Battle Over Voter ID Laws Heats Up In The States

A simple question divides the two parties on the process of this election — should voters have to show a picture ID to cast a ballot?

Republicans say requiring photo identification at the polls is just a matter of common sense. But Democrats warn the move could disenfranchise voters.

“I think this is an effort to diminish minority and poor people’s involvement in the electoral policies and politics,” said Dick Harpootlian, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party


But David Norcross, president of the Republican National Lawyers Association, noted that a photo ID is required to enter any federal building and most office buildings, among other things. “You need it to get welfare, you need it to get on an airplane, take the SAT, buy liquor, buy cigarettes. It’s sort of ubiquitous,” he said. “And it’s crazy to exclude voting from the list of things you need it for.”

The latest voter ID controversy centers on South Carolina’s photo ID law, which the Justice Department blocked on Dec. 23, claiming it will hurt minorities and the poor.

Attorney General Eric Holder exhorted people to oppose such efforts just days before the move.

“Call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success,” he told a group at the LBJ Center in Austin, Texas.

An even stricter law in Indiana, however, was upheld years ago by the Supreme Court on a 6-3 vote. So now, 15 states require or plan to require photo IDs.

“The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law and the opinion was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who as you know is one of the most liberal stalwarts of the Supreme Court,” explained Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation.

Several Democratic congressmen, as well as former President Jimmy Carter, have also argued in favor of photo IDs.

Read more: Battle Over Voter ID Laws Heats Up In The States

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