On Wednesday, Aug. 5th the 5th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals struck down major portions of the Texas Voter ID law for violating the Voting Rights Act.
While the ruling was a win for opponents to the Voter ID laws, the three judges unanimously disagreed with the lower courts assertion that it amounted to a “poll tax”. Instead, they simply recognized that the number of elderly, women, and poor (who are disproportionately minority) voters that are disenfranchised by the law is an unacceptable sacrifice and amounts to discrimination.
Next, the Court will judge whether this was an intentional move on the part of the law-makers.
Facts About Those Disenfranchised by the Texas Voter ID Law
Supporters of the law argue that it thwarts voter fraud. Unfortunately, the only kind of voter fraud that is affected by the law is in-person voter fraud. All types of voter fraud is rare, but in-person voter fraud is the rarest. This type of fraud is also the least likely to accomplish anything since it requires a person (or persons) to actually go to the voting polls and cast a vote impersonating another person.
Around 600,000 registered Texas voters don’t have one of the limited forms of ID that the law allows, according to evidence presented in the legal challenge to the law, which was brought by civil rights groups and the Justice Department… Texas has been able to point to just two fraudulent votes since 2000 that would have been prevented by the ID law. MSNBC
The law itself did not single out minority groups, the elderly, or the poor. The implications, however, disproportionately affected these groups.
- Many elderly individuals lacked approved types of identification, lack the financial and other means to obtain such IDs, and some even lack the documents required: like a certified copy of their birth certificate (which costs money and, ironically, often requires a photo ID to get).
- Traditionally, women change their last names with marriage and many change them back again in cases of divorce. If their lasts names don’t match their ID… Getting your name changed on your ID requires a certified copy of marriage or divorce from the courts. They cost money, it takes time, and many courts have limited hours of operation for their records services.
- The largest group of individuals that lack the IDs required by the law are the poor. In texas the poor. They lack the financial means, the documentation, the transportation, and often the time. The working poor in rural communities would have a particular disadvantage: having to take time off work and/or travel to get paperwork.
- As much as 36.9% of voters in Texas with Spanish-surnames lacked the approved types of ID.
- As much as 17.9% of African American voters lacked the approved ID.
This is a big step forward in righting the wrong of these strict Voter ID laws. Many states still have these discriminatory types of Voter ID laws still in play, but hopefully this is a step forward. Greg Abbott has vowed to continue to beat this dead horse in Texas, but now has few avenues left for making it happen. Ultimately, these laws are ineffective at dealing with the majority of cases of actual voter fraud and the sooner their supporters stop wasting time defending them, the faster we can move forward towards legislation that empowers eligible voters to participate. Because voter fraud is actually extremely rare, better eligible voter turnout might be the best way to thwart it.
Get the Facts on Voter ID:
Get the facts on Voter ID laws to find out if voter ID a form of voter suppression, or if individual in-person voter fraud a problem in the US?
- About 11% of US citizens (over 21 million Americans) do not have government-issued photo identification.
- Those most likely to not have proper ID are students, seniors, low-income Americans, and non-white Americans.
- About 25% of voting age African Americans don’t have a government-issued photo ID. Comparatively only 8% of their white counterparts do.
- 18% of Americans over 65 don’t have a government-issued photo ID.
- Voter ID laws say that a voter must possess proof of identity to vote. The more recent voter ID laws passed in 31 states tighten up the forms of ID able to be used. This differs state by state.
- Voter fraud itself does not refer specifically to voter ID fraud. Voter ID fraud is one of many types electoral fraud.
- At the turn of the 20th century the south enforced a poll tax to prevent poor people, specifically black people from voter registration and voting.
- Voter ID laws are seen by some as a modern form of poll tax as many of the countries poorest will not vote due to a lack of proper state issued ID.
- The new Voter ID laws were enacted by Republicans… Voter ID laws will mainly impact would be voters for the Democratic party.
- Voter ID laws are mainly passed in swing states where preventing a win by Democrats could mean a Republican victory.
