Indiana's Voter ID Law Discriminates Against Citizens at the Polls

Voting rights cases extol the right to vote as fundamental and preservative of all rights. Indeed, the right to vote without regard to race, gender, age, or class is protected by numerous constitutional amendments and federal laws. Therefore, Indiana's voter identification law departed from well-established constitutional principles when it required voters to possess a valid, current government-issued photo identification in order to cast a ballot on this past Election Day. After a long partisan battle, Indiana imposed new burdens on minorities, women, students, the elderly and the poor.

In Crawford v. Marion County, the Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter ID law, ignoring the plight of a 78-year-old Ft. Wayne woman who attempted to get a photo ID. After three separate trips to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles over several weeks and finally obtaining a certified birth certificate, she was turned away because her birth certificate contained only her maiden name. The law also denied ballots to elderly nuns in South Bend, who were turned away solely because they lacked photo ID. Students from the University of Notre Dame were denied ballots because their student IDs lacked an expiration date and their driver's licenses were out-of-state. They were told they could only vote absentee, while those who possessed Indiana-approved ID were able to go to the polls on Election Day. Instead of treating these voters' ballots as necessary parts of our democracy that preserve all other rights, their denial was characterized as minor collateral damage in the battle to prevent unsubstantiated voter impersonation.

While the Supreme Court held the state photo ID requirement did not violate federal law, the Indiana Court of Appeals found it violated the Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause of the state constitution because it unjustifiably exempted select groups — absentee voters and voters living in state-licensed care facilities — from having to comply with the law.

Now the Supreme Court of Indiana has an opportunity to affirm that discriminating against citizens at the polls violates the Indiana Constitution. On Monday, the ACLU's Voting Rights Project filed an amicus brief encouraging the Supreme Court of Indiana to see these injustices and restore equal rights to all of Indiana's voters.

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Paen

No wonder that voter turn out is so low.

maxh

The idea that "the right to vote without regard to race, gender, age, or class is protected by numerous constitutional amendments and federal laws" is false. Only in a few states are seventeen-year-olds permitted to vote (and even then only in some elections). In no state are those sixteen and under permitted to vote.

Anonymous

To Paen: No wonder voter fraud is rampant throughout the nation - any LEGAL citizen can get an identification card. It's not unduly burdensome to have someone bring an identification card to cast a ballot. Democracy demands fairness in voting.

roald

Anon #3 - Please back up your claim that voter fraud is rampant. You might want to read this first.
http://www.minnpost.com/community_voices/2009/02/09/6398/the_myth_of_vot...

Go back and read the article. Not all legal citizens can get ID cards.

I do agree that democracy requires fairness in voting. We differ on how to achieve that.

ambassiadvocacy...

@Ambassi Opinion 11-13-09
@Ambassi Opinionette News page http://ambassi-advocacy2.webs.com/

The voting practices in the USA are a diabolical travesty. The voting process is designed only for certain people to vote. That's unconstitutional

The voting dates should be every two years and four years.

there is no iniform code for state voting practices. Localities have election days spread out all over the calander. It cost money and time and availibilty factors to attend the polls. Most poor people don't have any idea or resources to gain knowledgeable
voting concerns.
Another problem is that the organizations to help in state and local voting are suspected in descrimination, conspiracy, and out right fraudalent claims of sorts.

.....and the beat goes on......

Steve

If you're a legal citizen of this nation, and have never been convicted of a felony, you should have the right to vote. I you are not in this country legally, and you are a convicted felon, you should not have the right to vote. Let's keep it simple.

roald

Steve, have to agree with you. That is what makes the situation in Indiana so troubling. The only people who are allowed to vote are those wealthy enough (or unemployed) to be able to afford the loss of income and the costs to get a state ID.

TrueAmerican

If in the 12 months between elections a valid citizen cannot budget the time and money to get a state ID card then voting must not be high on their priorities. The state should issue the card itself for free of course. (if not, we that do have ID cards should put free IDs on the ballot and pass it).

And to the person who says poor people can't gain access to voting info and resources.... every county has a board of elections and a library. Even if you can't read you can get all the info you need there.
So many people who support causes like the ACLU are blinded by the cause they can't even reach easy facts like those I state.

Bruce New Londo...

Odd, I have been a registered voter since 1996 and needed to show a valid ID to register, I am also required to provide a valid ID at the poles, I always thaught it was quality control to ensure that it was accualy me casting the vote, I had no idea that I was being discriminated against, because I'm a caucasion male.

American First

roald You are an idiot. It is hard to believe you are serious.

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