States Eye Voting Obstacles in Wake of High-Court Ruling

Less than a week after the Supreme Court watered down the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a handful of states seemed poised to roll back the protections afforded to minorities by the 48-year-old law

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NAACP field director Charles White speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington on June 25, 2013

Correction appended at 10:25 a.m.

Less than a week after the Supreme Court watered down the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a handful of states seemed poised to roll back the protections afforded to minorities by the 48-year-old law.

Two hours after the decision, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that a 2011 voter-ID law that federal courts found disproportionately burdened poor and minority voters would go into effect “immediately.” New redistricting maps, Abbott says, could swiftly follow.

Since the high court’s ruling on June 25, four of the other 15 states covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia — are in position to move forward on tightening voting laws.

In Alabama and Mississippi, voters will have to present a photo-identification card at the 2014 primary polls under laws that are now being implemented, but were previously being held until cleared by Washington officials. Both states plan to issue photo IDs to voters who don’t have them.

(MORE: High Court Rolls Back the Voting Rights Act of 1965)

Meanwhile, a stricter voter-ID bill passed by Virginia state legislature in March will go into effect in July 2014. That measure made driver’s licenses, voter-ID cards, student IDs and gun permits the only acceptable forms of voting identification.

And in North Carolina, lawmakers plan to overhaul existing voting laws as early as next week that will make photo identification a voting requirement, as well as cancel both Sunday and early voting.

But the speediest action seems certain to come in Texas.

In May 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a law that required voters to present photo IDs at polling places, although, under Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, Texas had to submit all new voting laws to the Department of Justice before they could go into affect.

The Department of Justice rejected the Texas-voter photo-ID law, finding it discriminatory. So the state was forced to appeal in federal court. In 2012, a federal court also rejected the law on the grounds that the ID requirement would have a disproportionate impact on the working poor.

Texas then appealed to the Supreme Court.

In last week’s ruling, it threw out the lower court’s decision, giving Texas the opportunity to carry out the strict law, which requires voters to present a driver’s license, handgun license, military ID, a passport or a state-issued “election identification certificate.”

Voter-ID laws have been stirring emotions on both sides of the political debate for years; 180 more restrictive bills have been introduced since 2011, including voter-ID laws in 30 states. Ten states have photo-ID laws.

(MORE: Viewpoint: Voting-Rights Decision Spells the End of Fair Elections)

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, 21 million U.S. citizens, including a quarter of all African Americans, 18% of Americans over 65 and 16% of Hispanics do not have a government-issued photo ID.

In North Carolina, where early voting seems headed to the chopping block, 27.4% of all early voters were African American in the past election, according to the United States Elections Project at George Mason University.

The impact of the court ruling, says Spencer Overton, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, is much greater than just statewide changes in election laws.

Where the court’s decision may be felt most is not at the state level but in little-noticed local and county-level races, which attract much less attention and often require fewer officials’ involvement.

For example, in 2001, the mayor and all-white Board of Alderman in tiny Kilmichael, Miss. — a town with a population of 830 people in 2000, according to the Census — canceled the election because of the high number of black candidates running. The Department of Justice required the election to take place.

A June Yale Law Review article reported that over 85% of Section 5 objections to changes in voting laws came from jurisdictions below the state level between 1982 and 2006. Those included city-council and school-board races. In that time, the Department of Justice blocked over 700 voting-rule changes.

“The real issue will be these local-level changes that escape national attention but have a real impact,” Overton says.

MORE: Is This the End for the Core of the Voting Rights Act?

Correction: This article previously stated that Virginia’s voter ID law likely goes into effect this year. It goes into effect July 2014.

83 comments
swagger
swagger

nothing like fixing something not broken--oh, but wait, they don't want to fix non existent voter fraud, they want to fix the election.

sacredh
sacredh

I hate white people. I have always hated white people. I always will hate white people because they're hateful. They're not even really white. they're kind of cream colored.

BorisIII
BorisIII

Its sad when the majority of people on the supreme court make up lies to help their political party.  We act like rigged elections is such a bad thing in developing countries but the Republicans have found ways to rig the elections for 13 years.  At least the longer they are able to stay in power the more often people want to be Democrats. 