- Voter ID laws make it harder for poor people, students and the elderly to vote (they are less likely to have a valid form of state issued ID).
- Some states offer “free” ID cards. In order to get a “free” ID card a voter needs another valid form of ID.
- 12% of voting-age US citizens don’t have a valid form of state ID. In order to obtain a “free ID” they need a certified copy of a birth certificate which costs from $10 to $45 depending on the state, a passport which costs $85, and certified naturalization papers which cost $19.95.
Learn more voter fraud facts and voter ID facts from the Brennan Center for Justice Report “the Truth About Voter Fraud“.
Details of Alabama Voter ID Requirements
Alabama Voter ID Requirement
Existing Alabama Voter ID Law:
- Each elector shall provide identification to an appropriate election official prior to voting.
New Alabama Voter ID Law:
- Each elector shall provide valid photo identification to an appropriate election official prior to voting.
Acceptable Forms of Alabama Voter ID
Existing Alabama Voter ID Law:
- Government-issued photo ID
- U.S. passport
- U.S. military ID
- Employee ID card with photo
- Alabama college/university ID with photo
- Alabama hunting or fishing license
- Alabama gun permit
- FAA-issued pilot’s license
- Birth certificate (certified copy)
- Social security card
- Naturalization document
- Court record of adoption or name change
- Medicaid or Medicare card
- Electronic benefits transfer card
- Utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document showing name and address of voter
New Alabama Voter ID Law:
- Valid Alabama driver’s license or non-driver ID card
- Valid photo voter ID card or other valid ID card issued by any state or the federal government , as long as it contains a photo
- Valid U.S. passport
- Valid government employee ID card with a photo
- Valid student or employee ID card issued by a college or university in the state, provided it includes a photo
- Valid U.S. military ID card containing a photo
- Valid tribal ID card containing a photo
Alabama Voters without Voter ID
Existing Alabama Voter ID Law:
- Vote a challenged or provisional ballot or vote, if s/he is identified by two poll workers as an eligible a voter on the poll list, and both poll workers sign the voting sign-in register by the voter’s name.
New Alabama Voter ID Law:
- Vote a provisional ballot or vote a regular ballot if s/he is identified by two election officials as an eligible voter on the poll list, and both election workers sign a sworn affidavit so stating.
How the New Voter ID Laws Impact Florida
The new voter ID laws will have a significant impact on Florida. It’s a fact that many voters hindered by the new voter ID laws are likely to vote for President Obama. Since many of these voters will not vote due to the strict voter ID requirements this swing state is in danger of casting a skewed vote in election.
Florida in 2001 and Voter Fraud
Remember 2001 when George Bush beat Al Gore. Many people blamed the voting process on the narrow victory, the key battleground state in question in this election was Florida. We need to stand up for democracy and that means giving everyone a fair opportunity to cast their vote as American citizens. This is even more important in Battle Ground states like Florida where the voter ID laws make their biggest impact.
Details of Florida Voter ID Requirements
Florida Voter ID Requirement
The clerk or inspector shall require each elector, upon entering the polling place, to present a current and valid picture identification as provided in s. 97.0535(3)(a). If the picture identification does not contain the signature of the voter, an additional identification that provides the voter’s signature shall be required.
Acceptable Forms of Florida Voter ID
Florida driver’s license
Florida ID card issued by the Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
- Debit or credit card
Retirement center identification
Neighborhood association ID
- Public assistance identification
Florida Voters without Voter ID
If the elector fails to furnish the required identification, the elector shall be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. The canvassing board shall determine the validity of the ballot by determining whether the elector is entitled to vote at the precinct where the ballot was cast and that the elector had not already cast a ballot in the election.
Florida uses signature matching: the voter signs the provisional ballot envelope. That signature is compared to the signature in the voter registration records. If they match, the ballot is counted.
Florida Voter ID Moving Forward
Florida will be a key state moving forward. Help prevent voter fraud the right way and fight back against the current voter ID laws if think that they are unfair. Remember the actually counts of voter ID fraud have been few and far between, many seniors, students and those struggling to get by will not cast their vote due to the current voter ID laws in Florida. Don’t stand back and let injustice continue if you believe the new laws are wrong.
