11 States Trying Really Hard to Keep Poor, Black, and Student Voters From Voting
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South Carolina is estimated to have 178,000 voters who don't have the state-issued ID now required for them to vote. It's a good thing they have a very generous governor, determined to make up for the state's long history of discrimination, intimidation, and abuse of people of color at the polls.
“Find me those people that think that this is invading their rights,” Governor Nikki Haley told a local news station, “And I will go take them to the DMV myself and help them get that picture ID.”
Think Progress did the math on how much work Governor Haley has just signed herself up for:
That DMV branch is open five days a week for 8.5 hours a day. Assuming Haley wants to save some time and gas, we’ll assume that her car can fit four passengers. That means that if every single one of these 178,000 voters were to present themselves to the governor’s mansion and request the free ride Haley just offered them, it would take just over 7 years, 4 months, 3 weeks and 5 days if she spends every single minute that the DMV is open doing nothing but playing taxi driver. That’s nearly two full terms — assuming there’s no traffic.
Like most of the states facing a new voter ID law, South Carolina has no recent reported cases of voter fraud, though a Myrtle Beach Tea Party leader insists that it happens. South Carolina's bill is so severe--and its voting rights history so bad--that it requires Justice Department approval before it goes forward—the S.C. Progressive Network calls the bill worse than similar measures in other states.
Texas Democrats say that Governor Rick Perry's priority voter ID bill intentionally targets black and Latino voters, and offered dozens of amendments to the bill to temper its impact on their constituents.
"I think it's about disenfranchising groups of people who do not historically vote for the Republican Party," said State Rep. Dawnna Dukes.
And in 2007, former Texas Republican Party political director Royal Masset told the Houston Chronicle that a voter-ID bill that failed that year in the legislature "could cause enough of a drop-off in legitimate Democratic voting to add 3 percent to the Republican vote."
But Democrats were unable to stop Perry's bill this time, and now the three-term Texas governor has another success to trumpet as he oozes closer to a presidential bid.
"This is what democracy really is all about," Perry said when he signed the bill into law. "It's the integrity of every vote; that every vote counts. Today we take a major step in protecting the most cherished right of Americans."
“Illegal voting,” however, is now a felony.
Maine's State Senate rejected a photo ID bill in June, as Democrat after Democrat made strong arguments against it.
"I'm going to have to take an 88-year-old mother, Mr. President, down to Motor Vehicles sometime before the next election, even though everybody in my community knows her well, and get a photo ID of her, because she stopped driving many years ago," he said. "She doesn't have a driver's license any longer, she doesn't have a clue where it is. We talked about it this weekend. And that's going to be a major inconvenience, not only to my mother but to a lot of other mothers and grandmothers."
The Democrats' arguments were able to sway enough Republicans to defeat the voter ID bill, though. So why is Maine still on this list?