Attorney General Eric Holder speaks out against Voter ID Laws in 10 states ( video)




WASHINGTON — A half-million Americans in 10 states with voter identification laws face serious challenges to obtaining the necessary photo documentation, according to a reportreleased Wednesday by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

The report found that while legal precedent requires states to provide free voter IDs to eligible residents who don’t have them, even free IDs are not always easy to obtain. Structural barriers such as lack of transportation, restricted access to ID-issuing offices, the cost of necessary documentation, and bureaucratic red tape could prevent many Americans from voting in November.

About 11 percent of eligible voters lack current government-issued photo IDs, and “seniors, low-income individuals [and] minority voters are particularly overrepresented within that group,” the report’s co-author Keesha Gaskins told reporters in a conference call Wednesday afternoon.

“The response of proponents of these laws has been, well, just get an ID,” said Lawrence Norton, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Unfortunately, for many people, this is not going to be such a simple solution.”

Among the report’s findings: In the 10 states with restrictive voter ID laws — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — nearly 500,000 eligible voters do not have access to a vehicle and live more than 10 miles from the nearest state ID-issuing office that is open more than two days a week. More than 10 million eligible voters in those states live more than 10 miles from such offices, a number that includes 1.2 million eligible black voters and 500,000 eligible Hispanic voters.

“The idea that we’re forcing certain people to go through these very difficult, extra hoops, I think, is antithetical to some of the founding principles of this country,” Norton said. Read More