In class we have been talking about attempts by the Republican party to restrict voter turnout through a series of Voter ID laws that would require voters to show a form of photo identification in order to cast their ballot. The good news is that courts several states around the country have blocked these laws, keeping the rules for voting in the 2012 election the same. Voters in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin don’t need to show photo ID when going to the polls for the November elections. A court in Texas saw the danger the laws posed to the voting rights of many in the state. The three-judge panel ruled it would hurt turnout among minority voters and impose “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” by charging fees for those who lack documentation to obtain a photo ID. Texas plans to appeal its case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although this seems like a great victory for voting rights in these states, the battle isn’t over yet, because there is still a lot of opportunity for the playing field to be messed with. A poll worker in Texas continuously asked for a different form of ID when presented with a utility bill (another valid form of ID), stating that the order in which the types of ID appeared on the least was their preferred order of presentation at the booth, a gross misrepresentation of the truth. In Pennsylvania, Nearly a month after a court struck down the state’s voter ID law, there are still radio and television ads, billboards and websites giving residents misleading information about what they need to bring to the polls. Finally, in Wisconsin, ThinkProgress reports that training documents distributed by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign to poll watchers include inaccurate information about who is eligible to vote.
Overall, the confusion brought on upon by the attempt to change these laws may prove to be just as effective in curtailing the vote as the laws themselves were originally intended to be. Now that there has been enough information put out by one side, regardless of what was ruled it is possible that the more well known restrictions are those presented through the advertisements of campaigns, which puts a lot more accountability on poll workers in these crucial states to accurately and faithfully represent the way in which things are supposed to happen, as opposed to intimidating some out of their right to vote