The dumbest of the dumb.

A Poll Tax by Another Name — John Lewis, NYT op-ed

Despite decades of progress, this year’s Republican-backed wave of voting restrictions has demonstrated that the fundamental right to vote is still subject to partisan manipulation. The most common new requirement, that citizens obtain and display unexpired government-issued photo identification before entering the voting booth, was advanced in 35 states and passed by Republican legislatures in Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri and nine other states — despite the fact that as many as 25 percent of African-Americans lack acceptable identification.

Having fought for voting rights as a student, I am especially troubled that these laws disproportionately affect young voters. Students at state universities in Wisconsin cannot vote using their current IDs (because the new law requires the cards to have signatures, which those do not). South Carolina prohibits the use of student IDs altogether. Texas also rejects student IDs, but allows voting by those who have a license to carry a concealed handgun. These schemes are clearly crafted to affect not just how we vote, but who votes.

Conservative proponents have argued for photo ID mandates by claiming that widespread voter impersonation exists in America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. While defending its photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of actual voter impersonation at any point in its history. Likewise, in Kansas, there were far more reports of U.F.O. sightings than allegations of voter fraud in the past decade. These theories of systematic fraud are really unfounded fears being exploited to threaten the franchise. . . .

These restrictions purportedly apply to all citizens equally. In reality, we know that they will disproportionately burden African Americans and other racial minorities, yet again. They are poll taxes by another name.

The Weekly Standard has this to say on Lewis’ bizarre claims voter fraud is an “unfounded fear” and as uncommon as “U.F.O. sightings.”

As for Lewis’ insistence that voter impersonation is not a concern, let me help him out here. Earlier this year, ACORN plead guilty to voter registration fraud in Nevada. Here’s an exhaustive list of ACORN employees who’ve run afoul of voter registration laws since 1998, resulting in dozens of arrests and convictions. Here’s an SEIU-affiliated voter registration group that submitted a huge amount of invalid voter registrations in one Texas county. To say concern over voter registration fraud amounts to “unfounded fears” is abject nonsense.

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