How Voter ID Laws Could Affect the 2012 Elections

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A voter arrives at a polling station on primary day in Tampa, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear a controversial case that's been winding its way through the state's courts throughout the summer. The case will determine the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's voter ID law, but Pennsylvania is in good company: over a dozen state legislatures have enacted voter identification requirements over the past year.

According to a new study from the University of Chicago and Washington University, the new voter ID laws may prevent over 700,000 minority voters under 30 from going to the polls. 

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) sees voter ID laws as a civil rights issue, as he explained in a speech on the House floor last May. "We should be opening up the political process and letting all of our citizens come in and participate," he said. "People died for the right to vote. Friends of mine! Colleagues of mine!"

Others contend that the voter ID laws will prevent fraud in the 2012 election, as South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson explained to the Heritage Foundation last July. "When you hear out there that the implementation of voter ID and photo ID requirements in various states is akin to taking us back to the Jim Crow Era…I find it insulting for those who actually lived through that time," he said. "When you hear people say that there’s an intent to suppress minority votes, or that this is a solution in search of a problem, I find that very disconcerting."

Karen Langley, a reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, describes what's at stake in the Pennsylvania case. Nate Persily, professor of law and political science at Columbia University, explains the effects of voter ID laws and similar measures in states across the country.


Karen Langley and Nate Persily

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [10]

Britt from oregon

as a 43 year old with parkinson's, i very much wish this disease was on the list of assisted suicide list. i live in oregon, where assisted suicide is legal but PD is not a disease with a half life. Although your guest keeps talking about it, it is not terminal. SO even though the end is very horrible you have to live through it. I find this very twisted.

Sep. 20 2012 01:18 PM
Elizabeth Shackelford from New York

I am a Republican who finds Romney's comments simply gross. When I was younger I left the party because I grew up with rich elites that spout that type of garbage. I believe in the Republican philosophy of lower taxes and private sector growth. This helps the middle class. Of that 47% of "dependent moochers", David Brooks of the New York Times parsed it out well. Many receiving government benefits are retirees who worked hard during their lives. It is impossible for 47% of the population to be on welfare and food stamps. The math simply doesn't work. I think I will vote for Obama. Even though I disagree with his political philosophy, at least he has some grounding in reality

Sep. 19 2012 09:29 AM
Diane from Oregon

All Muslims are NOT bloodthirsty....note the photos of so many of the Libyans holding up signs saying "we are sorry American! This does not represent our religion and Islam!"
They have their extremists as we have ours - for example... Terry Jones!!

Sep. 13 2012 01:23 PM
electedface from PA

Watch the video and sign the petition to end Voter Suppression.

Sep. 13 2012 11:56 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Taking time to go to Motor Vehicles to get I.D. can take all day...If you arent getting a drivers license you probably don't want to hang around all day in a place just so you can vote. It has to be made easier to work...unless your motive is to make sure people aren't voting.

Sep. 13 2012 11:47 AM
Disgruntled from MA

Shame on the MSM for not reporting widely the support for the U.S. from both American Muslims and foreign Muslims as well. This gives inordinate 'voice' to the Islamist fringe...thus also fueling our own American religious fringe. And so it goes.

Sep. 13 2012 11:25 AM
Angel from Miami, FL

If a party cannot garner votes through good policy or just plain ol' popularity then they might as well turn to ways of disqualifying votes for the other guy.

I think the Republican Party needs to hit rock bottom so that their moderate members can take the reigns and produce candidates and platforms that will give independent-leaning folks choices based on issues and realistic situations.

Sep. 13 2012 09:35 AM
Stephen Tencer from New Milford, NJ

The coordinated, well-timed (9/11) attack on US embassies was carefully planned. Who produced, financed, and "discovered" the unconvincing anti-Muslim film that was the excuse for the violent protests? The Arab World has many ready to believe any anti-US and anti-Israel propaganda, but someone carefully lit the fire in this tinderbox.
The extreme Muslims fear Obama and our Ambassador in Libya. They knew how to make friends in the area. That's terrible for the extremists.

Sep. 13 2012 09:34 AM
David from Florida

I was listening to the discussion about voter id laws and I have two questions. There was said that voter fraud is rare, but if there is id requirement to vote then how would anyone know if there is voter fraud? Those that oppose the voter id requirement are encouraging fraud because they have never said they wanted to anything about helping the "disenfranchised" acquire the required id. Wouldn't make more sense and be far simpler to assist people to get the ID, for example using all the wasted money and effort fighting voter id laws to give people an ID and how about not charging $50-$100 for the id?

Sep. 13 2012 09:28 AM
BigGuy from Forest Hills, NY

Including presidential, state, and local elections between 2000 and 2010, inclusive, the total number of votes exceeds 500 million -- over 100 million votes in each of the presidential elections of 2000, 2004, and 2008 and more than 200 million votes in state and local elections. (500 million is UNDERSTATING the total number of votes in that period.)

"Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters."

10 cases of in person voter fraud over a dozen years out of more than 500,000,000 votes received.

That's 1 out of 50,000,000 votes. Put another way, for every Presidential election we have had, there has been approximately 3 -- THREE -- cases of in person voter fraud in the entire country.

Sep. 13 2012 09:15 AM

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