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

After reading some/most of the threads on this post, I have come to realize a couple of things..Only "evil republicans" have the ability to obtain the proper identification needed to vote in states that are requiring such obstacles. Minorities, old people, nuns, college aged voters: are inept, lazy, can't drive, stupid, too poor, too old, and unwilling to obtain the same required identification required to vote, according to most of your opinions. Thus, it will be a clean sweep of every election for those evil republicans for the foreseeable future. Also, even though we all(minorities, young and old people), use the necessary identification cards in our every day life;  it's racist and and unjust to require those wishing to cast a ballot, to prove they are who they say they are.


terryclifton1
terryclifton1

No one can tell me that requiring a photo ID card is tantamount to voter suppression. That's a load of manure. Why is it that we don't call it racist when it's required by minorities to have a photo ID to cash a check? Get a home loan? Buy a car? To sign up for college? When it's required for 99.99999% of every day life, but when it comes to casting a legal vote, it's somehow racist? Really?

Ioldman
Ioldman

"Ask not what the country can do for you......................."!!????. You can not do the easy thing for YOU like obtaining an ID for you, valid for ten year and that required in everyday activities from buying cigarettes to cashing a check, how can  people expect YOU to do anything else  for YOUR COUNTRY??????????

HazeAndDrizzle
HazeAndDrizzle

How depressing. Republicans ALWAYS try to limit the vote rather than increase participation. Republicans ALWAYS try to cheat by rigging the boundaries and rules. Republicans ALWAYS try to force their religion into other people's lives. Republicans ALWAYS try to force unwanted things into women. Republicans ALWAYS try to reverse Brown V Broad of ED and assert State Rights over Civil Rights until Jim Crow is back by one name or another. Republicans ALWAYS try to put non-whites at a disadvantage in domestic policy and criminal law. Republicans are scum from beginning to end. Where is the Egyptian army when you need it - why can't we throw out these Christian Brotherhood thugs?

sacredh
sacredh

When the Supreme Court said they wanted congress to revisit the law and be more specific, does anybody really believe that the 5 justices believed for one second that congress would? The answer has to be no. They KNEW congress (the house in particular) would sit on their hands and let the states run amok. The Supreme Court is nothing but a bunch of partisan clowns. They disgust me.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

This article is incredibly misleading to readers on several accounts:

"Two hours after the decision, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that a 2011 voter-ID law that federal courts found disproportionately burdened poor and minority voters would go into effect “immediately.” New redistricting maps, Abbott says, could swiftly follow...In last week’s ruling, it [the Supreme Court] threw out the lower court’s decision, giving Texas the opportunity to carry out the strict law, which requires voters to present a driver’s license, handgun license, military ID, a passport or a state-issued “election identification certificate.”"

Requiring voter-ID is not an obstacle to minority/poor voters, especially since they have several months-years (depending on when they vote) to obtain such ID.  The law says that a person must be a US citizen to vote.  It's no different if someone wants to drive a car, and proper ID (a.k.a. a license) is required.  Would TIME Magazine write an article on behalf of unlicensed teenagers who claim "Potential Driver Obstacles!" 

3) Such ID laws are designed to ensure that our officials are elected by American citizens for American citizens.  We don't want illegal immigrants electing our officials to represent the interest of illegals.  As such, I cannot believe TIME Magazine would approve of such an article, and be so bold as to label such measures as 'obstacles.'   

ShirleyLRoy-Poche
ShirleyLRoy-Poche

It is not who is Voting that is the problem, it is who is running for office and who is paying them to run and paying for the voters  to be kept from the polls - and we all know it. So JUST SAY IT!  The old English Court practice of lobbying needs to be banned, made constitutionally illegal since Buying votes, paying for or to political influence, and acts of keeping citizens from voting is ILLEGAL. Get a clue people, the laws on on the books  - just need to be enforced.  Recalls can be held when current laws are broken or not enforced.  RECALL THOSE LOUSY POLITICIANS.

MrObvious
MrObvious

 New redistricting maps, Abbott says, could swiftly follow.


This is not Democracy.

jason024
jason024

"For example, in 2001, the mayor and all-white Board of Alderman in tiny Kilmichael, Miss. — a town with a population of 830 people in 2000, according to the Census — canceled the election because of the high number of black candidates running. The Department of Justice required the election to take place."

--------

 And the Supreme Court said that things were different now....Go Figure.

HeatherOMalley
HeatherOMalley

Are their ANY laws that are based on skin color? NO. So why is it perceived to be more difficult for a black person to carry an ID? It sounds as though the left is insinuating that blacks are too lazy and/or too stupid to follow simple rules like everyone else.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

And you can think of no Blacks, Hispanics, Asians (etc.) who never, ever showed even the faintest trace of hatred?

