Primaries offer first major test of voter ID laws

Citizens in 10 states required to show a photo identification before voting
Associated Press
Mar 1, 2014

In elections that begin next week, voters in 10 states will be required to present photo identification before casting ballots — the first major test of voter ID laws after years of legal challenges arguing that the measures are designed to suppress voting.

The first election is March 4 in Texas, followed by nine other primaries running through early September that will set the ballot for the midterm elections in November, when voters decide competitive races for governor and control of Congress.

The primaries will be closely watched by both sides of the voter ID debate, which intensified in 2011, the year after Republicans swept to power in dozens of statehouses.

For months, election workers have been preparing new voting procedures, while party activists and political groups seek ID cards for voters who do not have them.

The debut of the new laws in a few smaller-scale elections over the last year has already exposed some problems, such as mismatched names, confusion over absentee voting provisions and rules that require voters to travel great distances to obtain proper documentation. In one case, voters had no recourse if their credentials were challenged.

"Unless people are paying attention, and a lot of them aren't, they don't even know this law exists," said Brian Schoenman, secretary of the elections board in Fairfax County, Va., a Washington, D.C., suburb.

Supporters of the measures, mostly Republican conservatives, contend the ID checks protect against fraudulent voting and thus help build trust in government. Critics see them as a way of discouraging the kind of voters who lack picture IDs and might be more likely to support Democrats.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that states can require voters to produce photo ID at the polls without violating their constitutional rights. And last year, the high court threw out a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act, a decision that allowed voter ID laws to take effect in states where voting procedures had been under strict federal oversight for nearly 50 years.

Georgia and Indiana adopted some of the first voter ID laws. This year, in addition to the Texas law, new or stricter photo-identification voting laws take effect in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have approved similar action, but those measures are on hold because of court challenges. In Mississippi, black lawmakers have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to block their state's law.

When Arkansas held a special legislative election in January, dozens of mail-in absentee votes were thrown out after voters failed to include a copy of their photo ID with their ballot. The Arkansas law, passed over Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto, did not address absentee voting, and the GOP-controlled Legislature is not expected to take it up during the 2014 session.

The law allows voters without photo ID to cast a provisional ballot, but the ballot will not be counted unless they show identification by the Monday after the election.

"This is in no way an effort to suppress any valid vote," said GOP state Rep. Andy Mayberry, who supported the law. "It's a measure to help secure the credibility of our elections."

Arkansas voters will have two important races to decide this year. Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, is expected to face an aggressive challenge from Republican Rep. Tom Cotton. A competitive contest for governor is also unfolding, with Republican former Rep. Asa Hutchinson likely to run against Democrat Mike Ross.

The higher-than-normal turnout expected for the midterm election will only compound the problems that emerged during the January election, according to Craighead County Election Commission Chairman Scott McDaniel, a Democrat.

"I foresee a great number, an unacceptable number of absentee voters to be disenfranchised because of this whole deal, and I don't like it," McDaniel said.

Virginia could be particularly confusing. Majority Republicans enacted a law requiring proof of identification, but no photo, in 2012. Last year, they amended the law to require photo ID to vote but set the effective date for the new law as July 1.

Virginia's primary is June 10, when voters will not be required to present a photo. But in November, they will.

"What I'm worried about is you've got a good number of communities of elderly, and foreign-born citizens who speak different languages," Schoenman said. "And we'll only have four months to get ready."

The state has about 330,000 more registered voters than licensed drivers, which is why minority Democrats last week unsuccessfully sought $250,000 to pay for the photo ID cards voters must have by November.

Democrats will be seeking to safeguard every potential vote. Last year's attorney general race was decided by 11 votes. This fall, the Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Warner is on the ballot, and the GOP needs to gain only six seats to claim the majority.

In Texas, as many as 600,000 voters could be prevented from having their ballots counted because of the state's newly enacted photo ID law, according to officials with Battleground Texas, a Democratic-leaning group aimed at helping register new voters.

One third of Texas' 254 counties do not have Department of Public Safety stations that can provide the cards. That means voters without proper identification have to drive more than 200 miles to get a card, provided they have the proper documentation, such as a birth certificate.

