Cost of Freedom Creator: Women Disproportionately Affected by Voter ID

Philadelphian Faye Anderson decided to help create the Cost of Freedom Project, a national web-based application which provides information to get identification to vote, after she realized complaining about voter suppression laws wasn’t getting anyone anywhere.

“Back in the day we used to say, you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. So all these folks that are tweeting and complaining about Voter ID, they are part of the problem,” she says. And with all the complaints, she says, few have focused on the disenfranchisement of women at the voting booth.

Voter ID legislation was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on March 14. It will require all those going to the polls to vote to show up-to-date ID in November. Otherwise, you will be turned away.

The legislation has been making its rounds in many states, along with abortion restrictions and anti-union laws, since the 2010 elections swept a large number of Republicans into state Legislatures. The ACLU of Pennsylvania recently noted it plans to sue over the legislation. Until then, Anderson believes the Cost of Freedom phone application, as well as the mass-education work by groups like the Committee of Seventy, is needed to make sure everyone who wants to vote in November, can.

Anderson believes the complaints and protests against Voter ID, by both citizens and politicians, has done a good job of getting the problem get out in the open. But the reality is, for the time being, Voter ID is here to stay. Her organization’s web-based app, which we detailed on Friday, will help citizens get around the law if they choose to.

“If a woman wants to change her name to vote, she has to produce her marriage license,” says Anderson, noting many newlyweds often forget to change their name on their driver’s license. “It’s possible that we can have a situation in which a voter in Pennsylvania without ID, a married woman who is now divorced, will have to stand in four separate lines to gather the documents that she would need to show voter ID.”

Cost of Freedom won’t end the agony of waiting in line at the DMV or otherwise. But it at least will tell you which lines you’re going to have to stand in, and that there’s a problem in the first place.

“Women are disproportionately impacted because 90 percent of women change their names following divorce or marriage,” she says. In addition: “Only 66 percent of women have an issued photo ID with their current name.”

The American Prospect notes these numbers, too, adding women who fall into this category and do not fix their ID by November will have to “fill out substitute ballots and later return with valid documentation like a certified court document showing a divorce decree or marriage license.”

Many conservative columnists, such as Ann Coulter and John Derbyshire have publicly fantasized about denying women the right to vote again. In a 2009 interview, Derbyshire noted women voting is bad for conservatism and included a chapter in a book he wrote titled “The Case Against Women’s Suffrage.” Coulter called denying women the right to vote a “pipedream” in 2007.

Women, along with the poor, minorities, and students, are often a large Democratic voter bloc. All are disproportionately affected by Voter ID laws.

Anderson says many more people than we realize will be turned away from the polls in November if citizens don’t go out of their way to succumb to the new rules and get a new ID.

6 Responses to “ Cost of Freedom Creator: Women Disproportionately Affected by Voter ID ”

  1. Thanks for telling the under-reported story of the disproportionate impact of voter ID on women voters.

    Voter ID supporters say no one will be turned away from the polls. That’s true as far as it goes. While voters without an acceptable photo ID will be able to cast a provisional ballot at the poll, their vote may not be counted.

    For information on acceptable forms of photo ID or how to get a “free” photo ID, please visit or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

  2. Philly RN says:

    I’d like to see the source that shows that 66% of women don’t have a photo ID with their legal name on it. That’s crazy.

    That defies the sniff test. You get married, you change your ID. You get divorced, and you may or may not need to change your ID, depending on what you choose. It’s not that hard.

    Voter ID opponents hurt their case by inventing evidence.

  3. [...] Related: How women are disproportionately affected by voter suppression laws. [...]

  4. [...] against Act 23 eventually succeed in overturning the law in court. Experiences of citizens in Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and other states show that these “voter ID” laws serve only to [...]


    “[S]urvey results show that only 48% of voting-age women with ready access to their U.S. birth certificates have a birth certificate with current legal name – and only 66% of voting-age women with ready access to any proof of citizenship have a document with current legal name.”

    The survey taker is the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan public policy and law institute at New York University School of Law.

  6. [...] Faye Anderson told the Philadelphia Weekly, one of the groups most affected by this new law are divorced women: “If a woman wants to change her name to vote, she has to produce her marriage license,” says [...]

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