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@terryclifton1 Terry, you're not fooling anyone by pretending that you just came up with the brilliant argument that it's racist for us to say 90-year-old black women who don't drive and don't have much money will have trouble getting the deliberately difficult-to-get voter ID cards. That silly argument has been repeated, almost word-for-word, by so many Fox pundits and posters like you that it's obviously a Frank Luntz talking point -- and has lost whatever power of persuasion it ever had.

Repeating it over and over won't make it true, and won't  persuade anyone. And it's tiresome. Plus, it makes you look unimaginative, easily led and not very bright. Do want to look like a sheep? Then please, by all means, keep repeating the words other people are putting into your mouth.

jmac
jmac

@terryclifton1 To vote you must produce a :     driver’s license, handgun license, military ID, a passport or a state-issued “election identification certificate.”    A lot of people don't drive, clifton.  They don't own a gun.  They're not career military and if you want an id come one down to Texas and stand in line three days in 100 degree heat like I did  to renew my driver's license and you'll realize that it's about targeted voter intimidation.   I finally had to drive to Bonham to get my ID renewed.  Disgusting beyond belief.  The sad thing was the last time I was in line (in Sherman - 40 miles away and STILL didn't make it) the old white man behind me had taken the day off previously to get an ID and he STILL wasn't going to get an ID that day.  He was coughing, he was old, he was sick and he probably would have voted with you - so this just might come back to bite you.  



AMiller
AMiller

@terryclifton1 

Plenty of people will tell you it is tantamount to voter suppression. Not sure how an idea can be the same thing as manure (if you're using a metaphor, it's pointless because you're opponents likely don't trust you). Voter ID and not the other things you listed is sometimes considered racist in part because a lot of this is done by southern legislatures, who are taking an action that will disproportionately affect(hurt?) minorities, and it is an important thing (voting). Those three things make a lot of people feel uneasy. Not sure where you got the 99.99999% number from (I doubt it).

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@HazeAndDrizzle  

While I agree that religion has no place in government or any place else for that matter. Nor does the government forcing "tolerance" onto anyone. Just because conservatives speak about their god, and their beliefs doesn't mean they are trying to force their religion onto the rest of us, at least not by law. Unlike liberals who always head to court whenever their upset with getting beat by the will of the people. What disadvantages do minorities suffer under that was created by "Republicans"? What is the difference between Democrats and Republicans? They both want to erode our privacy rights, our freedoms.

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Sounds great until you recognize that the ID office won't be open in the evenings nor on week-ends to "provide" the "approved" voter ID.  They make it so someone has to take off work, thus losing their low already pay for what is a constitutional right (even before shooving a gun in your belt).  Most areas of the country doesn't have public transportation ( a good reason to move the capitol to No Where Kansas so the justices have a feel for America and not DC).  Voting wasn't  an afterthought (amendment), it is in the body of the Consrtitution.

One state, I think it was Wisconsin, under their racist governor, was pushing for the ID office to be open 1/2 day  a month.  Sounds like he really doesn't want American citizens to be able to exercise their rights. I hope there are so many federal court cases filed after elections to put results on hold until hearings that it ties up the states because there are a lot of federal judge openings also due to GOTP anti-American hatred (or maybe just hatred of a black president).

HazeAndDrizzle
HazeAndDrizzle

@mrbomb13 Student IDs, Social Secuirty cards are NOT acceptable but a license to carry homicide capable weapon, that is acceptable. Are you "objective" people as thick as you appear or as dishonest as your appear? Let me count the ways...

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@mrbomb13 "Such ID laws are designed to ensure that our officials are elected by American citizens for American citizens."

Such ID laws are designed to ensure that our officials are elected by Republicans for Republicans. FIFY.

jason024
jason024

Such ID laws are designed to ensure that our officials are elected by American citizens for American citizens

-----

Wrong. Such "voter fraud" is insignificant and a BS excuse to pass an ID law.  In fact, it isn't a serious problem in America.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@MrObvious But it is the only way this twisted, fanatical version of a once great party can remain relevant on a national stage.

