Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Voter ID laws' impact uncertain as midterm election approaches

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 6:58 AM

The New York Times notes today a mixed judicial bag as states with new Republican-inspired Voter ID laws — and other laws to depress voting by other means, such as reducing early voting opportunities — work through lawsuits over the vote-suppression tactic.

Arkansas is mentioned as a state where an ID law has been struck down, but the ruling stayed while an appeal proceeds. It's uncertain if a state Supreme Court decision could come in time for the November election. The current Supreme Court's lack of backbone against the rising Republican majority's threats to punish courts that rule against them also doesn't augur well for the outcome.

This coincidental impact worth noting in the Times report:

In all, voters in 15 states are facing an array of stricter voting rules in a major election for the first time this year, according to a new report, “The State of Voting in 2014,” to be released Tuesday by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. The laws in six of those states are being challenged in court.

Since 2010, 22 states, nearly all of them in the South and the Midwest, have rolled out new restrictions.

Legal experts say challenges to the laws are having some success because states have provided courts with little proof of in-person voter fraud, which is the rationale for many of the laws. At the same time, it has become clearer that the laws disproportionately affect minorities and the poor, allowing Democrats to argue that they were passed to hinder Democratic voters.

Of the 11 states with the highest black turnout rate in 2008, seven have new restrictions in place, and of the dozen states with the largest growth in Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010, nine passed laws making it harder to vote, according to the Brennan Center report.


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