By Jack Tuckner, Esq Voter ID laws hurt female voter interests, as well as the interests of the rest of us, and though the first time you hear Republicans explain that they’re only in favor of compulsory photo identification at the polls in order to stop voter fraud, it sounds reasonable, until you realize that’s just a transparent pretext for their real agenda, suppressing voter turnout in general to help their chances of winning. There’s absolutely zero evidence that voter fraud of the type that could be deterred by photo ID is a significant problem in the United States. A five-year effort by the Bush Justice Department “turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections,” according to reporting by the NY Times. They found no evidence of double voting or other types of fraud that an ID requirement would prevent. It’s all about suppressing the will of “we the people” (remember us?) by ensuring that vast numbers of ordinary citizens are disallowed from voting, whether by hook or by crook. Here’s how Paul Weyrich, the co founder of the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority, and other right-wing Republican groups explains the conservative opinion on voting:
“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
Republican politicians and the corporations and wealthy special interests groups and individual who pull their strings, want as keep as few African-Americans, women, Latinos, the young, the elderly, the poor, the vulnerable, and the sick from voting as they possibly can, as every vote counts equally, and it is rightly assumed that most of us who aren’t wealthy white men will vote for a candidate who cares about the general welfare of our country and the real persons who comprise the beating heart of our great country, not the corporate “persons” who pay to get rich Republicans to do its selfish bidding.
Voter ID laws place an unnecessary hardship on women, as those who are newly married or recently divorced may have name changes issues (unfortunately, U.S. women still change their names in 90 percent of marriages) and their passport or birth certificate may be in their former names, meaning that may be required to obtain a certified court document showing the divorce decree or marriage certificate. These documents vary in cost from state to state but can cost upwards of $25 plus any time off work needed to obtain them. For each additional burden placed on a voter the likelihood of voting diminishes.
You may need a driver’s license to drive a car or get on a plane, but those activities are privileges not rights. Voting for a candidate that represents our true interests should be an unfettered right; in fact it should be required in a true democracy. Nine decades after women won the right to vote, that right is under attack by big business and its enablers in government.
(Related Story from the Women’s Media Center)