Voter ID laws enacted now in over half the states, requiring voters to present some form of identification as a requirement to vote, are seemingly simple in nature. But they will place unreasonable burdens on many women who may well be unaware of the difficulty they could face when casting their vote in the 2012 election.
Fourteen states require a government issued photo ID when voting in person. At the time of registering to vote, other states like Kansas and Alabama further demand proof of citizenship beyond the federal legal requirement that citizens swear they are citizens. During the 2011 legislative session, five states—Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina—joined Georgia and Indiana by enacting the strictest form of photo ID requirement for voters, and most of these newest changes will first come into effect for the 2012 elections.
Proponents of the laws argue that photo ID’s are a reasonable way to protect our elections and make them fair. But far from harmless, the laws are complex and place unnecessary hardship on women—those who are newly married or recently divorced as well as senior citizens and low-income women.
To read more, see the entire exclusive article in the Women’s Media Center posted on July 22, 2011.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a legal and political commentator who is seen frequently in the media on issues affecting women and African Americans. She also writes for the Huffington Post and Politic365. Follow her on Twitter at LegalSpeaks.