Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Voter I.D. laws have a disparate impact on the poor, the elderly, minorities, and college students by requiring a state-issued photo I.D. many do not possess, and requiring original documents, typically a birth certificate, in order to obtain the appropriate state-issued photo ID. The cost of obtaining original vital records document(s) is often prohibitively expensive to someone who cannot afford it. This works as an unconstitutional poll tax in my opinion, but our illustrious U.S. Supreme Court disagrees.
Another bloc of voters for whom voter I.D. laws have a disparate impact are women who have married or divorced, but who have not updated their state-issued photo I.D. to reflect their name change. This is about to become an issue in Texas. Alex Palombo writes at the Huffington Post, What 19th Amendment?
It's a trend lately, that if a party is afraid of losing an election,
they pass legislation barring key groups in their opponents' base from
voting. And clearly, it's something Texas has taken to heart. Right
after Wendy Davis declared that she was running for governor, Texas
Republicans set out to disenfranchise women from voting, 19th Amendment be damned.
And the way they're keeping ladies out of the voting booth it is a doozy.
As of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their
up-to-date legal name. It sounds like such a small thing, but according
to the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66 percent of voting age women
have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of
citizenship. This is largely because young women have not updated their
documents with their married names, a circumstance that doesn't affect
male voters in any significant way. Suddenly 34 percent of women voters
are scrambling for an acceptable ID, while 99 percent of men are home
Adding another wrinkle to the plan, women in Texas must show original
documents of the name change: a marriage certificate, a divorce
certificate, or a court-ordered name change certificate — and no
photocopies are allowed. This leaves women in Texas either scrambling to
gather the proper paperwork and get their ID in order before the
registration cut-off, or leaves them unable to vote.
points out, getting approved copies of these documents is often
expensive or difficult for many, especially low-income women, to obtain:
Constituents must show original documents verifying legal proof of a
name change, whether it is a marriage license, divorce decree, or court
ordered change — they are prevented from using photocopies. In the
absence of original documents, voters must pay a minimum of $20 to
receive new copies. Due to inflexible work schedules and travel
expenses, voters often opt to have their documents mailed, incurring
Similar to how poor, minority, and elderly voters in Pennsylvania had
trouble getting to the DMV to obtain a state ID or driver's license
before the election, women in Texas are having trouble getting an
acceptable photo ID that matches their most current name.
* * *
The clear argument against this law is that it specifically targets
women in a year where a controversial, pro-choice woman is running for
the highest office in a state with a conservative, pro-life dominated
government. The timing isn't an accident.
* * *
Texas clearly isn't afraid of shutting people out on Election Day —
just hours after the Supreme Court knocked down Section 5 of the Voting
Rights Act this past summer, Texas declared that its new voter ID law
and redistricting plan were effective immediately.
This move gerrymandered the state even more in favor of conservative
legislators, and shut out thousands of poor, elderly, minority, and
student voters without proper ID. Added with this move to cut thousands
of women out of the voting pool, I have to ask: who exactly is left to
vote in Texas?
It seems that if the Tea Party gets their way, the only people left to vote will be wealthy white men. And while that is exactly what the Founding Fathers did back in
Revolutionary War times, fortunately, our country has come a long way
since then. We have fought too hard for voter inclusion to bar people
from the polls because they don't vote the way we like them to. We live
in a representative democracy where everyone's voice should be heard. If
Texas Republicans want to beat Wendy Davis at the polls, they shouldn't
keep women out of the polling places; they should pick a better
candidate than Greg Abbott.
There is no applicable case precedents under the 19th Amendment (womens' right to vote) of which I am aware. This could be a landmark case when it is filed. However, this would appear to be a clear case of equal protection under the 14th Amendment where the voter I.D. law has a disparate impact on "34 percent of women voters . . . while 99 percent of men" are unaffected. I would still raise the unconstitutional poll tax argument under the 24th Amendment for the cost of the documents.
I am curious as to whether a woman has been denied the right to vote under Arizona's voter I.D. law on similar grounds.