Episode Description for: MOYERS & COMPANY. – Suppressing the Vote
Bill Moyers and his guests make a compelling case for fighting voter ID laws because the right to vote is a fundamental democratic principle and the number of otherwise eligible voters that these laws effectively prevent or discourage from exercising their right to vote is far greater than the number of otherwise fraudulent voters that they keep from the polls. One point that I did not hear mentioned is that an upper middle class high school sophomore can much more easily obtain a fake ID (driver’s license) than can an urban single mother working two minimum wage jobs. The show did air the dialog in which a man-on-the-street wonders why people were making such a big deal about needing an ID to vote given that you need an ID to board a public aircraft – completely overlooking that most urban and rural poor have no need to travel by plane.
Moyers’ guests explained that ID fees are not the only obstacle to getting IDs: many poor cannot easily get to locations which issue IDs, cannot afford to take time from work to get to those locations during open office hours and to then wait in line, and/or cannot provide the necessary documentation (SSN card and a birth certificate or equivalent).
The net is that many urban and rural poor cannot justify overcoming the obstacles to get a state issued ID since they have no need for an ID (outside of complying with the new voter ID laws) – it’s easier for a teenager to get an ID to illegally buy alcohol than for a poor working mother to get an ID to legally vote.
2012 October 8 print edition CSM article: “Requirements could deter 10 million Hispanic votes“.