Late Tuesday, the Senate rejected 41–52 Senator Mitch McConnell’s effort to attach a voter ID amendment to the immigration bill. Hailing McConnell’s defeat as a victory for voting rights, People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas issued the following statement:
“Senator McConnell’s voter ID amendment was politics at its worst. It had nothing to do with immigration. Rather, its impact would have been to keep eligible voters away from the polls—especially poor people, senior citizens, students, minorities, and people from rural areas. Its resounding bipartisan defeat is a huge victory for voters and voting rights advocates.
“Voter ID schemes make it more difficult for voters to exercise their right to vote and significantly increase the chances that eligible, registered voters will be denied the right to vote, while doing absolutely nothing to prevent voter fraud, which every study agrees is virtually non-existent. McConnell’s amendment is part of a coordinated political strategy to create a more exclusive electorate. Fortunately, so far this year, 22 state legislatures have rejected voter ID bills. And now the Senate has joined them in doing the right thing.
“The Bush Administration’s support for onerous voter ID legislation is just one aspect of its destructive politicization of the Department of Justice, which has undermined its mission to protect and serve the rights of all Americans.”