Ioldman
Ioldman

@HeatherOMalley  I do not understand why people do not complaint about having to show an ID to buy cigarettes but complaint about showing an ID for voting???? Because voting is a right???? Yes. But the right for whom??? The right for the set of people called "citizen". Without IDs how to prove one is a citizen???. Saying that Minorities are negligent in obtaining IDs is insulting!!! An ID is valid for ten years, if it costs anything, not more than $2.00/year. Isn't questionable for anyone who are not interested in getting an ID once for every ten year but interested voting every year???? My opinion is: No ID, not fit to vote.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@HeatherOMalley Not but many of the laws such as restrictions on early voting and state specific IDs are designed to discourage minorities and college students, two groups that aren't GOP supporters.

lauriemgold
lauriemgold

@HeatherOMalleyTo get a picture ID you must first get a copy of your birth certificate and/or a copy of your Social Security Card. If you are old, this is not as easy as it seems, and the same goes if you are poor and/or live in a rural area. If you live hand to mouth, it may take a full day of work to accomplish just part of this, and if you are old and don't drive, you may be out of luck. This is also effecting younger voters. Some states are not accepting college ID's. My daughter goes to college in Arkansas and does not drive a car. She lives in a small city without public transportation, and she lives there year round, which means she is a resident. 

eagle11772
eagle11772

@HeatherOMalley ANYBODY can get an official government-issued I.D. card if they want one.  Why would someone NOT want one ?

jason024
jason024

@HeatherOMalley And you do you  believe that requiring voter id is solving a "voter fraud" problem? In fact, it was found that cases of voter fraud are so insignificant that the main thing that this law will do is reduce minority turnout.

jmac
jmac

@HeatherOMalley You've missed the program.  Hispanics are the new black.  The poor are the new black.  The elderly are the new black.   The 90 yr-old- nun without a driver's license is the new black.   As soon as the military starts voting Democratic, it will be the new black.  

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@PerryWhite1 @terryclifton1  

Your sad attempt to marginalize anyone with whom you disagree with by equating their opinions with those of Fox News only assures me that you spend more time on Fox News than I do. Actually, I don't watch cable news, and if I did it wouldn't be Fox News. The sad truth is you used another stereo-type to make your argument. Why stop at 90 year old black women, why not use middle aged Hispanics, who drive, but may or may not have ID? 

Who is Frank Luntz?

therealdude
therealdude

@jmac @terryclifton1 Actually, the part about the gun permit seems political to me, not to mention canceling sunday and early voting and gerrymandered districts. It is what it is...a power grab by Republicans who see an obvious threat to their existence in the upcoming years when today's minorities become tomorrow's majority.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@jmac @terryclifton1  

Now you know what Obamacare is going to be like when the hospitals are forced to ration care..Most people don't do a lot of things, drive, pay taxes, open bank accounts, get jobs, sign up for welfare benefits, cross the street against the light, believe in god, listen to music, but we are all required to have some form of identification. If you are arguing that a natural born citizen isn't required to obtain an Identification card to survive, then you're not being living in the real world. If you want to be rational, then by all means lets have a honest rational debate about voting laws, but using some far flung example isn't being honest nor rational.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

First, thank you for your reply.  Just a few comments:

1) When you mention 'the ID office' in your first sentence, I would be curious to know which office that is, and where it's located.  Furthermore, I would be curious to know whether that office represents a significant portion of offices in the affected states/regions/localities.  The reason I ask is that anecdotal evidence (i.e. just one office) alone is highly suspect to being influenced by individual experiences.  It would be another matter entirely if you had studies/statistics/surveys of a multitude of offices.

2) I admit that at least some areas of the country lack public transportation.  However, should that stop interested citizens in car-pooling with others, or even calling the offices to make other arrangements?

3) The overwhelming majority of employers - both low- and high wage - provide Paid Time Off (PTO) to their employees.  Is it inconceivable that an employee could use a PTO day to obtain proper ID?

4) An employer may not terminate an employee for unjust reasons.  Obtaining voter ID is certainly a legitimate reason to 1) take a PTO day, or 2) leave work early.

5) Please provide evidence of the GOP (as a whole) showing 'anti-American hatred.'

6) Please provide evidence of the GOP (as a whole) hating President Obama.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

A license to carry a 'homicide-capable weapon' (a.k.a. guns) must be obtained through the police department in many states.  The poiice must run a thorough background check on the applicant before issuing such a license.  Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that a gun license is an acceptable form of identification. 

Depending on the state, Student IDs and Social Security cards are also acceptable.  For the record, I disagree with those states that do not accept those forms of identification.

Lastly, please clarify your comment on 'objective people.'

Ioldman
Ioldman

@HazeAndDrizzle @mrbomb13 

Be honest to yourself. You don't need an ID to obtain the SS card or Student ID. All legal immigrants can get SS card or Student ID. Illegals can get student ID too. No one can  get a weapon permit without a valid ID

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Excuse me, but you have misread my comment.  I said nothing about ensuring that Republicans elect Republicans.  Instead, I am advocating fairness for both parties by equal enforcement of ID laws for all Americans.

