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Opinion: Lacking Government ID Does Not Make You Unworthy Of Voting

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A Philadelphia voter (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

A Philadelphia voter (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

The Buck Starts Here

One of the biggest threats to American democracy as we know it today is the move by the New Suppressionists to impose the modern equivalents of the Poll Tax on the 2012 election.

There is a massive national effort, funded by the right wing, to fundamentally alter who gets to vote in America.

Ultimately this effort, as admitted by its practitioners, is designed to swing the election for Mitt Romney and other Republicans.

One of their favorite tactics is to require voters to present government issued identification at the polling place.

The ruse is that this is designed to combat in-person voter fraud. But in-person voter fraud does not exist in America. It is a myth.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is in court defending the state’s new voter ID law. They cannot produce one example of in-person voter fraud in the state for the courts.

The requirement to only allow people with government issued ID’s to vote is designed to sound innocent enough to the majority of Americans. After all, most Americans drive. Most Americans use their ID to bank or travel.

But there are Americans who do not do these things. By Pennsylvania’s measure, about ten percent of voting age residents do not have the ID required to vote in the state.

If you spend one actual second thinking about the consequences of these laws you realize they are anything but innocent.

If you are elderly, disabled or poor you know that this new law does not sound innocent.

There are many Americans who do not have a government issued ID. There is no national government ID, nor is there a requirement to carry one.

If you do not have a government ID, that does not make you a criminal. That does not make you unworthy of voting.

More than ten percent of Americans do not have a bank. More than ten percent of Americans do not drive.

They still have a right to vote. The days of land-owning white males being the only eligible voters is long over.

Except, in turns out, in the dreams of Republican leaders.

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, equates requiring an ID to vote with the constitutional right to lobby the government, which involves some level of photo ID.

Congratulations America: in the view of the radical right wing, voters are lobbyists! Is the next move to restrict access to our government officials to only the moneyed elites, corporations, and special interests?

The New Suppressionist movement has one goal: to roll back the right to vote and redefine who gets to vote. That is dangerous. It rolls back years of progress extending the franchise to women, minorities and young voters, and increasing participation in our democracy.

That is dangerous.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.

 

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