According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Thirty-one states presently have laws in place that will require all voters to show ID at the polls this November”. Most of the laws were passed as early as 2011, some not being effective until 2014. The laws involved two distinctions, strict versus non-strict, and photo versus non-photo.
The states that have strict voter ID laws require all voters to show ID before casting a valid ballot. Those without ID may be provided with a provisional ballot. These are kept separate from the regular ballots. Voters are then allowed to return with the appropriate ID, within a few days. At that point, their provisional ballot would be added to the regular ones. If they never return with ID, their vote is not counted at all. The states with less strict voter ID laws will allow voters to vote without ID provided a poll worker who knows them personally, vouching for their identity and/or them signing an affidavit of identity.
Studies have shown that the majority of people unaware of the necessary documentation needed for proper identification are minorities. These same studies displayed that the youth and lower income individuals are less likely to have proper ID as well. It is easy to say, “get an ID problem solved”, but many still have no idea that voter laws have changed in the last four years since they voted for our current President.
With the 2012 election imminent, two-thirds of the United States plan to reinforce these new voter ID laws that have only been in effect since last year. In addition to ID being necessary, some states are removing the option to vote early. The problem this can present is all of the people who are ignorant of the laws might not have time to get an ID and get to the ballots in enough time to make their vote count.
As discouraging as all of this information might be, all hope is not lost. It becomes extremely helpful and important to encourage as many young people as possible to get appropriate ID well before October 6, 2012. All states require voters to be registered and now have appropriate ID at least 30 days before an election. This will be a challenge for many so it is important to know your states voting and poll challenges, intimidation tactics used to deter people from voting, and report any conduct that appears illegal regarding your voting rights.
This is not the first time United States citizens voting rights have been in jeopardy. There are many attorneys that are fully aware of all the voting laws and rights. Rodney & Etteris a law firm with experience in civil and voting rights. We have been involved with voting rights and other civil cases, including, but are not limited to, Chisom v. Roemer, as well as the historic case of Gerald Wallace, et al. v. Michael Chertoff, et al, No. 2:05-cv-5519 (E.D.La.2006).
With projections of close to a million young, minority voters not being able to participate, every vote will definitely count.
Referenceselection, minority voters, presidential election, voter fraud, voter ID, Voting Rights