- Posted June 10, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Voter ID Laws Under Attack - Why?
US Attorney General Eric Holder has made it no secret that he and his Department of Justice are against implementing voter ID laws across the nation. The DOJ has actively pursued court action to stop states from enforcing voter ID laws.
The claims have been that voter ID laws are a tool for voter supression and not a tool to prevent voter fraud. Holder and other like-minded liberals have accused state legislators of racism in passing such laws.
However, Star Parker in an op-ed for the Orange County Register takes issue with the idea that voter ID laws are racist. Parker is an African-American.
Engraved large on one of the walls of the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., are the words "Freedom is not free."
It is sad that so many are unable or unwilling to appreciate the truth of this simple phrase, or are ready to heed those who have power, or seek it, who distort it.
I cannot think of anything hurting us more today than false and confused notions about the nature of the ideal of freedom.
The struggle to protect and maintain a free society and to build on it so that we can continue to climb higher never ends.
How can he possibly conclude that voting – the privilege to make one's voice heard as part of the ongoing deliberations central to our enterprise of advancing human freedom – should be as easy "as getting a glass of fresh water?"
A free society will soon not be free if the citizens in it see their freedom as something that should arrive effortlessly, free of personal responsibility, like the appearance of the morning sun. Black leaders do damage to our nation, and to our black citizens, to label as racist the call for requirements for a modicum of personal responsibility in order to vote.
A study published earlier this year by the Pew Center on the States characterized America's voter registration system as "Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient."
Among its conclusions are that "approximately 24 million voter registrations in the U.S. are no longer valid or (are) significantly inaccurate; more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters; approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state."
In 2008, the Supreme Court considered Indiana's voter ID law, which the New York Times then reported was "considered the strictest in the country," and found it constitutional.
Every American should celebrate efforts requiring responsibility for clear proof of identity when registering to vote. And every American should appreciate the importance of efforts by states, like that taking place now in Florida, to update and ensure the honesty and integrity of voter files.
Freedom is not free. To the extent that Americans of any background do not appreciate this, we will long for the days when we were free.
On the other side of the coin are Holder and company.
Stricter ID laws and other controversial voting restrictions, passed earlier this year by several Republican-controlled legislatures, are hitting legal roadblocks that could keep many of the measures from taking effect before the November elections.
Curbs on early voting, ID requirements and last-minute efforts to rid voter lists of noncitizens have been met with vigorous opposition from the Justice Department and civil rights groups, and in some cases, the provisions have been blocked by federal or state judges.
"There has been a real push-back by the courts to these widespread efforts to restrict the vote," said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, which opposes the new laws. "If those seeking to suppress the vote won round one, round two seems to be going to the voters."
Among the most common changes were voter ID laws. Last year, new ID laws were introduced in 34 states and passed in Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas tightened existing voter ID laws to require photo ID. Proposed laws in five other states, including Minnesota, were vetoed by their governors, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.
Since then, two state judges in Wisconsin have ruled its voter ID law unconstitutional. A court in Missouri threw out a ballot initiative that would have allowed voters to decide whether photo IDs should be required, calling the ballot language "misleading."
The Justice Department has challenged ID laws in South Carolina and Texas under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which could keep those laws from taking effect before November. Speaking to a group of black politicians and church leaders last week, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said his department is committed to "aggressively enforcing the Voting Rights Act" and that it opposed the ID laws in South Carolina and Texas because of their disproportionate impact on minority voters.
What is wrong with requiring an ID to vote?
If one has to produce an ID to buy cigarettes and alcohol, apply for food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, housing, Social Security and so on, why is it such a strenuous chore to provide ID to vote?
From the Cornfield, this seems to be less about voter suppression than an attempt to absolve individuals from any responsibility or effort to cast a vote.