Fighting Voter-ID Laws


Joe Briggs writes in the Washington Post that deceptive voter-ID laws are on track to disenfranchise a new crop of voters — minority youth. To confront the wave of legislation sweeping the nation, Briggs delineates what his IMPACT organization, where he is co-founder and a director, is doing to reverse the tide.

Before 2006, no state had voter identification laws on the books, and registration requirements remained largely unchanged. But that has shifted dramatically over the past year. Since the beginning of 2011, 176 restrictive voting bills have been proposed in 41 states, and some have become law in 14 states. Proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, is required to register and vote in 12 states. Thirteen states have introduced proposals that limit voter registration opportunities, while other states have engaged in voter roll purging efforts that have been subject to litigation. Still, more states have cut back the days early voting is available.

Up to 5 million voters have been affected by these laws, and what’s worse is that young people are disproportionately affected. Five states — Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — will require voters to display a government-issued photo ID before voting. These new requirements could be very detrimental to minorities. The Black Youth Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing civic engagement and voter participation in black and under-served communities, estimates that as many as 25 percent of African Americans do not possess government-issued photo identification. This could have a chilling effect on turnout in an era when civic participation among minority youth is on the rise.


Read Joe Briggs' entire piece at the Washington Post.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.