Two recent victories in the fight against restrictive voter ID laws can be celebrated this month–one in Wisconsin; the other in Texas. Laws in both states have sought to make some form of government-issued identification mandatory to voting; such an effort would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Luckily in Wisconsin and Texas, these measures have been blocked.
In Wisconsin, the voter ID law was halted until an April 16th trial where it will likely be deemed unconstitutional based on the state’s guarantee of the right to vote. In Texas, the Obama Administration blocked its voter ID law citing that it would largely disenfranchise the Latino community. Eleven percent of Latino voters in this state (more than 300,000) do not hold a driver’s license or state-issued ID. Voter ID laws do not consider these statistics and the fact that marginalized communities lack the resources necessary to obtain a proper ID or are limited to access of state resources.
Our grant recipients, Lawyers’ Committee, Advancement Project, Brennan Center for Justice, and ColorOfChange.org have been working on a number of levels–countering legislation at the state level, lobbying the United States Attorney General, and educating voters on the ground–to fight these unjust laws. Voter suppression laws have been trying to push forward, sprouting up across the nation, claiming to prevent voter fraud yet harshly impeding the rights of many to vote. Although we can celebrate these recent victories in Wisconsin and Texas–our grant partners make it clear that there is still more struggle ahead and more work to be done in the effort to preserve voting rights for all.