New Brennan Center Report Shows Worse Voter ID Picture
As much as we and others have been reporting on new Voter ID restrictions in Pennsylvania, turns out it’s looking far worse for people across the country where similar photo ID laws have been laid out for similar stated purposes.
The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law’s research has consistently been at the forefront of this issue. And today, they released a study today noting the impact such laws will have on low-income and minority voters.
The findings in the new report are particularly devastating in rural counties across the United States. For instance, more than 10 million eligible voters live “more than 10 miles from their nearest state ID-issuing office.”
About half-a-million voters do not have access to a vehicle and “live more than 10 miles from the nearest state ID-issuing office open more than two days a week.” Similarly, many of those voters have minimal public transportation options. And “1.2 million eligible black voters and 500,000 eligible Hispanic voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office open more than two days a week.”
In one particular Wisconsin location, Sauk City, the only ID-issuing office is open only the fifth Wednesday of the month—though most months don’t have five Wednesdays! In 2012, only two months coming up have a fifth Wednesday: August and October.
The report also notes birth certificates can cost between $8 and $25; while marriage licenses, which may be required for women whose birth certificates only include a maiden name, can cost $20 – and that’s more than the poll tax cost before it was outlawed during the Civil Rights era.
“The result is plain,” reads the report’s executive summary, “Voter ID laws will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of poor Americans to vote. They place a serious burden on a core constitutional right that should be universally available to every American citizen.”
Also today, the ACLU of Pennsylvania released information contained in its pretrial brief of what claims will be made at next week’s trial over the law. Among them: “The commonwealth now admits that it cannot identify even a single instance in which a person voted improperly in Pennsylvania because they were able to impersonate someone else at the polling place.”
And, as has become more obvious recently, the state has done a pretty terrible job of informing the public about the law—which they said they’d do. The ACLU has found “An estimated 37% of residents are not even aware of the voter ID law or believe there is no photo ID law” and most people who do not have a valid ID for voting believe they do. Oh, and the ACLU estimates perhaps more than 1 million voters lack correct photo ID.
So there’s that.
Lastly, this is to remind you that Philadelphia’s photo ID centers’ hours are a bit better than that of Sauk City, Wisconsin. The PennDOT office on Columbus Blvd in South Philly is open Tuesday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Same goes for the locations on Arch Street; Ogontz Avenue; and Island Avenue.