Preventing exceedingly rare voter fraud is not worth the very real consequences to electoral participation among the elderly, youth, and communities of color. That's the message being sent by state legislative leaders across the nation, three of whom - State Del. Jon Cardin (MD), State Rep. Joe Miklosi (CO), and State Rep. Ben Cannon (OR) - co-wrote an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun this week.
A healthy civic society requires protecting citizens' fundamental right to vote while ensuring the integrity of our electoral system. Sadly, this goal is being jeopardized by a coordinated, nationwide effort to enact voter ID laws that will not solve the challenges facing our electoral systems and will instead disenfranchise voters and infringe upon the fundamental American right to free and fair elections.
Conservatives wasted no time in exploiting their numeric advantages following historic gains in state legislatures during the 2010 midterm elections, particularly in the area of voting rights. Of the over 285 election reform bills enacted in 47 states in 2011, the majority were passed in conservative-dominated legislatures and will serve to restrict access to the polls in time for the 2012 election. In addition to the passage of well-publicized voter ID legislation, successful rollbacks to existing laws, including shortening early voting periods and eliminating same day registration, will mainly serve to benefit conservative candidates at the public’s expense.
The Iowa State Association of County Auditors released "A Report on Photo ID for Voting Purposes" in 2011, which details the cost of the laws in several states and outlines recommendations for implementation.
This fact sheet from Demos offers talking points that demonstrate the prohibitive cost of voter ID laws to cash-strapped states, the unnecessary burden to election administration, the rarity of in-person impersonation voter fraud, and the disproportionate effects on historically disenfranchised populations.
Based on a comprehensive review of every court case in which a photo ID law has been challenged, this paper from the Brennan Center examines the costs that states must incur if they decide to implement photo ID requirements for voters.
The latest fact sheet from the Immigration Policy Centersummarizes years of research from the Brennan Center, Project Vote, The New York Times, and other sources, which prove that voter ID is a "solution" in search of a problem.