Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: Republicans Continue the War on Voting Rights

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: Republicans Continue the War on Voting Rights

Article excerpt

For years, Republicans have argued that voter fraud is so great a threat to democracy that Americans should be required to present some form of photo ID say, a driver's license before they can cast a ballot.

So it stands to reason that GOP leaders would be thrilled with new laws that automatically register people to vote when they obtain a driver's license, right?

Not so much. Republicans claim that setting all those prospective voters loose with photo IDs, wait for it, increases the risk of fraud.

Apparently there's just no pleasing the GOP especially when the voters in question happen to belong to demographic groups that tend to vote against the party.

In the seven years since Barack Obama was elected president, 18 states most of them led by Republicans have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of ID. Research indicates that as many as 25 percent of African-Americans don't have a government-issued ID, the form most often required. The numbers are also disproportionately high for Latinos, young people and the poor, all of whom tend to lean Democratic.

Thirty-two states, including Missouri, now have ID measures in effect. Nine require photo ID, and eight others have approved photo ID laws that grant narrow exceptions. Missouri's attempts to require photo ID have been struck down by the courts, but the state GOP hasn't given up.

Kansas and three other states have raised the hurdles even higher, requiring would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before they can register. Critics point out that many people don't have ready access to their birth certificates or other types of proof. They've filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the Kansas law.

Amid all this, research continues to show that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent. A recent study by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, for example, found 31 incidents of alleged fraud by voter impersonation out of more than 1 billion votes cast in the United States between 2000 and 2014. …

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