New form of political gerrymandering …. or a valid restriction on voting?
Since 2011, more than 180 bills pertaining to voting rights have been introduced in 41 states, with the new Voter Photo ID laws being some of the more controversial pieces of legislation. The main rationale advanced to support this type of legislation is to combat voter fraud – which has been an issue in previous elections. However, there are others who think that Voter ID laws are just a new way to disenfranchise certain blocks of voters in time for the November election.
Earlier this week a Pennsylvania judge blocked enforcement of one of the main sections of a voter identification law that the state legislature enacted and Republican Governor Tom Corbett signed last March. However, the judge only blocked enforcement of the provisions for the upcoming election – in part because he did not think that people could get IDs in time. The Voter ID law should take effect for future elections.
While some states are making it more difficult to vote, others are making it easier. Last week California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would allow Californians to register to vote on election day.
What are your thoughts? Are Photo ID laws essentially a new way to disenfranchise voters? Or do Photo ID laws protect the sanctity of our Democratic government?
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 Rigging the rules of the game is one of the oldest political tricks in the book. Historically, gerrymandering was one way that politicians looked to secure a political victory. Other methods that have been used to disenfranchise voters in the past have included literacy tests, poll taxes and majority-minority districts.
 However, the law will not be applied for this year’s presidential election. Assembly Bill 1436 does not become law until January 1, 2013.