From AAPD (4.7.11):
Find below a press release from the Advancement Project which describes a report on states' efforts to reinstate Photo ID Requirements for voting. This development should be particularly concerning to the disability community since a disproportionate number of people with disabilities do not have current government issued photo identification.
From the Advancement Project (4.7.11):
ADVANCEMENT PROJECT REPORT HIGHLIGHTS PERILS OF PHOTO ID PROPOSALS
Bills in 32 States Part of National Effort to Turn Back Voting Rights in Advance of the 2012 Elections
In a report released today, Advancement Project, a next-generation civil rights organization that works to eliminate barriers to voting, is sounding the alarm on photo ID proposals pending in states across the nation that could disenfranchise millions of voters in the 2012 elections.
The report, “What’s Wrong With This Picture? New Photo ID Proposals Part of a National Push to Turn Back the Clock on Voting Rights,” is the most comprehensive document to date examining the trend, analyzing the proposals in each state, and bringing context to the larger political and legal debates shaping these efforts to roll back ballot access.
“Photo ID proposals threaten to roll back voting rights for voters of color in 2012 and beyond,” said Advancement Project Senior Attorney Denise Lieberman, who authored the report and has been working with local and national groups across the nation to analyze the bills and craft strategies to combat them. “In states facing staggering budget shortfalls, it is simply irresponsible to spend millions of dollars to implement a law that does nothing to advance the integrity of elections and makes it harder for people to vote.”
According to Advancement Project, this reactionary trend is part of the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights since Reconstruction: nearly two-thirds of state across the nation introduced onerous voter identification bills this year. The report looks to the implications of this broad effort.
Among the report’s key findings:
- Proposals to require strict forms of photo ID to vote have been introduced in 32 states.
- This year’s proposals are the strictest voter identification proposals ever considered by states. Most severely limit forms of acceptable identification voters may show and make scant allowances for those unable to obtain the specific form of identification required by the law, even if they have other forms of ID that can verify their identities at the polls.
- The photo ID proposals are part of larger coordinated efforts by conservative and Tea-Party backers, designed to reduce the voting strength of voters of color who saw record turnout in 2008, in advance of the 2012 elections.
- Voter impersonation, the only voting irregularity that could be addressed with photo ID, is exceedingly rare. The proposals do nothing to address other voting problems that are known to occur.
- Studies show that approximately 11 percent of voters – about 21 million people - lack or cannot obtain a current state-specific photo ID. African American voters are twice as likely to lack current state ID.
- Photo ID proposals will cost cash-strapped states up to $20 million to implement.
- Many of the proposals may be legally flawed and constitute a “poll tax” by imposing undue costs and burdens on voters.
As noted in the report, voters of color, senior citizens, young voters, people with disabilities, immigrants, the working poor and students are disproportionately less likely to have current state ID or face substantial hurdles to getting one...