What ID Laws Will Mean for the Black Vote

Jesse Jackson (Getty Images)

Critics of recently passed state laws requiring photo identification for voters say they threaten to undermine the strength of the black vote in the 2012 election.

But how does a neutral requirement that everyone show ID disproportionately affect African Americans? Jesse Jackson, who is urging the Department of Justice to intervene on behalf of "politically disenfranchised" voters, joined other civil rights advocates to explain in an interview with BlackAmericaWeb:

A requirement for state-issued photo identification at polling places will mean that millions may not vote in the 2012 election, because they don’t have licenses or birth certificates and cannot afford to get them, he said.


According to Jackson, there are 5.5 million blacks in America who are of legal driving age but do not have a driver’s license.

Barbara R. Arnwine, executive director for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, says that the time and resources needed to acquire the identification as well as lack of easy access to the needed underlying documents, such as a certified birth certificate and other forms of documentation, are particularly burdensome on minority, low-income, elderly, disabled and student voters.

According to the Lawyers Committee, a 2006 nationwide study of voting-age citizens found that 78 percent of African-American males aged 18 to 24 in Wisconsin lacked a valid driver's license.

Also, 24 percent of black households are without automobiles, compared to 7 percent of white households. Consistently, studies estimate that more than 20 million individuals lack a government-issued photo ID.


Read more at BlackAmericaWeb.

In other news: Blacks Return 'Home' to the South.

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