also negatively affect young people and people of color.
In 2008, Florida alone registered at least 176,000 voters through voter registration drives, yet the state passed a law in 2011 that closed or eliminated most drives as well as imposing new restrictions and potential fines on groups that conduct voter registration drives. Even the League of Women Voters took note of the misguided law and announced that after 72 years they would no longer be running their regular voter registration drive in that state.
Early voting periods also are very important for those who cannot afford to take time off work to vote. They allow people to vote prior to Election Day to avoid missed work days. But nine states have introduced legislation to end early voting periods and at least four have made efforts to reduce absentee voting opportunities,
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