Photo Finish

PHOTO FINISH….Two years ago Arizona voters approved Proposition 200, which requires voters to produce a picture ID before they’re allowed to vote or register to vote. What’s more, your ID better be current: if you have a driver’s license with an old address, you’re out of luck. It’s one of the most stringent laws of its kind in the country.

As we all know, the picture ID requirement disproportionately hurts minorities, the elderly, and the disabled. But there’s another group that’s affected even more severely: students. Art Levine explains today in Salon:

In Arizona, students can’t register to vote unless they provide an Arizona-approved birth certificate and multiple proofs of their current address. In-state students who are already registered to vote in one Arizona county must provide proof of U.S. citizenship if they want to reregister in another county.

At Arizona State University in Tempe, with its 63,000 students living on and off campus, voter registration has essentially evaporated….From 5,000 voters registered in six weeks before the 2004 presidential race, the ASU Young Democrats’ post-Proposition 200 registration drive has produced little more than 200 new voters in a year and a half. According to Joaquin Rios, 20-year-old president of the local Young Democrats chapter, the problem is the ID requirement. “I’ve encountered hundreds of students,” he reports, “and I don’t know a single one who has decided to get a state ID.”

Read the whole thing. The new law has disenfranchised native Americans who don’t have ID cards, any voter whose address isn’t current on their driver’s license, and virtually all students, who move around frequently and don’t keep their ID updated. Voter registration has plummeted. And all of this, needless to say, is in response to a non-problem: Evidence of actual voter fraud prior to passage of Proposition 200 is virtually zero. On the other hand, it does a great job of solving the problem of too many people voting for those pesky Democrats.

For more along the same lines, check out Greg Palast’s latest piece here.