Voter I.D. laws should be reviewed

Letter to the Editor

Section 5 of the Civil Rights Act (1965) is a provision aimed at protecting particular racial groups in states with a certain history of voter discrimination. It is argued that this provision is just a relic of the civil rights era, discriminatory to states that have as much right to change their laws as any other, in a time when racial discrimination is no longer the issue it once was (we do have a black president after all).

I would argue that the wealth of voter I.D. laws that have been enacted in the past couple of years, weakly justified in the name of voter fraud protection, clearly demonstrate discrimination to be alive and well.

It has been shown that strict voter photo I.D. laws disproportionately affect the elderly, the disabled and those of lower socio-economic status associated with African Americans and other minority groups. There are clear political benefits to discouraging the enactment of a basic civil right from groups that are increasingly influential in the election outcome. With the growing polarization of the political parties, this type of politically driven discrimination is set to propagate.

Sadly Section 5 is indeed outdated. It seems clear to me that all states should be answerable to an outside review and judgment prior to enacting new voter I.D. laws. As has been shown in the past election, states answerable only to themselves can all too easily silence the voice of those groups that the landmark act of 1965 so nobly set out to protect.

-Stephanie Love, Lexington.

Dick Anderson says:

Voting is a privilege. In most states, felons lose their right to vote. Just as driving is a privilege.

I don’t know of any special group that is excluded from having to show a drivers license when stopped by law enforcement. In fact, it is a crime not to have the license on my person when I’m driving.

So why would certain special groups be excluded from the responsibility of proving identity for one of the most powerful and important acts available to Americans–voting.

The current president didn’t get elected by minorities. All the minorities are just that: the minority. So the majority elected him.

But President Obama had to prove that he was at least 45 years old. No American may be elected to that office without being at least that old.

That’s the law. Does it discriminate? Of course it does. We want wisdom in the White House. Whether or not the simple task of living 45 years implies any wisdom is another conversation.

In most countries, identification is absolutely necessary for almost everything. I have to prove I’m of age to buy cigarettes.

Why would I not have to prove my identity to do something much more important than smoke–to vote.

To grant certain groups the right to vote without showing identification is the very definition of discrimination. It allows special groups to bypass the law.