How Voter ID Laws Are Just Another Hidden Form Of Racism In The US
Across the country, Republican-dominated state legislatures are passing laws that disenfranchise millions of otherwise eligible voters.
Dozens of states have passed laws that require a photo ID to vote. Ostensibly, these laws are justified because they prevent voter fraud.
At first, the laws appear to be effective ways to ensure every election be decided fairly. But, this argument collapses when one understands the prevalence of the election fraud problem.
Out of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud, according to a Department of Justice study outlined during a 2006 Congressional hearing. Only 26 of those cases, or about .00000013 percent of the votes cast, resulted in convictions or guilty pleas.
Bottom line: You’re more likely to spot a unicorn than a fraudulent voter. And even so, the closest elections are decided by hundreds of votes; such an insignificant problem is hardly worthy of a law.
#Voting fraud is among the most rare forms of skullduggery in our United States, and yet, every state legislature grapples with its own version of a photo ID law. This disconnect begs the question, why pass these laws at all?
The only reason is to prevent poor minorities from voting. Of all voting demographics, poor minorities are most likely to lack the necessary documents, and the time and money to secure those documents.
In this targeted group, many employers don&8217;t allow their workers to take off an indefinite amount of time to deal with the red tape labyrinth of a City Records office.
With high unemployment rates, employees know that if they request time off, a desperate unemployed person will gladly take the job without requesting that time to vote.
If these otherwise eligible voters demand time off, they may be fired and they&8217;ll lose a precious source of income that keeps their family afloat. Poor families are forced to choose between eating and voting.
These laws seem needlessly cruel, until you realize that Republicans have a cruel need to prevent these people from voting, to skew elections in their favor.
Poor minorities tend to vote for policies that help them maintain a decent standard of living. Republicans seek to gut these policies to provide tax breaks, which make the rich richer and rip gaping holes in the government safety net.
Republicans are resorting to unconstitutional practices to deny voting rights. Instead of changing their policies to benefit more people, they aim to change the people who vote on their policies.
This behavior is abhorrent, but it&8217;s nothing new. Poor minorities have been discriminated against politically ever since the poorest minorities — slaves — were only counted as three-fifths of a human being. After emancipation, legislatures created literacy tests that poor minorities could not pass and poll taxes they could not afford.
These shady practices existed in one form or another until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned all of these practices from the poll booth. This landmark law franchised millions of voters, whose ancestors were illegally barred from voting.
These new photo ID laws are just the newest generation of discrimination. They use colorblind language to appear noble, when their application is sinister.
But, the laws are dangerous because they are tacitly racist. They are slippery because their proponents can claim ulterior motives.
Lawmakers can claim to be protecting the integrity of elections when their actions could not have less to do with integrity.
We have learned to despise open #racism. Deliberate discrimination in broad daylight is rare, but institutionalized racism is as prevalent as ever; you see it in mall dress codes, renting practices and police statistics.
We didn&8217;t kill racism when we elected Barack Obama to presidency in 2008. Instead, the election allowed racists to hide behind the post-racial ideology.
If we believe that racism is over, we won&8217;t fight against the sneaky racism that thrives today.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn&8217;t exist.
In America, racism is our devil. It&8217;s not dead; it&8217;s just hiding. Racism no longer marches down main street; it wages guerrilla warfare. Mass disenfranchisement is nothing new; it just got smarter.
But don&8217;t be fooled; #voter ID laws are just Jim Crow&8217;s shy son.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.
Photo Courtesy: Hilary McHone