Recently I authored a friend of the court brief to the Supreme Court urging the Court to overturn an onerous Indiana state law that requires individuals to provide a photo identification to vote on Election Day.
While photo ids seem harmless, I believe they are in fact, a modern day version of the poll tax of the pre-Civil Rights era. Studies have clearly illustrated that the requirement to present a photo id at the polling place disenfranchises voters. The people that are most likely to be affected by an id requirement, and hence denied the ability to vote, are people of color, the elderly, and the young and poor people.
I believe that the right to vote in America is a sacred right and a moral obligation. We actually have a problem in this country of getting people to vote. That is why we must do everything that encourages, fosters and facilitates eligible voters’ ability to exercise this fundamental right in our democracy – not find ways to disenfranchise them.
Proponents of photo id requirements never argue outright against anyone’s basic right to vote. Instead, they claim that since adults are required to have photo ids to drive, buy a plane ticket, enter some buildings and even purchase certain goods; we should also be required to show identification to vote. The essential problem with this logic is that it equates these privileges in our society to a basic fundamental right of voting.
As a Congressman, I am committed to ensuring our citizens’ Constitutional right (and ability) to vote, exercising this most fundamental due in our democracy, without any barriers. That is why I believe overturning this photo id law where it exists is critical to protect every citizen’s birthright to the franchise.