DOJ Supports Restrictive Voter ID Law

This week, the Bush Department of Justice filed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court in the Indiana voter ID case (Crawford v. Marion Cty. Election Board), supporting the state’s imposition of the most restrictive voter ID barriers in the nation.

The DOJ’s brief conveniently ignores critical facts — for example, the fact that the state admits that it cannot show even one instance of the fraud that these laws supposedly address — voter impersonation fraud at the polls — ever occurring in the history of Indiana; that even if such fraud were a significant threat, these restrictive ID laws would not prevent such fraud (since they exclude absentee ballots from their requirements), and that studies demonstrate that these laws have a tremendously disparate impact on the ability of eligible voters who are poor, elderly, or minorities to cast their ballots.

Sadly, once again, the DOJ has chosen to step in on the side of extreme right-wing partisan interests rather than on the side of the interests of the voters it is charged with protecting. While the DOJ could have chosen to file no brief in this case, it instead opted to argue in favor of this burdensome and unnecessary restriction on the right to vote. If the state and the DOJ are successful in the arguments they promote, it will become easier for states to place barriers in the paths of eligible voters in federal elections.

As we have previously reported, People For the American Way Foundation has filed an amicus brief with the Court urging the Court to strike down Indiana’s restrictive voter ID law. The case will be argued on January 9, 2008.


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