NPR sets out to examine both sides of the debate regarding new voter ID laws going into effect this year around the country. And amazingly, they manage the feat after a fashion. At least to a point:
Voters going to the polls next year — and even some this year — will encounter a lot of new rules. Photo ID requirements and fewer options for early voting are among the biggest changes.
They’re part of a wave of new laws enacted by Republican-controlled legislatures this year. Supporters say the rules are needed to ensure honest elections.
But Democrats say it’s part of a concerted GOP campaign to suppress the vote. They say minorities, students, the poor and disabled — those most likely to vote Democratic — will be hurt the most.
Did you catch the second sentence of the second paragraph? The one that begins with, “supporters say…?” I sure hope so, because if you only read the story above the fold, that’s the last mention you’ll see of reasons to support such laws until you get to the final third of the article. In the intervening space, the piece swings out to Wisconsin where a spokesperson for One Wisconsin Now goes into great detail about how these laws are “obstacles” to voting by the usual class warriors and it’s all a massive plot to disenfranchise the poor… or something.
In the end, though, even NPR can’t help itself and points out that free ID cards are available to all lawful residents of legal age who wish to vote. (Though the aforementioned spokesperson jumps back in to claim that making it to the DMV to pick up the free card is still too great an obstacle for “many.”) But the highlight of the article comes by way of a quote from Tre Hargett, Tennessee secretary of state. Responding to allegations that the new requirements would “discourage voter turnout,” he responds:
“I think that nothing could disenfranchise an eligible voter more than finding out that ineligible voters are voting,” he says.
That one just may have to make it into the quotes of the day.