As the midterm elections draw near, voters are being asked to choose several gubernatorial races and more than a handful of senate seats, making this midterm election extremely important. One issue that has raged this election is the Voter ID laws that either have been implemented, have been struck down, or in some states, as reported by The Inquisitr, are still completely up in the air with less that three weeks before the elections. Adding to the already complicated issue is the specter of race behind the very idea of Voter ID laws.
In a recent study by the University of Delaware, white voters were shown to support Voter ID laws when they were shown pictures of black people voting. In the study, the support for the law was at 67 percent for, but when those polled were shown images of black at the polls, that number climbed to 73 percent.
While six points isn’t earth shattering, the fact that there was jump at all, compared to subjects being shown images of whites voting, or no images at all, shows that there is a disparity and prejudice involved in the electoral process. David C. Wilson, who headed the study, explains the disparity and what it means when the data is analyzed.
“The resulting increase in support for the laws happens independently of—even after controlling for—political ideology and negative attitudes about African Americans.”
Coupled with this study is another by the University of Massachusetts-Boston, which shows states with higher minority populations are more likely to be against voter ID laws, as reported by Think Progress. Those for Voter ID laws argue that it would help to curb voter fraud at the polls, even though there have been only 31 cases of voter impersonation since the year 2000, as explained by the Washington Post. That is 31 cases out of over a billion votes cast in the 14-year period. And according to the story in the Washington Post, Voter ID laws are not the answer.
“Election fraud happens. But ID laws are not aimed at the fraud you’ll actually hear about. Most current ID laws (Wisconsin is a rare exception) aren’t designed to stop fraud with absentee ballots (indeed, laws requiring ID at the polls push more people into the absentee system, where there are plenty of real dangers). Or vote buying. Or coercion. Or fake registration forms. Or voting from the wrong address. Or ballot box stuffing by officials in on the scam.”
Opponents of the Voter ID laws say the law acts as a new form of poll tax, which was a fee that freed slaves had to pay after the civil war to be able to vote. The tax kept many of the poor blacks from voting and kept rich, white landowners in charge. The poll tax was ruled unconstitutional by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The Voter ID laws continue to be a hot button topic on both sides, and race is playing a role in the debate, whether either side wants to admit it. Do you think the Voter ID laws are racially motivated? Will the courts continue to strike them down, even in white majority states?