Do You Support Voter Identification Laws?

Voting BoothsThe topic of voter identification laws comes up quite often in the news. Most recently, the Justice Department blocked Texas' new voter identification law, saying it could harm Latinos in particular since a disproportionate number of Latinos lack drivers licenses and ID cards.

Similar laws have been blocked recently in Wisconsin and South Carolina. Yet supporters of these laws say that by requiring that voters provide one of seven state-recognized forms of ID in order to vote, they're preventing voter fraud.

Both sides in this case makes good points, I think -- and that's why we're asking our political bloggers the following question this week:

Do you think states should enact voter identification laws?

What do you think?

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On its surface, it seems like requiring voters to prove that they are who they say they are is a good idea. Yet consider these statistics regarding the Texas voter ID decision from the LA Times:

[Assistant Atty. Gen. Thomas E.] Perez noted that state data showed nearly 800,000 people lacked driver's licenses and personal identification cards issued by the state Department of Public Safety, two key forms of identification required under the new law. More than 38% of those lacking the ID were Latino, he noted.

"According to the state's own data, a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5%, and potentially 120% more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack this identification," Perez wrote. "Even using the data most favorable to the state ... that disparity is statistically significant."

Given the high percentage of Latinos living in Texas, shouldn't they have a say in who's elected there?

And yet -- Texas Congressman Lamar Smith said this in response to the Justice Department's decision:

Voter ID laws help ensure the integrity of our elections and protect the rights of lawful voters. If citizens are required to show ID in order to open a bank account, cash a check, drive a car, or board a plane, how much more important is it to show ID in order to exercise one of our most valuable democratic rights?

Hmmm. Lots to think about this week -- and it's a relevant topic whether or not you live in Texas, since more and more states are enacting similar laws.

Here's what our political bloggers have to say on the subject:

Voter I.D. Laws Maintain the Integrity of Elections

Forced Voter ID Laws Are Un-American

Eric Holder & Opponents of Voter ID Laws Are the New Jim Crow

Voter ID Laws: What's the Big Deal?


Image via Eyspahn/Flickr

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