Voter ID Law passes House of Representatives

Voting almost completely along party lines, the House voted 228 to 196 for a bill that would require all who register to vote in federal elections to show photo identification that proves they are U.S. citizens. . . .

The rhetoric in the House yesterday was particularly heated, with a stream of African American and Latino Democrats taking to the floor to denounce a voter ID bill that they called a "modern-day poll tax" designed to disenfranchise minority, elderly and disabled voters who lean Democratic.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the bill "a tawdry attempt by Republicans to suppress the votes of millions of Americans."

Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), a soft-spoken moderate who helped craft the legislation, angrily called the charges nonsense, saying the bill authorizes funds to help state and local governments cover the costs of helping the poor obtain identification cards.

Under the bill, all states would be required to check photo identification by the November 2008 elections. By the 2010 elections, states could accept only identification that shows proof of citizenship, a passport or a new federal "Real ID" card authorized by Congress but not yet implemented. . . . .

This claim of a poll tax is really amazing. If the costs of getting the ID are covered, how can it be a poll tax?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this mean that the House Democratic leaders don't think that there would be any any "minority, elderly and disabled voters who lean" Republican would not also feel disenfranchised? We need ID's for everything else in this country but not for our most important basic right - the right to vote? It's one of the perks for legal citizenship.


9/21/2006 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, the article says the costs of *helping* the poor obtain IDs would be covered. This does not mean that all or even any of the costs to the poor are covered, but only that the feds will make grants to (presumably) states and localities that can be spent in various ways short of ensuring that every would-be voter gets an ID card without cost to themselves. Moreover, those government units charged with implementing the help programs will have strong party-based incentives to help selectively.

Second, even costs that those of us who are not poor might consider trivial (e.g., transportation to wherever cards are given out, obtaining information about the ID requirement, etc.) are significant costs to the poorest among us.

9/21/2006 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

We had a similar law in Missouri struck down by a judge as 'unconstitutional'. Same BS reasons as the dems gave against this one, will disenfranchise poor, elderly, and minority voters.

We even had a provision in the law to go to people's homes and provide an ID free of charge for people unable to get to a license office. Didn't do any good.

They have one thing right, though... these laws will prevent millions of people from voting. The ones who are in this country illegally!

9/21/2006 11:14 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Second Anonymous:

You might want to see my research on this topic. I don't believe that there is any evidence in either the US or in other countries (such as Mexico) that these rules discourage any particular group of voters, including the poor.

9/22/2006 7:30 AM  

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