Who Really Won?

Friday, April 01, 2005

No Foolin': Republicans Want to Make Voting Harder

Legislation that would require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots has touched off fierce debate in three states, with opponents complaining the measures represent a return to the days of poll taxes and Jim Crow.

Lawmakers in Georgia and Indiana walked off the job to protest the proposals, which they say would deprive the poor, the elderly and minorities of the right to vote. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, has already vetoed a similar measure and has vowed to do so again.

Ohio intends to adopt a similar standard in upcoming election- reform legislation - applying it, as suggested by the federal Help America Vote Act, solely to first- time voters in federal elections who register by mail. A separate Ohio proposal, introduced by State Sen. Bob Spada, a North Royalton Republican, would require a photo ID of all voters - as the controversial measures in Indiana, Georgia and Wisconsin would.

Critics say such measures do not provide good alternatives for those without photo IDs.

Georgia's proposal, for example, would allow people without photo IDs to cast provisional ballots but require them to return within 48 hours with a picture ID.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, an At lanta Democrat, said that amounts to "an updated form of Jim Crow," referring to segregation-era laws that kept blacks from voting. About 100 people rallied outside the Georgia Capitol last week to protest the legislation, which passed the state Senate on Tuesday and now goes to the House.

Wisconsin would require a government-issued photo ID from nearly all voters. Exceptions would be granted for domestic abuse victims, nursing home residents and those who have lost their driver's license.

Indiana would exempt only those who sign affidavits swearing they are too poor to get an ID or that they have religious objections to obtaining one.

Opponents of Indiana's measure contend there is no solid evidence of fraud at the polls. Supporters argue that perception matters as much as reality, and people who think fraud is going to cancel out their ballot will not bother to vote.

Yep, the Republicans want to make it harder to vote based on a fictional perception which matters as much as reality. Why do they hate reality so much?