News Release

Voter ID Battle


The lead story in today’s New York Times reports: “The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote.

“The measure would allow far more rigorous demands than the voter ID requirement recently upheld by the Supreme Court, in which voters had to prove their identity with a government-issued card. …

“In Arizona, the only state that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote, more than 38,000 voter registration applications have been thrown out since the state adopted its measure in 2004.”

Hickey is the executive director of the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition. He said today: “The proposed amendment is similar to a 2006 law that the state supreme court struck down. The secretary of state estimated in 2006 that it would have disfranchised 240,000 registered voters.

“Particularly hard hit would be people with disabilities — since they frequently don’t have drivers licenses, African Americans who are less likely to have cars (and therefore licenses) and Katrina survivors, many of whom have ended up in Missouri.

“This amendment would mean that people could no longer use their voter ID card (which is mailed to voters and doesn’t have a picture), utility bill, drivers license from another state or student ID from a private school as identification to vote. The amendment’s backers can offer no examples of voter ID fraud. There are very rare cases of absentee voter fraud — which the amendment does not address.”

Brown is the executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network. She said today: “Shirley Freeda Preiss is a sharp and delightful 97-year-old who has voted in every presidential election since FDR’s first. She was born at home in Clinton, Kentucky in 1910 and never had a birth certificate. She never left the country so she has never needed a passport, and she no longer has a drivers license. She has a Social Security card and a Medicare card, neither of which are acceptable proof of citizenship in Arizona. She moved to Arizona so her son, a World War II veteran, and his wife could help look after her.

“They have a file an inch thick documenting her attempts to register to vote since moving to Arizona two years ago. But because she cannot prove her citizenship to the satisfaction of the state, it is likely that this will be the first presidential election she will miss since she first registered to vote more than 75 years ago. She was very upset when she was denied the opportunity to vote for the first female major party candidate for president in February’s presidential preference election. In the drive to thwart mythical voter fraud, Shirley Preiss is collateral damage.

“Arizona has a long, shameful tradition of voter suppression. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 actually names Arizona as one of the states that can’t pass laws on voting without approval from the Department of Justice. When voters passed the 2004 ballot initiative that restricted voting, the career attorneys at the Justice Department wanted to block it, but they were overruled by the political appointees.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167