10:17 PM | Posted in ,
Keith Ellison spoke out yesterday about the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing state legislatures to require voter identification. Using the recent incidence of nuns being denied the vote in Indiana because of this new stringent law, Ellison spoke about the various groups that are disenfranchised due to these identification laws.

Mr. ELLISON. Madam Speaker, it was on May 7, the day of the Indiana primary election just last Tuesday, I believe that was May 5, excuse me, May 5, that 12 nuns came to the voting booth to cast a ballot in the election. These nuns, women of the cloth, women who have dedicated their lives to prayer and service, only wanted to vote but were barred from doing so by Indiana's photographic identification law. This law, which is the most stringent in the United States, the most stringent of any State, requires that before you can cast a ballot, you must present a government-issued photographic identification card. This 98-year-old nun, American citizen, devoted to her country and her faith, was denied along with 11 of her colleagues.

I'm disappointed to tell you, Madam Speaker, that this problem didn't have to happen. Only a few days before this Indiana photographic ID law was put in place, the United States Supreme Court reviewed this law and found that it was reasonable for Indiana to force citizens to provide such identification.

Now, Madam Speaker, you might say, well, isn't this designed to just stop voter fraud? The answer is "no,'' Madam Speaker. In the United States Supreme Court decision, the Justice that wrote the majority opinion admitted and acknowledged that there was no evidence of voter impersonation. And in fact, Madam Speaker, this bill was a bill to solve a problem that simply did not exist at all. This bill was confronting a mythical voter fraud that worked only to stop 12 nuns and many others from voting.

Ellison speaks of an editorial in the New York Times. In that editorial, The Myth of Voter Fraud, the writer gives examples of voters disenfranchised by voter identification laws. Unfortunately, the article does not do a very good job of proving that voter fraud due to lax identification standards doesn't really exist.

Over at the Pew Center on the States, you can find information pertaining to voter identification laws and each of the states.