News / USA

Democrats, Republicans Battle Over Voter ID Laws

Jeff Swicord
A court battle over the state of Pennsylvania's controversial voter identification law is being seen as a proxy in the battle between Republicans and Democrats.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has asked a lower court to reconsider its earlier ruling in favor of the law.  Republican legislatures across the country have pushed voter ID laws - ostensibly to prevent voter fraud.  Democrats argue the laws are an attempt to suppress minority voter turnout.

Volunteers are canvassing Philadelphia neighborhoods with information on the state's new voter ID law.

The Republican-sponsored law requires voters to have state-approved photo ID to vote. But more than 700,000 voters may not have one. 

"We think there are going to be a lot of people surprised when they show up [to vote] this year," said Bob Previdi, who is with the non-partisan Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition."And we are trying to alert as many people as possible that they need to have this photo voter ID."

Critics say the law is a thinly-veiled attempt to disenfranchise minority voters who voted for President Obama in 2008.

"A lot of African-Americans don't have ID's," said Charles Warner, a Philadelphia voter.  "And some of our Spanish-Americans don't have ID's either.  [Republicans] they don't want him [Obama] in.  They don't want him in office no more."

Republican state officials declined our requests for interviews.  They argue the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud.

Democrat Stephanie Singer, chair of the Office of City Commissioners, which oversees Philadelphia's elections, disagrees with Warner.

"The purpose of the law is to suppress the vote of certain groups of people, and the way to win over this law is for those people to vote," she said.

More than 30 states have considered voter ID laws since the 2008 election. 

"The color barrier was broken at the White House for the first time in U.S. history, by-the-by the largest, most diverse presidential election ever," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  "It should not be surprising historically that we are facing a wave of voter suppression efforts that are designed to shave off tens of thousands of votes."

Advocates argue voter ID laws are widely supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

"Georgia and Indiana had voter ID laws on the books on the last election and what they saw was an increased turnout in the same voting blocks that the ACLU and the left thought wouldn't come out," said Justin Danhof, is general counsel for the conservative National Center For Public Policy Research.

These opponents of the law will have to wait until October 2 for the lower court to determine whether voters have enough time to obtain proper ID before the November 6 election.

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

Governors of several East Coast states close schools, order travel bans, urge people to stay home as snowfall, heavy winds, flooding continue in areas More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid