It’s Supreme Court decision season and today’s ruling struck down a Voter ID Law in Arizona that would have required proof of citizenship during registration. Here’s Slate’s Emily Bazelon telling you why this is important:
Alabama, Georgia and Kansas have laws just like Arizona’s. So those state laws also get thrown onto the garbage heap. And actually, it’s becoming something of a pile. Since 2003, courts have either thrown out or delayed photo ID requirements in at least five states. The politics, too, are finally starting to shift away from the trumped-up GOP drive against voter fraud. In Minnesota, voters for the first time rejected a voter ID law in 2012. Semi-related: In Florida, after an uproar about the long lines and wait times last November, the state restored early voting days that had been cut. And in Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker recently gave up his push to get rid of same-day voter registration. As Jonathan Alter points out in his new book, The Center Holds, voter ID and other impediments led to a backlash against Republicans in 2012, energizing minority voters to go to the polls in the key states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.
These ID laws are partisan attempts by the GOP to disenfranchise minority voters who are more likely to vote Democrat. While they are aimed predominately at our black and brown brothers and sisters, they sweep up everyone who has the temerity to be poor: the elderly, unemployed, college students.
It’s pretty amazing that this was a 7-2 decision, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the majority opinion. And it bears mention that he rested on the federal government’s power to set the terms for federal elections. Now let’s see what happens to the Voting Rights Act.