Still, state GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri said few problems popped up with the law during last year's election, a low-turnout affair that included constitutional changes but only drew about 10 percent of the electorate.

"The law has already been tested and performed quite well. I see no reason for concern," Munisteri said.

The 10 percent were devout voters, well aware of the new requirements, said Dana DeBeauvoir, election commissioner in Travis County, which includes Austin.

"This was not a population that needs extra support," she said. "Where we're going to see the problem is in November."

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University is suing Texas and states with similar laws, but it's not clear whether the lawsuits will be decided by November.

"We have shown already that these laws correlate with places that had demographic changes that currently favor Democrats," said Wendy Weiser, director of the Brennan Institute's Democracy program. "When you look at these things together, what's going on is discrimination."




Don't forget about Medicare Part D!


Re: "Of COURSE (snip)"


No need to be so smug & sanctimonious.

With $17T in fed debt (and climbing), plus hundreds of trillions of dollars in potential unfunded liabilities from earned and unearned entitlement programs; looks like there's A LOT of bi-partisan finger pointing to be had.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I believe that locally every wingnut of flavor and variety "pay for" the ability to pay $1 (ONE DOLLAR) to ride a shuttle to various places around town/county. In addition I would find it hard to imagine that if I contacted the Erie County Democratic Party that someone couldn't come to my house to help me get my ID to vote. Don't Democrats want me to vote if I reached out to them with some kind of inability?

I wonder which other organizations can be reached for assistance? Churches? Civic clubs such as Lions? I wonder if the Board of Elections can be reached and be able to answer questions based on all the of extreme, fantastic circumstances we are applying to hypothetical people who may very well not exist?

The Big Dog's back

The right to vote was originally White privilege. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get the right to vote for everyone. Now the neanderthal, knuckle draggers want to go backward.


It was originally a white mans privilege (landowner's I believe), then the black mans, then women.

Bottom Line

Why are you libs so dead set on running this country further into the ground each day? Why do you always have to make it about race? You just HAVE to have something to b*&ch about.


Gotta love when conservatives enact policies that adversely affect minorities, and when Democrats point out that obvious discrimination, conservatives like Bottom accuse us of bringing race into the discussion.

Rolls eyes...

Bottom Line

Because you make EVERY article about race. You have constant double standards. Your arguments contradict your other arguements. That's why 98% of the people on here know you are a pathetic racist! You hate white people! You need ID to do all these other things, why should voting be any different??? You're acting like it's oh so difficult and demanding for "your" people to obtain and it's clearly not.

And last time I checked there was black history month and Hispanic heritage month etc. But I can't find a white history month on the calendar.


It's you Cons that are ruining things!


Last time I looked any place that issues a drivers license in Ohio (and since these are state issued ID's) can issue a state ID with picture. Where is it that there isn't a place to get a drivers license more that is more 20 miles away, let alone less than 200. And most rural areas, most folks travel more than 1/2 mine to vote. Some are even more than 10 miles. But then exaggeration is expected when politics is in the discussion. Most folks who are infirm, or destitute are on some form of assistance and have to prove their identity so a free state issued id would be a thing they would need. The political system needs to evolve and modernize. doing things like they did 100 years ago is hardly "progressive". It is old fashioned. Welcome to the 21st century. Try to get out of the 19th century where folks knew all their neighbors for miles around. Modern folks move more often than they did in the 19th century.

The Big Dog's back

Did you read the article pooh?


Happy White History Month pooh jr.!


Re: "Did you read the article pooh?"

As previously stated several times, piddles. When you answer either Hero Zone's or my next half dozen questions I will answer your questions. I am tired of answering your questions when you don't answer mine.

Have a nice day piddle puppy.

The Big Dog's back

Was there a question in that rant of yours?


Do you need to go outside to piddle AGAIN, lil' fella?


Re: "Was there a question in that rant of yours?"

You must not have the ability to either read or know enough grammar to know that. I am not surprised. As I stated before I will answer your questions after you answer HZ's or my next half dozen questions. I am tried of answering your questions when you don't answer any.

The Big Dog's back

What's the matter poor pooh, can't read? AHAHAHAHAHA.