Details of Georgia Voter ID Requirements
Georgia Voter ID Requirement
Each elector shall present proper identification to a poll worker at or prior to completion of a voter’s certificate at any polling place and prior to such person’s admission to the enclosed space at such polling place.
Acceptable Forms of Georgia Voter ID
- Georgia driver’s license, even if expired
- ID card issued by the state of Georgia or the federal government
- Free voter ID card issued by the state or county
- U.S. passport
- Valid employee ID card containing a photograph from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
- Valid U.S. military identification card
- Valid tribal photo ID
Georgia Voters without Voter ID
If you show up to vote and you do not have one of the acceptable forms of photo identification, you can still vote a provisional ballot. You will have up to three days after the election to present appropriate photo identification at yourcounty registrar’s office in order for your provisional ballot to be counted.
Details of Indiana Voter ID Requirements
Indiana Voter ID Requirement
A voter who desires to vote an official ballot at an election shall provide proof of identification.
A voter who votes in person at a precinct polling place that is located at a state licensed care facility where the voter resides is not required to provide proof of identification before voting in an election.
Acceptable Forms of Indiana Voter ID
Specific forms of ID are not listed in statute. ID must be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. government and must show the following:
- Name of individual to whom it was issued, which must conform to the individual’s registration record
- Photo of the person to whom it was issued
- Expiration date (if it is expired, it must have an expiration date after the most recent general election; military IDs are exempted from the requirement that ID bear an expiration date)
- Must be issued by the United States or the state of Indiana
Indiana Voters without Voter ID
Voters who are unable or decline to produce proof of identification may vote a provisional ballot. The ballot is counted only if (1) the voter returns to the election board by noon on the Monday after the election and: (A) produces proof of identification; or (B) executes an affidavit stating that the voter cannot obtain proof of identification, because the voter: (i) is indigent; or (ii) has a religious objection to being photographed; and (2) the voter has not been challenged or required to vote a provisional ballot for any other reason.
Details of Kansas Voter ID Requirements
Kansas Voter ID Requirement
Each person desiring to vote shall provide a valid form of identification. The following are exempted from the ID requirement:
- persons with a permanent physical disability that makes it impossible for them to travel to obtain voting identification and who have permanent advance voting status
- members of the merchant marine and uniformed service members who are on active duty and absent from the county on election day, as well as their spouses and dependents
- any voter whose religious beliefs prohibit photographic identification
Acceptable Forms of Kansas Voter ID
The following forms of identification are valid if they contain the name and photograph of the voter and have not expired. Expired documents are valid if the bearer is aged 65 or older.
- Driver’s license issued by Kansas or another state
- State identification card
- Government-issued concealed carry handgun or weapon license
- U.S. passport
- Employee badge or identification document issued by a government office or agency
- Military ID
- Student ID issued by an accredited postsecondary institution in Kansas
- Government-issued public assistance ID card
Kansas Voters without Voter ID
A voter who is unable or refuses to provide current and valid identification may vote a provisional ballot.
In order to have his or her ballot counted, the voter must provide a valid form of identification to the county election officer in person or provide a copy by mail or electronic means before the meeting of the county board of canvassers.
Details of Mississippi Voter ID Requirements
Mississippi Voter ID Requirement
An elector who votes in person in a primary or general election shall present government-issued photo identification before being allowed to vote. Voters who live and vote in a state-licensed care facility are exempt.
Acceptable Forms of Mississippi Voter ID
Mississippi’s new constitutional amendment simply says "government-issued photo identification." Implementing legislation and/or administrative rules will be necessary to define precisely what this means.
Mississippi Voters without Voter ID
An individual without ID can cast an affidavit ballot which will be counted if the individual returns to the appropriate circuit clerk within five days after the election and shows government-issued photo ID.
Voters with a religious objection to being photographed may vote an affidavit ballot, which will be counted if the voter returns to the appropriate circuit clerk within five days after the election and executes an affidavit that the religious exemption applies.
