Donna Brazile: Voter Photo ID Not the Answer
The interim Democratic National Committee chair says that the GOP push for new voter-identification laws is a war on voting.
In the month since political analyst Donna Brazile took the helm as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, she's been focused on matters relating to the 2012 election, including a push by Republican-controlled state legislatures to require photo identification at the polls. Republicans say that the laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, but Brazile claims that they're a partisan tactic designed to weed out voters who are more likely to be Democrats and help the GOP on Election Day.
"The photo-identification laws that Republicans are pushing across the country are most likely to disenfranchise young Americans, poor Americans and minorities -- individuals who are least likely to have government identification or to be able to afford to get it," said Brazile in a recent DNC statement.
Eight states have photo-ID laws, and legislation is pending in more than 30 others. Among the more noteworthy measures:
* An Ohio bill would require one of four forms of photo identification at the polls: an Ohio driver's license, a personal state ID card, a military ID or a passport.
* Under a Kansas bill, not only must voters show a photo ID at the polls; in order to register to vote, they will also have to produce their birth certificate or other proof of citizenship.
* A pending Texas bill rejects voters with IDs from state universities but would accept, among a few other forms of identification, a handgun license.
Although 11 percent of eligible voters don't have these types of photo identification -- stats that creep higher among the typically Democratic-voting groups of African Americans, the poor and the young -- many people don't see what the big deal is. When The Root explored the issue in a previous article, most commenters said that voter-ID laws sounded like common sense. Democratic hand-wringing, on the other hand, sounded like excuse making for people who can't be bothered to make a simple trip to the DMV.
On her last day as DNC interim chair before passing the torch to incoming chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Brazile makes her case. She explains why laws requiring certain forms of photo identification only sound sensible, and what she thinks lawmakers should do to really protect voting rights.
The Root: Why should people care about this issue?