Already told you I won't answer your questions till you answer HZ's or my next half dozen questions. I am tired of answering yours while getting no answers from you.

Darwin's choice

The "democrat voter" base foundation is in jeopardy! Look at all the rats scurrying to prop up their constituents! "We need to protect our phony baloney jobs..." From a good democrat!
I guess all those "illegals" not voting have you nervous coasterfail!


Happy White History Month Dagwood!

Darwin's choice

Thank You, Casper!


You are welcome Buckwheat!


Quote from above article. Pretty much answers whatever disagreement there is.

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that states can require voters to produce photo ID at the polls without violating their constitutional rights."

Others opinions are meaningless after SCOTUS has ruled. They can jump up and down and flap their jaws all they want, it won't change facts, SCOTUS has made their ruling and chance that they will hear another case on this for decades... little to none.

If state issued picture ID is passed by the State government, it will be pretty much what some folks like to call such things... the law of the land. Much like the same sex marriage, or at least striking down part of the defense of marriage act (passed by a dim majority in both the house and senate and signed by Clinton) and other things that some folks disagree with. Once it gets ruled on by SCOTUS the argument is pretty much meaningless.

The Big Dog's back

SCOTUS ruled abortion is legal. Might want to remind those southern states (Confederacy)of that.


Are you now claiming that there are no abortions in any southern states? I would like to see your proof of such a statement. Sounds like deflection to me. Please show any state that has a current law making it illegal to get an abortion that Roe v Wade allowed.

I don't know how showing an Id to vote has to do with getting an abortion, but somewhere in piddle puppies brain there is a connection.

The Big Dog's back

THREE days after the Arkansas House of Representatives passed the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, Jason Rapert, the freshman state senator who sponsored the bill, took to Twitter to boast that the new law “stands to save thousands of lives”. Its chances of doing so, however, depend first on surviving a court challenge. The law, which passed on March 6th, bans abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy—the age by which an ultrasound examination can usually detect a fetal heartbeat—except to save the life of the mother and in pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

This directly contravenes the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade, which held that the right to privacy—which it had earlier found in the Fourteenth Amendment and “in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights”—effectively set the date at which a fetus can survive outside its mother as the point at which states have the power to ban abortions outright. Mike Beebe, the governor of Arkansas, vetoed the bill for just this reason, though the legislature overrode his veto. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), its Arkansas chapter and the Centre for Reproductive Rights, an abortion-rights advocacy group, have vowed to file suit shortly.

Now what pooh?


Quote from me:
"Please show any state that has a current law making it illegal to get an abortion that Roe v Wade allowed."

From piddles:
"Human Heartbeat Protection Act"

Then, once more from piddles:
"Now what?"


LITTLE ROCK, Ark., May 17 (UPI) -- A federal judge has blocked enforcement of an Arkansas law restricting abortion because it may violate a woman's constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Read more:

What part of "Please show me any state that has a CURRENT LAW making it illegal to get an abortion that Roe v Wade allowed" is beyiond your understanding? The one you mentioned was overturned, by a federal judge, thus it is not a CURRENT law. You really have a reading comprehension problem. I think you may need profesional help as this is far from the first time you have not understood simple sentences.

I still don't understand what anything on abortion has to do with showing your ID to vote. I just think piddles is trying to defect after he saw he is losing the discussion.

The Big Dog's back

Always moving the goalposts pooh. I provide what you asked for and you move the goalpost.


My earlier quote:

"Please show any state that has a current law making it illegal to get an abortion that Roe v Wade allowed. "

As stated in my earlier post CURRENT LAW. I did not move any goalpost. You did not show a current law. Not my problem that you either don't know what current law means or you have no reading comprehension.

I can show where booze is illegal, and women can't vote, and that requiring picture ID's to vote is unconstitutional (to keep this post minimally about the article) ... but those also aren't current laws. Booze is legal, women can vote, and picture ID's can be required to vote. Abortions are legal in Arkansas, and everywhere else in the US. Poor, poor piddles... shot down again.

The Big Dog's back

Always trying to hijack a thread for your warped mind. Please come back and say I did.