The new voter ID laws in New Hampshire could turn this battleground state into a win for republicans. New Hampshire is historically very independent, this means their vote could go either way. Since voter fraud has never been much of a problem in New Hampshire it is strange that they would vote to make Voter ID laws more strict. Don’t stand by and let Republicans take the vote. If you believe that these votes are wrong organize and help citizens get their voter IDs.
Details of New Hampshire Voter ID Requirements
New Hampshire Voter ID Requirement
The ballot clerk shall request that the voter present a valid photo identification. If the voter does not have a valid photo identification, the ballot clerk shall inform the voter that he or she may execute a qualified voter affidavit.
Acceptable Forms of New Hampshire Voter ID
Through August 30, 2013:
- A driver’s license from NH or any other state, regardless of expiration date
- A photo ID card issued by the NH director of motor vehicles
- A voter ID card issued under R.S. 260:21
- A U.S. armed services photo ID card
- A U.S. passport, regardless of expiration date
- A valid student ID card
Any other valid photo ID issued by federal, st
ate, county or municipal government
Any other photo ID that is determined to be legitimate by the supervisors of the checklist, the moderator, or the town or city clerk, provided that if any person authorized to challenge a voter under RSA 659:27 objects to the use of such photo identification, the voter shall be required to execute a qualified voter affidavit as if no identification was presented.
Beginning September 1, 2013, the following IDs will be accepted if the name on the ID is substantially similar to that on the voter registration record and the expiration date does not exceed five years:
- A driver’s license from any state
- A non-driver ID issued by the motor vehicle agency of any state
- A U.S. armed services ID card
- A U.S. passport
New Hampshire Voters without Voter ID
A person’s identity may be verified by a moderator or supervisor of the checklist or the town or city clerk, but if any person authorized to challenge a voter under RSA 659:27 objects to such verification, the voter shall be required to execute a challenged voter affidavit.
If a voter does not have a valid photo identification, the ballot clerk shall inform the voter that he or she may execute a qualified voter affidavit. The voter may then cast a regular ballot.
Within 60 days after the election, the secretary of state is required to mail a non-forwardable letter to each voter who executed a qualified voter affidavit, notifying the person that a person who did not present valid photo identification voted using his or her name and address and instruct the person to return the letter within 90 days with a written confirmation that the person voted or to contact the attorney general immediately if he or she did not vote. Any such letters returned as undeliverable must be turned over to the attorney general, who shall investigate for voter fraud. Notice from any voter receiving such a letter that s/he did not vote is also forwarded to the attorney general for investigation. The secretary must also turn over to the attorney general a list of all voters who fail to respond to the letter to confirm that they voted.
Doing Your Part With Voter ID in New Hampshire
The new voter ID laws in New Hampshire could turn this battleground state into a Republican victory due to Democratic Party voters not being able to get a valid ID with which to vote with. Do your part to get the word out about the voter ID laws and ensure everyone has a vote.
Details of Ohio Voter ID Requirements
Ohio Voter ID Requirement
All voters must provide to election officials at the polling place on the day of an election proof of the voter’s identity. Also applies to voters requesting and voting an absentee ballot.
Acceptable Forms of Ohio Voter ID
Current and valid photo identification, defined as a document that shows the individual’s name and current address, includes a photograph, includes an expiration date that has not passed, and was issued by the U.S. government or the state of Ohio
- Current utility bill
- Current bank statement
- Current government check, paycheck or other government document
Ohio Voters without Voter ID
A voter who has but declines to provide identification may cast a provisional ballot upon providing a social security number or the last four digits of a social security number. A voter who has neither identification nor a social security number may execute an affidavit to that effect and vote a provisional ballot. A voter who declines to sign the affidavit may still vote a provisional ballot.
Voters who cast a provisional ballot because they did not provide acceptable proof of identity must appear in person at the board of elections to provide such proof within the 10 days immediately following Election Day. (see the Ohio Secretary of State’s FAQ on provisional voting)