Please clarify your comment, or issue a formal retraction.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@PerryWhite1 @mrbomb13  

That's right, because minorities walk around every day without ID's. They're the forgotten people..To ask them to produce an ID to cash a check, or to buy a car, is tantamount to racism..Geez..

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

My chief questions have been asked for terryclifton1 and manlyman.  Please clarify your position.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@jason024  

Then why are you against showing your ID at the polling station, to prove that it's you who is casting a vote? What are you afraid of? The last time you tried to cash a check, did you refuse to show your ID? 

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Excuse me, but no where in my comment did I mention either one of those groups.

Please clarify your comment, or issue a formal retraction.

therealdude
therealdude

@mantisdragon91 Absolutely! This is what gerrymandering districts, shutting down early and Sunday voting and their newfound voter ID laws are about. In years to come today's minorities will be tomorrow's majority and when that happens they'll be wiped out. Unless of course they do something now today to try to marginalize the effects of the inevitable future. And no matter what they say, they don't really want to change so this is what they do.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@mantisdragon91 @HeatherOMalley  

That's a racist comment.. Do you think minorities are lack the necessary skills to obtain an identification card? Really? How again can one enroll in college,without proper identification card? You are also forgetting those evil republicans will also have to submit the proper identification card in order to vote..Oh wait, I guess they will only have to show their Country Club Membership Card, right? 

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@lauriemgold @HeatherOMalley I had to get a copy of my birth certificate once, and it took three months and more than $100 -- and that was online. I have no idea what someone with less time and money would do, especially if they didn't have access to the Internet. And if I was going for the type of state IDs Texas or North Carolina were specifying, that would just be step one.

HazeAndDrizzle
HazeAndDrizzle

@eagle11772 @HeatherOMalley Oh you Right Wingers screaming about mandatory government ID being part of black helicopters controlling your lives and scheming to steal guns, suddenly love government ID. Why is it we don't believe the KKK (Tea) Party line?

MichaelWhitehead
MichaelWhitehead

@eagle11772 @HeatherOMalley A big problem for many, many, is a lack of getting to, not only the place you need to get the voter i.d., but also to get to polling places.  Chances are, that if you are poor, or elderly, you don't have a car and can't afford to buy one.  And, for the elderly, many cannot drive, due to age related physical restrictions, even if they could afford a vehicle.  Solutions are not as readily apparent as you might think.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@eagle11772 @HeatherOMalley 

Because many of the voter ID laws restrict what type of ID can be used, as narrow as possible so that as few as possible can get them and vote. Add to that where some districts get plenty of polling stations and machines and others don't and where the voter ID places are placed remote from unwanted voters.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@jmac @HeatherOMalley  

That's a bunch of crap. Everyone has some form of identification, or they wouldn't be on the voter rolls. Gimme me a break. Some of you people just make up crap as you go along..

sacredh
sacredh

Well, since you said please....

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

You obviously never bother to actually read what we write but feel that everyone that thinks the non-needed voter ID laws are actually designed  to do something .  They are but curing non-existent voter fraud isn't it.  If you make only certain photo documents  IDs "approved" and you limit WHERE you can get them and WHEN you can get them and restrict voting hours and reduce the number of polling spaces, you are a racist and no different than the police with the fire hoses in Selma.  And most learn to actually leavn how to use "to" and when it should be "too" which you missed in school., e.g. "too inept". 

therealdude
therealdude

@Ioldman @HazeAndDrizzle @mrbomb13 Since you do have to have a state issued photo id to buy a weapon that kind of makes the idea of using the weapon permit redundant...unless it was intended as political.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

What proof do you have that Blacks get arrested for being 'black' (a.k.a. racial profiling)?

Also, why should Blacks be exempt from having IDs, when the rest of the nation is required to possess such things?  Why the double standard?

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@PerryWhite1 @terryclifton1 @mrbomb13  

A) I live in the South, and have for almost my entire life. B) I have been called worse. 

Now to your point, Your rant about blacks not having ID's is racist and idiotic. Blacks are required like everyone else in this country to have some form of identification. If you want to paint the South as having some backward racist mindset, let me remind you that the racist tactics such of Stop and Frisk happened in New York City and other large urban areas.

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@terryclifton1 @PerryWhite1 @mrbomb13 What planet do you live on, terryclifton1? In my hometown in the South, most black people do NOT have IDs. For them, it's a good idea to NOT have IDs, because they get arrested a lot. Not for crimes, mind you, but because they're black. 

I'm guessing that A) you don't live in the South, and B) you're an @$$hole. 

Call it a guess.