If no one provides him with a ride, José Zuniga, 83-years old and wheelchair-bound, would have to take two or three buses and travel 20 miles to reach the nearest south Texas government office that could issue the new photo ID he will need to vote in upcoming elections.
Zuniga is one of a particular sub-set of an estimated 500,000 eligible voters in 10 states who could be negatively affected by stricter photo ID laws. They do not own a car nor do they drive. They live more than 10 miles away from a state office that can issue the ID required to vote and that would be considered a fulltime facility, that is, one that is open more than two days a week.
In Texas alone, close to 13 percent, or nearly two million, of the state’s voting–age citizens live more than 10 miles from the nearest state office that can issue a voter ID.
Texas is one of 10 states examined in The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification, a newly released study by the Brennan Center for Justice. The states, selected because of their more restrictive legislation for government-issued photo ID requirements, are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
“For this study, we wanted to look at how difficult it would be for those estimated three to four million voters in the affected states to obtain voter ID,” said Keesha Gaskins, senior counsel at the Brennan Center and the study’s co-author. “What we found really undercuts the claim by many proponents of these laws that eligible voters can easily obtain an ID to vote.”
In some instances, the states’ data corroborate the study’s findings. The study does not speculate about the political intention of the supporters for more restrictive ID laws, though
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