No Shirt, No Shoes, No Vote
Written by Corey Goldstone
7) South Carolina
To some Americans, obtaining valid identification is as simple as showing up to get their driver’s license on their 16th birthday. Unfortunately, others are not so lucky. 11 percent of eligible voters do not have valid ID- these new laws force them to obtain specific photo ID at significant cost and inconvenience, or surrender their right to vote.
Let’s get to know these Americans. How many are there? Who are they?
- Almost 500,000 eligible voters have no access to a vehicle and live at least 10 miles from the nearest government ID office. Worse, many lack access to public transportation because they live in rural areas.
- More than 1 million eligible voters in these states live below the poverty line.
- 1.2 million eligible black voters and 500,000 eligible Hispanic voters live upwards of 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office.
If you already have a valid photo ID then why should you care?
Firstly, the problem these laws claim to address, in-person voter impersonation, is one of the least common forms of voter fraud.
Furthermore, it is in everyone’s best interests to avoid reviving our nation’s ugly history of racial polarization and class warfare. Unnecessarily burdensome Voter ID laws set a dangerous precedent of one party using its power to attack the other side’s supporters’ civil rights, while deepening pre-existing class and racial stratification.
Shrinking the voting base for pure partisan goals is an admitted goal of officials in many of the states listed above. The Washington Post reported that Rep. Mike Turzai (PA-28) declared, “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done.”
Voter ID laws have only created more problems; and Middle America is bearing the brunt of it.
Corey Goldstone is a Syracuse Orangeman, braving the harsh winters to study American Political Science with a Concentration in Public Policy and the Legal System. He has volunteered for a local Obama reelection movement, interned for the Federal Affairs office of CSX, and worked for New York State constituents at Senator Charles Schumer’s CNY Office. His interest is in exposing the roadblocks to democracy that prevent everyday citizens from accessing electoral politics.