How have voter ID laws affected you?

Think Voter ID laws are no big deal? Think again.

Voter ID laws might seem reasonable at first - but look closer and you'll see that they do absolutely nothing to prevent voter fraud.  Instead, they make it harder for eligible citizens to vote.

In Tennessee, 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper, a lifelong voter, attempted to secure the new ID that she would need to vote in the next election. When she arrived at the DMV, she was turned away because, despite having her birth certificate, current voter registration card, and a copy of her lease, she did not have a marriage license to verify the change of name.

In Texas, thanks to a new voter ID law, students may not use their school-issued photo IDs to vote, while Texans who possess concealed weapons permits are allowed to use their permits to vote. The justification for this seemingly arbitrary rule, according to one state Representative, is that “Texas [is], you know, a big handgun state so everybody has almost got a concealed handgun license over 21.”

In Maine, the state is attempting to intimidate student voters – 200 of whom were already falsely accused and then cleared of voter fraud charges – by insisting that they either register their vehicles in the state or vote in the state where they resided prior to college. Threatening these students with felony convictions and possible fines or jail time for something that the Supreme Court deemed legal in 1979 is a blatant attempt to prevent them from voting.

In South Carolina, Debbie Freelon, who lives on disability and whose first name does not appear on her birth certificate, will not be able to vote in the next election unless she can scrape together upwards of $700 to legally update her name on that document. Even if she had the extra money, it could take up to two years for a court to approve the change.

Also in Texas, new rules about voter ID prevent veterans from using their Veteran Administration cards to vote. On the new rule, Charlie Jones of the Texas Democratic Veterans has said that, “[w]e have a lot of vets who are homeless. The only way they interchange with the community is through the [Veteran’s Administration]. They already don’t trust the system. And now they’re being told they can’t vote.”

These stories are just a handful of the estimated 5 million citizens across the nation who will have their right to vote effectively taken away from them in 2012 by these unfair voter ID laws.

What’s your story? We want to hear from voters who have been silenced by these new voter suppression laws. 

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Practical Progressive - Official Selection 2008