VOTER ID….In the LA Times today, law professor Daniel Tokaji asks if voter ID laws, like the Indiana law that’s being challenged in the Supreme Court, are “a new poll tax”:
This burden that Indiana’s law imposes might be defensible if the state had evidence that ID is needed to prevent polling place fraud, but that evidence simply doesn’t exist. The state of Indiana couldn’t document a single case of voter impersonation at the polls. In other words, voter ID is a solution in search of a problem.
….In challenging this law, voting rights advocates rely on a 1966 case that struck down poll taxes, which were used to disenfranchise African Americans in some Southern states. In that opinion, the Supreme Court held that even a $1.50 poll tax discriminated against voters based on their economic status. The court declared that restrictions on the right to vote must be “closely scrutinized and carefully confined.”
Some are optimistic that the Supreme Court will follow this precedent and strike down Indiana’s law, thereby placing comparably strict laws in jeopardy….[But] just last year, it lifted a court order against an Arizona voter ID law that required photo ID or two forms of non-photo ID. That opinion turned the right to vote on its head. The court suggested that the mere perception of voter fraud was equivalent to vote dilution. According to the court, citizens might “feel disenfranchised” if they believe, correctly or not, that others are committing vote fraud.
Indiana “couldn’t document a single case of voter impersonation at the polls.” And we’re supposed to believe that voter fraud is the real reason behind these laws? Please.