Embattled U.S. Attorney Eric Holder is set to deliver a speech this evening that is likely to address the wave of newly passed state laws across the country that require voters to provide photo identification when voting, the New York Times reports.
Many civil rights advocates say the laws Holder is expected to address in his speech will limit the number of minority voters who can participate in the upcoming elections because many cannot afford to purchase photo identification. This year alone, more than a dozen states established voting restrictions. Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin require photo identification. In the past, voters only needed a phone bill or a social security card to cast a ballot.
The debate on voter rights is arguably the number one issue Republicans and Democrats will fight over well into next year’s presidential elections:
Mr. Holder’s remarks come against the backdrop of a huge turnout of young and minority voters in the 2008 election that helped propel President Obama to victory. In the 2010 election, when voting by such groups dropped off and enthusiasm among Republican-leaning voters surged, Republicans won wider control of state legislatures and governorships and took control of the House of Representatives.
The political divide is obvious:
Proponents of such restrictions — mostly Republicans — say they are necessary to prevent voter fraud that could cancel out the choices of legitimate participants in an election. Opponents — mostly Democrats — say there is no evidence of meaningful levels of fraud and contend that the measures are a veiled effort to suppress participation by eligible voters who lean Democratic.
Who do you feel is right? Do you feel Republican legislators are correct when they impose laws requiring voters to present a photo I.D. or do you feel this is a ploy designed to dampen minority participation in the upcoming elections?